Wildflower control

Tis the end of a very physical and successful day.   And yes, strim I did.

Way down on the lower terraces, almost as far as the vineyard.   I didn’t strim here last year. And I couldn’t believe how much has changed.   The trees that grow on the edges of these terraces were pushing branches out into the sunnier open areas.   So my first job was just to hack back all the branches so I wouldn’t be thwacked with foliage at head height when I strimmed.

Once you get into a rhythm with the machine, you don’t want to have to be looking up at the same time as you look down.   If you told me there were heffalump nests in here I wouldn’t be surprised.

You can’t really tell from the pictures, but the grass and ferns and brambles were thigh high here.   I stalked through with my loppers to get the worst of the beasts tamed. And I cut down two, no three, enormous Spanish broom shrubs which were aiming to attain tree status they were so tall.

By the end of the morning I was very pleased to see I had done two whole terraces.   By my calculations, I will finish by the middle of next week. Two terraces a day.

And best of all, I had lots of branches for chipping. They came up after I had hauled my very sweaty self, plus strimmer and petrol cannister and loppers to the house.

A quick paint of the house sign I am making, and then it was back out for more punishment. Actually, mowing is never a punishment, unless it’s baking hot.   It gives you such a wonderful sense of achievement.   And almost gives the illusion you are in control.

I’m not of course.   But I do love the effect these curves have in the garden.   There are so many fantastic wildflowers this year – the red clover, the blue vetch and an incredible delicate red vetch which clashes wonderfully with the bugloss and the thistles. It’s so hard to photograph them as I don’t get up at dawn.   But this way I look as though I’m having both – control and wildflowers.

But you can’t let the wilflowers win.   Because for every red clover flower there are brambles and nettles, verbascums and thistles which are just too thuggish.

Hence the scorched earth policy of the lower terraces.   I leave all the thyme plants; and they will come up now that the grasses have been scythed.   And the ferns can go.   They are bracken really, and creeping all over from next door’s unattended terraces.   It’s a jungle out there.

My other project was to be sorting out the new little garden near the calabert rocks.   I planted lavenders and eragrostis. Not for any mad aesthetic reason; they were just the plants I had left in the shed. I aim to have lots of santolina plants here, but they are just too small to go out.   I took them from cuttings in October and March, so they need to be nurtured just a bit longer.

And I still have to sort out the steep banks in between the plants. I can’t leave it as bare earth.   The little bank in the plum terrace has taught me that.   Here is the thicket that is the foot high expanse of nothing planned between the two little terraces.

You can’t see it but behind these frankly over undulged weeds are a dozen rosemary and a dozen perovskia shrubs. They need to be more exposed to the sunshine as the plum trees above them are in full leaf.

I climbed up and cut back and hacked back and barely made an inroad in the jungle. And to think it’s just a thin strip of soil.

I don’t want that to be my endless toil in the new bed I’m making.   So I must unearth some weedproof fabric tomorrow and try and get some protection in place while I can.

Artur stayed well away from me as I was prancing about with noisy machines.   But he was obviously keen on company as he perched himself almost on the path between the house and the potting shed. I couldn’t miss him.   Especially as he is lying in the middle of the festuca grasses which I know is a deliberate garden landscaping space. He just thought it cool and shaded.

I dare not admit that once he left the area I fluffed up the grasses which he had bent down in his midday snooze. Oh? Did I just admit that? Such a precious garden designer!