Saturday, 10 April 2010

backs to the land

Sorry I haven't been on the blog for ages, first there was nothing to report now there's too much to do! What fantastic weather has arrived this week, and with it finally the chance to get onto the land and get things moving on. Flowers are still slow, but they are all appearing this week, the first of the bulk tulips are opening, and it looks as though hundreds of others will be open in the next day or two (possibly by now, it's 7am and I haven't been outside yet, too busy listening to the Farming Today programme (again) which today was on the cut flower industry. It made me feel rather insignificant). I'm hoping to get some seedlings out of the tunnel and into the ground in the next week, and am still dividing and shifting perennials, including a lovely dark red leaved and dark stemmed lobelia with very pale if slightly insignificant wands of pinkish brown flowers, starting flowering in May. Or at least I think it's a lobelia but I don't know what form and despite looking it up lots of times haven't found it - I believe I got a few seedlings from a garden sale three years ago and lost any label immediately, hopeless...

We have got some sweet peas in outside, and those inside are shooting on, otherwise the only annuals outdoors so far are cornflowers, next to go should be dills, lonas, statice, ammis, bupleurum, scabiouses (scabii?) and I've sown the first outdoor seeds direct in the far patch but as I refuse to water anything outside at this time of year they may or may not cope with the regime and the rabbits. Pyrethrum plugs outside are surviving at the far end so far despite the rabbits, but they have taken the tops and more out of all the physalis and are obsessed with digging up large astrantias in the hedged patch, where I'm obsessed with digging up alchemillas which are getting wonderfully large - when we came here there wasn't a single alchemilla plant in the cottage garden, or anywhere, that has all changed as I love it, for me clumps of the plant are one of those symbols of a more established garden. I love it against catmint but I seem to have lost most of that in the field this winter which is an unwelcome surprise. I don't really  understand why I've lost some things and not others - in the top sunny cottage garden I've lost a beautiful large prostrate rosemary, at the bottom of the north facing sloping field garden we've kept all the tiny new rosemary cuttings. The dahlia corms I didn't want to keep I left in the cold field, the good ones I moved indoors. I've lost all the indoors ones, some frost got in and they've gone. The ones in the field all seem to be there. I've even still got a couple of gaura plants in the cold field. I think the secret must be mulch.

I have once again been weighing up the costs of full of rabbit fencing against the losses, but as it has been such a long winter and late late flower production extra expenses will I think have to wait - but I may change my mind in a few weeks when damage will become more obvious as young plants try to get going.

Meg spent hours yesterday digging up and shifting glads as they're moving home - we never got round to lifting the corms at the appropriate time last year so the harvest wasn't brilliant as they were too busy multiplying to put much energy into flowering. Steve got stuck in with the strimmer - horrible job but the orchard had got into such a mess by the end of alst year as wet weather meant we could never get onto it at the right times. And I spent too long trying to sort out computer and admin stuff, very frustrating on a glorious afternoon! Only to get things more sorted with the web guys, come home and find the website isn't functioning since we moved it onto another server. Some days I really hate hate hate techie stuff, but I'm sure they'll have it sorted imminently, they have the talent and the patience, I just have the frustration.....

We're starting at Cardiff Riverside market on Sundays from this week, hopefully weekly but at least whenever possible, then there's a busy schedule coming up, including the big Plant Fair at Hergest Court on May Bank Holiday M0nday (3rd May) which I'm looking forward to, even though we are doing markets the two previous days. But the main panic is that we have the Independent coming in ten days time and there seems little to see apart from bare mud in loots of places, though the cottage garden is beginning to look rather lovely. 

Anyway, things are moving along, but basically we are also still weeding. This will once again be our catchphrase I suspect.

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