Thursday, February 12, 2009
Very satisfying progress
The high point of today was seeing my first sweet pea seedling emerging. I took a picture of it but the dark damp compost looked so much like.. something else... that I don't think you'd thank me for posting it! I will show pictures when the seedlings are a bit larger (and indeed plural!).
I cleared out lots of pots I'd dumped under a choisya shrub (stupid, I know - I was tidying in a hurry) and put the snails I found inside on a plastic sheet in the middle of a lawn for the birds. I didn't see any come for them; maybe they will when I'm not watching. In doing all this I uncovered various bits of hidden treasure, including a lawn sprayer. It's hard to imagine I'll ever use it again - we either have very wet summers, or a drought and a ban on such things, and in any case our lawns always stay green (they have so much clover in them!).
By this time the sun had moved round enough for me to feel up to making a final blitz on clearing the area just beyond the pond. I should explain what this is really. The pond has a straight line across the back of narrow paving stones, but the butyl liner continues beyond them to line a narrow strip intended to house bog-style plants. I forget what these are now to be honest, but they include some fritillaries which are very pretty - if the lily beetles haven't got to them. Ah - and a zantedeschia, a glorious thing that didn't really show much last year (due to neglect and overcrowding by weeds) but which I have already uncovered, sprouting happily.
When the area is looking as planned, there's a half-height fence just beyond the boggy bit. On the other side of this is an arch, with a bench in the middle, and honeysuckle climbing over it. Usually I put sweet peas up the sides too (in my more organized years). The fence had rotted and was in tatters, so I've pulled it away, and we have a replacement ready. I lifted the bench out to clear all the tall dead grass and weeds behind it. The honeysuckle had grown and rooted all over the place so I had to have some stern words with it.
The remains of my sad, overgrown irises were found to the left of the bench. I wonder whether there's any hope for them? They were Jane Philips and Sable Night. I discovered the healthy sprouting crown of one of my favourite plants - a beautiful seedum called something like Ice Queen, which has very pale foliage and creamy white flowers - I was so pleased to see it again, hidden away under a thuggish hebe.
On the right, the cranesbills, poppies and siberian irises are standing up to neglect far better than the posh irises -they are indeed thriving. There's nothing to see of the alchemilla mollis but I know they'll be back with a vengeance too.
I cut back the big woody shrub on the far right (as you look back at the house) - this is my "friend" the pink spirea. I had planted a camelia far too close to it, but that has sensibly simply altered its growth to go out and round the spirea, so I'm opting not to move it. Many bulbs are coming up around this area, all of which I'd assumed had failed in the cold wet ground, so I'm most chuffed by that.
This area is now ready to have the new fence put up, but I'll need my husband's help for that; maybe tomorrow, if the weather is fine.