Many hands

photo 1-1Reinforcements arrived last Wednesday in the form of my mother-in-law, who’s come to stay for a week. For someone in her mid-70s, she has immense energy and drive (she puts this down to her nurse training) and has been chivvying us along in the garden. She also has years of very welcome gardening experience and knows what will do well and where. I remember her reassuring visit after I came out of hospital with my first baby and it’s a similar feeling – she knows what to do!

Apart from a lovely family day out to Leeds Castle, where the children begrudgingly enjoyed themselves, and various trips to buy new shoes and sports kit (the boys, in particular, are growing almost as fast as the plants in the garden) we’ve spent a happy few days outside making good progress.

We cut poles from the hazel tree and made wigwams for the French beans. Asparagus has been planted –I think we may have taken too long to get them in the ground. They’d started to develop white fungal marks on the roots, so we cut these off… The crowns require delicate handling and we may have been a bit too heavy-handed!

French beans in situ with their hazel wigwams.
French beans in situ with their hazel wigwams. You can see the asparagus bed behind left, neatly tucked in under layers of compost.
I've left the tops on the hazel poles to see if they'll sprout into leaf.
I’ve left the tops on the hazel poles to see if they’ll sprout into leaf.

Several 1-tonne builders bags have been filled with weeds, hedge trimmings, ivy, etc and carted to the tip. We found an old cold-frame and have cleared a bed, spread out weed-suppressing mat and gravel to create an area for hardening-off our new plants. It’s a joy to come back from walking the dog, open the greenhouse door, take the lids of the propagators and see what’s grown. We’re making progress and it’s exciting.

Seedlings of Tithonia 'Torchlight' (foreground), which is great for bees, and an ornamental grass, Setaria, behind.
Seedlings of Tithonia ‘Torchlight’ (foreground), which is great for bees, and an ornamental grass, Setaria, behind.

 

 

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