Rainstorms and sunshine

Before all the heavy rain we had this week I cut back our lavender bushes at the front of the house. Planted as plugs last autumn, this is their first year of flowering and the first time they’ve been cut back. Experts say that hardy lavenders should be cut by mid-August to ensure there’s enough time for the plants to put on some growth before the winter. I was determined to do this properly (we’ve been slapdash in the past and ended up with woody, floppy lavenders), so I read up on what to do – some said cut back to about 20cm, others said to cut back to just above where you can see little nodules of growth on the stems. I’ve done both. I cut about eight plants back hard but that did look very severe, so I cut the rest to approximately 20cm-domes. The smell was amazing and I had to dodge the bees who were still buzzing about. I felt a bit bad about removing their food source, but I didn’t want to leave it much longer and run the risk of leggy lavender. Oh no, not this time. I’m aiming for perfect, healthy, prolific bushes that will last for years…

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I also pulled out all the poppies from the veg patch before they spread seeds everywhere. There were lots of them this year and we let them grow to see what their flowers were like. Not nice, it turned out – a candy pink with yellow centres – so we don’t want them popping up again next year.

I've cut all the self-sown poppies down before they spread their seeds everywhere. I didn't particularly like them – they were a candy pink with yellow centres so don't really want them popping up everywhere again next year.

My goodness, the rain! The wheelbarrow abandoned under the cherry tree is full to the brim with water. Yes, it’s great for the garden but it’s been SO windy and the rain so heavy that it’s flattened the borders in places, knocked off a load of apples and autumn leaves and mostly confined us to the house.

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There was plenty of sunshine inside our house on Wednesday, though. It was my birthday. Quite a big birthday. (Shh, my 50th.) It’s taken me rather by surprise. I didn’t mind 30, or even 40, but 50 is undeniably getting older. Definitely middle-aged. Oh well. I should thank my lucky stars that I have good health, a wonderful family and fabulous friends. I had a thoroughly lovely day, filled with flowers and laughter and went to bed feeling very grateful and happy.

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That’s me with my youngest and eldest. We tend to be difficult to photograph, pulling faces, being silly, and this was the best of the lot!

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Wishing you a very good weekend filled with sunshine (real or imagined) and smiles.

 

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24 thoughts on “Rainstorms and sunshine

  1. Happy birthday. It certainly was a day to be inside on Wednesday. I can’ t remember such torrential rain in this country.
    Well done on a good job of lavender cutting. I neglected to trim mine properly when I planted it 4 years ago. I looks really untidy now, so I have got lots of cuttings coming on to start again. At least it is free to replace.

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  2. Happy Birthday! Fifty didn’t bother me but sixty following on so quickly, pulled me up a bit short I must admit. I must deal with the lavender too but hate to deprive the bees so soon. I give it another trim in March. I forget why, but someone must have told me to!

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    1. Thank you Lucille. I find it disconcerting that time seems to be speeding up. I’ve not heard of cutting lavender in March – I’ll look that up. Hope you’re having a relaxing bank holiday weekend.

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  3. Happy birthday! Nothing to worry about the 50s, honest. They’re a time of change (isn’t every time though?) and with luck new opportunities. Seize the moment and enjoy it all!
    Love that lavender, are you going to do anything with the cuttings?

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    1. Thanks so much Deborah. That’s good to hear. I am slowly coming to terms with the big 5-0 and fully intend to make the most of whatever comes along. The lavender cuttings are in a big pile, under cover on the porch, waiting to be sorted. I’m sure we’ll do something with some of it but not sure what yet!

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  4. You’ve done a good job of cutting back your lavender, it looks lovely and moundy now. I have to do the same with mine soon … now that there are more wasps than bees in the garden, I might make a start this week. I heard about spring pruning of lavender from Jekka McVicar; she thought that climate change giving us warmer weather in late summer/autumn promotes new growth which might then be killed by harsh winters. We haven’t had bad winters here in London for the past couple of years so I reckon you’re safe with what you’ve done. As always, summer pruning for shape, late spring pruning to promote growth. Happy birthday, btw, I found being 50 to be quite liberating!

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  5. I’m very late wishing you happy birthday Sam, it looks like you had a fabulous day. You have done a very good job cutting back your beautiful lavender. Will you try drying some in a cool dark place (suspended from the garage rafters is my flower drying place) and see if it keeps that intense blue colour? Here’s to the next 50 years, I heard recently that middle-age now starts at 60🎈.

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    1. Thank you Sarah. I think we need to cut any lavender for drying earlier (when it’s in bud) to preserve the blue, so I’ll try to remember to do that. Yes, 50’s the new 30 (or so someone told me and that sounds good to me!).

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  6. Belated Happy Birthday I’m glad you had a lovely day, welcome to the 50’s! I am a couple of years older, I didn’t mind turn 50 whereas my husband hated it!
    My husband thinks I cut the lavender back to harshly.Iit grows back but still is a bit woody so would love to know how to do it perfectly. I have usually cut it back before now, I was going to do it this weekend but the rain put pay to that! Sarah x

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  7. Many happy returns to you, I hope you had a brilliant day. Well done on cutting back your lavender so promptly – my mum is always on at me to do that but I forget, every year. x

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    1. Thanks Gillian. I’m trying to learn from past mistakes and doing the garden jobs when they should be (or as near to as poss). I think most plants are fairly forgiving, though, and you just have to do the maintenance when you have time.

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  8. belated happy birthday wishes, don’t know I managed to miss this. (I cut my lavender yesterday…. I am behind at everything, but then again it’s already leggy……….)

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