Monday, 27 May 2013

working holiday

We were lucky with the weather for the Bank Holiday, since today was originally forecast to be rainy, instead of which we got brilliant sunshine.  Plant retailing is desperately weather dependent, and if it's pouring with rain, cold, and windy, that puts a lot of customers off.  You can't blame them.  My gardening timetable slips in spells of bad weather, and I am a fanatic, so you can't expect the merely keen or conscientious to do any better.

The first task after watering was to finish unloading the van load of plants left over from the Helmigham plant fair yesterday.  Our sales were quite good, but we didn't sell everything. According to the manager, who was there but in his capacity as a plant expert rather than manning our stand, it was mainly the really unusual stuff that was selling.  The man selling shrubby peonies sold practically all of them, although they were close to thirty quid each, but stallholders with more run-of-the-mill offerings didn't do so well.  In fact the manager did end up on our stall for half an hour, since he went in the early afternoon to see how the person who was running it was getting on, and discovered they'd had no breaks at all, and had been dying for a pee for the previous two hours.  In their place I'd have just grabbed the cash box, asked the person on the next stand to keep an eye on my plants for ten minutes, and gone to the loo.  Maybe this is one reason why I have never been asked to help at any of the shows we attend.

I did think about going to the Helmingham fair, but decided against it, because I had so much work to do in the garden, and didn't really need unusual plants that much.  What I need is ground cover, as the foliage of the existing planting fills out and I can see where there are still gaps, and I might as well get that at work.

The Paeonia rockii in the border has come out.  It is a superlatively beautiful species, and the owner warned us that the boss was trying to get some plants for us to sell in the autumn, but they would retail at around the hundred pounds mark.  One customer asked me whether we had that peony in the border, but when I told her about the hundred pounds, she didn't want one.

The owner had organised for a young lad to come and staff the cafe.  This was his first day, and he seemed to get the hang of it very well, though he cut an incongruous figure with his little blue apron over his incredibly skinny and low slung jeans.  I found myself wondering whether they were normal jeans, merely worn so low as to expose fully six inches of underpant at the rear, or whether they were cut unusually low in the crutch to achieve that halfway down the thighs look.  If the Systems Administrator and I had teenagers ourselves I suppose I'd be au fait with that sort of thing.

The white peahen has laid an egg or eggs for the first time, but has chosen to make her nest part way down the garden near the pond.  Given the strength of the local fox population that isn't a good idea. Her mother always nested in the raised planter right outside the office door, which exposed her to human scrutiny but was relatively fox-proof.  It is all rather incestuous, since the father is the white peahen's own father.  The boss declines to have more than one peacock on the premises, and the chick that turned out to be another cock a couple of years ago was re-homed with a man who came on a garden walk.  You can't be too careful in your dealings with the plant centre, go along on an innocent guided tour and the next thing you know you have acquired a peacock.  I only went there originally to go shopping.

By the time I got home my face felt as though I had caught the sun, although I had worn my Tilley hat outside.  Maybe the sun reflected up off the gravel.  It is strong by now, with less than a month to go to the longest day.

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