Saturday, 6 February 2016

brambles and daffodils

The roses did not arrive, which was slightly annoying of them, since the Systems Administrator hung around all morning within earshot of the front door, just in case, while I hacked away at more brambles in the meadow to try and get the planting site ready for two of them.  On the assumption that the parcel company doesn't deliver on Sundays they won't come now before Monday, by which point they'll have been bagged and in transit for five days.  I felt slightly irritated with the rose company for despatching them so late in the week, but I suppose they have to spread their workload over the full five days so not everybody can have their roses lifted on a Tuesday, arriving on Friday ready for the weekend.

When I cleared the brambles from the meadow last winter I only chopped down and dug out those inside the rabbit fence.  Those that remained along the edge of the wood outside the fence have been doing their lusty best to reconquer the garden, sending long shoots back into the meadow that have started to root where they touched down.  The speed and vigour with which brambles can spread is slightly terrifying.  This time round I am climbing over the fence and digging up the outside plants as well.  I know they make a splendid wildlife habitat, indeed I found several old bird nests as I tugged away at the mass of prickly stalks, but they can't be a habitat along the edge of the garden.  They just don't know when to stop.

By lunchtime I was all brambled out, and the storm had reached a pitch where working immediately next to some geriatric trees when I didn't need to seemed unwise.  As did messing about with anything sharp or prickly.  I find strong winds distracting, and they make me curiously clumsy.  After I'd jabbed the cut end of a particularly thick bramble into my lip, and it had bled for several minutes, that seemed another good reason to stop.

It took an act of will to drag myself back outside after lunch, but by then the worst of the wind had eased and I spent a comparatively peaceful afternoon planting instant daffodils in the daffodil lawn.  I didn't especially want them to be in bloom by the time I planted them out of their containers, since I like to bury the bulbs an inch or two deeper than there was room for in the pots, and it is quite difficult to keep the foliage upright and not bunched so that it looks natural.  But this year I am topping up the 'February Gold' and they are always early, more so when started off in a cold frame.  The alternative would be to plant the bulbs directly into the soil in the autumn, after cutting the grass, but then I couldn't see where the existing clumps are.

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