Tuesday, 20 June 2017

hot weather gardening

My aunt gave a cello recital today, and I did not go.  I felt rather mean about that, because it was a while since I'd been to one and she told me about it weeks ago, but I am already due to go to London tomorrow and on another trip on Thursday, and could not cope with making it three days in a row when I'd have to prevail upon the Systems Administrator to water in the greenhouse and cold frames and all the smaller pots on the terrace, because in this heat they cannot make it through the day without a lunchtime top up.  And in truth I dreaded the idea of the train to London.  The SA went to the cricket yesterday and the journey home took two and a half hours, with Abellio Greater Anglia first of all cancelling the connection from Colchester to Wivenhoe because there were no drivers, and then relenting and stumping up for taxis for the twenty or so people who needed to get there.  When I asked if the SA had had a nice day the answer was yes, up until the train journey back.  The temperature in London is forecast to hit 32 C tomorrow, and never mind travelling with a bottle of water, I feel I should be taking an entire carboy.

Today I watered the recent plantings up by the wood, which did not look too bad.  They are in shade for part of the day and sheltered from the wind, so hadn't dried out as much as I feared.  I still had a hose draped along the line of the fence and around the pond from the last time I needed to water up there, when the primroses were collapsing with drought, so didn't have to sort that out again, but getting it to work was as aggravating as running long, seldom used stretches of hose usually is.   Nothing came out of the spray head when I squeezed the trigger, after an initial trickle, and when I went to investigate I found the initial run of hose from the house had come loose at the point where it joined the metal tube attached to the remote outdoor tap.  I had to go and borrow a screwdriver from the workshop so that I could reattach the jubilee clip, and that was so stiff that I couldn't shift it at first and thought I was going to go and have to ask the SA to fix the hose for me. By the time I'd managed to work the clip loose enough to slide it back over the end of the metal pipe and then do it up again I'd forgotten whether I'd turned the remote tap off or not, and confused myself thoroughly turning it both ways trying to remember which way was on, in the absence of any feedback because I was fifty yards from the business end of the hose.  By the time I'd finally got things up and running I'd walked from halfway up the meadow to the remote tap and back to the main tap on the house a lot of times.

The pink rambling rose 'Ethel' has finally got into its stride in the meadow and is sprawling delightfully through a fallen but still live oak.  Some of the rose stems saw no need to exert themselves climbing, and instead have made a bolt towards the middle of the meadow, weaving their way through a nearby shrub rose in the process.  The combination of pale pink 'Ethel' and the darker pink shrub rose flowers is very pretty, and I need to get the mess of bracken, goose grass, and other weeds out of the way so that I can assess the situation and see if they can stay like that, or if 'Ethel' is going to have to be either bodily shoved into the oak tree or else pruned.  In the back garden the rambler 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' is going over, and it's worth knowing that 'Ethel' flowers significantly later, since if you wanted to prolong the season of small pink pompoms cascading from large trees you could use both.

There are an awful lot of weeds, and where I ran out of time to dig the bramble roots out they are busily sending up new shoots.  Now I have finished assembling pots and the pricking out is mostly done for this year I had better devote more of my gardening time to the area up the side of the wood, otherwise most of last winter's effort chopping back the brambles will be wasted.

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