Friday, 23 February 2018

more winter tidying

It was another cold day, but again amazingly almost frost free overnight.  I woke up needing to go to the loo, and the sound of human activity in the bedroom set Our Ginger howling in the corridor, so I had to give up any idea of going back to sleep, and was out in the garden by half past eight.  I am making the most of it before the Arctic Blast.  The seven day Met Office forecast shows the thermometer dropping to minus three for four nights in a row, and not rising above freezing on Wednesday and Thursday.  I hope the greenhouse heater will be able to cope.  But in the meantime I might as well get on with weeding while the sun shines, if not make hay.

The ivy hedge around the long bed is growing back from the hard pruning it received last year.  Much of it has turned to the mature, flowering form by now, and in order to reduce it back to size I had to go hard into the old wood.  Sections of it ended up bare and leafless, and I wondered if it would recover, while trying not to dwell on the prospect that it might not.  There are times when it is a nuisance, but the thought of digging out all the roots and having to buy enough box, Eleagnus or anything else to replace well over two hundred feet of dwarf hedging was daunting.  By now, however, most of the bare patches are at least partially clothed, and the hedge had made enough random new growth to need trimming again.

In an ideal world you would not weed among emerging Muscari.  I felt bad each time I broke the stem of one of the as-yet unopened flowers, and some of the leaves are looking a bit mashed up.  I did not manage to touch this stretch of the bed last year, and I've a feeling some patches at the back didn't get treated with Strulch the year before.  The difference in weed growth where the layer of mulch has not been kept topped up is dramatic.

Living at the far end of a farm track and nearly two miles from the nearest road that ever sees a gritter leaves us slightly in limbo as we wait for the Arctic Blast.  The Systems Administrator told me that the cold spell might not last very long as several weather models suggested a counter movement of warm air from the south west might push the cold air back.  However, heavy falls of snow were possible where the two air masses met.  It would be a great relief if the deep chill did not last too long, on the other hand the possibility of heavy snow left me feeling rather cautious about arranging to do any of the myriad things I have been supposed to be doing since Christmas.  I am overdue an eye test, ditto a visit to the dentist, need to buy some bookcases, and find a builder to look at the damp patch in the sitting room, and was supposed to be meeting my old university friend in London for lunch in January.  None of these activities combine well with heavy falls of snow.  We shall see.

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