25 Nov 2012

Autumn gardening

There is plenty to do at this time of the year despite the weather. Our friend at Trailblazers says there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Mmmm. The soil is more welcoming though for the bulbs that Noelle planted under the watchful eye of her garden advisor Stephen Bean. He has been responsible for the overall feel and appearance of the cottage gardens and the modifications to the main garden. Tulips from Roger's Nursery have been sneaked into gaps throughout the garden and introduced into the areas of long grass around the lawns. Tim is making metal frames for some of the roses and clematis plants. We have an artistic nephew staying at the moment who is wrapping Sandsend rocks in copper wire donated by our local scrap metal man. The effect will be a mix of rusting iron, verdigris and the roses bursting through the support. The wood store next to the garage now has its flat roof complete and awaits aggregate and soil onto which we will plant a wild flower 'meadow'. All we need to do then is throw a sheep up there once or twice a year to mow it...The garden is covered in a richly coloured mat of fallen leaves which will soon turn to a slushy mess so they will be blown into various corners and left to rot in bins we have yet to make out of chicken netting. We have planted plenty of buddleias in the paddock in the hope we can encourage the dwindling population of butterflies and the almost absent bees and bumble bees. Something is happening to our garden visitors. The bendy house put on a lot of wood and leaf over the summer thanks to the damp conditions. For the first time it was occupied by bloody aphids. Red ones that is. This attracted a huge number of wasps to drink the honeydew so both play and maintenance had to wait until they had finished their feast. The result is that it now looks more like Amy Whitehouse's hair than the neat igloo we strive for. Tim enjoys his orange mower that turns on a sixpence and drops the grass back where it came from so that the fertility of the lawn is maintained. It encourages regrowth of the wildflowers in the grass - as we like to call the daisies and speedwell that others may consider weeds! The yew hedging is growing well and is now ready for the shaping that was intended three or four years ago when it was planted. We strung two Vietnamese hammocks in the garden in anticipation of rewards for retirement but they got precious little use beyond incarcerating our very pregnant daughter in law early in the year. Maybe next year we will sit in the garden, or perhaps the year after...

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