With the recent rain, there is plenty to do in the garden and on the allotment. The vegetable crops are thankful for the water and many seem to have a second wind, so there are plenty of courgettes and runner beans, along with peas, carrots and beetroot. I managed to lift my onion crop during a gap in the weather and they are drying on wire racks in the garage at night and outside on dry days. The tops are already beginning to die back so they will soon be dry enough to store. The bulbs are not as large as in previous years but there are a good number with very few ‘bull necked’ (thick topped) ones which need to be used as soon as possible as they do not dry properly and therefore cannot be stored.
The garden too has a second wind after the rain and the green shades of leaves seem even more vibrant. Lush growth has started again on many of the shrubs and the lowered Privet hedge which I am constantly snipping to prevent it taking hold and growing back into the giant it was before!
Plants in the green and white border have definitely benefitted from the extra light that has been let back into the garden and the white Buddleja has flowered more than ever. The Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells have spent many hours walking across the flowers and feeding - so drowsy with nectar that you can almost pick them up! They have been joined on occasion by Hummingbird Hawk Moths who also love the Japanese Honeysuckle nearby. I managed to get out with my camera and take some photos – they move very quickly and many pictures were out of focus or taken too late, which makes a digital camera worth its weight in gold! No wasted reels of film as in the ‘old days’!
Many of the perennials in the garden have finished flowering now and I am gradually cutting them back, chopping up the clippings and adding them to the compost heap along with chicken manure from the bantams shed and shredded paper from the office. We also use Garotta, which helps speed up the rotting process and I sprinkle a layer onto the heaps whenever I remember!
The gaps created when the perennials are cut back will be filled with some new varieties of Daffodils and I will be visiting Notcutts this weekend to look at the range and choose some for the borders as well as the cutting garden. I am very fond of bunches of Daffodils and Tulips in the house. Although they do not last long in water, Tulips especially, always look so decadent and seem to arrange their blooms perfectly in a vase as they flop over and the flowers begin to open.
As I wrote before, I intend to plant up plenty of containers with Tulips and have decided to use a green and white variety in small pots to drop into the borders where we had the variety ‘Spring Green’ growing for a couple of years before they were shaded out by other plants. This border is so crowded now, with white Daffodils and perennials that it is difficult to find room to plant more bulbs even if we thought that they would come up year after year, so this seems like a good compromise. I just hope that the cat (who is asleep not far from me as I write this!) earns his keep and does not allow the mice to eat the bulbs through the winter!