Item number one on the list of things I plan to get done this month (absurdly long and in truth yet to be composed into one comprehensive entity) is to tidy/sort/bin/hide in another room, the mountain of “stuff” on my desk. Desk sounds very impressive doesn’t it? Are you envisaging a highly shined mahogany expanse, so broad I zip up and down the length in my castered smoker’s bow? Alas not. It is an old pub table, too small for its purpose, although this has not thwarted me in my mission to pile nonsense on every available millimeter. And some that aren’t available. Trying to find anything is like playing is a rather unstable version of Jenga. Attempting to tame this chaos was today’s job, although I am yet to venture beneath, that joy will be saved for another occasion. Amongst the weird, wonderful and sometimes diverting, I found a folded piece of paper. Knowing the enemy, I carefully opened it. Dahlia seed. As there are no accompanying notes, that is all I know. I suspect it is from a special dahlia, but other than that I haven’t got a clue. The seed are now safely filed away, in a packet marked Mystery Dahlia 2019. Sounds exotic. We shall see.
The last few days have been of mixed pleasures. Catching the sunlight filtering through this dinner plate dahlia was a fine one. A car that wouldn’t start was not so good. The full story, one of mechanical mystery peppered with idiot operator, may well follow. In the meantime, I think we should dwell on the pretty dahlia.
Here is one of my favourite corners of Mr and Mrs Bun’s garden and this photo was taken in August 2016. The steps lead down towards Garden Room, bypassing the top section of the garden. The soil here is typical builder’s residue. This detritus is so prevalent these days that I think the powers that be should accept this as an official category along with clay, silt and sand. We have improved the structure and fertility as we can, adding compost and seaweed fertiliser, and for all its bricks and string and nails this sunny little corner seems to thrive. Each year the permanent planting is supplemented by itinerants, such as dahlias and annual rudbeckia. This particular year the burgeoning beauties were held back by a low hedge of Tagetes ‘Lemon Gem’ which provided not only colour but fragrance. Lovely. My cockles are warmed.
This week I have, like many others it would seem, been undertaking a challenge. My task has been to post a black and white photograph on Facebook, each day for seven days. Usually I avoid these modern day chain letters, but on this occasion I thought it might be good fun. There are a few rules. The picture is to reflect the contributor’s daily life, must not feature people and the contents are to be left unexplained. So on this dismal November day I thought I would continue this theme with my Six on Saturday, the only other internet team sport I participate in, curated by the magnificent The Propagator.
It is to be a hybrid of memes. Six black and white photographs, taken in my garden, with a description of sorts. To reflect the current dark depressive weather I have also decided that these monochrome pictures are to channel Ingmar Bergman rather than my usual Keystone Cops. In that mood I will continue.
Next we have a lonely leaf, clinging on desperately to the mother plant, determined not to let go, although the inevitable must surely happen. We are all doomed to fall.
Now to the experiment in the basement. Like a House of Horror exhibit the garlic cloves languish, infusing their magic to create a dangerous elixir. A destroyer of aphid and all sap suckers and leaf munchers.
Onto the shag pile leaf of Salvia argentea. This abused plant has struggled on for the past couple of years. Once the euphoria of germination had passed, others have taken over in the affection of the gardener. Unlikely to survive a winter outside, hanging on by a thread, but hanging on.
Pebbles, a bleached shell, a broken piece of pot. All is desolate, unyielding and lifeless.
Lastly we have the euryops, a bud of hope in this dreary world. All being well it will continue to produce buttercup yellow flowers throughout the winter, brightening and lifting the spirits. Oblivious and defiant.
Well I couldn’t leave you on a low now could I?
Thanks Mr P. Same time, same place?
“Are you a Softie Walter, or female equivalent?” I asked my singing teacher, Nancy Nightingale. “No, I don’t mind getting wet and muddy at all” she answered with a trill. “That is just as well” I replied.
Rain stopped play last week and I refused to let it happen again. The weather folk at the Met Office had done a swerve overnight and “cloudy but dry all day” had morphed into “pouring with rain until later when it might just carry on raining anyway.”
But we had seed to sow and bulbs and tubers to pot up, and I wanted to get on. So we soldiered on. First we put together the plastic green house, a miracle of engineering. Then we filled it with planted up dahlias, lilies and tigridia and pots of sown marigolds, sunflowers and cosmos.
I had given Nancy a comprehensive shopping list to get us started on the road to horticultural glory, which she had dutifully followed to the letter. This list was not as complete as I first thought and there were a couple of omissions. It is tricky when someone is starting from absolute zero, with not even a shed to have nothing in, no tools, no pots, no compost, no gloves, no nothing.
“Oh” I remembered “And you will need a watering can.” “Don’t worry” said Nancy “I’ve got one.”
This is the watering can. A pink flamingo. The water comes out of a hole half up its beak. Interesting.
We will have to get a more substantial one, once we get going and the border is planted. But in the meantime, this cheeky chap will be just perfect.