Yesterday was the first good opportunity to get into the garden, and I spent a fair bit of time doing what my father would have called “letting the dog see the rabbit”. Everything was lush and wet and overgrown, and there is some serious mildew and rust because of all the damp. I cut back all the spent flowers – much more than I expected, as it turned out. Last year the rocket went on producing new blooms right into October, but this year we got one glorious swathe of flower, and then it all went over at once, which means that I could cut it right down, let some air and sunlight into the borders, and hopefully, prevent it self-seeding all over the place like it did last year.
Most of the vegetables seemed to like the rain. We had three good pickings off the peas, and the sun has come at the right time for the beans.
I’ve been growing potatoes in sacks for the last year or two, as Bob Flowerdew recommends. Last year wasn’t so hot, and I really resented the amount of potting compost it took. This year I did something different. When we returfed the lawn, I saved the old stuff to make a loam stack, and the first lot seemed to be ready. It wasn’t quite, and ground elder had rampaged through the whole stack, so I had to seive it all to get rid of the roots, but with a little 6x to beef it up it did pretty well, and I was quite impressed with the haul.
I’m really pleased with the garlic, too. It went in last November, after Monty Don told everyone to put it in. I went to the Garden Centre and asked for it and the assistant said “You’ve been watching THAT PROGRAMME!” so I guess half of Stirling had been in on the same errand.
It wasn’t all about the food, though. The robins are back and the great tits. I’ve noticed them checking out the new nest-box, so I hope it will get used next year. There are young greenfinches and chaffinches trying out their wings, a second brood of sparrows, and wrens and dunnocks seem to be singing as much as in May. I should have known they’d be back – our village is notorious for infestations of harvest mites – known as berry bugs here – and they are biting ferociously just now! The flowers are much less in evidence, as the roses took a battering, but this pot of french lavender is at its best.