Thursday, September 22, 2005

Seven hours of sheer bliss

What a wonderful day I have had. Pat was in a golf tournament all day, and it gave me the opportunity to spend the whole day up the lottie. What a joy.

It is only a mile away, and so I expect that this sounds silly, but it is a different world when you are in a field on your own or with the occasional plot holder working in the distance, and exchanging a cheery ‘Hello’ or a wave it they are out of earshot.

My home is in a peaceful area, with lovely neighbours, and actually it is quieter in my garden than it is up the lottie, but it is a different atmosphere when you are not surrounded with boundaries.

I made myself a boxed lunch of all my organic salads, tomatoes, cucumber, seeds etc. for a picnic at the bottom of my plot next to the field. I packed the newspaper, a pen, a book, - thinking that I might relax and read – no chance!

I filled up the boot of my little car with my Mantis Tiller, a shrub and a chrysanthemum which I wanted to plant, and some grass seed.

When I arrived I had the whole place to myself. I took up an offer of some free iris and asparagus plants and headed off with my wheelbarrow to dig them up – or rather to hack them out of the solid ground. I dug up three asparagus plants which are a few years old, so I may get some spears next year. There were lots of plants there, some were huge, but I did not want to be greedy. I have some baby asparagus grown from seed. Some planted in March which have now grown quite bushy and some planted a few weeks ago which are little wispy things so I should have a succession of asparagus at different stages in the next few years.

We have an asparagus farm in the next village where I usually buy it by the bag full, so didn’t really intend growing any, but had a few seeds, and you know how it is. So if they don’t grow well enough to eat, then I can use the ferns for flower arranging – they are attractive plants.

So after spending a couple of hours digging up plants, splitting the irises and replanting, I turned my attention to the very bottom end, and got side tracked. I rotorvated a new flower border in front of where I have started a willow fence, with a view to hiding the chicken wire until the willow gets growing. I shall fill it with perennials that I will propagate from those in my garden.

I envisage a hot border, of yellows, oranges and reds, so will plant it up with day lilies, yellow and orange varieties, yellow Achilleas, and orange and red crocosmias, they will look lovely with the green background of the willow.

I cut a gap in the chicken wire which separates the vegetable plots from the bottom end which was all rough ground until I cleared it and tamed it. This will enable me at last to walk the length of the plot on a lawn pathway rather than walking along the outside of the fenced area to get to the big compost bin at the end. – Just in case my neighbouring plot holder doesn’t go ahead and grass his area. I am becoming a dab and at putting up fences, building cages and compost bins etc. They will be calling me Heath Robinson soon.

To make a gateway I had to cut through the chicken wire with a pair of pliers! (all I had in my shed), then had to hammer in some posts (wooden table legs) so that I had something into which to slot the sheet of corrugated iron - the only means of deterring the rabbits, as they don't usually burrow underneath them for some reason. I had to cut through some black membrane and dig up some plants, rotovate a pathway and seed it. That took me quite a while, but it does look good and I got a great sense of achievement when it was finished. I took some hardwood cuttings from a cornus and planted those, and then stopped for a very late lunch!

I rotovated at least a 100ft length of pathways about 4ft wide, and grassed half of them before running out of grass seed. Doh. There was no way I was going to do a 14 mile round trip to the nearest town to get some grass seed, so after doing all the preparation I abandoned the rest of that job. And sat and admired my handiwork.

In the summer I bought a blackberry/boysenberry cross. I am not sure if it has the vigour and habits of a blackberry so am a bit concerned as to the place I have planted it, so am contemplating moving it to the bottom end in front of the hedge –just in case, but if I do it will be a haven for the rabbits who love to have their burrows underneath them. Decisions, decisions.

During the process of all my rotovating, I managed to get caught up in a chicken wire fence, and get a few stones caught up in the tines – which is inevitable now and again. –The stones that is, not the fence, which was a piece that had been buried underground as a rabbit defence. In ordinary circumstances it would have been a total nightmare untangling a rotorvator from wire netting, but all I had to do was to remove the tine and hey presto easy peasy. Brilliant.

The day just whizzed by, and before I knew it was after 4pm. By the time I packed everything up, picked some more tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, and squash it was 5pm. The plot holder who is moving, came up to have a look around and to help herself to produce – in exchange for the irises and asparagus – and strawberry plants when I get the time to prepare the bed for them.

7 hours – the longest that I have worked up the lottie in one day this year, and I loved every aching minute of it!

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