The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

When a Girl Can't Garden...

...she buys plants and flowering bulbs in pots, and culinary herbs too.  She picks up salad leaves in trays, and clutters up the entire length of the kitchen window sill with them.

Being somewhat desperate for fresh sprouting vivid green this has certainly happened chez Goldenoldenlady.  We have some shoots and unfurling buds in the garden, both front and back, but they have gone into a sort of suspended animation crossed with arrested development, and now they are mostly smothered in soft snow.  Our tete-a-tetes are bravely continuing to flower, as the narcissus family is pre-adapted to cope with winter in spring, but we are more concerned for the breaking buds on shrubs, which may give up the will to live entirely if this carries on.

We have lost some of our more tender flowering shrubs in previous winters, but at least so far we have had the good sense not to replace like with like, as though we had made a horticultural insurance claim.  That NW corner where we put them not long after buying the house in 2000 is too exposed to keen winds to attempt another ceanothus. At least, not until we finally get the wall re-built and made higher along that side of the front garden, to offer new plants some shelter. 

We have "engaged the services" of a semi-retired builder who made such a thorough-going good job of it last summer when our next-door neighbour had a similar wall built, but he is a mysterious and evasive entity, this builder.  He seems to have a land line number that never picks up, nor are beseeching messages requesting call backs responded to, so we are now guessing he is much more retired than semi. 

Hemi-demi-semi-retired, maybe.

But we have recently met him in the street and he didn't duck into a shop and hide, so he has assured us he will get weaving when the weather improves, and pop round soon to collect the deposit and the advance to buy the materials. 

It may happen in May.  June is another possibility.  April, I suspect, is not.

Once that wall is up it will be load-bearing with deep foundations.  The NW corner will be masked off from the thin penetrating winter winds it catches and the newly-levelled beds in front of it (the land slopes quite a bit, away from the sun, sadly, so has been mostly lawn until now) will become SE-facing, so we can see if another ceanothus will enjoy a warm sunny wall at its back and stick around a bit longer than the last one.

I'll get some extra rosemary in there as well. And one or two other perennials with small scented flowers in the white-blue-mauve end of the spectrum, for the bees.  I read years ago that if you plant blue and violet plants farthest away from the house and the hotter colours like red, orange, yellow and pink nearby, it has a cunning effect of enlarging the garden to the eye. A trompe l'oeil imitating how the upper parts of the light spectrum decay over distance.  We did it back in Herts and it seemed to work, so we will reproduce the effect here.

However, I don't expect anything remotely like gardening will be done until well after Easter.  Last year we would have cut the lawns at least once by now.  It was dry, warm & sunny.  It's so hard to type those three words without choking back a stifled sob.  I need warmth outside!  I cannot be alone in that.  Please can our south-facing suntrap of a back garden live up to its name any day soon, pretty please?  What chance of that do you reckon?  Remote-to-slim, we are guessing.

So, if a girl can't garden, I suppose she could type about gardening.  And in the process a bit of a re-landscaping and re-stocking plan is forming in my poor sun-starved, serototin-depleted brain. 

It's a start.
And as the Husband says, PPPPPP.  Previous Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.  Time spent thinking counts as gardening as well.

1 comment:

  1. Having just sent the BBC's new weekly weather outlook post to Mum, I can tell you that you won't be doing any gardening except on paper for quite a while yet, I'm afraid. :-( indeed, depending on how far north the next lot of rain sweeping in from the Atlantic manages to penetrate, Easter weekend could see yet more snow shrouding your plans.

    However as the plans sound delightful, it's worth persevering with them and I'll keep my fingers crossed that your builder comes up trumps with the new wall before too long.