Gardeners live much of life in hope of rain or under threat of rain. This past week we have been wishing for rain. Plants had begun to flag, even established plants, and several had to be rescued by a visit with the watering can. Elsewhere, gaps were appearing between the lawn sod and the brick edging and grass growth had slowed noticeably. Rain was forecast for Wednesday into Thursday so there was a little pressure to get the grass cut before that arrived but, as it turned out, I needn’t have bothered as the rain was little more than light showers which didn’t even stop work in the garden. We had a similar rush this morning to lift and move a geranium and plant a paeonia in its place as heavy rain was expected this afternoon. We had rain but it was light, enough to keep us indoors but not enough to be of any great benefit to the garden, a nuisance rather than an advantage.
This small horsechestnut is looking very attracive at the moment. It is Aesculus mutabilis ‘Induta’ and only a little over 2 metres in height after almost 25 years.
Between the jigs and the reels, the promise of rain and its non-arrival, we did manage a little gardening. The head gardener has the tomatoes potted and in place in the small glasshouse, a dozen plants which is plenty for the two of us. The blackbirds had started eating the strawberries so it was time to net them or we wouldn’t have one left to us. I no sooner had the netting in place when a bullfinch found a way in and had to be released. I’m convinced the bullfinches and the blackbirds eat their way through the netting for I check it again and again but a hole always appears and the foolish birds manage to get in but not to get out so have to be released and are never grateful though they have filled their tummies on our fruit and are then freed by our efforts.
Hedges have been cut – the privet hedges and a mixed hedge which is on one stretch of the roadside are mine to cut while the head gardener has started on the box hedges, a work that demands greater care, attention and artistry than are at my command though I am called in should they require a serious cutback, a scairting as we would describe it. The box will need a regular foliar feed from now on to ward off box blight which has hit here and there over the past years.
We have had a few outings to gardens – to Kilgar Garden in Co. Kildare, Altamont Garden in Co. Carlow and Lismore Castle Gardens nearer home in Co. Waterford and we have had the Chelsea Flower Show and Bloom in the Park in Dublin. These latter have only been attended via the television coverage and I have wondered if we will ever attend them again. We have always enjoyed the Chelsea show and feel it is very poorly represented by the television coverage while Bloom seems to be swinging forcibly to being a food festival with the horticultural content reducing dramatically year on year. Perhaps this latter reflects the reality than no garden seems able to manage nowadays without a restaurant and retail outlet – less and less people visit purely for the gardens.
Goodness, I am in danger of becoming negative and wouldn’t wish to end on that note so let me report the good news that I have got a new wheelbarrow, two nice paeonias – ‘Bartzella’ and ‘Duchess de Nemours’ – and we have just taken delivery of several sections of trellis, posts and “post-fix” cement mixture and will put those in place during the coming week and the garden is not looking too bad at all at the moment so join me on a walk around, a rather long, slow, meandering walk around! I took the photographs on Thursday morning which was a little overcast and easier for photography than the glaring sunshine we have had on several days of this week.
Click on a photograph to enlarge and to start a slideshow:
A note for fellow bloggers: I have tried a different approach to adding captions to the photographs above by “naming” them in their album on the laptop before uploading them and it seems those names appear now as captions. It is much easier than adding the captions while online.