fivemack: (Default)
The weather is too hot, so I have caused the Mad Turks at Celik's of King Street to remove my beard and most of my hair.


The weather being, as I said, too hot, I'll be off to Parkside shortly for a swim.

On the other hand, at least it's good for the garden:

flowers )
fivemack: (Default)
This weekend, I have bought and planted twenty marigolds, ten white snapdragons, ten burgundy snapdragons, ten blue lobelias, two white-flowered fuchsias, two yellow gerbera-like things, a large daisy, a purple gerbera-like thing, and a Venezuelan plant with purple feathery cones of flowers which I have naturally christened Hugo. Also 75 litres of compost and 75 litres of topsoil, 25l of which I have put in the large hole in the ground from which I excavated the buried vacuum cleaner on Thursday. I would have bought and planted a great big bag of broad beans, but apparently it's almost exactly the wrong time of year for them.

On Saturday, I cycled to Grantchester, had tea with [ profile] naath and [ profile] ptc24, and cycled back again. I have attended a barbecue chez [ profile] antinomy and [ profile] rmc28, paddled in the pool and eaten barbecued gammon steaks.

Today, I have cycled to Audley End (1:40 door to door) and back (1:20 door to door); it's quite an impressive house, though probably best to go there later in the summer, when you're not obliged to take a guided tour and can stare in wonder at the three rooms full of cabinets of taxidermy - they have a passenger pigeon, and an extremely disturbing entire cabinet full of owls. If the plan to get Great Bustards reintroduced on Salisbury Plain works out, I see I will have to go there and admire them; they're enormous.

The garden's also good, Capability Brown vistas with hahas everywhere. There's an urn with a monument to the Free Poland resistance members trained at Audley End by the SOE during World War 2; that's not an episode I'd heard of before, presumably because Free Poland didn't end as well as Free France.

I am tired now, and slightly wishing that I could install a spare set of knees; I will have a bath, eat pasta, then curl up in the living room with a good book until I feel sufficiently sleepy.


May. 4th, 2006 08:24 pm
fivemack: (Default)
The great advantage of the dandelion, as far as its removal from a garden is concerned, is its habit of marking its location with a large orange flower, whereupon you have a week to remove it before it seeds.

I'm not sure how borage spreads, but the leaves are unmistakable and the flowers of a blue as garish as the orange of the dandelion; on the other hand, there's less urgency in the removal, and more disincentive since it's covered with stinging hairs.

Bindweed, however, seems to be a weed for which the term 'extirpate' is perfect; I imagine Victorian household manuals telling of the danger in being too parsimonious with the arsenic, or in allowing the mercury with which you cauterise the roots to drop below a red heat.

On a more cheerful and less destructive note, the vigorous strimming of the garden by the landlord's workmen has not destroyed the bluebells, which are starting to rear up again.
fivemack: (Default)
After a remarkably purposeless Saturday, I spent the morning gardening; initially raking the lawn, then going over and over it to remove fallen leaves by hand. The flowerbeds were also thickly covered with fallen leaves, and the surface of the soil seems pretty compacted.

I couldn't help thinking that biology lessons at school suggested that fallen leaves ought swiftly to be devoured by worms; at which point I noticed that I'd been closely examining the garden for an hour and had seen only one worm.

Many Internet sites will sell me worms: is simply adding a pound of worms uniformly distributed across the garden likely to help, or would it merely cause a brief plague of ecstatic thrushes? Having convinced my parents to put kitchen waste in the green bin provided by the council, I'm wondering whether a wormery mightn't be a sensible way to go ... excess of compost is the kind of problem a gardener loves to have.

Or is it simply that a cold March is not a time suitable for worms, and they're far underground ready to re-emerge in May and clear the beds of leaves overnight?

Today I also discovered that the stems of ivy go a lovely shade of pink with delicate palest-yellow buds when they're growing in the dark behind weatherboarding; reminiscent of what I've read about forced rhubarb.

[Edit: looking at suggests that there's something uniquely uncompostable about walnut leaves, which could be a problem since the garden's overhung by a large walnut tree. In some sense that's the root of all our garden troubles; the walnuts attract the squirrels, which have dug up and devoured the bulbs we put in last autumn]

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