Monday, 12 August 2013

Keep It Coming...........

Yes indeed, as far as I am concerned, both on a work and personal level, keep this warm and dry weather coming for as long as you like.
Over the last hundred or so years that I've been gardening, the working year has been planned around what used to be a normal four season cycle. Quotes are based on October to December being fairly heavy in terms of leaf debris, January and February (with the possibility of March as well) should be months when nothing needs doing, April to June frantic, and July to September fairly static, with just a little hedgetrimming and mowing to keep on top of things. All this is essential to make the maintaining of some thirty properties remotely possible.
The last five or six years have given us weather nothing like it should be though, with far more wind and rain than is normal, and a growing season that lasts, well, all year long. It's fair to say that last year in particular was probably the toughest year yet. Grass and hedges etc kept growing even through Christmas, and because of the lack of sun, flowering was reduced drasically. This had a knock on effect to any crops being grown, from large scale farms and orchards, right down to our little allotment plot. But this year has been normal, and for the last couple of months sunny.....and nice!
Despite the dryness, the owners of the Sandbanks house have been steadfastly watering all of the new planting, and things are doing well there, without a single loss which is quite amazing really. The clumps are knitting together nicely, and next year should start to produce the effect we are after in the design. Yes, that's Amanda in the background picking up the odd fir cone that's fallen.

The back garden is also coming along nicely, but we have sadly lost a couple of Euphorbia purpurea, as they got a little too dry at one point. Maybe replace them with something else in the winter.

We have used Cannas and Gazanias in the pots here for the main colour. Both favourites of mine, the Gazanias in particular are quite stunning flowers, and tough as old boots in dry weather. They really were glowing with colour, although the phone camera has them perhaps a little radioactive in appearance. Dead head regularly to keep them going all the way into October.
On the home gardening front, we have had a weekend interspersed with early morning beach running and swimming, book reading and tea drinking by the Haven Ferry, and two major jobs that we have been putting off. The first is the trimming of the Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) that has now covered the whole front of the house along with the Hydrangea petiolaris. The Boston Ivy had to be cut away from windows, and cleared off the roof, which is always a precarious job.
The front completed, ladders were moved to the side, and as you can see, it's covering everything. Unfortunately, when I got up there, some house martins were nesting, and so work here has stopped for the time being.
The other major job was the hard pruning of our two Acacia trees. We have one at the end of the garden that takes the brunt of the wind that sweeps through during the winter months, and another near the house, and bordering our neighbour. Work was tricky, with ropes, ladders and plenty of climbing, but we got the end one done, although sorry, but we forgot to take any pictures. The other tree has yeat to be done, and is truly a monster. The ends of branches quite literally get caught in both our upstairs windows, and those of our neighbour. Just as well they are good and tolerant people. The plan is to get that one done in the coming evenings after work, and hopefully take pictures eh?

On the allotment, mildew is becoming a bit of a problem due to the weather, but we are getting it under control. Harvests are getting larger, and last night we came home with our second. The courgettes get used as soon as possible, the marrow is for lunch on Saturday, the rest is for freezing.
It's all too much for Ted. He's already packed and thinking of our holiday to St.Davids in October.


Sunday night was barbecue night. It had been a lovely weekend, and rather than use the big one that we have for when people come around, we have a small one just big enough for the two of us.

A warm summers evening, a cool glass of wine, and some Italian barbecue recipes to try out.

 All very tasty indeed, and as darkness set in the evening was rounded off with warm feet in front of the mexican oven, and a nice glass of malt whisky.
It's Tuesday now, and another dry day ahead. Youngest daughter is using her day off to help mow a big place this afternoon.


  1. Gary
    That veg basket would have won a first in our show!

  2. Your work is very busy, productive and inspiring.

    Your basket of goodies from your allotment space looks wonderful.

    The barbecue for two sounds just right.

    I am so ready for fall weather, as the heat and humidity are just too much and I don't feel like doing anything at all outside.

    Have a great rest of the week ~ FlowerLady

  3. That basket of veggies looks really yummy! Stay busy. .and out of trouble!! We are enjoying weather that is definitely more normal than the last few years have been too! It's nice!!

  4. Those flowers have to be about the brightest ones you've ever posted. Everything is looking good at your place. Nice view for Ted. And, the veggies...yum, yum.