Every day for the past three or four weeks, I have walked past the flower bed outside the back door and thought to myself “Really need to get that weeded and the flowers planted out” and then almost immediately followed that thought with “I’ll just have a coffee first.”
So the weeds got left and each time I looked at the bed I knew that it was going to be that bit harder to clear it. Part of the problem was that I knew the grass, creeping ivy, ground elder and other such tenacious bullies were going to put up a bit of a fight and by the end of the day I would be sore, so very sore and I really, really don’t like pain and don’t relish the thought of inflicting it upon myself.
However, with flower heads forming on the plants in the greenhouse and the official plants in the bed all but disappearing from view under the sheer mass of the uninvited guests, yesterday I headed to the greenhouse donned my gardening gloves, grabbed a bucket for the weeds, retrieved my trowel and secateurs from whence I’d left them and headed purposefully back through the vegetable garden and set too ………. pulling up and composting the spent sweet corn stalks which I noticed as I was passing, were starting to look very sad indeed! Of course once the sweet corn was removed (all bar the four remaining plants which still have ears on them), I spotted the weeds and they needed to come out as well.
I couldn’t put off the inevitable forever though and I finally made my way back up the garden and surveyed the task before me. Maybe a coffee first? No! I gave myself a stern talking to and made a start.
Large clumps of tall grass were pulled out from between the strawberry plants, along with some of this years strawberry runners which I removed from the weeds and put to one side ready for replanting. Clumps of primulas, their leaves pale from lack of sunlight, were revealed as were campanulas and the Black Mondo Grass.
Moving along the bed and stem after stem of Monkshood was pulled out, along with nettles, thistles and the innocuous ground elder. Even holly seedlings and a wild rose had managed to find their way into the bed, no doubt with the help of the bird populations which brings me nicely to my companion during my bed clearing. Hopping between the pile of tyres and the fence, was a scruffy looking robin with a pale orange breast which surprised me somewhat, as all the robins we see around our garden, generally have a red breast. I’m wondering if this bird was a juvenile not yet with its’ adult plumage but I haven’t been able to track down a picture with a robin that looks like ours. Anyway, the robin kept me company and even allowed me to come within just a couple of feet of it and happily accepted the offerings of caterpillars that I found and tossed in its’ direction.
It took me the best part of two hours to clear the bed and I was pretty please with the end result.
Next job was to plant out some of the flower seedlings I had growing on in the large greenhouse. Dianthus, Candy Tuft, Giant pansy and Amaranthus “Josephs Coat” were quickly planted into the newly created gaps down the length of the bed and beer traps were then spaced evenly between them, to draw the attention of the slug army. This year we have a healthy population of visiting hedgehogs and at least one which has a nest in our garden and so slug pellets were not an option. However I have found that the beer traps are amazingly effective and the slugs slide into them without qualm or fear it would seem, judging by the sheer number I have emptied out of the traps this season. Of course, it rained last night and so I was quite worried that my tender young plants would suffer from the attentions of the slugs but as it happens, we know that a hedgehog was out and about last night because Mud heard him. In fact, even as I type, the largest of the hedgehogs who like to visit our garden, is looking for and hopefully feeding on more of the slimy critters, just outside the back door.
With the flower bed finished, I quickly planted up the strawberry runners I had inadvertently removed and then turned my attention to the Ivy which is still climbing the bathroom wall and roof and which I have now named Rasputin ….. but that’s a different story and one which I will cover in due course.