Thursday, 20 September 2012

Funny Old Season

We are coming at last to the end of this very unusual, frustrating season in the garden. Everyone round here (and further a-field) has had the same cold and wet as we have done and have commented that it has been the worst year ever. We, though, have also had to live with the fact that we did not finish building the house till the end of April so that (with the exception of a few spuds from the 'Secret Garden') nothing even got sown till May and in the Kitchen Garden 3 of the raised beds did not exist till June. Dad says he would not normally have the nerve to be publishing this stuff. We are only now, in September, able to pick our first few sweet peas and harvest our first chard and "Summer" squashes.

Roses here seem to come from the Garden Centres forced into flower outside of their normal season so that you buy them and plant them and the shop flush of flowers dies off. The rose then sorts itself out and consolidates its root system before eventually, producing a proper flush of flowers. In our case this is now, in September as for the Joseph's Coat climber above. In the garden we are more concerned with getting ready for Winter than 'first flushes' of bloom.

On that score we have had another result akin to the discovery of buried coal and anthracite in that heap in the Pond Garden (formerly the 'bit we don't talk about'). That is the discovery by the side of the drive of piles of buried and overgrown gravel for the drive. The drive as we bought the house was graveled with very nice round small pebbles, all be it well buried under 15 years of spruce needles and now bearing a fine layer of turf. The gravel seems to be of a type now described as 'decorative stone' and therefore commanding a premium. Whenever we have bought gravel since it is called "804" grade and is crushed, sharp-edged pieces of stone which bare feet do not enjoy walking on. These piles have presumably been scraped off the drive at some stage or were delivered and never spread a round but we have decided to use them to do the paths around the kitchen garden. Some of these were starting to muddy up as we head into winter and we don't want to be puddling around when picking veg, so some nice free draining gravel is the perfect solution (more shoveling for Dad, though!).

We have two more good results to report, as well, of gift plants. First the tiny lupin self-seeds donated by Vendor Anna have finally got into flower, just in time, hopefully, to set some seed which we can use in 2013. As we come into the end of the season we are already, like good gardeners, thinking and planning about Spring and how we'll do things differently given a proper 12 month long year to go at.

And the fig tree below which has pulled through a time of great trauma and is looking good going into winter. This is a 'Brown Turkey' fig tree obtained as a cutting from Pud Lady a couple of years back and grown successfully in a half barrel (also a gift) on the back terrace  in our old house in Faversham. When we came to start packing to move we knew we had to root wash it as you are not allowed to import soil, so it was brutally decapitated, uprooted and root-washed and then taken to Hastings, where Dad and us dogs lived for a few weeks. It spent the time sitting in a bucket of water till it could be moved over in a car with us on 10th Dec 2011. From there is was heeled into the front terrace here, but it showed no sign of growing. Only the thumb-nail dent showing green sap-wood saved it from the scrap heap.

Then one weekend while we were not about the JCB came to dig out the trenches for our drains and his chosen way in was across the terrace and then to bulldoze through the end of the terrace, the hedge and the bottom of what became known as the Primrose Path. I suppose it all looked like a rough old building site and the driver will not have even seen the 12 inch naked 'trunk' in among the stones and herbage. Poor old Brown Turkey, bulldozed, we thought and gone for ever. We looked around in the piles of spoil but to no avail.Then Mum decided to look at pictures Dad had taken of the area and including the planting site and worked out that the JCB must have missed the fig and it might just be 'here' under these waste boulders. A scrabbled dig and removal of 'over-burden' proved that this was true and the poor buried flattened fig trunk was persuaded back up to 45 degrees from horizontal and now protected with a ring of big boulders making the site obvious. Slowly slowly a couple of tiny buds started to expand and now, a month later, we have 2 short side branches and a couple of true leaves! One tough fig tree! May it go on to great things at the end of our terrace!


1 comment:

Cinquecento said...

JOSEPH'S coat! I shall make you listen to the entire Lloyd Webber musical catalogue until you get this straight!