Thursday, June 02, 2016

New follower! Welcome!

So – here I am back. I had a wonderful time. The weather was peerless. The bats are flying in the delicious late-evening hour when it’s still miraculously light – we’ve never had so many. We approve of bats. I worked hard in the garden – perhaps a little too hard. Mr Cochrane cuts the grass and keeps things in general order. My job was to rescue individual plants from an encompassing morass of weeds. It was hard to choose which ones to rescue.

I started with the little rose I mentioned last time I was there. The ground elder threatened to overwhelm it despite my earlier efforts. So I did it again. The rose itself looks very cheerful. No buds yet -- it flowers very late.

Then I rescued our white lilac. I’ve still got the labels that were attached when we bought it, but, alas! I haven’t dated them. I think this is its third year with us. The two flowers are certainly its first ones. We had thrown a net over it, whenever, with which it was by now thoroughly enmeshed. Much of it had grown through the net, and was, nevertheless, apparently unassailed by deer. So I cut the net away, slowly and laboriously, and didn’t replace it. Just weeded and watered and fed and mulched the plant.

I rescued our Good King Henry patch, in memory of happy days in my vegetable garden. It is one of the very few things that survive. I could probably have spent the time better on prettier or more useful plants, but I’m not sorry to have done it. We had some for lunch yesterday. If you soak the leaves in salted water for a while, they really don’t taste too bad, and it is satisfying to be eating something that was (they tell us) brought to Britain by the Romans. The photograph shows the Good King Henry patch after weeding, and also after it had been harvested for lunch.

And finally the Rosa Mundi, a plant Greek Helen gave me long ago. It has suffered badly from neglect, and is now somewhat overshadowed by an unproductive apple tree, but it’s doing its best, and there are a few buds for this year’s flowers, and I hope it’s feeling a bit better with the weeds gone.

By then there were lots more candidates – the productive apple tree! The current bushes, including the Summer Pudding bush! The photinia! All neglected. I think if I were there for longer, and the sun went on shining, and Mr Cochrane continued to deal with the grass, I could still keep up a worth-while garden without feeling as beat up as I do now. If only.


I did virtually none – a round or two on the socks.

Big news: Theo’s wife Jenni is expecting another little boy, a brother for Ted, who will be three at the end of October. The pregnancy is more than half over – they didn’t trust their luck, to make an earlier announcement.

Despite the wonderful book which will soon be in my hands, I’m thinking Gudrun’s “Hansel” pattern, at least for the colourway, to be knit (what I think of as) Amedro-fashion: edging first, then pick up stitches for all four borders and knit inwards, mitring the four corners, then knit the centre back and forth from the live stitches of one of the borders, picking up stitchs alternately from first one and then another of two other borders, finally grafting the live centre stitches to the live stitches of the fourth border.

We’ll see.  


  1. I had forgotten how I enjoyed our plant and garden chats. Too much weeding in too short a time is hard on the body at any age. (I did myself in last weekend.) I wonder if your Mr. Cochrane could find someone to do a bit of weeding for you and put down some mulch?

  2. Your trip to The Centre of the Universe sounds to have been altogether successful. I do hope that you'll have another trip there soon. As we gardeners all know, keeping weeds at bay is a never ending occupation. If only you could find someone to do a thorough weeding and mulching.
    So lovely to know that you too have a Rosa Mundi rose. My given name is Rosamond and my mother gave me a Rosa Mundi many years ago. She has moved from one garden to another as we have moved house. The scent is heavenly and worth getting down on your knees to get a whiff.

  3. so glad you had a chance to go to your house! the photos are enticing... any chance of a larger photo to get a sense of it?

    here in the NE USA we had a horrific heat wave over the memorial holiday weekend and it has forced so much in the garden to my despair. the lilac has come and gone in about a week or two when it usually lasts for much longer (this really annoys me) and the roses have come on a bit too soon and fast. oh well, mother nature.

  4. Southern gal, we had a weird spring down here too. EVERYTHING bloomed at once. I've never seen dogwoods, pears, and cherries all blooming at the exact same time (and I've been here all my life except for those college years in MA). Stunning but it went much faster than our spring normally does (it's summer here now).
    Container gardening might be something to look into for some of those special plants. As my mother's found it harder to get around she's gone more and more towards that. We have a bunch of galvanized pails with holes in the bottoms and they're easily watered and weeded, plus can be stuck where-ever and then moved as needed until they're capable of surviving the benign neglect that the rest of our yard endures or are just too big for the pail.
    I'd ask around, there's likely people who'd do the weeding for some cash, and you might even find someone who knows plants well enough to know what's a weed and what's not.

  5. Up here on our island in Maine we don't have any garden to speak of - maybe in future there will be raised beds, but for now, we are happy to see seeds we scattered last year taking root. Lupines (no, autocorrect, not 'lumpiness'!) are just beginning to bloom and 5 of the six little trees we planted last fall have made it through the winter.