Monday, 13 April 2020

The Constant Gardener

The last week has felt like a 'staycation' with the beautiful weather.  I've started each morning (after tending to the baby) with a walk around the garden whilst carrying my cup of tea.  It cools quickly outside, and I've usually drunk it halfway around our little plot.  The sun comes up over the mountain behind us and starts to touch the opposite side of the valley with colour.  There's hardly any early morning traffic to drown out the birdsong at the moment.  It all seems very peaceful.  I make a mental note of jobs to be done, and what plants are emerging from their slumber; the rhubarb will be ready for picking soon, we never did paint that wall, the peonies will need staking, I still don't know what that climber actually is...

I grab free moments throughout the rest of the day to focus on the garden. I had an unheard of two hours the other day while the baby slept on Chris's lap, who used the chance to listen to two albums (by John Prine, a Nashville musician who passed away this week).  I have continued to plant seeds, tidy borders, clear out the shed, and make future plans.  I was struggling to get hold of some seeds from major retailers, thanks to the entire nation suddenly entertaining self-sufficiency ideas, when I came across a small company 'Real Seeds' selling interesting heritage varieties. I've ordered seeds for courgette, summer squash, sorrel, radish and beetroot.  The next challenge will be getting hold of some compost.  We heard from a neighbour over the wall that one of our local supermarkets is offering the chance to buy garden items from a small stall outside rather than having to go into the store, so I may have to send Chris on a mission!  I can't find any delivery for our area.

Grape hyacinth (Muscari) 

Making do with whatever receptacles I can find to get seeds started!  And yes, that one on the right is labelled 'knobbly' because I don't know what it is... 

Spanish bluebells - in white! 

My little Spring corner - the pale pink hyacinths smell amazing! 

Pieris 'Forest Flame', and a tulip (don't know the variety)

The irises are doing much better after a bit of lift and separate last year (Monty Don's advice from Gardener's World!)

On a couple of afternoons I eschewed my chores and garden jobs and decamped to the back lawn. I set up the picnic mat in the shade of the house, and the camping chairs were dusted off. Chris chose a soundtrack - dub reggae - and the baby gurgled away happily on the mat before dropping off for a nap. I got to read an entire Harper's Bazaar magazine, for the first time since December! It was bliss.

I also found time to very quickly stitch down the turned-up cuffs on a polkadot '80s dress I bought from the car boot sale last summer.  It proved very useful in pregnancy (elasticated waist, which I normally can't abide!) and is continuing to be useful now as I can feed the baby in it.

Lockdown is perhaps an ideal time for learning new skills on top of extra time for existing hobbies. I gave myself a fringe trim.  I used tailoring scissors - the sharpest pair of scissors in the house - and watched a few instructional videos first.  I was very pleased with my efforts.  I had an audience, as Chris was convinced it was a really bad idea.  I am happy to keep up the trims myself until I can book into the hairdressers as soon as it reopens.  But it probably takes me 20 mins to do what they do in 5!

In the early evenings it's cooled down enough for me to sit on the porch with the baby.  The light is beautiful at this time of year.  Chris has an opposite bodyclock to me, so he enjoys getting into the garden in the early evening, whereas I'm a morning gardener.  He's mowed and edged the lawns, and moved some plants around when it's cool enough.  I can sit and supervise from my chair!

If this all sounds a bit too idyllic, it hasn't all been fun.  The poor baby had his vaccinations (three at once, ouch!), and he was very unsettled, with a temperature for a couple of days.  It was hard going.  I also continue to inflict minor injuries on myself - last week it was my nose, this week a large bruise and cut on my arm from a door handle.

The weather is cooler now, but still sunny.  A chance for more serious gardening rather than just sitting out - I am determined that there will be somewhat of a garden transformation by the end of this lockdown!


  1. Ah, poor Otis! I hope he's recovered from his jabs now and all your bumps are better.

    Hairdressers are going to be besieged when all this is over. I've been growing my roots out as I only have one box of dye, and I'm thinking jolly hard about whether to change my hair colour eventually. HMM! You're very brave, tackling it with the scissors. It looks great though.

    Gardens are a real source of joy right now - I feel so sorry for people stuck in flats.

  2. Danny would always run a fever after his vaccinations. I don't know why they don't tell parents to expect this ahead of time. Ah well, now you know for the next round. Otis looks very happy.

    I keep telling people this is the only opportunity you'll have to go completely mad with your hair as no one is going to be seeing it. Your trim turned out beautifully. I'm debating shaving my head-seriously.

  3. I admit that for a couple of days it has felt as if I was on a staycation, especially as it's not often that I'm at home without any travel or day trip plans. But we've managed to tame the garden, if just a little bit, and I'm rediscovering things in the shed which I'd forgotten about. I'm lucky, as I'd just had my hair done and coloured before everything came crashing down, but having short hair means regular maintenance, so it won't be long before it's going to look a mess. I'm loving the polka dot dress your and Otis's matching outfits in that final photo. xxx

  4. Your garden is looking lovely, the tulip and the iris being my favourite.
    We are just ending our summer and winter or more like our rainy season is coming up in a few days.
    I am looking forward to start planting then.


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