Tuesday 7 June 2022

Gardening with a Dodgy Knee - early spring edition

For much of March I didn’t get a lot of time to work outside. It was either too wet or we were busy tidying, cleaning, decorating and sorting after having work done in the kitchen. The ongoing project. 

Other days we were in Bath enjoying ourselves with friends or with my brother and his family for my birthday treats. And our Latvian friends were helping fund long trips to rescue Ukrainian war refugees at the Polish border. We contributed, of course. We donated money for petrol ( it’s a long drive through Latvia and Lithuania to Poland and back) and we donated goods such as toiletries, dried foods, baby items and first aid packs. I also donated books for a separate fund raiser. 

Towards the equinox I had, however, managed to edge part of the lawn. The clods of earth were heavy to lift following successive downpours and at some points tugging them did pull on my neck and back. The dodgy knee didn’t seem to react to my digging, though, which was good news. I raked the lawn as it still hadn’t had its first cut of the year and I got up the last of the winter leaves. 

A beautiful new rose called ‘Molineux’ from David Austin Roses sat in the freshly dug flower bed. I had prepared the planting hole well with plenty of organic matter in and around the hole. It was a birthday present from my brother who lives a 10 minute hop, skip and jump from David Austin’s nurseries. It’s my brother who follows the footie at Molineux, though, not me.

As with a lot of flowers and shrubs it’s best to plant the rose at the same depth as it was in its pot, keeping the roots deep. The graft union should be underground and the planting hole should be bigger than the pot, with the roots spread out. I also watered the new rose in even though the soil was damp - it was still only mid-March - and I added plenty of mulch. 

That same weekend ( mid-March) I showed off my lemon tree to my brother and my niece. I hadn’t watered it much over the winter. And, although it was in a slightly heated greenhouse, I’d wrapped it in bubble wrap. Just to protect against a real drop in temperatures. And it was truly exciting to be able to peel away the bubble wrap and reveal 12 developing fruits. Good little lemon tree! 

The year still felt young. Bright yellow-faced pansies and pretty blue and pink ones adorned the patio and the first set of steps up to the lawn. Family members in our guest bedroom could look down on their colours. It did look pretty, but the bindweed hadn’t started wrapping itself around more cherished plants. The sun tried hard to warm us. The garden was awake. But the hard work was yet to come.

More next time.

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