Repetitive gardening syndrome…. a name I have chosen to describe the weakness in my wrists and pain at times when trying to grip any object.
RGS usually kicks in at the start of winter often after heavy rains have caused some clay soils to become even heavier. However, this spring with little rainfall those same heavy, sticky soils have become impenetrable rock, even the ones that have been improved with organic matter!
The daily battle with rock like clods of earth as I tease them into accommodating tilth for new plants are taking their toll on my work worn hands, so much so pouring tea from the teapot after a days work is precarious to say the least!
In my own garden thankfully the soil is lighter but contains actual rocks instead to jar the senses and my arms, but here I have a secret weapon …. The Long-suffering!
He can be heard on many occasions huffing, puffing and cursing under his breath as his gentleman like offer of help causes him much angst and a return of sweating man.
After the driest May in 124 years some rain would not go amiss in June! But while the sun shines make hay in the gardens with a few of these jobs for the coming month.
- Prune mature deciduous shrubs once flowering has finished namely Kolkwitzia, Philadelphus, Deutzia and Weigela. Remove any dead or damaged growth cutting to a leaf or stem joint. Aim to cut one in three of the oldest stems almost back to base.
- Keep tying in all climbers especially Roses – rambling and climbing Roses put on so much growth if not attended to regularly you will end up with a tangled mess.
- Cut back oriental poppies to the base after flowering to promote new leaves and sometimes more flowers later.
- Regularly deadhead flowering plants to promote more flowers although not those that produce attractive seed heads for drying/wildlife or hips on certain Roses. The Chelsea chop can be performed on some herbaceous perennials now to stagger their flowering season. Phlox, Asters and Sedums.
- Finish planting out bedding, hanging baskets. In the vegetable garden Tomatoes can be planted outside now along with runner beans. Keep sowing salads and aim to get all late summer veg planted now.
Looking good in the garden, the meadow drifts of oxeye daisies have burst into bloom their heads gently sway in unison, a sweet medley for the wildlife as it dances within.
More delights from the garden and the man behind the lens…
Some From his muse too….
And a new delight for Long-suffering. For once one his normally cautious muse readily approved! The Mazda RF has been traded in for a new model. There was nothing wrong with the Mazda and it has been a lot of fun over the last three years but….
It was not automatic – driving a manual car is still an issue even now seven years after the injuries to my left leg/hip. The seats, bucket style were not as comfortable for me on long journeys and getting in and out caused the hip to groan with the effort. A shortage of boot space had become increasingly exasperating for a gardener who likes to buy at least one plant or item of gardenalia from a weekend away visiting gardens.
The replacement and model of choice is an Audi TT Roadster. At eight months old it is not new but only the 2019 plate belies it’s age, it looks like it’s just come out from the showroom! This car is bigger everywhere, body, cockpit and yes even with the retractable soft top the boot is still almost double the capacity of the Mazda RF. The seats are blissfully comfy and there is plenty of room for me to fidget around. After a two and a half hour journey home from picking it up I could exit in a fairly decent ladylike manner and walk without the dreaded limp kicking in as is usual after hours of sitting in the previous confined cockpit!
My art journey continues in watercolour not always successfully….
A few days ago in frustration with painterly techniques I turned my attention to an attempt at topiary. I love Ducks real or otherwise and not having space for living ducks I have wood ones indoors and out and a beautiful iron runner duck a present from the Long-suffering. It was this and Beatrix Potters Jemima Puddleduck I based my topiary one on. What started out as a very purposefully overgrown box ball has now started to evolve – with the help of some old bits of reused wire – as my very own Jemima Puddleduck!
She has been fed and watered and hopefully all will be well and new shoots will grow forth, she has the summer to recover fingers crossed.
Speaking of recovery our good friend has also made remarkable progress from his near death experience as a result from Coronavirus. Happy news indeed! Let us hope with the easing of Lockdown restrictions the world can also make tentative progress towards some sort of new normal however that looks!