This morning the farmer and I took our first tentative steps into the Gardening Year with a visit to our Gardencentre for vegetable seeds. We arrived home with onion sets, broad beans, peas, runner beans, beetroot, parsley and a variety of feeds and bug repellents.
Oh the optimism one feels at the start of the season when one has no idea what the future weather holds and what bugs/diseases are going to home in on your plot this year.
Last year our biggest hurdle (which we failed to overcome) was blackspot and mildew on our roses. My favourite climbing rose is Albertine and everywhere I have lived I have had to have her in my garden. For the last fifteen years she has done well but last year she was covered in blackspot and mildew, hardly flowered and looked a sad specimen in spite of countless feeds and sprays.
Luckily Mr B was on hand this morning and recommended something called Armillatox, which needs watering into the soil around the roses. In addition, in as far as is possible, the plant should be drenched in it too.
So this afternoon, after our dog walk, I snipped various dead bits off the roses while the farmer mixed up the stuff. After half an hour all our roses had been pruned and treated and the garden smelt of Coal Tar.
Enthusiasm kicked in, the long pruners were fetched and the Spirea Bridal Wreath was pruned in the centre, thinning it out before it came into leaf. It also suffered from mildew last year and again, it is one of my favourite plants. Now we have let the fresh air in we shall see what happens.
Once you have started in the garden it is hard to know when to stop, but an hour had passed and I think that is long enough for a first go - so in we came.
Throughout the coming weeks we shall clear up the debris, prune, weed, put plants in the gaps and hope for a fine show. Of course the weeds will then begin to appear:
Suckers and seeds
the weeds will win
and have the whole world for their own.
And oh how glorious will come in
the era of the great self sown.
Isn't it funny how we are delighted when plants like Hellebore (see Heather's comment on my last post), Cosmos, Poppies and the like self-sow but are horrified when Celandines appear (the farmer pulled up a dozen sweet little plants this afternoon). What is nicer in the Spring than their sweet little golden faces? Nothing as long as they are not in my garden.