Friday, 21 September 2012

Dancing While The Weeds Take Over

Asking a gardener to convalesce is like putting a Border Collie on bed rest. Nothing can reduce the desire to be outside; not even a stack of thoughtfully selected books - for the gardener not the Border Collie, a breed famed for its intellect but not for devouring meaty novels, unless "the dog ate my homework" counts.

Of course, gardeners listen to the pleas of our loved ones to rest, we really do; it's just that the second their backs are turned, we break free from our garden beds in the shade and gently potter (or putter, depending on where we live). In my case, having spent some time in hospital, I was released into the wilds of our garden for a spot of outdoor convalescence and while gently potter-puttering, I quietly planted a hedgerow. My loved ones were shocked and concerned and who can blame them? Summer is hardly the hedge-planting season, but as I tried to explain as they frogmarched me back to the comfort of my garden bed, it was perfect planting weather and in any case, I had been nurturing these native plants in containers since the bare-root season and saving them for this precise moment (the completion of the rabbit fencing - not the enforced convalescence).

This fabulous Stipa gigantea really lifted my spirits in hospital. The gardens at the hospital are actually a landscaped car park - a practical and necessary part of hospital life, yet the most blissful place for staff, patients and visitors to enjoy. They underline the importance of beautiful, practical public spaces. The same can be said of our wonderful Olympic Park (below).

I loved the Olympic Park. My friends and I deemed it to be the happiest place on the planet. I wanted to spend as much time there as I could and I was thrilled to be involved in the Olympic Closing Ceremony. After months of rehearsals, my lovely new friends and I donned our yellow outfits and had the time of our lives dancing, or in my case, hoping that I was doing what everyone else was doing and preferably at the same time as them. Here are some of us shortly before the ceremony. Our ages range from teenage to 80 years old.  

All this excitement means that I have barely been home this summer and if I have been in Norfolk, I have spent too much time watching the swallows swoop across the sky above the piggeries and not enough time gardening. However, I did enjoy a bowl of strawberries within 60 days of planting them (as promised in the 20th June post) and I am absolutely converted to 'Darlisette' which has the most perfect level of sweetness I have ever tasted in a strawberry. You will note that I failed to get round to laying down a straw mulch, along with a million and one other jobs this summer. 

I feel guilt-ridden, but I will confess that despite all the rain and the misery of blight affecting so many, my first experience of growing tomatoes without a greenhouse has been surprisingly successful... 

.. and much as I don't like to boast, a summer of neglect has led to spectacular weeds in the flower borders.

 Aren't they beautiful?

* Please note that the photo of the yellow-clad people was not taken by me and belongs to a member of TP7. The first picture is proof (were in needed) that flowers in wildlife seed mixes attract wildlife.