It's been a curious sort of week. Like the curate's proverbial egg; good in parts. On the plus side I count the visit of a much loved old friend and on the minus side the continuing poultry problems.
Out in the garden most things are planted up now. The vegetable garden looks quite spruce and green shoots are poking up towards the light. Roots, legumes, brassicas, onions and salads outside, more tender plants in greenhouse and coldframe. The soil felt quite warm today as I was tucking the last tomato plants into what I think is called a 'Three sisters bed' - squash, sweet corn and tomatoes grown in harmony. We really don't need to grow any more tomatoes but it seemed a shame to abandon such healthy plants to the compost heap. We need some clement weather now so everything will grow. It is allowed to rain at night.
The vegetables are at the back of the barn. There's an orchard to the side. It was one of the first things Alan planted and although only 3 years old has produced a little fruit. We compete with the birds for the privilege of eating it.
The 'pretty' bit of the garden is at the front. This is a corner where pinks, whites, blues and purples jostle for space. It's quite blowsy. It looks its best in the summer when everything is in flower and fragrant too. There are yews planted at the back - which I will clip to obelisks eventually - to provide some structure in the winter months.
There's also a border where I'm playing with white and silver plants - but I think this will go the way of all flesh. It demands more discipline than I can summon up to tear up the colourful self-seeders. Those naughty pink foxgloves look beautiful rubbing shoulders with the white Polemonium......
I've 'hot' border just inside the gate - if you're looking across the garden at all the pinks and blues and whites it's behind you and not a distraction. A strip of grasses runs alongside the boring gravel bit where the car is parked.
The last two have been the most fun to plant up and devise as both were unfamiliar. The reds have been particularly exciting - we're not talking tasteful but big, brash and bold. This is a picture I took at the end of last summer so I could remember what needed to be changed this year but if it looks like this again I won't be too displeased. The climbing rose, Etoile de Hollande has now grown big enough to be seen - beautiful velvety red flowers. Scented too.
This is our 3rd summer here. In 2005 this space was a concrete farmyard - all vestiges of which are nearly gone. The old stone hovel, once home to calves has nearly been transformed into a bijou summerhouse. Provided no birds decide to nest in some of the artfully crafted nesting holes we've left in the walls, the job will be completed shortly. We'll be able to sit in the evening sun, glass in hand, surrounded by fragrant flowers and the sound of water chuckling in the rill.
We make all these places to sit and contemplate the fruits of our labours but too rarely do we use them.
There's still a lot to do of course; the wilderness beyond the pond - which is destined to be tamed - but only slightly. And the pond, excavated before work started on the house because the digger was there, has been largely neglected since and now needs some tlc. Trees and hedges to plant. A field shelter. A prairie border. Maybe.
Oh dear, from feeling quite smug that all the jobs were in hand I've created a long, nagging 'to-do' list. There'll never be time to sit in the sun.