It’s been a funny old week. One moment the sun was splitting the trees, the next we had gale force winds, frosts or hailstorms. Never let it be said that we are short of weather. None of this seems to bother the bulbs a jot. The frailest looking things, like the anemone and snakes head fritillaria (which are self seeding quite beautifully in the nuttery), just seem to shrug off the wind and frost. I, however, seem to vacillate between stakhanovite enthusiasm for digging and humphing and total lethargy.
In my energetic phases I have been up with the lark and out weeding the borders, digging in yet more compost and moving things around. Homes have been found for three trugs of daffodils Raymond next door dug up. These were the survivors of his attempt to dig out the daffodils in the same spot last year. The little beggars go down so far you never get them all in one go. The cynic in me thinks I’ll be getting another trug full next year. The lupins I grew from seed in my nursery bed all had to be whipped out to make way for onions as part of Keith’s complex bed rotations. These have been liberally dispersed in various gap sites. I am trying, though, not to fill everything up as I have several packets of “sow direct” spring seeds I’d like to try out. I have also negotiated for the use of last year’s courgette bed for my summer and autumn sowers and plan to give delphinium another go. There must be somewhere in the garden where the snails won’t find them, or some sacrificial companion plant I could try.
During one of my hibernation phases, which came over me during a cold snap a couple of days ago, I retreated to the TV room and finally resolved the logistical issues of cow hat ears to the accompaniment of the Titchfield Thunderbolt and a giant bar of whole nut. A most satisfactory afternoon in my view. I do love those old Ealing comedies, there’s something very gentle about them. Mum slept through 80% of the film then denied everything.
The frogs have all vanished from the pond (where do they go???) but the water is swarming with dark pools of wriggling tadpoles. Hanging round the edges, in a very sinister, “Jack the Knife” manner, are gangs of increasingly fat newts. I strongly suspect them of picking off the stragglers. In my weeding forays in the pond border I am still finding grumpy little toads dug into the weedy patches. I feel so mean disturbing them I have been trying to “weed around” and as a result there are clusters of buttercups sneakily sending out runners which will infiltrate the roots of “proper” plants and bedevil me all summer.
Raymond has been pootling up and down the field in a little cream Davey Broon tractor breaking up clumps with a chain harrow and the new grass is starting to come through nicely. I don’t know if it is this that is driving the coos daft, or teenage hormones, but they have been going quite bonkers over the last few days, charging up and down the field and locking horns for all the world like rutting deer. Lachlan had a distinctly sweaty moment yesterday wondering if he would make it to the fence before Snouty gave him both prongs. His honour was stoutly defended by Catriona (who is his favourite). She ploughed into Snouty giving her the full “snowplough” and winning three out of three bouts. I don’t think he tied his favours onto her horns, but she definitely got more than her fair share of the sugar beet pellets……