Saturday, September 07, 2013

New term

In a fruitless effort to find the pruning saw (it was in the kitchen, under the cat treats) I discovered that we've had a nice little crop of damsons this year. I've had more fruitful years but they've always included a large percentage of wastage. This year I got down a few pounds of nice, show-quality damsons so I'll have to have a bit of a worry about doing something useful with them (I'm thinking perhaps a damson cobbler).

A few weeks ago I cut back all the dead bits off the old flowering currant at the bottom of the garden, revealing that the old currant's gone the way of the great wardrobe spider and that a couple of layered shoots have taken nicely just in front of the original. This has them competing a bit with the damson and a couple of self-sown Cotoneaster. I'll grub out the Cotoneaster as they're not bringing a lot to the party, not even very much in the way of berries. Once I've done that I'll put a heavy mulch over most of the area, taking a bit of care around the hellebores' evergreen leaves and a bit less care where the hardy geraniums will have died down for the winter.

The pruning saw was for the first stage in my "tidying up that hazel tree," The Small Object of Desire's way of saying: "Chop most of that down." I'd already decided that it was time to do a bit of coppicing; I'd last done it five years ago. And I'm not so worried about losing a year's crop of hazels as the squirrel only left the one on the bush (and a huge pile of hazel shells in the back border). So I've taken down the first couple of dozen two-year-old pea sticks and a couple of four-year-old trunks. This involved finding new homes for some red admiral chrysalises (chrysalides?) which puzzles me rather as the nearest nettles are a couple of hundred yards away.

Cutting back the hazel is just one component of this summer's effort at resurrecting the patio. I've cleared out most of the old pots, which had become a bit tatty and haphazardly-supplied with various species of willowherbs, dismantled the relict rose trellis and tidied up most of the paving. I've decided that the marjoram, lemon balm and self-sown black violets can stay but the flag irises (I know, I know) will have to go (I have a home planned for them) and some of the more thuggish elements of the hardy geraniums will need curbing quite a bit. All this will please The Small Object no end as she has a dream of being able to sit on the patio playing tennis with The Cat I Do Not Have.

I've not told her yet that I'm planning on a buying splurge on new plants for the bottom of the garden...

10 comments:

dinahmow said...

I do like to read about your garden. Though why you want to share your plums with a bootmaker...

Ms Scarlet said...

Bush maintenance, that's what I like to see. I didn't get where I am today without a tidy undergrowth.
Sx

Chef Files said...

Damson cobblers can be a a bit of an oul divil to get right unless the density of the fruit remains plump and moist throughout the cooking process. May I suggest a nip of good malt and a sherry trifle from the ASDA instead?

My treat...

xerxes said...

Those hazelnuts, that squirrel... The hazelnuts in the shops come from Turkey. Do Turkish squirrels have better manners that they don't guzzle all the nuts? Or what?

Gadjo Dilo said...

I'm at this juncture with my garden also: had to move a healthy magnolia as neighbour said it caused shade; it died, of course, but gives me an excuse to look for new shrubs. Our grape vines have fruited for first time this year - superb. And I just bought a kiwi plant - I know, I'm just krazee.

I gotta ask you, though, Kevin, in this New Term are you plannng on commenting on our comments at all?

Barbara said...

That sounds interesting !

Kevin said...

Now I've given up on trying to use Blogger with Chrine I'll try to.

It would be dead easy if there weren't so many idiosyncrasies in the mobile version. :.(

Pat said...

I love the damson flavour. I used to make a puree and pour it on everything.
Photos would be nice.

Kevin Musgrove said...

dinahmow: That's a secret available on under plain wrapper...

Ms Scarlet: A credit to you, madam.

Chef Files: a tempting idea indeed.

xerxes: I reckon the native red squirrels are better-behaved than these big grey buggers we get round here.

Gadjo: Good luck with the kiwi (have you a pollinator for it?)

And look...!

Barbara: Ta muchly

Pat: Photos there will be. There's a very scary jar next to the compost bin in the kitchen.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nope, I got a self-pollinating variety (well, supposedly, but the girl in the garden centre told my wife, when I had irrecovably made my purchasing decision and was out of earshot, that they generally only produced tiny fruit which then generally fell off the plant).