Two weeks ago, Sally and I came across a leveret (a baby hare) in the top herbaceous border. I like hares - both on and off the dinner plate so no further action was taken against this young 'un. Well, on Friday did I live to regret not giving it a knock on the head. On my arrival in the garden, after a week of brilliant sunshine I was expecting to see a big jump in growth in the garden, In the two herbaceous borders this was obvious, but I couldn't see much down at the cordon sweet peas and I soon discovered why - every single plant bar two or three was eaten to the ground. Now my first thought was wood pigeons, then mice / voles but having made a mad rush into Tain and buying all the sweet pea plants left in the town, I returned to the garden and what did I see upon opening the gate - the b*****d leveret sitting finishing off the plants that he / she / it hadn't got round too at it's last sitting. Rex was dutifully called upon and after some initial confusion, he got onto the hare and it fled the garden, hopefully with enough of a scare to not want to return. Anyway, another trip home produced a long, long. long length of green windbreak netting and a barrier fence is now being erected round the sweet pea bed and the replacements will be planted out next week - by then I should be able to spot any of the originals that may recover.
So there we go, the sweet pea saga - watch this space!
In between the above events, I did some sorting out in the greenhouse, and Sally and I have now placed all the phlox, sea hollies and Heliopsis in their final planting places ready for next week.
The borders are beginning to fill out now and we have the first real splashes of colour appearing in the shape of oriental poppies, geraniums, knapweed and the peony "Sara Bernhardt". Peonies do seem to like this garden, and in fact we found another one hidden in the wilderness that is the botton third of the garden, which will be dug up and transplanted to the borders next week. I know that conventional wisdom says that peonies will throw a strop when dug up and transplanted and will not flower for up to a couple of years, but all the ones transplanted from the bottom of the garden so far have positively thrived and flowered straight away. They do not get any special treatment - dug up the I spend uip to 10 minutes sitting extracting couch grass and ground elder root systems from their root balls, placed in their planting hole, firmed in and watered and that is it - no feed, no compost, just an option to live or to die.
I also planted the larger greenhouse border with six tomato plants - a mix of Shirley, Gardeners Delight and Sweet Millions - this leaves room for a cucumber plant, a couple of chillies and some salad crops too.
After this I planted out the remaining three dahlia plants in the rosebed and then filled the centre of this bed with quite a few of the Canterbury Bells that were sown last year. So that is the rosebed planted up for the year, Gladioli to the left, Bells in the centre and Dahlias down the right,
As I mentioned earlier the borders are beginning to bulk up and we have the odd splash of colour as you can see.......
However, I w3as comparing it to last year's photo (see below) for same time and given that the plants are a year older and therefore larger, we are still well behind where we were last year.
So anyway, that's where we are just now. I also weeded the strawberries which have their first flowers, the tatties are through and look healthy, I have also tidied up the edge of the lupin wall after the digger had done it's work, and pricked out 108 Alyssum "Carpet of Snow". Onwards and Upwards!!