I’m up early with the wind at my back and the entire garden in my sights. Right you rotters, you’re all for it, no-one will escape my vigilance today. I marched into the conservatory and commenced hostilities by dragging the Cymbidium (boat orchid) out of its foxhole. This year’s bloom was a poor sad spindly thing which festered and died without any of its previous glowing amber beauty. I hauled it squeaking out of its cramped quarters and chopped it into three chunks with a steak knife. I removed bits of dead pseudo bulb with my exceptionally sharp implement, taking care to leave my thumbs intact, then re-potted each piece in fresh soil. Thereafter, I moved containers around in the conservatory in a complicated form of gardener’s chess. The pots have to tessellate, to fit the maximum possible number of specimens in a given space. A couple of depressed looking cacti caught my eye, so I made up a batch of gritty compost and re-homed them, getting stabbed in passing for my pains.
Primula auricula “Spring Meadow”
Outdoors then, to start a campaign of weeding the borders. I pulled up huge amounts of borage, putting the greens onto the hot box. I cut off the bases to go to the care of the council’s green bin. The stalks were prickly, micro mincing my poor hands. The nettles were making their bid for world domination as usual. I regard them as a dastardly foe, since their roots enmesh themselves with the most desirable plant that they can find. Mercifully I’m not as daft as I look and I wore tough leather gauntlets for the job. Regrettably, the enemy is sneaky, allowing any millimetre of exposed flesh between jeans and t-shirt to be lashed with stinging leaves. They threw themselves into the trench warfare with more enthusiasm than I would have credited. This early in the season they are full of juice and can inflict injury with chemical weapons through sturdy clothing. A number of shifty rear attacks left me with red welts and unpleasant itching in unbelievable places.
Rubus fruticosus “Oregon Thornless” (blackberry)
Rubus fruticosus (blackberry) requires attention every spring; my variety is “Oregon Thornless” which has large, abundant fruit with a wonderful flavour and no barbs, spikes or bristles. The job of cutting down old stems and tying in the new is a pleasure. Unfortunately the self-sown seedlings which crowd the ground are thorn more, thus making up for their parent’s sweet nature. Their removal is a process full of hurt and my paws were raw from work undertaken. This was going to smart in the shower.
Dicentra formosa (bleeding heart)
While I underwent my horticultural agonies in stoical silence, Attila attacked the Dahlias. Without protest, he buried the tubers in record time, refraining from breaking emerging lilies or subsuming the poppies. He dug out finished compost from the bin and spread it over the bed without complaint. Then he forked across two bays stuffed with rotting vegetation, lightly larded with horse manure. He moaned, bleated and bitched throughout the entire operation. He did such a brilliant job, I let him.