The garden was singing a siren song and I found myself helpless in its grasp. I was supposed to be spring cleaning but went out for a brief wander, before I got down to work. I spotted a dandelion, then a jack-by-the-hedge and that turned into a three hour session. No duster was sullied, nor scrubbing brush smeared around but if I get an early march on the bastards and try to eradicate every weed that I find, then summer is more relaxing. I don’t spend the season sprawled on a lounger, getting the more inaccessible bits tanned. Every time that I sit and scan the greenery, I spy something that requires attention. If I break the back of removing the uninvited plants now, there are simply more casual assaults on them later, in between enjoying the company of welcome guests.
Aquilegia vulgaris “Black Barlow” (columbine)
I ambled about soaking up the atmosphere and noticed that the wall trained redcurrant had slipped some of its ties. Half an hour with scissors and soft string saw it sorted. Whilst trussing I observed that sawfly larvae had started munching the leaves, consuming the soft parts and leaving behind the stark naked veins. I waited until the bees were all in bed, before spritzing the plant with Provado. The breeze kept shifting, sending gusts of insecticide down the gaps in my dressing gown, while the dew soaked my slippers and moistened my toes. Ah well, at least I won’t suffer from greenfly, whitefly or mealy bugs, although rising damp could present a problem.
Physocarpus opulifolius (ninebark)
The lilies were infested with scarlet scoffers. I would be happy to share if they just took a nibble but the greedy beasts would eat leaves, stems and flowers if I let them have their fill. The air was rent with my shrill cries as I plucked them from the bosom of their favourite restaurant, threw them to the ground and crushed them thoroughly to a very briefly palpitating smear. I can recognise the giveaway spot of red from a considerable distance. If they are busy bonking, they are twice as easy to see and their thoughts, if any, are elsewhere. They winged their way to eternity as happy as possible in the circumstances, to my unladylike cackles of delight. This was better than sex.
Viburnum opulus “Roseum” (snowball bush)
Viburnum beetle was making a mess of the snowball bush. The shrub has grown so large that the only way to get good coverage was to lean out of my bedroom window and spray systemic bug killer from a height. Under cover of darkness, I thought that the neighbours wouldn’t notice. Anyone who saw as they wound their way home from the pub, would be accused of having consumed too much beer. Some woman dressed in pyjamas hanging out of an upper casement, wild haired and ranting wouldn’t be believed. What a ridiculous story. Not in this nice part of town. Must have been a nightmare.