Sunday, 4 June 2006
Today in the garden ...
Walking down the garden path this morning I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful sweet scent. Really strong and very lovely. The dog rose beside the veg plots has suddenly come into flower (no, it's not orange) and is producing a tangible aura of scent over the whole area. I inhaled another deep lungful and ... uuurgh. Petrol.
Bloke next door was using a motorised leafblower. In June. Why?! The leaves are on the trees, for feck's sake.
It's the scourge of English middle class suburbia. Whenever the sun shines at the weekend, EVERYONE round here piles into the garage to rev up garden powertools. My views on garden powertools, and my neighbour's unhealthy macho obsession with them, have been well documented elsewhere and the song I wrote about it has become a minor radio hit. But honestly ... must I breathe toxic fumes in my rose bushes? Does it really take a two-stroke internal combustion engine to blow a few little bits of dust down the garden path?
But ... I appreciate it could be worse. I don't have any real problems with my neighbour other than a My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe style rebellion against his unimaginative worldview. I used to live in the unsalubrious St Paul's area of Cheltenham, and there on a summery Sunday you would feel the house gently vibrate to mega-decibel drum 'n' bass and hear the distant screams of street fighting in the adjacent council estate. I'd rather have the leafblowers, really I would.
I'm relieved that Leafblower Dave didn't catch me digging over that patch of lawn yesterday. He disapproves of lawn erosion. I assume it's because he makes part of his living mowing other people's, and just has a thing about lawn. Lots of it. This whole garden was grassed over when I moved here (which must've been paradise for him) and every time I've reclaimed a chunk of it to make a vegetable bed he comes over to the fence the moment the spade slices the first turf, curls his lip and says "Aaah. You diggin' that lawn up then, are you?"
This time I dug up a straight two foot strip right the way across so he hasn't noticed it.
I gave it a good digging over today and got the worst of the horsetail and couch grass out. Top dressed it with manure, seaweed and organic fertiliser. I'm planning to plant out my Champion of England peas in it first, because they're starting to outgrow their bog rolls. I only have a few plants of this variety, because the Heritage Seed Library only supplies small quantities and most of them had germination problems. I started off another 3 seeds with some perlite added to the planting mix and that seems to have resolved the rotting-off issue. But at best I will have five plants. And as I have no more seed, it's imperative that I grow these to maturity.
The other trouble with Champion of England is that it will grow big. About 7ft, according to the info I have. And since the Alderman pea is supposed to grow to 5ft and mine is already reaching 6ft and still rampant, I suspect it's going to need something pretty sturdy to hang on to. I don't have any pea sticks of that height, and I've run out of tall bamboo canes. So I'll have to think of something.