Monday, August 17, 2015

Heat Wave

      It's going to go to 31 degrees today, and the rest of the week will be in the high 20s. Not too nice for working in the garden, though I did do some renewing of shrub roses, cutting back a couple of Therese Bugnets, a Hansa, a Snowy Pavement and a Jens Munk.  I have more to do, but once it got to 11:30 I left the outdoors to bake on its own and came in. I did drag all the detritis to the burn pile, as roses like these have many too many thorns. They never compost down, the thorns, so for safety I have been burning them.  Not today, of course, but some cool damp day in September or October.
      I have been working on the pathways and seating area to the west of the house - finally got the landscape fabric and the wood chips spread for the seating area - now to work on the seats! I have a plan to sand down and spar varnish our old Ikea living room furniture - 2 loveseats and a sofa (or 2 two-seaters and a three-seater) and put outdoor fabric on the cushions. This may not all get finished this year! Anyway I could put them in the seating area, perhaps with the blue sunshade over them - or maybe we can get a screen house! (I have simply given up with the bloody mosquitoes - they are everywhere when I'm outdoors, probably because we have such good shelter - there's no wind to drive them away. I travel in a constant aura of Off when outside.) So, the woodchips need quite a bit of packing down, but we'll be able to get some of that done when it comes time to put the wood in the basement.  Tramp tramp tramp.
      It's a bit sunny there at the moment, but later on in the afternoon the linden will shade it - and there's usually a westerly breeze along the upper driveway that makes it nice for sitting. Or at least I hope so. The logs will be replaced by Island sandstones, as I locate them!
     We have been enjoying the woodland garden's coolness too - I put the hammock up in there, and it's a great spot for an after-lunch nap - or a reading spot. The lounger is there too, so Fred can nap too if he's having a day off. I have planted a couple of rhododendrons there - a Lepidote "Aglo" and another of the mini ones - like Karen Seleger but this one is white. And a tiny offshoot of Karen Seleger which was in the pot when I bought her, and I nursed her along in the cold frame and in the pot, but she wasn't showing any sign of growing so I put her in the ground too. I hope there will be enough light for them in there - of course we are planning to take down a few of the old pinus niger trees and that should improve things light-wise.
Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea

       I have been doing some propagation- the "Invincibelle Spirit' hydrangea had a broken limb that wasn't quite severed, but the blooms weren't coming out on it, so I cut it off and made up 9 cuttings. I had started a pot of Glowing Embers hydrangea earlier - still no sign of roots but I'm no givin' up! And the other day I pruned a lavender and had to take off some lower, dead stuff and one bit had some live stuff above, so I have a couple of pots of lavender. And, a propos of the woodland garden, I took some sprigs off the yew at the Hall, and I have them in pots now, too. I'm mostly using the shelf under the East window in the office for this - it is MUCH TOO HOT in the polytunnel for this stuff.
      Apparently yew loves the dark, and while I have not been able to source any of the fancy particular ones I've read about (that don't grow too big, etc.), I figure the bog-standard variety will be challenged enough in the woodland garden to stay a reasonable size. That's what I'm hoping, anyway.

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