Gardening at night

by Steve

We’ve been in our current place for a couple of years now and the garden has been something of an on/off project. There has been the enthusiasms of springs, of clearing and planning and planting, followed by the troubles of summer, as the temperature rises and the watering slackens. Then the forgetting to clear and prune in the autumn, then the actual clearing and pruning in winter, then spring again.

There is the ongoing battle against weeds. The bell-bind weed is my nemesis. My only consolation is my general neglect tends to kills plants well before the bell-bind properly strangles them.

I did a fair bit of tidying at the weekend. There was a whole lot of weeding, obviously. The roses needed dead-heading. I lay a load of straw under the strawberries and picked the first fruit of the season before the bugs and slugs got to them.

I even painted the garage at the end of the garden, and the house under the lean-to that leads to the garden. It is amazing how a lick of paint can really open out a space, make it lighter, more welcoming.

Last night I found myself out in the garden again. After the back-breaking (well, back-breaking for me) stuff of Saturday, here was a chance to tinker a bit.

We bought a box trellis earlier in the year, so I finally got around to planting it properly. I’d bought some climbing plants, but threw away the labels so I can’t remember what they are. Plus, the sun has got to them a bit, but we’ll see how they go. I put in a couple more things too, stuff I’d found growing in pots but don’t remember buying. There was also one plant that looks like an exotic fern thing, the only survivor from a house plant gift basket.

This is an experimental box trellis. And one that probably won’t have much growing up it. But it does at least break the garden up a bit, providing a divider between the main garden and lawn and the rear of the garden where the barbecue, then the garage, lie. If any flowers appear, that’s a bonus.

I’d made up some hanging baskets earlier in the spring, to liven up a brick wall. They looked lovely, and looked lovely for the fortnight I regularly watered them, but were now looking very sorry for themselves. I retrieved a few bits and pieces, cut back the dead stuff and replanted them in a bed, to see what might happen. I chucked out whatever looked beyond saving. It looks like I’ll be starting again on the baskets, and need to do a better job of looking after them this time. I doubt I will.

It was lovely being out in the garden, in the evening, on a weeknight. It was pretty peaceful, which considering some of my neighbours was a nice surprise. It was warm, but not too warm. The days are at their longest now and there is something quite magical about being out in the evening light, even if I am just mucking about with compost and plants I can’t name.

When you’re stuck indoors working all day there is something very welcome about having an outdoor space of your own to potter about in when you get home. And there is something really satisfying about working towards making it a good outdoor space to enjoy.

There’s still a lot of work to do. I might head out there tonight.