Bye bye turf

That’s it, I’ve lost it. Just like the rest of the country, but on a grander scale. Jugez-en par vous-mêmes : two days ago, I had this sudden urge to move my beloved and innocent acer palmatum Katsura into the shady bed. A modest and reliable potentilla fructicosa inherited from the previous occupants, which in summer bears pale yellow flowers, fell victim to that urge. It is now sitting in a pot, severely shaven. As for the acer, it is expectedly sulking. I shall admit to have lifted it again after having found a bag of Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi in the shed. The same treatment (being moved and relifted) befell a poor rosa rugosa my father-on-law brought down from his Lancashire garden last autumn, which has sat unhappily in a pot until now (a few leafbuds are appearing, though, all is not lost).

And then, today… I just felt possessed. Went out into the garden with my daughter and a ball of garden twine. Next thing you know, I was on my knees battling turf with a trowel. Unsurprisingly, after one minute, my wrist was hurting. Thankfully, my neighbour was also busy in the garden and charitably lent me a half-moon lawn edger, which meant I could hope to have finished before my son’s majority. Both kids helped, my daughter with tremendous energy. The husband did too, all too happy to be able to use his archaeologist’s techniques and call back to life some muscles aching from too much sitting in front of a computer marking students’ essays. At the end of day one, this is what we are left with :

Photo 16-04-2019 19 02 33

Now the turf, for the moment, has just been relaid upside down. I gather that it won’t break down like that, without cardboard and other compost making devices – it would have been too easy. I will therefore remove it and pile it with cardboard somewhere (hum, where ?) and lay down compost and manure. I am crazy, but not enough to lift all the plants that are now preparing for flowering. That will have to wait for the Autumn (or will it ?). Meanwhile, I am going to sow whatever is in my seed box (cosmos, white native wild flower mix, orleya grandiflora, wild carrot) and buy Mexican fleabane seeds. And maybe more nasturtium. Germera qui voudra.

I have to say I am really impressed with the way the children joined in. My son doesn’t usually enjoy anything that requires combined perseverance and physical effort, but he did today. I had to force my daughter to give up at 7 pm as it was high time to start cooking. After that, they both helped in the kitchen. To be fair, if they normally don’t, it is because I demand peace and quiet (and radio four) while I cook. All in all, it was a great day in the garden ! Spring, bring it on !

P.S. : The plant at the centre of the circle is viburnum plicatum Kilimandjaro. In the big unkempt ivy on the left is living one happy family of blackbirds (it was Christmas for them today !) and other smaller birds. The rotary dryer is awful, I know. The collection of pots nearer the shed is housing various dahlias. Five (or is it ten) years after everbody, I am finally overcoming the reluctance and trying them. After all, I am now old enough to savour the nostalgic reminder of my uncle’s garden, which was always full of them.

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