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Aug 2007

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Dying daphne, lupins, sweet william and pigeons

 I used to go into deep mourning when anything died in my garden. Not any more. Now, unless it is something that I am striving to grow for years, I look on such events as opportunities. Although I must admit, plants that I would love to see the back of never die. This year all my fully grown Daphne mezereum, four in all, died for no reason. They were all different ages and in different parts of the garden. This was a blow, I must admit, but I have lots of seedlings all over the garden and these were not affected at all. I will let four grow and pot up the rest for friends. A cercis I planted 15 years ago was another casualty this year. It didn't exactly die. It had never flowered, so after watching it get increasingly weaker, I helped it on its way. I am planting a better variety, Cercis siliquastrum ‘Bodnant' in its place, so I'm hopeful of better results.

Plans we had this year largely got executed. We planted the Magnolia wilsonii, where the eucalyptus came down, and surrounded it with lavender. The result is very pleasing. We made a start on the apple trees and we are installing a new shed. I am moving my work and potting area to the area where I actually do my potting. I should have done this years ago and saved myself a lot of to-ing and fro-ing - well better late than never.

I had a poor enough display of lupins and sweet william in June so I sowed seed and now I have good plants to plant out at the end of the month. Why is it no longer possible to buy proper sweet william plants to plant out? I detest the dwarf ones on offer and now I'm seeing dwarf lupins on sale. Surely the whole point of lupins is to have tall stately plants in glorious colours. Oh! that peppery smell, wonderful. I can't wait for next year.

We planted the Magnolia wilsonii, where the eucalyptus came down, and surrounded it with lavender.

On the vegetable front we have good potatoes, kohlrabi, spinach, and the usual lettuces that we share with the pigeons that have nested in the oak tree beside the vegetable patch. They took up residence there as soon as we sowed the first seeds. It is a battle to have lettuce for us and feed them as well. Talking of birds, we had five heron nests this year, they all successfully raised families and have now all left and will not be back until February. I still don't know where they go. We also, surprisingly, have managed to keep some fish in the pool for the past three years in spite of the herons.



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