Herefordshire Week 017: Tuesday 21 – Monday 27 April 2020

A good week. A long weekend of gardening galore in the strange summer weather, with a Zoom to celebrate my my niece’s 21st so that all could see presents opened, cake candles lit, and slices cut.

The garden is in full bloom – everything’s Gone Green, flowers are blooming, shrubs are flowering and trees are covered in blossom. Some – like the bird feeder pear tree – have even gone past that stage. Bees are busy.

Also managed more of my early morning walks.

Telly = Baghdad Central. VG! Finished Toby Clements’s Kingmaker: Divided Souls and started The Cruel Way, Ella Maillart‘s account of her journey from the Tirol to Kabul and Mandu in the company of ‘Christina’. Both also VG.

Friday featured an extended early morning walk, after the farm dog near Riverdale came racing out after me. Not keen on getting bitten, I continued on to complete the Bacton route. Later that morning, dad came over to build the raised bed in the Orchard. Phil had dug out the 140cm square last Monday.

The back story is that Dad and Jean couldn’t find a raised bed to buy us, but spotted a neighbour had wooden boards on their bonfire pile and salvaged the wood with their permission. Dad “made” a raised bed surround with it, and came over to build it for us. P and I kept clear while he was here. I still feel guilty that dad and Jean can’t enjoy Forty Acres in full bloom “due to the current unprecedented circumstances”.

While dad was DIY-ing, and before/after I did a spot of secateuring and lopping, clearing dead branches off the trees in the orchard, removing dead vines from the clematis that climbs into the yew tree above the log store, pulling up the sticky burr weeds that have gone into overdrive, and snipping the small saplings that sprout in the quarry. I also tied up Jean’s everlasting sweet pea, and checked her wisteria for frost damage. Some of the new growth has headed up into the branches of the ex-Christmas tree that’s next to it.

After an al fresco lunch, I opened the last of my birthday cards – lettuce and chive seeds from Helen (I fear my green fingers need quite a lot of work! But I have planted some out into a trio of recycled containers. I am encouraged by seeing seedlings emerge from earlier plantings) and presents – a fabulous handmade driftwood clock from the Abercrombies.

Towards the end of the afternoon, we forked beautiful rich compost from dad’s compost heap into the raised bed, and planted out my birthday herbs: mint, tarragon, sage and two small leafed mystery ones (one of which I now think is thyme). Well watered!

Phil waters the herb bed
Phil waters the herb bed

Phil and I ticked off a few of the bigger gardening jobs on Saturday and Sunday: replaced broken fence posts around the pond, which entailed clearing lots of the vegetation that had grown up alongside the ornamental fence; used the remaining three stakes plus a roll of wire mesh fencing to corral the compost heap in the orchard, and mowed.

Goodbye wildflower meadow.

I left the patch where the orchids are, and took the Honda for a spin on Sunday to tidy up the edges and hard-to-reach grass,

Orchard compost heap corraled
Orchard compost heap corraled
Cowslips, Dandelions & Daisies - white, puffs and yellows
Cowslips, Dandelions & Daisies – white, puffs and yellows
Orchids galore - lost count at 20...
Orchids galore – lost count at 20…

Still getting lots of birds on the bird feeders, and zipping around the garden, flying fearlessly between leafy-clad trees. I’ve tried learning how to recognise the bird song, seeing as we hear A Lot. Even with the help of The Guardian’s “Home Birds” article and RSPB audio files, I’m not sure I’m remembering many new ones.

THAT said, I do now recognise the “soft farting” of the long tailed tit, and on Monday I FINALLY saw one, and managed a quick snap, enlarged here so that we can see the noisy little bird in all its fluffy-headedness.

Long-tailed Tit - Enlarged
Long-tailed Tit – Enlarged

And we’ve been listening to a cuckoo calling all week.

Almost forgot – created a ‘Week Notes’ tag in Flickr, so that I can link to each week’s photos, like this: Herefordshire Week 017.