Saturday, 21 April 2012

Life is bursting out all over

‘March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.’

I’m not sure there was much wind in March, but there have been plenty of showers this month – even if the odd one has turned into hail or a downpour or an actual, full-blown storm with thunder and lightening.

Not, of course, that that means that we are not still in the midst of a drought.

One of the water companies, Thames, has at least had the decency to admit that it’s easier to impose a hosepipe ban than to repair the leaks that see vast amounts of water wasted.

This is the same company that, just before the hosepipe ban began at the start of the month, ratcheted up its prices to domestic customers by 6.7%.

And it would be remiss of me not to point out that, when water was flogged off to private companies 20 years ago, it was done so at a low price on the understanding that investment would be needed in the infrastructure.

Well, that was a top plan, wasn’t it?

Mind, I’ve had no need to fill the watering can this week – even to water in my latest plants.

But however inclement the weather of recent days might have been – perfect for National Gardening Week – it has hardly been disrupting the cycle of life that is now becoming more obviously visible in my own little patch.

It’s one thing to know something in theory, but it’s quite another to see it in practice.

Take the impact of really serious pruning. I might have known, in a rather abstract fashion, that cutting stuff back doesn’t kill it but is good for growth, but seeing it is entirely different.

After Ian had cleared and paved the garden last autumn, it didn’t simply feel twice as large as before, but it felt incredibly bare. The rose, which had grown wildly for years, was lacking anything remotely green.

The same could be said of the jasmine and the honeysuckle, while the pyracantha looked as though it would take years to grow enough again to really fill in the trellis and give us the greatest amount of privacy.

It was the pyracantha that first showed its mettle, producing shoots quickly. When it flowers, there will be more creamy white than I could have imagined possible five months ago.

The rose has since followed its lead and grown back at an astonishing rate. The others are on the way too. What seemed to be simply dead, dry wood is suddenly sprouting tiny, red pinpricks of life that are rapidly growing into shoots and leaves. The bay tree too is responding well.

It is astonishing to see this life force asserting itself.

Things won't be left in such a fashion again. I've bought a guide to pruning, plus good secateurs for all jobs.

Earlier, a bee was hovering around the lithodoro diffusa – a glorious mass of small, bell-like blue flowers – thrusting its face into one flower after another.

Other striped insects gathered pollen from the purple and blue daisy-like flowers nearby.

 There was even a pair of flies engaged in rampant, doggy-fashion rumpy pumpy on a saxifraga leaf.

And yesterday, there was the sight of the first seedling popping it’s tiny, seedling leaves up toward the light – a baby radish.

I bought more pots this morning and, between showers, have done the weekend’s necessary dead-heading and waggling of my slug-detecting piece of bamboo under every pot that requires it.

Those perched on plastic domes should be pretty safe – which is good thing, since those are mostly the very heaviest pots.

Considerable amounts of nasturtiums will be bought tomorrow and potted up – although the spray does seem to be doing its job and reducing the whitefly. But the mint will have to be spritzed tomorrow too, since greenfly have now arrived on that.

And then I shall sit back for the rest of the day as my garden grows, and in the hope that May will, after the fashion of that little bit of doggrel, produce yet more flowers.


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