2 August 2013

Summertime, and the livin' is.....

....quite hectic actually!

It's been a busy month since I wrote my last blog post; and the Lakes, like most of the country, has been basking in glorious sunshine. We had three weeks without so much as a drop of rain and it got to the stage where I was forced to break out my hose pipe to water the wilting Astrantias and parched rhubarb patch. We've had some heavy showers in the past few days which have watered the garden far more effectively than I ever could and cooled things down a bit.
The dry weather didn't stop the weeds growing though and as the season progresses many plants finish flowering and need to be dead-headed or cut back completely to produce a new flush of leaves and hopefully a few more flowers. The roses flowered well but didn't last long in the dry weather, so there's plenty of dead-heading to do there too.
Other flowers are taking their place though, the Shasta daises, phloxes and evening primroses are blooming nicely.

Shasta daisy
In the vegetable garden we have had more rabbity visitors (six were reported one afternoon) and I eventually discovered two large holes in the paddock fence, caused by the sheep putting their feet (hooves?) on the netting to try and reach an overhanging rose bush. Once the holes were repaired, no more rabbits have been seen.

The dry weather has kept the slug population nicely under control and kept them away from the strawberry patch long enough to produce this absolute whopper of a strawberry, pictured sitting in an egg cup for scale.

Bigger than a sheep!
In my role as Hill Top's unofficial handyman I'm quite used to wielding a drill and a screwdriver to fix everything from shop fittings to gates and even the coal bunker, but the most unusual request so far came from the shop team. Could I make a 'rustic hat stand' to display our range of headgear outside the shop. Always one for a challenge I set to with saw and drill and produced this-

Hat stand or art installation?
It's amazing what can be done with some hazel poles and an off-cut of oak beam. The only problem is Hawkshead and Wray Castle shops want them now too!

Also this month, I made a brief appearance on Radio 4 Gardeners' Question Time http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b036l5kq (my bit starts at 11 minutes and 10 seconds if you don't want to listen to the whole thing). I was suffering with a nasty bout of food poisoning at the time and had to literally drag myself out of my sick-bed to be interviewed, so if I sound a bit spaced out, you know why!

We also had a visit from renowned photographer Allan Pollok-Morris who spent two days (and two very early mornings) in the garden taking pictures for a feature in The English Garden magazine, to be published some time next year.
He didn't get a picture of a giant strawberry in an egg cup though!

See you next time.

Words and pictures by Pete the Gardener.