Found this little fellow in the garden yesterday, well, at least two of them actually. When they are in flight, all you see is a flash of shocking pink. I’ve never seen anything like it before and I’m almost certain it’s Life imitating Art, in this case, a child’s painting of a butterfly. The grey is precisely the shade that the white paint goes in a child’s paintbox after repeatedly being used with a none-too-clean paintbrush, and the pink has clearly been daubed on with a highlighter pen after all else has failed.
We have been trying to do things with the garden this year. The last few years have seen it get rather out of hand and some furious hacking and slashing has been required to get it under some sort of control, only to see it turn back into a jungle after a fortnight of rain. The Mock Orange that was hacked almost to the ground a couple of months ago is now 9′ high and about as wide again, and the persistent re-emergence of the ivy and brambles in the face of weedkiller and being ripped out at the roots is demoralising. On the plus side, the last pruning of the Mock Orange has at least given the lost (I had not only lost sight of it but completely forgotten it was there) Cox’s Orange Pippin sapling a chance at daylight and it has shot up about 3′. Of the Bramley I thought we had, there is no sign.
The attempts at clearance have also made space for another apple sapling, which I will plant out today. It is a heritage variety called St Edmunds Pippin, kindly sent to me as a birthday present by my lovely, thoughtful friends Hestia and Kismet’s Companion, who remembered the loss of our other ancient apple a couple of years ago. It snapped through the trunk under the weight of the snow, but I am pleased to report that it is still very much alive and sprouting vigorously, though it is unlikely to bear fruit for some years, if ever. Our other old apple is still cropping extremely well despite the lower trunk being practically hollow, but I don’t think it can last much longer, so the plan is to cut it back over time and phase in the new tree to replace it.
The raised beds of the previous post have also been installed and contain peas, beans, carrots, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, courgette, pumpkin and aubergines in modest quantities. While the greenhouse is home to
3 2 varieties of tomato (Roma and Brassero), 2 type of peppers (mixed and Romano), cucumber, melon, more aubergines and a host of flowering plants still looking for somewhere to be planted out: petunias, lobelias, swan river daisies, delphinium, japanese anemones, nasturtiums, sweet peas and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten about. Another variety of tomato (Gardenperle) and Habenero chilli peppers went into a hanging basket yesterday. The strawberries (4 varieties including alpine) and potato planters on the patio are also looking promising and the potted plants which I wasn’t too sure weren’t weeds are actually Blueberries – Yay! DH thinks we need a couple more of the raised beds to fit all this stuff in.
Speaking of DH, who has been doing most of the hard work in hacking back the jungle borders, he has been seized with enthusiasm for flower beds (I’m more into produce, though I do like flowers too) and is working on his “Garden of Darkness”. So far, he has sown deep purple poppies, black hollyhocks and yesterday bought some deep crimson roses. It’s a little late for black tulips, but those will be in for next year along with black pansies. I think perhaps he has been listening to a little too much Sisters of Mercy lately 😀
Once the children have outgrown the climbing frame/swing, we have our eye on one of those wonderful Gothic Folly ruins for the bottom of the garden. Who knows, perhaps the bats will move in if we add a belfry 😀