Sweet peas and singing
I’ve been planting sweet peas and singing. My poor neighbours. Theodora is very usefully deaf* and Phineas seems to think I’m fun to watch and possibly even listen to.** I do keep it down a little when I’m out front; I don’t want the military chappie over the road to decide to test the army’s new long-range assault weapon at home.*** This is the time of year when my garden suddenly gets away from me. There’s usually a misleadingly serene several weeks in early-mid spring when I think I’m finally going to get it together this summer . . . and I have managed to keep throwing out the ever-better this-season’s plant sales BUY BUY BUY BARGAINS TOO GOOD TO MISS catalogues which is where I usually lose it drastically†, especially during those disorienting few weeks in spring when there are gaps where I can see actual bare dirt,†† and the careful, all-at-once-so-I-can-remember-what-I’m-doing orders of the previous winter have faded perilously in my memory. Despite this unnatural restraint I still seem to have an awful lot of thriving baby and adolescent plants out there.
So it’s been a beautiful day and there are all these trays of no-longer-so-little plants gasping to go into something a little more permanent. The sweet peas have indeed rioted on to a degree I wasn’t expecting and have all plunged through their crumbly pressed-paper plant-as-is pots and reached little white roots into the surrounding compost . . . oops. Sweet peas hate root disturbance and these will now sulk for weeks††† . . . and if any of them does send out a questing tendril, you can be sure it will snake along the ground and then twist up the wrong frelling thing. Bamboo stakes? Boring. Garden wire run through eye-bolts in the house wall? Vulgar. Iron railing uprights? Feh. Other plants? . . . Possibly. But only things like snapdragons and petunias, not sensible things like roses and my little corkscrew hazel.
Gardening. It’s still critters, just more green and less fur.
* * *
* Her daughter isn’t, but she gets home latish . . . although not late enough this time of year when the sunlight goes on and on and you can be in the garden till nine. I admit that by 8:30 if you’re not noticing it’s getting dark you’re really determined not to pay attention^, but this can be arranged.
^ You probably don’t want to be weeding at this stage: all little green things look alike in twilight. You can certainly be potting on however. Some day I will get electricity put into my greenhouse . . . and then I can stay out there all night.+
+ With the bug zapper on high. ZZZZZZZSST. #
# Why are bugs so STUPID? And this includes nice bugs~ like bees. I know that house flies exist to be annoying and mosquitoes are after you, but bees, say, they fly into your dark house and make a pass through your kitchen and rather than saying, oh, wow, bad choice, and turning around and flying back out through the door again, they fly straight past the open door, duck around the frame, and bash themselves against a window. I had one of those small-dog-sized bumblebees~~ fly into the cottage kitchen this afternoon and mosey around like a medium-sized zeppelin. And she would not leave. I finally put a glass over her and took her outdoors like a bouncer dealing with the last partygoers.~~~ From the names she called me through the glass she was not amused.
~ A generic term for chitinous critters. Because I say so.=
= Back, taxonomists! You’re not wanted! Back, back!
~~ Pav and I met the Yorkshire terrier lady this afternoon while we were out for some hurtling. I made the mistake of telling a friend a few days ago what a nice dog Pav has turned into and she’s been possessed by forty demons ever since. It was by email! It’s not like Pav heard me! The Yorkie lady is a big Pav fan although on days like today that takes some concentration. Anyway I swear my bumblebee was larger than either of the Yorkie lady’s little bundles of fluff.
~~~ I suppose I should make exceptions for bees that I find climbing into my indoor flowers. I wouldn’t have thought there was anything to have off your average windowsill geraniums, but I’ve seen bees trying. Also popular are cut garden flowers—as opposed to florists’ flowers—bees appear to believe that nectar and pollen go on being viable even in a vase.=
= These are deadheading accidents, you realise. CUT flowers for the house?? Cut them OFF THE PLANT? Are you KIDDING?
** Also I feed his cat for him—the orange ex-hellkitten^—when he’s away. He wants to stay on my good side.
^ He’s so little. He’s not huge even as ordinary domestic cats go—he’s probably the small side of average—but if you’re used to dogs, if you have dogs twining up your ankles most of your life+, cats are such delicate little things. I realise this is an illusion but in terms of sheer weight even Pav is about three cats’ worth.
+ Nat on the forum asked if the hellhounds are whippets. I thought this was in ‘about’# but apparently it isn’t. Surely I’ve told you that they’re seven-eighths whippet and one eighth deerhound##? Well, it ought to be in ‘about.’ Furthermore I’ve forgotten all about putting poor Pav in. Not to mention Christianity, Street Pastoring and the Samaritans—or even voice lessons. So one of these nights I’m not writing a blog post I’d better update ‘about’.
Oh, and hellhounds are also ‘entire’ as they call it over here—they still have their testicles—which entirety also makes them a little bigger and sturdier than most whippets. The whippets and whippety dogs that look like they’re made out of pipe cleaners were often neutered too young.
# Top bar of the opening page of the blog
## Sighthounds are notoriously bad eaters. Of sighthounds, deerhounds and Salukis are notoriously notoriously bad eaters. SID EATS. Wish fulfilment? Sure. That and cliff hangers are why I enjoy KES.
*** And the evil vargleglunger over the back wall, the one with the shed with the tarpaper^ roof that sticks up over the wall and ruins my view, I should spend more time on that back border and learn the Queen of the Night to accompany my efforts. Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen! Hört, Rachegötter!!
^ Well it looks like tarpaper, which is to say ugly
† Speaking of windowsill geraniums, I have spent YEARS telling myself I will get all the geraniums^ off the windowsills and outdoors^^ this summer to be pruned and repotted and given some real sunlight, which geraniums usually like, before that irritating fellow Winter shows up again and spoils it. THIS YEAR I’m going to get . . . at least some of them outdoors. I am.
^ And begonias, poinsettias, spiky cacti, and various random houseplants
^^ the Christmas cacti and the hibiscus can stay indoors since they’ll have palpitations if I try and persuade them that photosynthesis is good and the sun is their friend
†† Or in my garden, I-just-frelling-cleared-there weeds, self-propelling courtyard gravel, and glimpses of all the plumbing in Hampshire.^
^ But you know I could use a few more petunias. And maybe begonias. I seem to have underordered.+ And I need to get back to the garden centre, I’m still waiting for my snapdragons. Snapdragons are necessary.
††† IN MY DEFENSE I’ve gone on bringing them in at night off and on till this week, and I’m still bringing the basil^ and the recently-arrived chocolate cosmos indoors overnight.
^ Basil always says, England? England? Are you kidding me? You’re expecting me to burgeon and produce fragrant Mediterranean leaves here? YES. I DO. AND HERE’S A NICE HOT SUNNY KITCHEN WINDOW LEDGE. SHUT UP AND GROW.
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