Stormy Weather!

Well it’s certainly been very windy over the past few days, but I think I’ve got off relatively lightly in terms of damage in the garden – thankfully no repeat of last summer’s plastic greenhouse episode! The only slight drama this morning was when Grumbling Rose noticed that the force of the wind had snapped the ties holding my ceanothus tree against the fence. It was bent double and looking very forlorn. As he flew out of the door on his way to an appointment, he was very emphatic about the urgency of rectifying the situation as soon as he returned. On the way to said appointment he clearly went into army orders mode. I received a text and a phone message instructing me to measure up for a stake and check our supply of rubber tree ties – he would buy whatever was needed on his way home. This is the man who doesn’t “do” gardening! I wasn’t dressed at this stage but I dutifully donned my covid uniform (black leggings and the top I’ve been wearing all week), my gardening coat and crocs and ventured out into the storm. Poor ceanothus, it was looking sad. I returned to the garage and rifled through Grumbling Rose’s bag of varying lengths of rope – all tangled up like spaghetti. I found a few that looked like they would do and set too, battling against the wind and rain to straighten up the tree and tie it temporarily to two concrete boundary posts. There, it looked much happier already. Measuring done I followed orders, texting the length of stake required and a photo of the numerous tree ties in my gardening box.

A couple of hours later Grumbling Rose returned with not one, but three 6ft tree stakes – apparently they were on a 3 for 2 offer. To me this is just more clutter to store somewhere, but I didn’t like to dampen the joy the bargain had engendered. I advised which side of the trunk the stake needed to go to ensure the tree would generally blow away from it – this had involved Googling which direction the prevailing wind comes from, because I hadn’t a clue. Apparently in the UK it mostly comes from the west or south-west. Before I knew it the ladders were up against the fence and Grumbling Rose was swaying about precariously on the top rung, wielding a sledgehammer to drive the stake home. A few rubber ties later and the job was done. The ceanothus is the one with bright blue flowers on the left of the photo below – it’s now about 8 feet tall!

Grumbling Rose has been living up to his name again this week – although I have to admit, not entirely without justification. The conservatory floor is now covered with an array of plant pots containing the seedlings I have grown so far. I think I might have a problem. As soon as one lot of seeds has germinated and been potted on, I can’t resist sowing some more. In addition to my own purchases, Victoria has donated numerous packets of seeds that came free with Garden News. These included “Morning Glory” – I was so excited – I had only last week been listening to Carol Klein extolling the virtues of these climbers. I couldn’t believe how quickly they grew – they are on the right in the photo below, only 5 days after sowing, along with some courgette seedlings, which grew equally quickly!

The same can’t be said of the verbena bonariensis – not so much as a peep out of them. I have reviewed the instructions on the back of the seed packet – it does say germination is generally between 10 and 35 days, so I’m trying to keep positive. The packet also says that if germination is erratic, to put the seeds in the fridge for a fortnight – I guess that would shock anyone into action!

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  1. Amazing progress on your planting. I feel quite ashamed, the sunny weather last week saw me buying seeds from the garden centre. With this week’s weather, the seeds remain safely in their packets.


  2. Fabulous!! You are so funny Belinda. Anne has been issuing orders all week. Haven’t even taken lid off pen ? see you in the morning, xx

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  3. I think Grumbling Rose could have a blog dedicated all to themselves…The (Hapless?) Adventures of…
    Beautiful photo of the corner of your garden – was that taken last spring? Well done with the seedlings – amazing how quickly they grow.


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