I know that actually having a big garden is a remarkable privilege, but none the less, sometimes it does feel a bit like someone has given me a dragon's egg. Amazing and beautiful but also quite a lot of work and somewhat painful. And you can't look away from the bugger for a minute!
Today I fought my way up to the top garden ( I really did, right to the Fabled Compost Heap!) and pulled up a lot of nettles. Some of them got me before I got them and now my arms are all tingly. The cherry tree looks like it has had rather a lot of cherries, but sadly I have not been quick enough to nab them off the birds which sit whetting their beaks hopefully, waiting for each cherry to gain that extra tint of red... Oddly, the birds seem much less interested in the raspberries, which must be nearly the same colour. Maybe they are not as sweet (its hard for me to tell. I have yet to win a ripe cherry for myself... )
In the background of this photo, the rose Cardinal Richelieu is flowering his heart out, surrounded by blue campanulas. To me, the roses smell much more compelling than the campanulas, but clearly the campanulas have hidden delights because they are positively buzzing with bees - not just bumbles either, I saw a honey-bee this evening!
In the foreground, a hippo that Someone had cruelly abandoned in the upper garden, which I rescued. No sooner had I got him back into the house than he was seized and carried off again. Oh well, I suppose he gets to see all around the place...
The last of the greenhouse strawberries are done and I picked them this evening for my tea. I had to pad them out with raspberries and some of the little wild strawberries that volunteer all over the place. The wild strawberries are not very sweet, but the scent of them is wonderful.
Someone at the other end of the village had surplus tomato and pepper plants, so I've popped a couple of those into the greenhouse, in the spaces where there are not yet any strawberry plants. I am not wild on tomatos, but they don't need a lot of looking after in a greenhouse, and I can always cook with them.
Still there are no ripe figs, but there are a lot of large green figs, so surely this can only be a matter of time. I have trimmed the branches back a bit to let the sun get to them. There are no flower clusters on my vine, either. I wonder if this is the odd weather again, and they are just late, or if I pruned it too hard and too late? Oh well.
The Actinidia Arguta 'Issai' had lots of flowers again this year, but again, no fruit. It's *supposed* to be self fertile, but I'm starting to wonder. My plant was only put in in 2009 though. Some websites say 'It's not unusual for it to fruit the first year after planting' but others say '5-10 years to maturity'. I wish I had bought the thing from a proper nursery rather than the bloody Thompson & Morgan catalogue. I'd feel more confident that the plant is actually what it said on the label...