The past week has brought us a welcome run of clear autumn days, happily coinciding with our plans.
After two years of intense building and renovation work upon the house, undertaken alongside our full time jobs, last winter found us fairly shipshape at last. We took a much-needed break, and turned our attentions to the outside, where we have spent the spring and summer structuring the garden with both hard and soft landscaping as time has allowed. With the days drawing shorter once again, our attentions turn once more to our home, and the spaces left unfinished.
With this in mind, we planned several days of leave last week. We had hoped for dry days and were rewarded with sunshine, so that we could use the terrace as our workspace for most of the carpentry; cutting wood and other materials outside where the piles of sawdust were much easier dealt with than they would have been indoors.
With King of the Hill and a carpenter working together for a couple of days; measuring, preparing, constructing and fitting, the majority of my time was free to continue preparing the garden for winter. I finished planting the remaining spring bulbs, sanded and oiled our outside table and chairs several times, potted plants up and on, picked the last tomatoes, chillies and cucumber and tidied the greenhouse and the path around it, washed all our empty pots, modular trays and seed trays in a solution of outdoor disinfectant, weeded, sowed broad beans to overwinter (Aquadulce Claudia) and the first garlic, Sprint…
Together we tidied up the strawberry bed one evening, and potted up about 80 runners as the light faded. We never quite get around to potting up the runners in situ during the growing season, and always end up severing them from their parent plant as we sink them into their own pot of compost, so that they take their chances independently. They are robust plants, roots already thrusting out eagerly in search of water, and we lose surprisingly few through this rather brutal method.
It has been a furious whirlwind of activity here, with long days of hard work from sunrise to sunset. We intended to have a day off on Sunday, yet somehow found ourselves swept up with yet more work, digging up the paths around the vegetable beds and laying leftover turves of grass along them. We did, however, manage to steal away for a few hours late in the day, to explore some of the joys of autumn away from home, which I hope to share with you later in the week.
Overnight, the rains have fallen, breaking the spell with uncanny timing. Indoors, there is a catalogue of work still to do, from plumbing to painting, but we have made a good start, and the garden is the most organised that it has ever been.