Last Tasks

Saturday was a washout: as forecast, rain fell remorselessly all day.

Rain on window

We caught up with outstanding tasks indoors: building and organising new shelves in the study; sorting through our packets of vegetable seeds, cataloguing what we have and composing what turned out to be a very short order to fill the gaps.

Box of vegetable seed packets

A temporary ceasefire on Sunday morning lured me out into the garden with my remaining spring bulbs: I managed to plant a handful into the damp earth before the first fat drops of rain began to fall and drove me back indoors. By lunchtime, though, the showers had ceased again and the skies cleared. Though the ground was saturated, it was all the encouragement I needed to resume my planting.

Xander enjoying the sunshine after the rain

Finally, all the spring bulbs were planted. I emptied the pots of last year’s tulips – many of which were already showing strong shoots. I planted these out into the borders to take their chances in the damp ground, and refilled the pots with new tulip bulbs packed closely together. The dahlias were lifted and brought under cover, though I’m not entirely sure where they will spend the winter yet.

Garlic planted into ridges of earth

In the kitchen garden, I used a hoe to pull the claggy soil up into ridges, and planted out the languishing seed garlic: fat cloves of hard-necked Sprint, which were already sending out pale shoots in their packaging, and soft-necked Arno.

Peach tree holding onto its last leaves in late November

While the winds have swept almost all of the leaves from our trees now, the peach tree is surprisingly still holding onto quite a few green leaves, even as November draws towards its close. As usual, the fallen leaves do not hang around long on our hilltop, being swept away by the wind to leave the grass clear – raking up leaves is one job we’ve never had to do here! Some leaves are not blown entirely clear of the garden, but cluster around the ankles of the borders; I don’t pull these out, but let them break down naturally where they collect.

Green shoots around the garden in late NovemberIn a terracotta pot, fine green leaves of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) that I planted last autumn bask in the intermittent sunshine. They have not flowered, but clumps of these grass-like leaves have pushed up around the garden where I planted the corms, to reassure me that they are, at least, alive. It seems too late to flower now, but perhaps next year…

Elsewhere around the garden there are already promising signs of next year’s shoots, mostly narcissi and ranunculus that I planted last month. With all the spring bulbs and garlic at last planted out, I can relax a little more now, and look forward to enjoying the rewards in the coming months.

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14 thoughts on “Last Tasks

  1. Well done you – you can be justifiably satisfied and proud of your achievements over the weekend. A good example for the rest of us!

  2. My saffron crocus flowered quite late this year, they are under the R. mutabilis too so they also need moving. Fro such a rotten weekend, you seemed to achieved a lot. Christina

    • I’m hoping that mine are just taking their time to settle in since planting. They do seem to be quite fickle about flowering by all accounts, and wet Wales is far from their ideal environment so it was always a gamble. Will have to see what the future brings for these!
      Sheer determination won through this weekend – I’m just thankful we did get a mostly dry day that I could take advantage of.

  3. We cover our dahlias with mulch so they can survive the winter and grow again with the warmer weather. You describe your love of gardening with such passion that it makes me yearn to do something like this, even though winter is only three weeks from starting. Good luck with all your plans!

    • It’s our first year growing dahlias, and I suspect a wet winter in our heavy clay would be too much for them, so have dutifully lifted them! Perhaps in the future we’ll try leaving some in, when we have backups just in case they perish.
      Our weather is set to get much colder again later this week, so it’s a huge relief to feel that the urgent tasks are done now!

  4. I still have a small amount of bulbs to plant – well I did and then 100 free bulbs turned up!!!
    No veg seeds for me this year so I am indulging myself with lots more flower seeds, so far I have only got as far as pouring over catalogues

    • Ah, our boxes of both veg seeds and ornamental seeds are fairly well populated already, I’m trying not to buy too many this year. Our borders are starting to get rather full! Nice to read through the catalogues, but I suspect I’ll fall prey to a few temptations that way 😉

  5. Managed to get my last tulips in on Sunday too. Had to put them in pots though the ground was just to wet to dig. I’ve got Narcissi shots appearing too and even buds of Dicentra. My dahlias spend the winter in my downstairs loo. Well not literally obviously 😉 In seed trays wrapped in newspaper on shelves. It’s nice and cool and dry in there so perfect.

    • I “cheated” and jammed more tulip bulbs into pots than I’d intended too; our soil was also horribly wet. I think our dahlias will end up in a cool cupboard, alongside the squashes and onions which seemed to store well there last winter.

  6. My last tulips have gone in as well – they’ll probably rot in all this sogginess, but they wouldn’t have done much if I’d left them in their packaging! Seriously, you have been very busy – I am impressed!

  7. I’m saving my seed cataloguing for later in the year, though I have lists – ever growing lists – of things I want to grow next year… Precious few signs of bulbs pushing up in the borders here, though I know there will be spanish bluebells (!) and I planted some narcissus and crocus. But not yet the tulips!!!

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