It goes without saying that we all love looking at a beautiful garden. But they just don't happen like that, there is some work involved to turn an unprepossessing plot of land into a little paradise. Bliss is no exception to that rule, so last weekend the under-gardener and I had quite a few tasks to perform before we could sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labour.
First off, were the hedges around the vegetable garden that needed a bit of a trim. Everything had grown so fast over the last 6 weeks, the hedges were no exception and looked a bit messy.
And it's not just the cutting of the hedges that needs to be done, once the cutting is finished there's a lot of cleaning up to do.
I trim all my hedges by hand as I don't like the noise of the electrical cutters. Peace and quiet, that's what we aim for at Bliss, and we're not afraid of a bit of hard work either.
There, all tidy now! Next were the strawberries that needed some straw around them before the skies opened and everything got soaked. Strawberries do not like to be wet and the fruits and crown of the plant could easily rot away if they stay into constant contact with wet earth.
So out came my pink bucket filled with straw and I got cracking.
Now the strawberries (yes, that's how they got their name in the first place) will keep nice and dry and the straw will help to keep the slugs and snails off the strawberries too.
The next job was to plant up a container for the garden cottage. It will go against the new partition wall, the under-gardener built a week or so ago.
I put a plastic bag in the basket to keep the soil from drying out too quickly, but I added a few holes for drainage. We don't want the plants to get waterlogged and rot away. The under-gardener put 2 hooks into the wall and this is how it looks like now. Very nice, don't you think? I thought the new partition needed a bit of something to make it look more interesting.
A plethora of flower containers at the new and improved garden cottage.
Then I went on the pick some more elderberry flowers for my new batch of champagne that I made later that day. I now have 12 bottles of elderberry flower champagne so far. After all that work, it was time for a nice cuppa tea in the vegetable garden. Mmmmmmmmm, bliss.
There is a lot of box at Bliss and they all needed a trim too. For my box topiary I have a special pair of scissors that I use for trimming them.
I was soon happily snipping away at the 2 box cones in the left border and 8 box balls in the right border and after about two hours they looked like this, all nice and tidy.
Of course, all work is done under the strict supervision of this person here, Vita, who's always keeping a watchful eye over everything that goes on at Bliss.
If you look closely (click to enlarge), you'll see another supervisor, Dolly, at work who's keeping an eye on the under-gardener who's busy on the other side of the garden.
Although a lot of hard work goes on at Bliss, at this time of year we never forget to take time to smell the roses.
Sombreuil has such wonderful fragrance, it really is one of the very best roses to plant if you want to enjoy that quintessential old-fashioned rose scent.
Now that the Thalia daffodils had finished flowering, I needed to put something else in my terracotta pots to brighten the place up a bit. I got some gladioli bulbs, a pink variety called Spic and Span, to put in some of the pots. They're put into the kitchen garden and the flowers will later be used for the vase.
The last thing to do was a spot of harvesting. Here are some vegetables from the ornamental kitchen garden. Very colourful, don't you think? It will make a nice salad.
And this is the first flower harvest from my kitchen garden, one of which I'm very proud. A lovely little bouquet, and all grown organically and from my own garden. It doesn't get much better than this, I think.
A garden is not made in a year, indeed it is never made in the sense of finality. It grows, and with the labour of love should go on growing. Frederick Eden