What day is it?

Is it still Wednesday?

It’s seemed like such a long day today!

Thank you for still being here with me after blog posts every day, and thank you for your comments too.  I’m doing my best to reply to them all but I know I’m a couple of days behind.  It feels like a proper conversation between us all and I love that!

Today started off at the vet’s.  The dog and I had a first-thing-in-the-morning appointment.  Well, the dog did – I went along as chauffeur and spokesperson and he’s making good progress in trying to track down the source of his allergies.  Well, at least, the vet didn’t seem too cross that on the list of foods he’d eaten this week there was a “dead bird from the roadside” and “something that he found in the bushes”, so I took that as progress.

A travel mug of tea, a half-knitted sock and a ball of yarn are on a car dashboard. Out of the window is a large picture of pets drawn by a child

It feels both normal and strange now to have to sit outside the vets’ practice in the car whilst we wait for the vet to come out to see us.  It’s funny how quickly we’ve got used to this lockdown life, isn’t it?  I suppose the good thing is that the weather is better now, and this particular vet practice (we’re at the animal hospital now, thank goodness for pet insurance!) has a car park, unlike our local vets where we get to stand in the rain.

Cars and vans parked in the vet's car park.

As you can see above, I made sure I was organised – this was not our first visit!  I can get quite a few rounds knitted whilst the dog is taken into the hospital to be examined and because we were a first-thing-in-the-morning appointment I took my brew as well.  I’m up to the heel flap now so I’ve got on with this sock very well this week.  Eva the vet – who is just lovely and both the dog and I like her very much – thinks it’s very funny that I sit in the car and knit, but I don’t even think twice about that now.  I know some people feel quite awkward about knitting in public but it’s part of who I am and I don’t see why I should hide it!

After our appointment, the dog and I headed off for our walk, parking the car at the mid-point of a circular walk that we do not far from the Nine Arches.  The dog, it has to be said, was a bit of a pest today.  He kept disappearing to dig up poo from underneath the bushes (what is doing so much pooping in the bushes?  It clearly needs to look at it’s diet!) and what should have been an hour’s walk took us much longer as I had to keep going to back to find him.

A rope swing hangs from a tree branch in a wood.

A reflected tree in the water of the canal

A footpath alongside a canal. The trees are reflected in the water.

A footpath leading through an arch of trees

Two black and white ponies standing together. The one on the left may be a foal

It’s been such a beautiful Spring day, though, and it was a joy to walk on the footpaths beside the reflecting canal and through the tree tunnel.  I wanted to stop to chat to the ponies but the dog was keen to get home by this point so we hurried on … only to find that our car was blocked in by a tractor (I was worried that we’d parked in the wrong place and blocked the access but it turned out we hadn’t) but fortunately the farmer was able to move out of the way for us quite quickly.

I was glad to get home and as the sun was shining, I headed into the garden.  I think I mentioned that it’s green bin day on Friday which means that our garden waste gets collected.  We have to pay for the service but for me, it’s money well spent – we have hedges to be cut and so much waste that can’t go into the compost bins that the subscription fee broken down into monthly chunks is easily worth the cost compared to having to pile everything into the car to go to the tip.

This is what most of my borders have looked like.  It’s not great and I have wanted to get them sorted for quite some time now.  I know this is mostly a knitting blog so you might be wondering why there’s so much about the garden instead – my plan is to get all the work done now so that I can spend the Summer sitting in the garden enjoying the flowers and knitting.  It’s been my plan for the past couple of years but for one reason or another it’s not quite worked out as I wanted, but the signs are promising this year!

An overgrown garden border

I’ve been working my way around the borders one by one.  This one has taken a few sessions – it’s full of Crocosmia which has lovely orange flowers but is properly taking over everything.  The lady who gave me the plants in the first place did warn me that it’s invasive but I didn’t think it would be quite as bad as it is!

A view of a garden border. In the foreground is a metal incinerator with an orange mug resting in the lid

It turns out that a new incinerator is a handy place to put your mug 🙂

These are the corms that the Crocosmia produce.  They stack on top of each other and you can grow a new plant from each corm.  The border is full of them plus they produce rhizomes which are shoots that grow under the surface of the soil to produce a new plant … I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of them totally (and I don’t mind a few) but I’ve thrown bucket loads of them into the green bin!

Crocosmia corms held in a green gloved hand

On the plus side, my Camellia looks set to flower for the first time ever.  I’ve got one flower and it’s taken years for that one to appear so I’m very excited!

A branch of a Camellia bush with a flower bud

I’ve also been cutting back the Osmanthus.  It could be holly, couldn’t it?  It’s very spiky too!

A close up of variegated spiky leaves

I know this probably doesn’t look as if it’s a massive improvement – the grass is in a shocking state so I don’t have sharp edges to the border and that always makes it look better if you’ve got a definite line – but actually, it’s a million times better than it was and I’m looking forward to filling it up with some new plants this year.

I didn’t stay out too much longer because the weather looked set to turn …

A weather forecast showing a sunshine and a prediction of snow

Snow and ice?!  I think the weather app on my phone was having a funny moment!

And then, after my afternoon of gardening, I spent a happy hour in the bath.  My husband brought me a hefty glass of wine and I have a new book.  Too much information on my reading material?  Sorry about that!  (I’m really not 🙂 )

A glass of white wine and a book rest on a wooden laundry basket lid

I’ll tell you more about the book when I’ve read more of it (in case you can’t see properly, it’s called the “Hormone Repair Manual” by Lara Briden and it’s written for women over 40 because we need to know about these things) but so far, it seems to me that it’s written in a kind, empathetic and empowering kind of way and that’s a good enough reason to keep reading.

And that’s me for today.  No more knitting tonight, or only very carefully at least.  That hefty glass of wine has all gone and I’m probably not safe to be in charge of a heel flap.

See you tomorrow!

PS  If you’ve been getting updates about the blog through Mailchimp emails (they’re the ones with the photo of the garden on them) then it’s had a meltdown because I’m posting every day and has refused to send any more this month.  If you want the daily email, you might want to switch over to the other mailing list (sign up form in the left hand side bar) and unsubscribe from Mailchimp then you don’t get two emails.  What a faff!

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14 Responses

  1. happy hooker says:

    It's good the vet isn't concerned about your dog's diet. Like you, I've been clearing one of my beds of crocosmia and schizostylis. They've both taken over and are also full of ground elder and couch grass, so into the green bin they go. There's still some left which I've no doubt will take over again! xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh dear, I've just ordered some Schizostylis plants …🤣

    • happy hooker says:

      They are lovely, bright red, but do tend to take over. I'm thinking I might plant some in pots and place them in the borders. I got them from my Mum's garden. She always called them schizophrenia, so that's what I call them too!😁

    • Carrie says:

      I bought some of those too !
      Crocosmia…I’m with you on the pulling out and chucking.. and I hate to throw good plants away! My other invasive plant was houytonia Chordata, which has pretty green and red leaves and smells gingery, but gets everywhere and grows in cracks in the paving! And phygelius which spreads by runners, I’d have a garden of nothing but these three if I wasn’t careful.

  2. Sharon says:

    Hello from wintery Canada. We still have snow on the ground and probably won’t see spring until mid May. Seeing all of your green shoots coming up makes my heart happy. I learned to knit socks this winter but I have to concentrate really hard so no car knitting yet 😀

  3. Unknown says:

    Thanks for your chatty blog which I enjoy enormously. Cathy from Sydney, Australia.

  4. luluknitts says:

    Have done the faff subscribe/unsubscribe thing as I think I first subscribed to your blog back when Noah was hammering away at his dinghy thing, so hopefully I won't miss out on any of these daily chats (loving them by the way). When we lived in SA, we used to grow crocosmia in large tubs (actually half barrels) to contain them as they really can take over. The longer you leave them in, the more they double up and the more flowers you get – perfect. Overwinter in a cool corner of the garden with a bit of mulch, then stand them in the flower bed where you planted that very special plant that never grew (we all have those gaps). I think we used to split ours out every 2/3 years and just give away the corms in a pot to people as gifts with a little tag saying what they were – "Crocosmia – The Gap Filler". Anyway, just thought I'd pass that on. Take care and stay safe. xx

  5. Margaret says:

    I hope you succeed with your crocosmia. Last year about this time I had a blitz on my Snowflake bulbs – not sure what its official name is. Haven't succeeded but at least the quantity is manageable now and, I think, confined to the one clump I missed last year!

  6. Judetennis says:

    Do you have a photo of your dog please

  7. Susan Rayner says:

    We are still removing bits of Crocosmia from a flower bed in the front garden where we thougth we had taken it out about ten years ago – new bits grow every year! We edge our flower beds with old bricks – it helps with the mowing and keeps the edges mostly neat! We sometimes have to lift them a bit – we had three cats and two dogs to make a mess in the garden for years so are now getting on top of things! I hope the vet can find the allergy source for your dog! Labradors seem to have lots of allergies these days!! Have a lovely day.

  8. Attic24 says:

    Some days do feel waaaaay longer than others don't they? Glad you had a productive time in your borders, I can imagine the satisfaction levels were suitably high. I'm looking forward to you distilling the essence of that book for me once you've read through it…!xxxxx

  9. Christina says:

    Thursday now 🙂

    Our garden is full of crocosmia, I love the orange cheerfulness but every now and then, we need to pull a few patches up. We have another highly invasive plant but I can't remember the name, it has greenish flowers and catches raindrops beautifully on its leaves. I can't stand it and have been trying to keep in in one corner of the garden. Just remembered. Alchemilla something. I hope your can identify the source of your dog's allergies soon. Cx

  10. irune says:

    Like you, I take my knitting wherever I go so if I have to wait I don't mind 🤗
    Good luck with your garden!

  11. Beverly says:

    I've never grown crocosmia but I am having a terrible time with phlox. The mail lady gave me a root several years ago and I planted it in my flower bed. Now several years down the road it as taken over and I'm pulling, digging and dragging it out. It is pretty and smells good but I have other things that I love to grow in that bed. I'm loving the daily blogs. You think your live isn't interesting but it is much more interesting than mine. Spring is finally coming here in North Carolina in the US. We mowed our grass and did weedeating. There are daffodils, hyacinths, and camellias in full bloom. My camellias are trees now and full of red, red and white, and pink blooms.

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