greentapestry : Bring Out The Oil Can

Monday, 6 April 2009

Bring Out The Oil Can

'A really long day of weeding is a restful experience, and quite changes the current of thought. For some people it is more efficient than a rest cure'
~ so writes Anna Lee Merritt in an extract on 'Weeders and Diggers' from
'The Virago Book of Women Gardeners'.

Just who is this woman kidding ? Having spent four hours or so in arm to arm combat with some of the tenacious weeds at my allotment, I would definitely not call the experience a 'rest cure'. I am creaking - I can only echo the
'Tin Man's'
plea to bring out the oil can. However it was most satisfying tussling with yard long hanks of marestail in the spring sunshine, slinging them with gay abandon into a pile, which was carefully removed at the end of the session. This was my my main gardening activity over the weekend, as we had the first night of the year away in the campervan on Saturday. The forecast for the forthcoming week is not promising reading - rain and more rain but then on balance we probably need it, so I may have to content myself to being restricted to greenhouse activities.

We have enjoyed some pleasant spring weather during the past week, especially in the afternoons so it has been a good week for gardening activities. The greenhouse is slowly filling up and is now home to various lettuces and salad mixes, beetroot 'Bulls Blood', chard' Rainbow Lights' (poor germination), leeks' Bleu Solaise', celeriac 'Monarch' , peas Feltham First (poor germination) sweet pepper 'Sweet Orange Baby' and tomatoes' Ildi','Czech's Excellent Yellow', 'Marmande' and 'Japanese Black Trifele'. Only just sown and not showing yet are sweet pepper 'Corno di toro', carrots 'Parmex', peas 'Kelvedon Wonder', courgettes 'Defender','Romanesco' and 'Soleil', summer squash 'Sunburst', cucumber 'Burpless Tasty Green' and artichoke 'Violet de Provence'. I managed to missed the latter off my seed order list but good fortune dictated a free packet with the last edition of 'Gardens Illustrated'. More sowings to be made this week.

On the flower front there are sweet peas 'Matucana' and 'Pathfinder',perennial white stock, cosmos 'Purity', sunflower 'Vanilla Ice' and nicotiana mutablis.

Himself has earned his laurels this week, by shifting three tons of improved soil conditioner which was delivered here, down to the allotment. It is going some way to filling up the three new raised beds.

Arriving in the post this week a ticket to a summer propagation workshop to be held in June at Lodge Lane Nursery which is my favourite local nursery. There is a spring workshop later this month but the tickets were all booked. Himself is taking to the nursery later this week to buy me an Easter plant or two - not as fattening as a chocolate egg.

Mystery of the week is where has my Japanese Painted Fern gone - here it is last year:

Not a sign of it coming through so far and I am sure that it was through the ground by this time last year. Maybe it is a victim of the cold winter. I do hope not as it is/was one of my favourite plants. It looks as if I may really have a gap but I going to heed VP's recent cautionary advice and play the waiting game a bit longer.

Star of the garden this week a double primrose of long lost label status, but which I am reasonably sure goes by the name of 'Quakers Bonnet'. I thought that a photo of this flower would be more attractive than a mugshot of the dreaded marestail. You can see that I am behind with the gardening tasks otherwise I would have cleared away the leaves on the ground by now !


  1. Yes, that weeding can be exhausting. At least it looks better once it's done. I need to get weeding too. It sure sounds like you have a lot going on in your greenhouse!
    My painted fern isn't up yet either. I'm going to give it a little more time too. Yours sure looks pretty with that combination of leaves.

  2. I love that Primrose! Now I really want to track one down. (I know, it's hard to believe, but I have no Primroses.) A day of weeding isn't such a creak-inducing experience in the middle of summer when I'm back in shape, but now, it is a literal pain in the gluteous maximus.

  3. Hi Anna

    Nice to find your blog. I love the dainty primrose.

    Your allotment reminds me of when I had one years ago.Struggling to get it weed free. Now we grow vegetables in the garden and still don't manage to get on top of all the gardening jobs. However now I am well I am romping away in this nice weather catching up on jobs.

  4. Hi Anna

    Mare's tail is exactly that, a mare.

    I'm growing Cosmos Purity this year.

    Lodge Lane nursery is your local. Doesn't she post on the Beeb's message board as Trillium now and then?

    We've got the rain heading here tonight as well. It's forecast to be stormy at times. We've had the warmest day so far, 25C this afternoon. It's been too dry so bring on the rain. Course that'll bring on the weeds!!!


  5. My painted fern has only just started to appear and it is in quite a sheltered position

  6. Anna, yes, working in the garden makes one creeeeeky, but also tired in a good way. Maybe that's what she meant about rest! ;-)

  7. I like those double primroses though some colours seem to do better than others.
    My Painted Fern is just showing a tiny amount so yours may pop up soon.

  8. Anna:
    My J. painted fern was so late last year that I ended up replacing, or should I say adding a companion, as surely happens, she was late in making her appearance, but rewarded me with a wonderful display! With the snow today, I suspect everything will be later this year...*sigh*

  9. The painted fern is beautiful~ I sure hope it will come back for you this year, Anna. The lavender shade of your primrose is lovely, too;-)

  10. Anna, great post - I am way behind with my seedlings compared to you. Interestingly I had poor germination of my Feltham First too.

    Mares Tail - nightmare :(

  11. I have to agree about a long day of weeding. But I'll take ibuprofen over an oil can ;-)

    I recently picked up a copy of The Virago Book of Women Gardeners so I'm off to look up that passage right now.

  12. I'm with you on the weeding/digging question,I'm still aching from my afternoon dig for victory on Sunday. But pleased with the result.... always satisfying to have a big pile of weeds to dispose of!

  13. My Japanese painted ferns are some of the last plants to come up in my garden. The slow pokes seem to want to be doubly sure that all cold is long gone, or maybe they just have trouble waking up.

  14. Hello and thanks for all your comments.

    Catherine,Patientgardener,Easygardener,Teza & Northern Shade - thanks for your encouraging vibes on the subject of my Japanese Painted Fern. I am still looking at a bare patch of earth but am resisting the urge to plant anything else or replace it. I have since bought another Japanese Painted Fern just in case and I have discovered one that I bought last year still in a pot in the coldframe. I may yet have a trio of these beauties :)

    Do get yourself a primrose MMD - every garden should have one :) Yes summer weeding does not take quite such a toll on the body ! we are adjusted to it by then.

    Welcome Joanne and thanks for your comment. My dream is to have a veg patch at the end of the garden but the garden is too shady and there is no patch that would naturally lend itself to that. One day maybe .......... :)

    I could not describe marestail better myself Rob without resorting to ***********s. Yes Sue does post on the Beeb message boards as Trillium. Your weather sounds positively most warm.

    Yes indeed Monica - weeding is one of those tasks that is therapeutic for the mind. I should take heart from that :)

    Thanks Jan :)

    Karen - I was so lucky as I managed to pick up some Feltham First seedlings from Lodge Lane Nursery a few days ago. Sorry to hear about your poor germination.

    Medication is certainly preferable to the old oil can Entangled :) I am sure that you will enjoy 'the Virago Book of Women Gardeners'. It's a lovely book to dip into.

    Welcome Marie and thanks for your comment. As you say weeding is definitely one of those jobs where you see an end result and can purr with pleasure afterwards :)


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.