Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Raspberry Patch of Shame

Hello Friends!

Happy Mothering Sunday

for tomorrow, March 26th.  You can read more about how we celebrate Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom here.  Although today we use the day to celebrate our mothers, you will see that it has quite different origins to what you might think.

Spring is officially here! Hip! Hip! Hurrah! For a few weeks now, she has been teasing us with quick glimpses of sunny days, but the Spring Equinox earlier this weeks heralds the official start of spring in the northern hemisphere, while our antipodean friends start their autumn.

We have been blessed now, for a few days, with sunshine and blue skies; lighter winds ~ lighter is by definition, for winds of twenty mph are light by comparison to forty mph winds, of course; birds singing to welcome in the spring; and the garden slowly waking up.

Here is a passage I wrote on my Facebook page earlier this week ~~~
The sun is shining bold and bright in a nearly cloudless blue sky, but belies the cold air that rushes in as I open the windows ~ floods of freezing fresh air to get the spirit moving ~ maybe moving towards the kettle and tea pot rather than towards the bucket and mop? The lawn is lush and verdant, speckled with innocent daisies, golden dandelions, and bountiful buttercups {sighs} ~~~ the chirrups and tweets of birdsong echoes across this Shire garden, as it has done since before 6:00 a.m. ~ the sweetest, but maybe not the most timely, alarm clock of them all ~~~
I have mowed my lawn, and the plaintive springtime mating call of lonely lawn mowers can be heard each day, echoed by the call of more and more as they waken from their winter slumber, but never shall they meet for hedges and walls stand in their way across the Shire gardens ~~~

Laundry dances on the washing lines, bobbing gaily in the gentle breeze ~~~

I love to see my white vintage table linens washed, pegged for drying later to be rolled up slightly damp ready for starching, pressing and careful folding until ready to be used again.

The thrill of the first white Pasque Flower bursting open came this very week. Soon there will be many more, and then the magical seedheads will appear to enchant me once again ~~~

Acid green and brown Euphorbia spikes jut up from the border ~~~

and the Osteospermums, which have not stopped flowering since last summer, are now bursting forth to welcome in the warmer, longer days ahead ~~~

Soon, they will be transplanted from their temporary Growbag home into a waiting border ~~~

The herb garden is waking too with rosemary full of lavender bloom, white comfrey; sweet cicely and more ~~~

Fragrant wallflowers, so freely spread themselves about the garden, with fragrant blooms, an early treat to see ~~~

and now my Raspberry Patch of Shame ~~~ it remained unloved and uncared for all last summer {thanks to two inopportune arthritic flare ups in my spine} so this year is in need of a jolly good sort out!  I've already made a start: hacking away at honeysuckle as it encroaches upon my garden from next doors unattended yard; I have cleared a mass of rampant blackberry brambles ~ which set my back off again and brought a slight halt to proceedings ~ and now am faced with all this matted couch grass!  Plenty of exercise there then, and nothing that a herd of goats couldn't manage in a week ~~~

Before ~~~

and after a few hours clearing ~~~

The once tidy rows of canes are lost, and it breaks my heart to see it in such a mess, but I am determined to clear it all without the use of chemicals!  It is a work in progress, for sure.

I shall leave you with a small puzzle.  I found this 'catkin' or 'pussy willow' on my blueberries ~ there are several of these little fuzzie wuzzies and I have never seen before.  If anyone knows about these, or has seen them before, I'd love to know!

This week I must look to my laurels, for there is much work to be done in the garden, time is marching on, and a gardener's work is never done!  Tomato, chilli, and pepper seed sowing are on the list of gardening jobs for this weekend!

Until next time ~~~
~~~ Deborah xo


  1. Your garden is awakening in all of its glory, dear Deb! You are way ahead of us here in the Mid Atlantic states. How lovely to have so many blooms appearing to your delight. Spring is a fickle one and has teased us quite a bit this year. Coming before her time in February and then leaving us with ice and snow. The poor plants are ever hopeful and will bloom soon. The ever hopeful gardener wishes.
    Your blueberry plant does appear to be in bud stage. Maybe the beginning of wonderful berries to come. xoxo ♥

    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen ~ yes, our winter was peculiarly mild, then after a few spring like days had teased us, here comes a cold, wet and windy fortnight, quickly followed by glorious early spring!
      ~~~Deb xoxo

  2. My Pasque flowers are blooming now, I bought them last year I think after seeing them on your blog, they are beauties.

  3. Those osteospernums are amazing. I tried to tackle my autumn raspberry jungle last week but the soil was just too muddy.

    1. They are minature ones, Sue. I will be interested, and will report back, to see how they size up when in the borders.

  4. I have a suggestion to save your back. Dig up a few raspberry canes and pot them or plant somewhere else, then cover the ground with a thick layer of mulch of whatever your soil needs to improve it - whether that be manure, compost or grit or all three. Then cover with thick black plastic and leave for a year. You can put pots on top for colour and interest. This kills the weeds and conditions the soil and makes the soil much easier to work. I have done this to good effect in my garden. xx

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is something I've thought about but one of the worst things when my back goes is the watering of pots ~ it just doesn't happen. I've thought about the whole mulch layering and just foregoing one year of production to give that a go. As the plot was once a field and the main issue is couch grass, I really think I'm fighting a losing battle though. Dxo

  5. Hi Deb~
    Your photos are always lovely and it's so nice to see your "corner of the world". I do think in time you will get that bed all back into shape. I look forward to that photo when you do! You are Welsh, after all and are known for your determination. Of course, my mom calls it by another name. lol

    Love and hugs,

    1. Hello My Friend ~ You have been missed; it is lovely to see you back ~ Deb xoxo

  6. Love your photos and Raspberry patches easily go awry! Good job clearing it, XOXO

    1. Thank you ~ a few days of torrential rain and it now looks as if it has not been touched! xoxo

  7. Hey, Deborah! You have such unusual plants in your garden. I don't think I recognized anything except the rosemary! lol Are these native to your area?

    1. Hello Kimberly! Some are, some aren't. I think, thanks to the Victorian penchant for plant collection the lines are now often blurred between what is native and what is not.


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