Early morning light on the garden was most enticing today.

We have eagerly awaited the emergence of the splendid red poppies from their hairy chrysalises:

The first picture in this post shows part of the brick path at the back of the house, and demonstrates its need for weeding. Following my effort with the patio two days ago, I had planned to remove the grass and other small plants from the cracks in the paving. But I changed my mind.

To the right rear of that same photograph there is a triangular patch of ground that was covered in plants, for instance a tree peony, that had been purchased or potted up ready for insertion in the soil. There are perhaps a couple of dozen. I decided to do something about sorting these out and maybe planting some of them.

I removed all the pots and lined them up on the path. The next job was to clear the weeds, including tentacles of catch-weed, a few nettles, and the odd bramble. This done I had to summon the head gardener for identification of specimens and suggestions as to planting. I complicated the process a little by deciding to plant the pieris and the azalea mentioned on 6th April in some of the space. I had had these two shrubs in pots for six years. It seemed only right that they should have a permanent home at last. But it did mean that there was less room for those left by our predecessors. And there are of course 80 potted plants awaiting collection from Shelly and Ron’s.

Some of the items I was working on today were trees, and therefore did not belong in the flower beds. Jackie suggested a position for the tree peony in part of a shrubbery that didn’t seem to have too much of importance in it. This area, and its invisible gravel access path, was in fact filled with brambles, sticky Jack, and other weeds entwined among some lovely shrubs and a huge rose bush that Jackie tied to a myrtle tree to keep it from gouging my scalp. So, here was another clearance task that diverted me from the planting. The path will also need raking when I’ve finished.

Again, there were trips down the garden to the compost heap. On my way there, I tended to step into other areas of growth and emerge with armfuls of the multiply nicknamed gallium aparine mentioned a few days ago. This becomes more and more urgent as the weeds’  little white flowers multiply.

Gardening, in these circumstances, is full of diversions. Maybe I’ll get the planting done tomorrow. On the other hand, I might cut the grass. After all, we did buy a strimmer for the purpose.

Regular readers will have followed the progress of the cleaning up of our new home. Now the worst of this is over, Jackie, the practical member of our team, has been applying herself more to the task of righting some of the appalling DIY efforts. She is still working on the master suite bathroom. Some rather amazing colours have been used on the walls over the years. Recently a white wash of sorts has been sloshed over these.

It is not enough simply to clean and polish fixtures and fittings. Spatters of blue, turquoise, orange and red paint have to be scraped off. Even cover-up magnolia has left its spots. To this end, Jackie, having polished it, found it almost impossible to remove a toilet tissue holder from the  wall in order to scrape off offending material. Until she tried the almost unthinkable.

‘He couldn’t have’, she thought.

But he had. This photograph of the fixture was taken the right way up.

Not realising the aberration, Jackie had been, as expected, pushing the container up to release it from the wall. How was she to know that this one should be pushed downwards? She thinks it was only frequently painted-over masking tape that kept the object clinging to its perch.

We dined this evening on delightful chilli con carne (recipe), peas and rice, and garlic bread.

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