On my way to continue attacking the lonicera and its companions, I made a pleasant discovery. I mentioned yesterday that the clearing of the area around the collapsed arch had revealed a red rose. This is because a pointed red bud provides a finial for the new gothic version. What I noticed today is a tiny white rose bloom with quite a number of buds.
We have two roses on the arch.
Four hours later I had almost cleared the lonicera from our side of the now virtually non-existent boundary. I followed the familiar process of lopping, uprooting, and tossing into the jungle anything that emanated from the other side. I thinned out our shrubs and tied up a rambling rose. The myrtle required special treatment. The leaves are meant to be variegated but sports have taken over. Taking them all out hasn’t left much vegetation, but the ochre coloured bark is very attractive. A sport is an abnormal result of spontaneous mutation. In this case the leaves were no longer two-toned. After lunch I dealt what I hope is the killer blow to the lonicera. It has, of course, rooted all over the place, but I think I found the original thick bunch of stems, sawed through them and smashed out what I could without going to the trouble of digging out the tangled clump.
We now have a clearance all the way from the new arch to the patio, so I will wander along every now and again and see off any invaders before they become colonists. We also have a fence of sorts, constructed of various sections of wire netting found around the garden, that I attached to iron posts that once probably held a proper boundary. For artistic merit my handiwork would doubtless score a perfect 0, but it forms a marker for any stray vegetation wandering through.
I made the mistake of asking Jackie to bring me some of the netting. This led her to divert from her own allotted task. Most of the netting came from a tangled heap behind a makeshift wooden screen near the side entrance to the house. She thought she would rather like to clear that space and make herself a den. This gave me the job of heavily pruning a holly and a bay tree that had got rather out of hand.. As I did this and smelt the wonderful scent of that culinary aromatic, I though of other bay trees I have known. The garden of the Phyllis Holman Richards Adoption Society in West Hill, Putney, possessed a beautiful bay tree, the elegance of which I always admired. In Newark, we had an enormous such tree, as high as the house and surrounded by pretty mature suckers, giving it the appearance of a very large bush. One day in the early 1990s I told Sylvia, the agency’s administrator, about this and asked why theirs was different. She explained that they had cut out all the surrounding growth to give it shape. I went home and did the same.
Jackie got her space, cleared it, and furnished it with further items from the skip pile. The shelves had once been in the garage, but I didn’t think they were quite up to scratch for the library. The rubbish heap has once more been somewhat depleted.
My lady’s main task today was to continue the renovation of the main central path through the garden. She did a good job on this, and added a tile with a concrete base she had found behind the screen to a path I had cleared some days ago.
For dinner we enjoyed chicken jalfrezi (recipe) and mushroom rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I had some more of the Languedoc.