After a week of wind and rain I was hoping the plants in the garden at Shoestring Cottage would not all have been flattened. Luckily though some of the holllyhocks had blown over and the lavatera were a bit the worse for wear, most things had survived quite well and the birds hadn't denuded the blackberry of all its fruit.
Best of all, the passionfruit vine which I planted a couple of seasons ago with such high hopes has romped away and is covered with fruit, while still having some flowers as well. It looks set to be a bumper crop and a long season. I am researching recipes to make the most of these crops and I will post the best of them with the rest of the recipes. The Duke of Ringloes keeps on sending me photos via his cellphone of Eton Mess puddings he has been eating, so I plan to outdo him with my own Blackberry Eton Mess. Watch for further developments.
The birds have kept up their persecution of me this week. I was astonished to see that less than five minutes after I planted some seedlings in a small strip of earth between a concrete path and a fence (because in a small garden it's essential to make the most of every space after all, wouldn't you agree?), they had come along behind me and wrenched most of them straight out.
Having said that though, I have to admit to feeling some sympathy for the poor starlings raising their ungrateful young in the bird house. All day long the babies keep up a constant shrill demand for food and the parents must be exhausted by nightfall. I fancy the parents are starting to look somewhat disheveled and scruffy because they have no time left for themselves and certainly no peace from the demanding offspring. The babies are getting very large now and I sometimes think it is time they fended for themselves. At this rate they could grow too big to exit the nesting box and be condemned to a life indoors.
Feed us, feed us, we are starving! Where are you?
Hurry up, I need food right now!
And about time too, where have you been?
One of the big successes this weekend was the selection of hydrangeas which were kindly donated last year as cuttings. Now they are blossoming their hearts out, and what a big range of flower forms and colours there are. They are so prolific that the small plants can barely support the blossoms, some of which are drooping down onto the earth. Not all of them have flowered yet but the ones which have are very pretty.
The fuchsias are enjoying all the rain and haven't been too much affected by the wind either.
Last year's attempt at growing the flamboyant gloriosa rothschildiana was a dismal failure and eventually I resorted to buying a plant which was already in flower. It has rewarded me by sprouting again this spring and I love the way the tendrils all wrap round each other in an effort to support themselves. I have planted some more this season and am thrilled to see that some have started to push through the soil. Strangely, the instructions which came with the tubers were that if in pots the plants should not be moved once planted, because they align themselves according to the directions of the compass and can strangle their own emerging shoots if they become confused! Therefore the ones I put in pots have been very carefully marked as to which way they need to remain facing if the pots need to be moved. Most curious. I am terrified I will one day do the wrong thing and I can just imagine them in a dreadful situation of subterranean self-strangulation. It is a very bit responsibility, looking after these delicate divas. I only hope I am up to the task.