It might be June drop in August, but still no-one told the tree it should keep at least a few apples.
IT’S PARTY TIME
I’m outside in the garden getting everything ready for a party this week. It’s not for me I might add, I tend to shy away from such shows of socialising, (maybe it’s the fear that no-one would turn up). It’s for Hilda, my mother in-law. It’s her 80th and we thought having the shindig at our house would spare her the trials of having her arms submerged in soapy water washing pots and running around with a dustpan and brush. Hilda is active enough at the best of times running 15 yoga classes a week as well as body boarding in her spare time, so she probably needs a rest from that too.
The weather is a bit unpredictable at the moment so I thought a 6m X 3m marquee would help if it were wet. If nothing else it will get the children outside so they could entertain themselves away from the boring adults. I can’t decide where to put it though.
Party planning is, I am finding out, a bit of an art. If the weather is fine we will need the lawn for children to play football so the marquee couldn’t go there, although if it’s wet it could….I have therefore decided to take the washing line down at the side of the house and squeeze the Homebase special in between the two washing line posts. This way if it’s dry the kids can play football and we can serve food in the marquee. I shouldn’t think we will be doing any washing as the last thing the 50 guests want to see are pairs of odd socks hanging up to dry.
I have been a couple of weeks preparing the garden for this party, starting with the hedge cutting. We have a lot of escallonia around the front and back of the garden and I found that the electric hedge cutters just weren’t up to the job. I would get half way around the front and then have to charge them up for four hours. Four hours is along time in the garden so by the time they are ready again, I am on to new things, usually putting my feet up in the front room.
I decided to invest in an electric set of hedge cutters and they are far lighter than petrol types. My arms start to buckle after a few minutes. I get plenty of rest with the electric cutters too as half of my time is taken up taping the severed electric cable back together again after I have accidentally cut through it. You don’t get as many rests with a petrol one.
I was going to leave the grass cutting until the day before the party, but again I have had to make hay whilst it’s dry, so the grass will be growing again for three days. This means that the stripes won’t be so defined. I like stripes, to the extent that even at cup final football matches when the teams are battling it out for the premiership, I’ll be commenting on the accuracy of the patterns on the pitch, much to the disgust of the lads.
I have noticed all of the fruit on the apple tree has dropped, so I am tidying those up before the wasps get excited and start to terrorise the guests. There must have been over 100 apples. It looks like something called June drop (although it’s August) and its nature’s way of getting the tree to self regulate how many apples it will produce so it doesn’t get too burdened. New trees shouldn’t really be growing too many as it could snap the branches. This tree is about fifteen years old though and every apple has fallen. If it is June drop, it’s a bit severe.
The strimming has been done as well as sweeping the driveway so I have had time to spend on small details around the garden. I usually try to anticipate where children will be playing and take out as many potential dangers as possible, so I have been cutting back small branches at children’s head height on the trees. The paths have also been swept and cleaned and I have gone around the vegetable beds with my new oscillating hoe to keep the weeds down.
One job that I will be doing a bit closer to the time is to dig up some early spuds for a potato salad. I grew four types this year from early to lates but as usual I have lost the labels. I planted them in a logical pattern from the earliest to the latest, but I have forgotten from which end of the beds I did it, so I will pick out random plants to see how they look. To tell the truth there isn’t that much else to do around the outside of the house. It’s not like I am entering the local gardening competition. There will always be something to do though like washing the windows and adding few trowels full of compost into the containers to liven them up. The longer I stay out of doors though, the less chance there is of me being set on doing domestic stuff. As long as I keep my gloves on and occasionally wander past the kitchen window with the wheelbarrow, I should look busy.