The portents are ominous. I don’t know why there is so much controversy when Wales play England. If we win, we don’t gloat (not half), if we lose, we congratulate the victors with good humour. We have to, of course, under duress, when we’re playing away and we’re looking for a friendly pub. Beating Italy last week doesn’t count of course. They’re great sportsmen (and can sing quite well too) but not quite up to the standard of the home teams. We let the English win occasionally because we’re kind like that. Don’t want to draw attention to their inferiority complex. We’ll happily celebrate whatever the result is with the French, Scottish, Irish and Italians (who, remember, only got in because the English got out and we wanted to keep the numbers up).
Last week. Johnny Sexton’s drop goal won it for Ireland. Sorry Fred in France. In the past, Jonny Wilkinson was a potent drop goaler and penalty kicker for England and we all recognised his talent and respected it. I’m John. Mr Propagator’s Jon (the English always drop their aitches). I doubt either of us could step up to the mark on the rugby field. We’ll probably be reduced to flinging clods of earth at each other. Figuratively speaking of course. I’m keeping a lump of concrete handy. Freshly dug from above one of stumpy’s roots (if that mystifies you, check some of my back-blog-posts).
Anyhow, whilst we’re still on speaking terms, here’s my contribution to this week’s Six.
1 The Edifice2 Saga Moves Forward
Was January 13 ominous? My #SixonSaturday post that day set out my plans for Edifice2 in the front garden. The bits are here. A lot of the plants are here. But Stumpy and his associated roots defeated me. Well, finding an unexpected 8″ diameter root running into my neighbour’s garden was the final nail in my aged back’s coffin. I could have got round the problem by ignoring it but that would have meant an aesthetic disaster. I want this to look good when I’ve finished the job so am not going to scrimp on the preparation.
So, on Tuesday, the professionals turned up, complete with younger backs and all the right equipment. The quote was good and covered all eventualities, as they say. I’d known of the company for ages so wasn’t worried about their credentials. They’d expected to do the job in under three hours but it took them close on six thanks to some mysterious lumps of concrete that got in the way and turned out to be the remnants of an aborted fence installation before my time (I bought the house “new” so before my time is anyone’s guess). They also cleared a far greater area of roots than I’d expected. I offered them a bit more than they’d quoted but they refused. “A quote’s a quote.” My back will live to do something another day.
We won’t mention the 12″ diameter root they found and removed. I didn’t know that was there. Honest!
Now on with the
mottley build. Looks like I’m going to get wet.
2 Not Quite
This is a bit early but my (currently) solitary Camellia is showing signs of waking up. At least it’s not an emerging bulb.
3 Cyclamen Reprise
Last week there were photos of Cyclamen coum coming in to flower. I’ve tried for years to grow them but, whether I start from potted plants or bulbs, I can never get the damned things to go beyond a year; indeed I’m lucky if I get bulbs to grow in their first year. Investigative digging reveals that the bulbs have not been dug up by squirrels nor eaten by mice though some have clearly rotted. The area I’ve tried to grow them in isn’t that wet, though it is a clay soil, albeit augmented. Anyhow, I decided to give up on this expensive Cyclamen hobby and buy “disposables”. Last autumn’s tray were in flower then and now, in early February, they’re still in flower. They’ll do for another month or so before they snuff it. I’ll try, as always, to pot them up and keep them going until the autumn but I know I’ll fail. I’m just a sucker for punishment.
4 Non-Tender Tender Fuchsia
About 12 years ago, I filled this wall planter with tender fuchsias for the summer. I didn’t empty the planter that autumn and, lo, the so-described “tender” fuchsias regrew for a second year. Since then, I’ve left them year after year, unprotected, at the mercy of the elements. I hold my breath each spring, waiting for signs of awakening and wondering whether, should death finally embrace these gallant plants, I would leave the planter untouched as a sort of memorial to unexpected longevity.
Well I can stop wondering for another year as new growth has appeared. I’ll leave things for a while before some careful pruning.
5 New Tools
After breaking a spade and digging fork a fortnight ago, I thought I’d better get replacements. I like the Spear and Jackson offerings but they’re damned difficult to get around here. So I relented and looked on Amazon. I promise to do penance. I found, in that over-sized emporium, a matching set of digging spade and digging fork. There was also a matching border fork on offer so why not, I thought. Well I need some smaller tools for working in Edifice 2, when I eventually get round to building it.
Amazon then, in its wisdom, decided to speed up my order by delivering the three items on three consecutive days using Amazon Logistics. Round here you can set your watch by the different courier companies. They each turn up within their allotted one-hour window. As long as you know which courier is being used, you know which hour to be around to receive your goodies. But not Amazon Logistics. Any time between 7am and 9pm. Thanks Amazon for effectively sterilising three days of my life. Next time, a single delivery perhaps?
Still, I have nice new shiny tools. And the news that Niwaki have now brought out a border-sized Sukoppu. So I’ve ordered one, along with some other Niwaki goodies. I know when the parcel will arrive, day and time-slot.
6 A Word
Finally, as fellow SoSer Mrs Daffodil will know, I often invent new words. Well this isn’t one. It’s in the Oxford English Dictionary, don’t you know? Abbie Jury, who gardens in New Zealand and who I’ve featured in a previous six, blogged about it so I thought I’d give it a mention as our host plans a replan of his garden and I start to think about removing the large front lawn ….. I give you
So There We Go!
Of course, if England win later, it’ll be entirely down to home advantage, as we won’t be able to blame a blind Irish referee* (the referee’ll be French and I have a lot of French friends, all growing in Fred’s garden), unless they beat us by at least 27 points and so demonstrate that they have learned to play rugby properly.
It’s all good natured fun, of course. Whoever wins, I hope it’s a good game and that no limbs get detached during proceedings.
Of course, there is the war of words going on. Which reminds me of an ancient story. It involves Julius Caesar on his second, and more successful, attempt to conquer Britain. Having beat the crap out of the English, he eventually came face to face with the Welsh (we called ourselves Celts then) army.
The Romans were lined up on one side of the valley, the Welsh on the other. The bottom of the valley was full of mist.
Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight the best of your men!”. Caesar sent his champion down into the mist. There came a clanging of swords and a smashing of shields together. All went quiet.
Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight ten of your best men!”. Caesar couldn’t admit defeat so he selected the ten best of his army and sent them down into the mist. There came a clanging of swords and a smashing of shields together. And screams. All went quiet.
Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight a hundred of your best men!”. Caesar couldn’t admit defeat so he selected the hundred best of his army and sent them down into the mist. There came a clanging of swords and a smashing of shields together. And screams. All went quiet.
Out of the mist came a cry. “Hey Caesar! I’m Caradog, the Welsh Champion. I’ll fight a thousand of your best men!”. Caesar was now in a real panic. He couldn’t refuse the challenge but this Welsh champion was just too good. He was about to select the best thousand soldiers from his army and send them down into the mist when he heard a groan and, out of the mist crawled a badly wounded soldier. In his death throes, the soldier called to Caesar: “It’s a trap! There’s two of them down there!”
In the meantime, pop over to our host’s blog, find his SoS post for today and scroll down to the comments to see links to the contributions of other worthies. This process, of course, sends his blog stats through the roof. Which will at least console him in the event of an away win today. To be honest, I have some doubt that he’s the slightest bit interested in rugby, preferring the round ball sport where someone whacks a ball somewhere low down and then everyone runs round hugging and kissing each other. So football IS a contact sport after all!
I won’t be around for a couple of Saturdays. Next week is the Alpine Garden Society’s South Wales show and the week after I have a Hardy Plant Society do to go to. But there will be some edifice construction blogs in the interim and one about coir. So, until we meet again, enjoy
our rugby victory your garden, and Thomas Stone’s plants of the week, if your wallet or purse can stand it!