I’ve been cleaning the guttering this week. Well, more accurately I’ve been watching a very agile, capable young lad go up a ladder and clear them out on my behalf. I’m not very good with ladders, it’s OK getting up them but it’s coming down I have bother with. It all started when I was a young lad (cue a flashback wave) my mother took me to a large lighthouse for a pleasurable day uot. I got half way up the sweeping spiral staircase and then just froze. The rest of the group went ahead to see the joys of huge pieces of cut glass dissipating the light over the sea whilst I huddled in a ball on the 200th stone step waiting for some company. (Cue another wavy flashback)
My other memorable time going up heights was the time I worked in a sand quarry. I thought to get over being scared of heights I would climb the vertical ladder up to the top of a 100 foot silo. “That’ll sort me out” I thought.
It was a cold clear morning when I set foot on the cold steel and eventually made my way to the top. It took a while with lots of stops but I got there and climbed on the flat roof. As I mentioned earlier, it’s getting back on the ladder that’s the problem, I just couldn’t do it. Three hours I sat up on the top of that silo. It seemed like three weeks.
Eventually because of the cold, I plucked up the courage to dangle my legs over and slowly made my way down to the ground, one slow rung of the ladder at a time. I was under the impressing that facing your fears was a good thing, but as it turns out, not always.
My latest wobble on a high place was climbing Errigal. I managed to get to the first peak but couldn’t for the life of me step on the narrow path to get to the second one. try as I might all I could see was the lake below and nothing to stop me falling into it. I wasn’t really a good role model for the children (who managed to take no notice of me and get to the other side) at least I can teach them not to be scared of spiders.
Anyway, that’s why I am not cleaning the leaves out of the guttering. It’s far too jarring on my nerves.
It’s pretty early do be doing this type of job as there aren’t many leaves falling just yet but the lad was also fixing and replacing a few tiles on the roof that had either broken or dropped off this year so anytime is a good time just to check.
Growing for Showing
This is the time of year that keen vegetable and flower growers make their way to the summer shows in the hope of winning a rosette or cup for “Best in Show” I had my moment of glory earlier in the spring when I won the “Best Air plant Display” in our local show (the only entrant if you recall) but at this time of year it’s huge carrots, onions and leeks, perfectly formed courgettes and longest beans. Vases are full of gladioli, dahlias, antirrhinums, sweet peas and asters and the judges take their role very seriously to keep up the high standards. I don’t have anything of show quality in my own garden. I was reading an article recently saying the broad beans have finished which made me realise I haven’t even harvested mine yet as they are hiding behind the runner beans. They will probably be very tough and certainly not good enough to show, so I’ll just give them a good boiling.
It’s not all about growing for showing, we can enjoy many beautiful swathes of colour in the garden for the next couple of months. Here
Asters and Michaelmas Daisies
Ice Plant (Sedum spectabile and other varieties)
- Bergamot Japanese Anemones
- Cranesbill (Hardy Geranium)
- Eupatorium maculatum ‘Atropurpureum’
- Ornamental Grasses
- Monk’s hood (Aconitum carmichaelii)
- Pennisetum varieties
- Prairie Daisy
Planning and Planting Tips
When planning your borders, choose a selection of plants that flower at different times through the year so there’s always something colourful to enjoy.
Plant taller growing autumn flowering varieties behind low growing summer ones so they’ll grow up above them once summer displays fade away.
A small group of, say, three plants of one variety often looks more impressive than choosing three different things.