Bursting into life

Highs and lows

posted in: Chickens, Plants | 0

Today has been a day of highs and lows. Weekends are always busy much like weekdays only all those jobs which can’t be done in the week due to work for the business tend to get done at this time. This also includes trying to fit in university work and an outing or two where possible. Jobs can include household chores such as clothers washing, hoovering, dusting and the like and one task which is always done at the weekend is cleaning out the chickens usually on a Sunday and usually where possible in the morning leaving the rest of the day free for other things. Their box as I call it or coop to others is cleaned out every week in the Winter as they spend more time in it due to shorter daylight hours and it becomes so much more soiled. In the summer this can usually be lengthened to every two weeks as they are outside more.

The chickens abode

The first low of the day was my inability to get into it as easily as I could do. You have to get on your hands and knees to get the gubbins out and give it a good brush out to be able to put clean paper and sawdust down. I fear someone, namely me must have been a little to enthusiastic in Christmas festivities and not active enough, even though I decided we would have a simple Christmas, enjoy the season and do some walking rather than get drawn into buying enough food to feed a small army. Not that this has happened particularly in the past but we can end up eating and drinking things we wouldn’t usually eat particularly when visiting relatives. So I immediately felt thoroughly hacked off.

The Orchard
View to the chicken’s pen

The next thing is the wind. I loath cleaning out the box when it’s windy. It so much more taxing and vexing. The sawdust gets blown about all over the place, invariable into your eyes. Newspaper and bags writhe round like a wild animal if they’re not contained and it’s just so much harder to get the mess cleared up. There’s no point waiting till later to do it the daylight hours are to short and it’s so windy of late it’s likely to get worse not better. This coupled with my earlier vexation and catching the bag of chicken poop on the wire of the gate which tore it open put me into a black mood, cursing and kicking the nearest block of wood. At this point there was clearly only two courses of action, either stay in a bad mood all day or give myself a good talking to, to try and gain a sense of perspective. What good would being in a black mood do, it won’t fix the situation nor would it make me pleasant company to be in. It usually results in my ending up with a bad headache and achieving nothing useful. The latter course of action seemed a better option. I went inside had a hot drink and tried to think of more pleasant things.

Corms in pots
Young Polygonatum plants

On going back outside I decided to plant the rest of the bulbs or at least some of them that have been lurking about in the utility room since last weekend. I was perplexed to find these in the shed a few weeks ago in a lidded bucket all soggy. Fortunately they were fine and had started to sprout roots and growth at the top. Having planted some of the Hyacinth bulbs a few weeks ago I let the rest dry out away from small furry critters which somehow manage to get into a metal shed and do their best to decimate everything. At this point it’s me 1, mice 0. This turned out to be a reasonable afternoon, a high apart from the savage winds. I managed to get all but nine bulbs planted along with the primroses which have been sulking on the plant bench since the end of November. I’m hoping now they can spread their feet in spacious compost they’ll end their sulk and at least put out a few flowers. The bulbs…well they might put some growth on but it might be too late for flowering. At least they are in compost where they are much better off and next year they can either be put into the garden or left to flower in the pots. The garden…now there’s a story. Plans are afoot for that, stay tuned as they say.

I also topped up various pots with compost as it seemed to have sunk in places. Where does it go to? The compost monster must eat it. There are a number of Hosta’s in pots one being sum and substance. Each year I spread a layer of compost over the crown as it’s surface roots always seem to appear. It’s on our patio under a shady canopy next to our table and chairs and always produces wonderful lucious leaves. Another pot next to it has Polygonatum odoratum ‘Angled Soloman’s seal’ in it. This produces wonderful tall arching stems with dainty, dancing creamy, green flowers. I’m fond of mixing contrasting leaves and textures and these two work really well together.The pots of tulips and daffodils planted today will add a splash of colour next to them.

Bulbs planted were numerous tulips along with Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus. The phesant eye daffodil, wonderfully fragrant, pure white with a yellow and red rimmed cup. They naturalise well with wildflowers such as fritillaries and cowslips. This might be something to to consider doing with them at a later date. Narcissus ‘Jetfire’. This is a cyclamineus type daffodil, it has wonderful swept back petals with bold orange trumpets. It is also suited to naturalising in bold drifts to add a splash of colour. I have a fondness for the smaller types of daffodil like these. I find them pleasing to the eye and less likely to be savaged by gales than the taller, large varieties and I like to put them into baskets and containers. Having said that I think the larger varieties look best when planted in bold drifts where they help to support each other. Either way you can’t beat daffodils whatever they are to cheer the heart. I’m always happy to see the first traces pushing through the soil you then know spring is just around the corner.

Bursting into life
Hyacinth bulbs