Spring continued

May

Two pied wagtails appeared, darting over the pond for hours,  and pirouetting – almost hovering – as they changed direction in their chase after insects. One of them often settled onto a willow twig sticking above the water,  and both would alight on floating blanket weed while they chose the next direction to set off after insects.

The blanket weed has been a problem this year. A surface growth covering more than half the pond was raked off in April, but it is now growing even more vigorously, less on the surface, though. Instead it is making foot deep mats on the bottom of the pond, which bring its top surface up into sunlight. There are lots of suggested cures on the web, some of them proprietary chemicals. The simplest, and first on the Royal Horticultural Society list, is to twirl it off with a stick. In fact, it is far more efficient to use a grass rake. We have cleared a few tens of square metres of blanket weed right down to the bottom to see what happens. Some sources, but not the RHS, claim that removing the weed makes it distribute more spores and grow even faster. We shall see….

Worked on the new flower bed which we are developing on the east side of the pond, along a new path, planting dutch iris to add to the mixture of perennial plants (aquilegia, alchemilla, myrtle seedlings) and herbs (sage and thyme) already moved there.

In the vegetable patch planted courgettes and runner beans (on a wigwam), 27 May. Also a row of seeds of beetroot and small strip of radish.

Cleared a solid mass of couch grass which has covered part of the pond bank with astonishing speed. Also removed a lot of rushes, reeds and perennial deep-rooted weeds. Plan is to sow wild meadow grass mixture to compete with the weeds.

Found three Primula florindae in the undergrowth near the garden boundary plus a Rogersiae and transferred them to much better positions near the pond edge. They were planted before the pond was cleared and seemed to have been swallowed up by wild vegetation. Also found two more Gunnera among the weeds, bringing the total to five. Two are big enough to start dominating. The acanthus planted by the fence a year ago have benefitted from the wet autumn, winter and spring and are now well established.

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