Friday 26 July 2013

Droughts, goodbyes and Physocarpuses (Week 16, Friday)

It seems that most horticultural traineeships/apprenticeships are applied to in January for an August start. That means that July in the final month for the participants in the schemes and today three of our trainees have gone. I will miss them, we had a good time together!

Other than that, today too I've been working hard on the stock-checking project, for as much as it is compatible with watering in this prolonged drought.

As I mentioned before, I work over 6 beds, maybe 100sqm each, arranged as a square and on all the trees that are enclosed by them. Hose pipes are quite heavy to carry around, let alone the sprinklers, and as you know I have been on my own this week; besides, I have had no use of the tractor of late. 

Watering entails that you put down all the sprinklers in the morning... 

... and that you take them away and tidy up at night; not every night, especially in a drought when you may leave the tap on, but certainly before a weekend, as it would not be safe or pleasant for visitors to have to negotiate their way through pipes and sprinklers, especially outside of the beds.

Kids seem to love to move them around and get wet, their parents mostly encouraging (who doesn't like a bit of fresh water in this hot weather?!?), but it is not safe as that is not drinking water we use for watering plants!

But in the time remaining, I have again worked on freeing up a few shrubs from their overgrown neighbours so next week I can check the plants in the bed. Physocarpus opulifolius was my main target today, as one of the specimens had grown over, shading them out, at least 4 shrubs.

A lovely plant, with curving branches and leaves similar to Ribes; creamy white flowers in corymbs, loved by  bees, appear in June and then turn into inflated capsules from green to orange-red.

The common name for it is "ninebark" presumably because the pretty reddish bark peels off.

Anyway, it's a lovely plant but suckers large and wide, besides self-seeding quite profusely, so I was glad my colleague Nick brought me a skip... that's the final result in the pictures.

It has been considerably more time consuming than expected, stock-checking, but I am still confident I can finish it... although I am not quite sure about the overgrown Cotoneaster bed I have never even had a look at so far...

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