First thoughts? Yes, I really need to learn a bit more about photo editing as these red flowers are eye-wateringly vibrant, right? But in fairness, they're almost as vivid in the flesh, too. And they've grown in abundance, recently. Much like everything else in he garden. Things, other things, and even more things are sprouting up everywhere. I wish Monty Don would pop round and give me crash course in flora identification. If it's not a daffodil, then it's a? Yep, that's where my knowledge ends. With the flower of Wales. I'm so sorry.
Paul and I have been spending many evenings in the garden, recently ... ambling, if I have my way, patrolling, if he's leading. We have so many plans - SO MANY plans - but much like the riddance of the magnolia on the walls inside the house, progress is slow outside, too. Slower, even. Because finding your way around a paintbrush and applying two coats per wall is somewhat easier than tackling 1.5 acres of things THAT NEVER STOP GROWING.
We were never naive enough to believe that taking on so much outdoor space would be a breeze but every morning we wake up to even more things in the garden. Things. Green things. Colourful things. Flowery things. More things. Things, everywhere. SO MANY things.
Because corporate methodology and terminology still flow through my veins despite mostly leaving that world over five years ago, I've devised a three pronged strategy (I've recently heard it called a trident approach but, no, I just couldn't) to the garden. We're talking short, mid and long term goals and the odd stretch target. I may even make a chart for the wall. A bit of visual management, so to speak.
So, what are we up to? And where are we up to?
While we're still figuring things (all the things) out, we're simply trying to maintain what we already have. Right now, any spare moment is spent removing dead flower heads. We basically deadhead in our sleep, we've done so much of it. It's actually been a good task for the boys to get involved with, even if they are a bit forceful. Heads, stems, roots, they're not picky.
The roses went crazy a few weeks ago. The bushes that run alongside the house and the climbers above the kitchen and living room windows were dripping with pinks, pale pinks and whites and the smell was divine. But they didn't thrive in the recent heat, poor little things. They've needed urgent cutting-back attention.
So, forgive me, for not opting for something a little sexier when ManoMano asked if I wanted to choose an item or two from their amazing array of DIY, home improvement and gardening products. While we could have gone for a hot tub, gazebo, swimming pool, chic summer house, no, we were all over their ladder offerings. Specifically, these glassfibre industrial steps and this aluminium telescopic ladder. And in fairness, both have already proved invaluable. But I don't think we'll be asked to model for them any time soon.
If you've not come across ManoMano before, they're a brilliant online marketplace with over 500 sellers across France, Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany. Their goal is to choose the best products and the best brands so that their customers can shop from the largest range of products at the lowest prices.
Planting, painting and a pergola will feature at some point over the next year or two giving us the perfect place to party. Well, perhaps not party, but at the very least, sit in style with a glass of wine while watching the sun set over the Welsh hills. We had thought about doing it this summer but that would have meant zero rest and relaxation (and fun) over the next few weeks so we've postponed it.
Come the autumn, I'm going to be keeping a very close eye on the apple trees. The branches are already drooping under the weight. I'm not the biggest fan of apples so I'm leaning more towards Paul's suggestion of cider rather than baking. What do you think? I've several recipe books on the shelf and the search results for cider presses on my laptop. Which will win out?
It might be a pipe dream but we have a field and no love of horses (or other animals), so why not use it for a mini vineyard? We're going to pop down the road to Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard to see if we can pick up any tips. Obviously, you'll be the first to know when we're open for wine tasting tours. But don't hold your breath. If we can't identify much beyond a daffodil, grape varieties might be stretch too far. What do you think?
And that's it.
Can you sense the mixture of excitement and panic?
Best get on with identifying all the things, right?