In the garden this week my plan was to make use of what I laughingly call my 'holiday' (ha-ha-ha) to get ahead before the waxing moon in April, when all hell breaks loose and we have to source, haul up the hill and plant everything all at once.
The week started well. I planted the first of what I hope will be a lovely box hedge. Mind you, the only plants I could afford in numbers were the very tiny ones, the ones you need a magnifying glass to see, so I guess it'll be a while before they actually screen the fat butts of the green plastic composters. A very long while.
Also, I over-optimistically bought a rhododendron. The neighbouring camellias are doing well, so I'm hopeful, but having read the prophetic words, "never let the soil dry out", I fear for its roots in high summer.
I also fear for the roots of a five-foot oleander which I gaily moved a couple of weeks ago. I fear that the roots were a little too much damaged when I wrenched it impatiently out of the ground, and now it's starting to sag ominously. Fingers crossed. The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings, as they say. Any recipes for recovery?
What I laughingly called my holiday above was brought about by a clever pincer movement. Child no. 1 was as usual incarcerated in kindergarten while child no. 2 was deftly exiled to another country altogether. But a clear run at the garden was not to be. I spent two of my five precious days dashing about the countryside getting medical advice from everyone who has ever been the mother of a child with scarlattina (and some who haven't), and then exposing my first-born to the gentle ministrations of a hospital lab assistant gathering Strep. bacteria (or not, as the case turns out to be). He was so good (the first-born, not the lab assistant), that I promised to grant his heart's greatest wish, and was surprised to find that his heart's greatest wish was to go to the nursery to buy a tree (go figure!).
My gardening day was not ruined after all. We belted across country to the nursery where I stumbled across (literally) a whole load of Rosa rugosa - an old-fashioned bush rose with smallish flowers and, I was told by the knowledgeable Swiss-German Mrs Saletti who promptly sold them to me, a very powerful pong. Someone had omitted to add any information at all about the colour to the tag, however, so I'm looking forward to a surprise later in the year. Believe me, it'll be a surprise if the damn things flower at all on the rubble tip that I eyebrow-wagglingly call my new raised bed.
Now I know what you're thinking. I know that roses aren't trees, not even bush roses. What can I say, except "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." Besides No. 1 child is now the proud owner of his first Gormiti dreadful-miniature-plastic-thingy, so Mama's conscience is clear.
And finally, today's labour of love is the first of this year's eatables. A mixture of four different types of lettuce and some parsley, to join the broccoli, cauliflowers and leeks that are still going strong from last autumn.
Yesterday in Cannobio, one of the many smiling cittadini called out to me that "the beautiful season has begun"!
I think it has.
Pic: from www.luirig.altervista.org, reproduced with permission.