Sunday, 29 June 2008

Lovely Lily

I know some gardeners aren't keen on dogs, but I am. I have a beautiful Border Collie called Lily, and last week, while I was building the Hampton Court garden, I got a phone call from a neighbour to say Lily had swallowed a stick while being walked. To cut a very long and distressing story short, a stick measuring around 8 inches went down her throat, pierced her oesaphagus and (it was initially thought) entered her lung.

The reason for this additional post today is that after writing the first one, all jokey and upbeat, I suddenly felt disloyal. Isn't that stupid? So I thought I'd share this with you. She's going to be OK I think. She's had two operations, one to remove the stick and one to patch up the internal damage it had done. She's alert and drinking and eating small amounts, and I'm hoping to have her home some time next week. The moral of this story is 1) don't throw sticks for dogs and 2) there are more important things in life than winning flower shows

No time to blog!

How do dedicated bloggers do it? I started off with the best intentions...I'd write frequently, detailing the highs and lows of building a show garden blah, blah, blah. Obviously, I've failed miserably.

Anyway, here I am, one week into the build and I'm happy to report that it's going really well. The excitement of actually being there on Monday morning was tremendous. Everyone is really helpful and the atmosphere at the moment is quite relaxed. Of course, this will change as we near judgement day! At the moment we are concentrating on getting the hard landscaping elements installed to Wendy's satisfaction. She's project managing the build and is an absolute perfectionist (mind you, so are Russ, Liz, Neil and Nick too, so that's OK).

As expected, the planting is a bit of a movable feast at the moment. It looked like the Eryngiums were going to peak too soon so I sourced a substitute, Berkheya purpurea. But now, guess what? Berkheya has gone over and the Eryngiums are holding back, like shy virgins on their wedding night. My latest information is that they may be OK but I need to wait as late as possible to plant them. The grass is proving a bit problematic too. It was supposed to be long (15cm) and lush, but when it was delivered it was at least 60cm, flat from being rolled and rank at the base from lack of light. I've been frantically trimming, watering and raking (lightly with a spring tined rake) since Wednesday but it's still looking not so much lush and verdant as slightly apocalyptic (you know, the bomb's gone off and there's no-one left to mow the grass).

Tomorrow the plants and trees arrive and the plan is that we start planting on Tuesday. Don't know when I'll be around next, but keep fingers crossed for good weather this week. It wouldn't be half so much fun in a mud bath!