To Walter de Grasse
Well, old friend I have to begin this letter with many congratulations on the success of your eldest, Andre, at Rio!! Three medals for Canada (2 bronze, one silver) is a fantastic achievement that you and Ferdy Lise must be very proud of. Especially as you also are no stranger to Olympic glory yourself, getting that gold for Pigeon Racing back at the 1948 games. Please pass on our congratulations and very best wishes to Andre. (You may have noticed that I retained the hanging baskets as the headline photo in this post; red and white to celebrate Canada’s and your son’s wonderful achievement.)
Well, after many late nights watching the action from Rio, and of course very proud of Team GB’s amazing achievements (we had the Union Jacks flying over the hanging baskets during the games), the gardening has been rather low-key during August. Some selective weeding, grass cutting and watering have been the main tasks, leaving time to sit and enjoy the warm weather. I did spend about 4 hours the other day trimming back all the hedges. Much tidier, but I have the cuttings to clear, not one of my favourite jobs.
On the ornamental side the pond garden is filling up very well with a nice range of floral and foliage- and wildlife, including frogs and dragon flies. I’m also rather pleased with a couple of Cannas that are flowering superbly at present.
In the Kitchen Garden the bounty continues, though the tomatoes have pretty well finished. cucumbers and peppers are coming thick and fast from the greenhouse, and the salad bar is flourishing. We also have plenty of runner beans, courgettes and carrots. Cauliflower (if I can stop the caterpillars) red cabbage, chard, more carrots, parsnips and summer squash are on the way. The winter leeks are in and doing well, and there’s a good crop of apples and pears on the way from the orchard as well as the ‘super columns’ in the kitchen garden (some of these are so laden with fruit they are bending over- I think I’ll have to put some mopre substantial supports in over the close season). Deborah has also bottled up around a dozen beetroot which should keep her going for a few months…
Son-in-Law Diego has continued to be really helpful in the garden, giving the new shed another coat of ‘Creocote’ and helping me clear up after cutting the hedges back. I’m pleased to report that both he and our daughter Madeleine have secured jobs in or near to Cambridge and we heard the other day that they have a nice little terraced house near the centre of Newmarket to move into in the next week or two, so soon we’ll be helping them with their garden!
It’s a few days until our first ‘Haveringland Groundforce Day’- our attempt to get to grips with the churchyard over the fields from us, in order to manage it into a wildlife paradise with mown paths and spaces to sit and reflect. I’m hopeful that we’ll get enough support and equipment to do a good job strimming and raking off, weeding, pruning back ivy and cutting back saplings and more mature trees. It will also hopefully set out a scene for the Harvest Festival event being held there on 11th September, which will feature a vintage tractor run from nearby Cawston, children’s activities, standing steam engines, refreshments and an informal service with music supplied by the Aylsham Town Band. We’re looking forward to seeing you and Ferdy here for the weekend, which will also see the Norfolk Churches Trust cycle ride visiting the church.