(Aren’t these sparkly Christmassy buns jolly? My mum brought them yesterday, and we had the last for breakfast in bed this morning).
I’ve been meaning to tackle the lilac for a while. It’s right outside the kitchen window, and provides some much-needed privacy, and we get hours of pleasure from watching the birds hopping around in it.
However, it’s ancient, overgrown and unruly, and barely flowers at all these days. And this year it’s grown so tall it’s touching the telephone wires.
I realise it’s not the right time of year, but I’m generally inclined towards the do-it-when-you-think-of-it style of gardening, and the ever-wise Fay told me lilacs are pretty hardy and won’t mind too much what you do to them.
I read this from The Helpful Gardener, which says the best thing is to cut the whole lot down to 6 inches from the ground. Er, no. That would be (kind of) like shaving all my hair off because my fringe was getting in my eyes. I was pleased to see a second suggestion – ‘a smoother transition for the plant and often more importantly a smoother transition for the lilac’s owner…’ It recommends removing a third of the old stems (trunks, more like) in late winter, then the same again the following year, and the next. Apparently,
‘when properly pruned, an old, overgrown lilac can be transformed into a vigorous attractive shrub within a few years.’
I spent a while looking at pictures of lilacs for inspiration, then went outside with my jumper and gloves and wind-up radio (Gardeners’ Question Time was on, rather appropriately).
And so began a two-hour dance of walking to the end of the street, looking thoughtful, fetching a ladder, taking a photograph, walking to the other end of the street, meeting a neighbour’s new puppy, repositioning the ladder, climbing up, climbing back down again, and winding up the wind-up radio (Gardeners’ Question Time was on, appropriately).
I reminded myself (a lot of times) of this post about appreciating what I have.
It became quite clear that I wasn’t going to have the perfect pruning experience (whatever that is) today. So I settled for taking out the bits that were perilously close to the telephone wires.
It was too late to walk to the Christmas market, so I ambled to a local cafe for a nice sit down, but I was too late for that too, so I had Cafe At Home, with tea, candles, and a nice bit of toffee cheesecake.
The good thing about Cafe At Home is that you can sit in the same place for two hours and nobody asks you to leave.