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A Precipitous View


The kitchen got a spring autumn clean one day last week. I detest cleaning. Kitchens and bathrooms especially. Why can’t housework be more like gardening? One invests time and energy on a new border and, unless something nibbles or tramples.. or the weather doesn’t play ball.. or the plants don’t like the soil.. OK, maybe it’s not quite a given.. but GENERALLY.. your not inconsiderable effort is rewarded with growth and things look a whole lot better next year. Cleaning is just not like that. From the very second you step back to admire the job well done.. it all starts to go downhill. I hate it.

And was my day about to get any better? No. In the middle of cleaning the kitchen the buzzer rang from the intercom on the gate.

“It’s the scaffolders. For the chimney?”

Well just hold it right there. Can this be serious? Yes, I knew the chimney was going to happen soon. But TODAY? We’re not ready. How can someone just turn up, expect to wrap your house in scaffolding and NOT EVEN LET YOU KNOW??? And yes, the level of umbrage does indeed justify the use of all those capitals. Hard on the heels of the initial consternation, two thoughts:

1. There are plants underneath.
2. There will be scaffolding in the frame for the End of Month View.


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Gratuitous industrial scaffolding shot

A rope and pulley for hauling up bucket loads of cement. Not, as Mike had feared, an untimely end for those who might fail to pay the bill.


But for every cloud there is indeed a silver lining. A view of the Precipitous Bank as you’ve never seen it before and, given luck and a following wind, won’t see again. First though there was the problem of how to get up there. If my fear of heights was as profound as my fear of water it would be a non-starter. But as it was, I tried. Twice. The second time slightly higher up the ladder than the first. And boy did it wobble. In the end there was nothing for it but to follow the age old advice, fix my eyes firmly upon the house wall in front of me and grit my teeth. On the third attempt I made it.


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The bank, from the very top level of the scaffolding.


The view from here is interesting. There are more gaps than are visible from the ground but that is OK. Having had so many plant failures in this garden I now rarely buy more than two or three of anything new. If they survive the first winter and continue to thrive I can either propagate from the originals or purchase additional plants to add to the clump. The gaps will allow for the infill. But already the tapestry of colours, foliage as well as flowers, is beginning to knit together which pleases me greatly, even though there is still a very long way to go.


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Californian poppy, Eschscholzia californica and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Geyser Pink’


Back on terra firma a sigh of relief.

And quite possibly a large glass of something too.


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The rudbeckia have been underplanted with Verbena rigida this month.


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Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’

Autumn colours now abound. Orange..


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Saxifraga stolonifera

..and rich tints of burgundy. This one puts me in mind of a Scottish plaid.


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Something has indeed been nibbling..

Iris foetidissima


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In terms of actual work this month we’ve done more clearing, most notably in the foreground of this usual view. It will develop into a white border in the fullness of time. The collapsing heap of day lilies (upper left quadrant of the slope) has finally gone too.


I still don’t know how I made it up that ladder. There’s another level again above what you can see.


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View (here) at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month, hopefully with their feet placed firmly upon the ground.