Well, aside from all the rain that stopped me from doing the work I wanted to and needed to this week, we have finally confirmed the private group visit in one week’s time. It’s official, the numbers are confirmed, the money’s changed hands, it’s too late to move house.
I’ve been watching the weather forecast for on-the-day like a hawk and it’s still variable. I’m not sure what it will settle on, but I know it won’t be full sun. At this point I’m not expecting any sun until at least mid/late June.
I’ve organised the volunteers who will be helping on the day, we have the layout and seating arrangements set, got the tables and chairs ready for putting out and I’ve even had time to send out some fancy-looking paperwork to the group organiser. Oh – and I’ve put together a short introductory talk (on request) that I now need to memorise.
I’ve been looking at the various weather statistics and along with being at least three degrees colder than average, when looking at the year-to-date, we have had double the amount of rain compared to last year. Double. In fact, you’d need to go back to 2016 before you see anything like a similar amount of rainfall for this area at this time of year. The lack of April showers last year is more than made up for in the continuing unsettled wet weather we’re still suffering, even past mid May.
There’s not much I nor the seedlings can do about that. They’re still small – too small to be planted up and that just going to have to be one of those things. The wet weather and cold temperatures mean the heavy clay soil we have in the garden is yet to dry out, warm up and drive plant growth. It takes an awful lot of sun for that and we’ve had next to zilch.
I did manage to get out with the grass shears and edge four of the six borders. I can’t do the other two because it’s just too wet. We did manage to assemble something that I’ve had in storage for a while though, and that is the Armillary Sphere and pedestal for the main border centre-piece.
In true, “it’s gonna be a while” style, I ordered and received the pedestal last July. We’ve had it on the patio as a glorified stand and it’s been really useful so it’s partly a shame to have to move it and use it for its intended purpose. The armillary sphere itself has been sat waiting for two weeks short of a year. We got it at the end of May 2022 and it’s been stored in the shed since.
I’m not sure quite why it’s taken us this long to get round to putting it all together. Looking at the pictures around that time last year, the main border was dug and had been partly planted. I must have been busy with some other last-minute, poorly planned project.
Anyway, it’s assembled, glued, set, screwed and ready now, one week before it’s needed. The only trouble is I don’t know which way to point it. I’ll have to read up on the internet as it didn’t come with any instructions. To finish off completely, I just need to spend a little time putting the soil back around the pedestal base and making it look like there haven’t been two people stomping all over the area.
The armillary sphere is much more manageable than the urn, but it still needed a concrete base to keep it level. We used a couple of old paving slabs to short-cut the process and then just set the pieces on top of that. It’s another thing ticked off my list and another thing for the visitors to gander at. It will have to compensate for the lack of bedding annuals in the patio pots.
The plan for next week (during the dry spells) is to plant out anything that I can, into the pots and into the borders. I need to get rid of as many trays of plants from the patio as I can to make room. Towards the end of the week, we’ll be setting the furniture out, turning the patio into an outdoor cafe and I’ll be churning out cake for the visitors.
A some point, a gentle calm will descend on my mind and drown out the panic, but that’s not going to happen today. It might not happen until after the event.