Can you can see that I've been 'up the ladder' pruning my Wisteria 'Snowshowers'?
'Should you be up there at your age? careful people say 'You mean I'm too young?' I reply. 'You'll fall off that ladder!' says another voice of doom. To the doom merchants I say, 'What is life without a bit of risk and excitement occasionally!'
But the truth is if you want drama in a small garden, the only way to go is up!
Climbers over pergolas add plant life to your garden when there is not much space at ground level.
However, I do sometimes wistfully think - If only I had been born tall - 6 feet instead of 4ft 11 - my life up the ladder would be so much more comfortable. In fact I wouldn't need to spend nearly so much of my life up a ladder!
You can tell I've been pruning the Wisteria, because only the knobbly bits remain, and the muddle of long twining runners have been clipped away. Hanging on for dear life, I reach up from the top rung of the ladder on tippy toes to reach those long trails which find their way under the eaves, into the spouting or anywhere and everywhere. By the time I have finished, all that is left are short truncated knobbles! But it doesn't end there. Every day from the end of August I watch those little knobbles begin to grow and develop. The buds swell and begin to change colour from little brownish grey things to long green trusses until one day 6 weeks or so later, out pop a few small white pea-like flowers from the top of each truss. And still they keep growing longer and fuller until .............
I am surrounded by scent and bloom as I step out of my kitchen or living room into the courtyard. The soft panicles of flower brush against my face gently and the beauty and perfume is so transforming that I know that it was all so worthwhile hanging off the ladder in chilly August. From the time the first green buds appear until the last panicle of flower has completely dropped to be replaced by foliage, would be at least 2 months.
Meanwhile back in August .....
Before I tackled the Wisteria, I pruned the roses too, adding to that pared back but colourless look of late winter. Neat and tidy - yes - but uninspiring! Never fear -spring is just around the corner, as we wait with baited breath for it to burst out!
Today the sun is shining and spring is here, but there are still some late winter treats to enjoy - like Hellebores, early blossom and the special carmine coloured Witchhazel - Hamamelis 'Dianne'