Every year I fall into a sort of relaxed stupor around February. My brain tells me that it’s ages until Springtime and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with a bit more hibernation and procrastination. Of course that planting plan can wait until next week.
Naturally, we do not have to rush because it is still winter.
And then, quite suddenly, I realise that it is bloody nearly Spring and there are things left undone that should have been done.
The same thing happens in August when I think that the Autumn will never come so am again caught napping.
This has been going on for years and one would have thought that I should have learned my lesson by now.
Oh no…. Bit dim, Sunny Jim.

As a result I have been in a maelstrom of activity. Unfortunately all this activity is incomplete so, as I take you on a quick tour, the pictures will consist almost exclusively of patches of brown earth and leafless tree: not terribly inspiring but it is only March (in spite of the summeriness of the weather) so give us a break. i will try very hard to remember to come back to these three jobs later in the year.

So, take last Wednesday as an example. I began in a large hole near Shipston-on-Stour where we are digging a truly magnificent lake. It will be like a huge natural infinity pool with spectacular views and vast skies. I am very happy because there are ( I mentioned in my last post) lots of big yellow diggers doing exactly what I tell them. This appeals to my Tonka toy mentality and also to my cunningly concealed control freakery.

Next stop was a very steep field near High Wycombe to lay out the beginnings of a Forest Garden. This is a posh name for a woodland with fruit. Amongst the usual native plants we will intersperse apples, pears, walnuts, chestnuts, mulberries, quinces, plums etc etc ( you get the picture) all under planted with a sea of flowery grass. My fruity friend Mark Diacono is providing various weird fruit trees while I provide taste and style (something a bit lacking in his life- as can be seen from his choice of shirtings). You will notice the pile of trees in the picture: the far slope will be forest garden (augmented by some proper natives to dilute the edibles) while the near slope will be meadowy with some biggish trees.

Final stop of the day was near Chipping Norton where we are planting large trees. I love this sort of thing – more diggers and control freakery: I wrote about it in my blog for Crocus (the one that nobody ever comments on unless I beg). We have also dug a steep sided canyon, when I say “dug” I mean that we have rearranged a vast amount of spoil to make said canyon. It will be flowery and spectacular. All needs to be in place for the end of June when there will, not only be a wedding but a visit from various folk from the Garden Museum who are venturing in this direction to come a see Blackpitts and two other gardens of mine. All in a day, let us hope it raineth not and that the place is not completely trampled by wedding planners. As a bonus we had to plant an Olive Tree that I had bought from the delightful Tim and Jackie at Olive Grove Nurseries. It weighs a ton and three quarters so was not going to be an easy job. But what is more exciting than a digger? You guessed it, a crane. A big extending pole into which all manner of Freudian psycho sexual overtones may be read but, in spite of that, it is the very thing for lifting heavy objects over walls and across pools without mishap. Damn thing better not die.

I have a couple more, similarish, jobs going on but they involve fewer diggers at the moment so are less captivating. I will doubtless drone on about them when the time comes. Suffice to say that we are indulging in a bit of Dunnettry (aka meadow planting in a few places), dispatching lorryloads of the last bare root stuff around the country, searching for water butts, talking to structural engineers etc etc etc.

It is not looking like it will be a spring for relaxation and watching the daffodils flower. Which is odd because this time last year we were swanning around South East Asia with nary a thought about work and stuff. The main picture is of a Camellia photographed at Borde Hill in Sussex.

I am listening to First Night by The Hold  Steady.

At this time in 2008 I was writing about dog bites, Clement Freud and stakes