The above heading may appear confusing but I have to tell you I am having a hard time of it at the moment with Cruella (my wife) and her fancy chickens. But more of this later, it is time to get on with the Costa Blanca Cut (CBC). Yes, that is right CBC! It is a term that I invented last year that denotes the time when you can judiciously trim all your flowering hedges and shrubs to hopefully get a late summer bust of flowering whilst at the same time making your garden look neater.
I have to confess that I stole the idea from “the Chelsea Chop” which is the period just after the Chelsea Flower Show when you can cut back; I think my term is better and the timing is just right for our hot summers. Anyway let’s get on with the gardening.
23rd August 2022. Things I have been doing lately:
Trimming hedges. Regular readers of this blog will remember that I have a range of densely packed hedges along the front of my garden. I packed them together so that they would fight for space and provide a dense flowering wall. Whilst this works very well, at this time of year it is necessary to trim them back just enough to encourage new flowerings and to keep them neat.
The first photos below show some of my hedges inside and outside my garden in all their glory. From this you can see there are still lots of flowering but some are attempting to go to seed. Click on each photo for a larger view.
All that is required to bring your garden back into shape and give you more flowers, is that you lightly trim back with a hedge trimmer or shears. Do not over do this, the big cut back is in January, so remember less is more. The photo below shows me manfully using my large extendable trimmer to good effect – mind you I now have a bad back, again! Click on each photo for a larger view.
The photos below show the extent of my cut back, but remember it will all be worth while with masses of new flowers within a month. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Trimming Olive trees. Regular readers will remember that I trimmed my olive tree by cloud pruning it years ago into a series of balls. To keep this shape sharp, you need to prune back 3 or 4 times a year. The before and after effects can be seen in the photos below. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Time to trim standards. If you have flowering standards in your garden it is always difficult to give them a trim as you are torn between the nice neat shape of a standard and their many flowers. Well, you can have both as long as you trim little and often. This approach will keep the plant flowering and the bees will love you, whilst at the same time keeping your nice round ball. The first photos below show my standards floriferous but out of shape whilst the second photos show them reshaped; I am happy to tel you they are already flowering.
Time to cut the lawn. Yes, I know it is madness having a lawn on the Costa Blanca, but there you have it, I’ve got one. Obviously there has not been much mowing going on in our current heatwave. But sometimes you have to clean up general debris from the grass. This means setting your mower blades as high as possible and just running the mower over the garden much like a hoover. The photo below shows the end results of my mowing. I call my lawn Schwarzenegger as it always comes back.
The chicken wars have started. Regular readers of this blog will know that Cruella (my wife) hasn’t been the same since the cat died. The cat and her were very close, the cat happily sat behind her whenever she flew on her broomstick. In addition Cruella would use the cat as a “familiar” by whispering instructions into her ear which the cat happily carried out. As you all know she has now gotten over the loss of the cat by buying herself a flock of fancy chickens; and this is where it has all gone wrong.
Who would have thought that chickens were incompatible with a neat well designed garden. Well let me tell you they are. Despite spending a fortune on a coop and fencing to create what can only be described as a chicken paradise, Cruella has now decided that “her girls” need to be free to roam. The result of this is that chickens have proceeded to take liberties with the garden (have you seen their feet) They mock me and Tango the lonely blind Labrador as they strut around the garden as if they have diplomatic immunity.
The photos below show how they deliberately mock poor old Tangos space. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Well I have had enough me and Tango are fighting back. I have bought myself one of those super soaker water pistols and happily chase them around the garden and squirt them when ever they commit any garden transgressions. Tango is taking a more pacifist route and has written to the Kennel Club and asked for asylum. The photo below shows my trusty pistol ready for action.
The only problem is that Cruella is fighting back and has started whispering malign instructions into the Chicken’s ears – just as she did with the cat, see photo below. Just the other night I woke up in bed only to find the little white chicken perched on my chest and pecking my nose. That’s it the chicken wars have begun and I am fighting to save the garden.