May in the Garden
- No, it’s not the ‘Yeti’ or the Lochness Monster - it’s a Great Crested Newt.
During the past few months we have amassed enough correspondence between ourselves and the ‘Newt Man’ to fill almost two lever arch files, and we are not finished yet!
My first experience with ‘Newt Man’ was when carrying out the restoration of the Japanese Garden. We had a ‘Newt Man’ appear on site about October, with the task of sieving his way through thousands of gallons of water in his quest to track at least one newt down, but all to no avail! After nine weeks he gave up trying to find any.
The Japanese work team we had were astounded at the extent of the eccentricities of the English, they would have dipped the newts in batter and deep fried them!
Anyway, this time it’s the turn of the restored walled garden to receive the attention of the ‘Newt Man’. We are about to reconstruct a greenhouse on its original foundations, but because during its period of dereliction the foundations apparently became a sort of ‘newt playground’, then the whole area has to be ‘de-newted’.
This involves an extremely costly operation involving building physical barriers to prevent marauding newts taking up residence and the trapping of any newts inhabiting the enclosed area and evicting them and so the saga goes on.
I just wondered if, when the ‘Newt Man’ comes to inspect a site, he has a ‘pet’ one with him he can slip out of his pocket in order to procure the job or perhaps I’m being cynical.
I am slightly jealous of the ‘Newt Man’s’ potential ‘street cred’ at dinner parties when the conversation gets around to ‘what do you do for a living?’ and you have the usual responses - ‘Computer Programmer, Company Director etc etc’, then all eyes are focused on this guy in the green suit who, when they ask him the question, answers ‘I’m an Newt Man!’ Wow! I bet he’s set up for the rest of the evening.
JOBS AT A GLANCE
Sow annuals - sow direct to fill up gaps in borders
Plant out - all bedding. Remember to firm plants in to avoid any movement
Trim plants - especially rock plants as they finish flowering, eg Aubretia etc.
Protect potatoes - cover new shoots if frost threatens - use ‘fleece’
Plant greens - cauliflower and sprouts. Best planted into firm ground in the bottom of a 3”-4” drill
Take cuttings of herbs - marjoram, sage, rosemary and divide thyme and mint IIN THE GREENHOUSEPlant up hanging baskets - leave in greenhouse for a week or two for plants to establish themselves
Plant tomatoes- be careful not to bruise stems
Sow pumpkins - useful plant for covering the compost heap.