Belmont House
A magical venue for holidays and events

Full of rabbit and self-satisfaction...

April 8th 2019

Full of rabbit and self-satisfaction, the cat did not come in at breakfast time as is her wont. For the first time in days, the heavy rain gave up, substituting bright sun and a searing north-easterly which begins to dry up the sodden ground. I itch to get outside – I have a clutch of plants to put in, and the last three bareroot trees from this year’s tree planting. These last are downy birch, still waiting patiently in a bucket of water. They are not for the new tree area, they are the spearhead of a makeover of an entirely undistinguished corner in the garden, destined to make an elongated triangle in long grass. I constantly seek for ways to cut down the amount of mowing. I will add bulbs.

The garden dances with flowers – yellow and white spiked with dark blue are the season’s colours, against a background of the freshest of greens. The new plants wait in the holding station, sheltered from the worst of the weather. Most are home grown, perennials overwintered in my cold frames (a posh name for old fish boxes, which serve the purpose very well) and now busting to get out there and grow. Seed raising is time consuming and fiddly but having lots of plants at your disposal is highly satisfactory, and what else are you going to do with your time – sit round drinking?

A monstrous crop of sycamore seedlings has sprouted everywhere and I am potting up a good number. Planting at least one tree in every garden is a tiny contribution to the saving of our planet. Can there be anyone who doubts the fearsome consequences of “do nothing and it’ll go away”? Trees are probably most of the answer, and something everyone can do.
Yesterday my beloved greenhouse, functional and beautiful, was the subject of a takeover bid by the family, who smiling beatifically at me, came with a hot tub which now fills half of my seating area. I am assured that it will migrate outside for the summer. I’m not entirely convinced that this will happen, and I await with interest the arguments which will be deployed to suggest it becomes a permanent fixture. They got away with it firstly because it does not impinge on the work area of the greenhouse, which is at the other end, and secondly, I must admit, because it appealed to my sense of humour. I’m just about to go out to pot up my dianthus, are the Rhinemaidens coming too?

The lambing approaches. More than usually, we wonder what will happen to this year’s crop. If we leave Europe the whole future of Scottish agriculture is not just threatened, but probably doomed. Europe has given us years of peace and security. Anyone who has lived without these knows all too well how precious they are. Those of us whose parents’ lives were scarred by the Second World War are sufficiently aware of what it means to be without them.