dainty buttonholes

We've been very lucky this week to have had the help of the very excellent Alex Law, who has been  busily battling weeds, constructing sweet pea supports and conducting many other tasks with great competence, as well as being jolly good company and making us both feel that the work will be done, hooray!  What a difference an extra pair of hands makes.  New beds have been prepared, planted, mulched and staked; overgrown climbers have been dealt with, and seeds have been sown.  The ever-lovely Jenny, who helps us one day a week, has done invaluable work too, planting, tidying, and being an all-round huge help.  The dog loves it when there are lots of people in the garden, and after greeting them by bouncing round in circles, he lies down happily to watch the work progress - only we mustn't split up and work in different parts of the garden to each other, because then Ned has to run about between us, rounding us up.  

The cold April sun was just warm enough today to open the flowers of some lovely pink clematis, in time for me to use them in buttonholes and corsages for a wedding at Plas Dinam, a fabulous arts and crafts house in Wales, this weekend.  Fiddling about with the tiny stems and bits of raffia in the cold old dairy, where we 'do' the flowers, gave me chilly fingers; but a spot of vigourous hoeing of the allium beds soon sorted that out.  We've had to build a small barricade behind the stinking irises at the bottom of the garden, to protect (from Ned) a duck who has made a nest with lots of eggs there.  We're very excited to see if they hatch, and a little bit nervous about how we're going to get the ducklings out of the garden and onto the pond... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.