Pyromania

It’s been a great week in central Scotland. Clear blue skies, no rain, and a hard frost at night to stop plants from thinking it is Spring and indulging in ridiculous early growth. Perfect conditions for burning off the dead grass in odd corners of the garden.

Grass fires are incredibly dangerous. With a strong wind behind them, they move faster than you can run, and when flame hits tussocks of dead grass, they more or less explode with a terrifying crackling. So I treat this exercise with extreme care.P1010474

The key is to start by burning short firebreaks to stop the flames from getting anywhere near young trees or other plants, and to plan the burning with massive built-in safety precautions. It’s also important to choose a day when the wind is from the right direction and when it is not too strong. Then you need a jute sack, or a cotton towel or some such to beat out the little flames that insist on travelling against the wind. The final, and most important, point is never, ever, to leave a grass fire without making sure it is completely out.  A smouldering piece of moss can suddenly burst into flame when you are not looking, or have gone elsewhereP1010471.

The dry weather has allowed me to weed the herbaceous border. This is unheard of this early in the year! It’s only when you get down to this task that you realise that all winter the nettles and willowherb have been sneakily infiltrating when you thought everything was dead. Now the border is ready for a load or two of compost. Meanwhile, the sunshine is allowing a little trough of spring bulbs to  show off: P1010467

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15 thoughts on “Pyromania

  1. Your little trough of bulbs is lovely! And you are brave to do a grass fire. You may be aware that restored prairie management requires controlled burns every few years. As you can imagine, this is a big deal and somewhat controversial. However, it is needed both for rejuvenation and to prevent the emergence of woody plants.

    • Controlled burns are actually good news for a lot of plants. In Scotland, we burn our heather moorland regularly to promote young growth. In my garden I do it simply to stop the build-up of dead grass and to give the new stuff a chance.

  2. Goodness, setting fire to your garden, I would rather split snowdrops!! Your bulbs are looking lovely, a sure sign that spring is almost with us. Lucky you having sunshine, we haven’t seen it for ages, can you send us a bit please?!

    • Still got a bit of sun, though it’s clouding over a bit. Main task this week is splitting & finding 100 p Inverewe, bound for Chelsea. Not looking forward to it!

  3. Kininvie, my shed needs setting fire to. Yesterday whilst giving it a much needed clear out I fell through the rotten floor. On second thoughts I think I would be safer with an axe. Weather up here has also turned for the better.

    • Dear Alistair. Setting fire to a shed in Aberdeen may have the fire brigade round your ears very rapidly. I don’t advise it. But are you safe with an axe? I merely ask…

  4. Playing with fire I see. I knew a professional fireman once and he liked living dangerously too. He kept exotic pets and a had a cheetah that would lie in the hallway and viciously block the bedroom door so the fireman had to sleep on the couch. It can get out of hand is all…

    Thanks for reminding me about blogs. Really it wasn’t my fault, believe it or not. Bad bad WordPress.

    What’s an Inverewe? A kind of odd sheep? But then surely you shouldn’t split them. Oh you are always such a worry Kininvie.

  5. Dear Linnie, I expect you to read my blog with at least the diligence I devote to yours. In which case, you would know about p.Inverewe, and wouldn’t have to ask. I have to say, you do know some extraordinary people. Did the fireman have a girlfriend? Somehow I doubt it. I’d like to know what happened to the Cheetah. Do you suppose it’s looking for a new home? I could really do with a cheetah…..such useful creatures. The foxes wouldn’t stand a chance.

    • Of course I am a devoted reader yet you force me to google information and that isn’t polite. I can sometimes remember common names– like primrose.

      The fireman got divorced. When I met him he had a verbally abusive macaw. I’m not sure what happened to the cheetah. I suppose I might be able to find you a spotted squirrel to substitute but I would want a hedgehog for it. -L

      • Your devotion obviously does not stretch as far as the sidebar, where there is a clear link. A verbally abusive macaw would also suffice. In fact, I would prefer it to a spotted squirrel. I have enough squirrels, but too few macaws.

  6. Fascinating that you garden with fire, Mr K and I’m so pleased you’ve had some fine weather … but I’m getting terribly side-tracked by all this chat of firemen, cheetahs and abusive macaws. Amazing how topics merge and meld and move on. Next! Dave

    • You should perhaps consider fire as a solution to your hay meadow, Dave. It might save you all that work with heavy machinery. You’d need to be mighty careful of those trees, though. Maybe you would like to outbid me for Linnie’s abusive macaw? It would be very happy in your new greenhouse & could teach you some new words.

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