It’s been awhile.
No holidays to write about due to Covid-19. It will be nice to spend some time away, hopefully later this year. However, lock down has a couple of minor advantages. I still go to work but have more time off than usual and I’ve used that to spend a bit more time in the garden doing stuff that I had put off due to a lack of time and not just in the Spring and Summer as I was pruning some trees only a couple of weeks ago. More to do on that as I could only do so much as there is scaffolding up on one side of the house so that work can be carried out on part of the roof. We’re still waiting for the roofers to arrive but first we had constant rain, then it snowed and now the roofing boss man is in isolation after a positive Covid test!
The nice thing about snow is that all the gardens look equally nice:
There was plenty to do in the garden. A lot of shrubs that were here when we moved in 15 years ago had grown triffid like to overwhelm everything nearby. So out they came. Lots of sawing, chopping, digging out of roots some of which were the diameter of my forearms, lobbing branches over the wall into the back garden were involved in clearing them out. Not to mention the rashes on my hands and arms from something or other that irritated my skin. Not sure if it was one of those hairy caterpillars or sap from one of the plants I was digging out.
As ever, once you start something you discover that time has to be spent doing other stuff to enable you to do the stuff you actual want to do. All that shrubbery had to be sorted to make room for me to sort out the beds I wanted to plant up. I have a machine that turns twigs and branches into chips. Unsurprisingly, this machine is called a chipper. It takes stuff up to about 2 inches in diameter so first of all I had to dispose of the larger diameter stuff. Council tips are a good place for this. Again not surprisingly, I managed to jam the chipper with branches that were very slightly too big!
It got jammed several times!
And I can state quite categorically that jammed chippers are an absolute bastard to unjam!
Eventually, after much pulling and pushing and demonstrating my considerable knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon language, the wood was chipped and I could proceed with the plan. Incidentally, I didn’t have a plan. Well, not on paper anyway. Lots of professional gardeners recommend making a plan either on paper or using one of the numerous software programmes. Personally, my plan is in my head. Not the best idea knowing what’s in my head but never mind.
Next up was sorting the ground out. I was working on two projects at the same time. First was to sort out and replant the front garden jungle and the second was to sort out the area down one side of the house that was part of the back garden and only received an hours worth of sunshine each day and looked manky whatever I planted there and basically consisted of a few clumps of grass and several hundred weeds. So first place to start was the bit down the side. As good a place as any. PIL and I had decided that we would not plant anything in the soil there but cover the whole thing with crushed slate and then put pots of flowers in to bring colour to that patch. We decided on blue 40mm slate and off we went to the builders merchant to purchase 30 25 kilo bags of the stuff along with several rolls of a permeable membrane to stop weeds growing through. Steering was a bit light on the way home and my arms were about 2 inches longer after lugging that lot about. I had to have a nap afterwards! The ground was sorted out, weeds removed and more or less levelled. I tend to work on the premise that more or less is fine.
Down went the membrane, down went the slate chips and a little while later I laid (badly) a few bricks at one end to keep the who;e thing secure. I was suitably impressed and more importantly, so was PIL. It was lovely to walk on, it sounded like you were walking on corn flakes. Lovely.
Now for the front. The soil needed to be refreshed and several holes dug. I like digging holes. I got to use the compost that I made. I used a wheelie bin as my compost heap. It was pretty good stuff even if I say so myself.
Once all that was done, I came to the bit I like the best – sticking plants in and getting ny hands properly dirty. Eventually, with a bit of a sore back, aching knees, mucky hands and a dirt smeared face, it was done although there is plenty more to do. That’s part of the joy of gardening for me, it never ends, there is always something to do.
Some of the plants in the photos that follow were planted by me a couple of years ago but I thought I would include them to show the overall effect.
A couple of the Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya Ternata) in the back garden.
The great thing about gardening is that once you have finished for the day, you can have one or two of these:
I hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of colour in these gloomy, wintery days
Have a fantastic day where ever you are.
More Dick soon.
Looking good. Not many weeds.
Give it time Steve. Come the Spring, they will make an appearance.
Your garden has so much color, and everything is SO green. My garden looks absolutely horrible, it’s overgrown – one might need a machete to get through. I have tried planting bedding plants, my dogs think I have specifically put them there to pee on (not me, my dogs pee on the plants). I had some people come and “tidy up” the palms, and they decided to hack my Xylosma and now the thing is totally asymmetrical and I am not sure I can do anything to fix it. Do none of the “landscapers” in California know how to properly trim trees and shrubs? On a positive note, I do have bananas growing on my Banana plants!
Hope all is well with you!
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Thank you. Long time no speak! First though, I must ask how your son is. I only came across your post when your latest one appeared in my feed. I think it must of got tangled up in all the other stuff and I failed to notice it. I really do hope all is well. I think what he and your family went through is probably every parents worse nightmare and it took real courage on your part to confront the issue and even more to write about it as a warning to other parents.
As to the garden, it’s looking better this year and I’ll probably get round to writing about it again soon. I think we have an advantage in the UK as it rains a lot so greenery does well. I think also that many people forget that green is a colour and foliage can be used not just for its form but also for the different shades and contrasts it brings to the garden.
I hope to hear from you soon and that you and your family are all well.
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So good to hear from you. My son is doing so well – we are definitely one of the lucky few. He is back in the gym bodybuilding and is healthier than ever. I think if we hadn’t have caught it so quickly and been all over it – things would not have turned out like they did. Thank-you for asking. I do hope that post reaches some families that maybe don’t have the same strong communication we had with our son, and they can see the signs before it is too late.
I do love your garden. I am a big fan of different foliage as well as flowers, different shades of green and movement in my garden. (Of course I have three dogs so there are all types of movements going on in my garden) I love big leaves like the palms and the philodendrons. I have some Begonias that are powering through this heat! Haven’t seen any slugs this year – too stinking hot!!
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I understand the problem with dogs. Our rescue dog, Dexter, passed away a couple of years ago after contracting tetanus and from that, pneumonia. We now have a 6 month old long haired German Shepherd we call Masai. I wonder what he calls us?
We only have a small garden so I try to pack in as much as possible. Plans are afoot for a house move some time soon that we have a bigger garden for me to potter around in and keep out of mischief. News on that when it eventually happens.
As for slugs and snails, I gave up on developing a repellent and at one time just lobbed them into our neighbours garden until one day he lobbed one back!😂 Then I took to chucking them in the road to take their chances with traffic, but not much where we live so they all came back again. Then one day I found my youngest son, tossing them back into the garden so I just take the attitude of putting them in the bin although a hedgehog has decided to visit regularly and it keeps them under control.
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Ahh, a useful Hedgehog. My Gran (who lived on the Isle of Wight) would get so angry at the Hedgehogs and the moles( I secretly adored them, but never said so, because then I would be viewed as part of the enemy) – being in her garden, but if they keep the slugs at bay – that’s fabulous.
As far as lobbing things into other people’s garden, I caught my boys doing that very thing when they were on dog poop detail (years ago). I was horrified.
I think we are going to move soon – to a more suitable climate. Had I known we would not see rain from March to November every year, I would never have moved to the Central Valley of California. All we ever see rain from the skies – is ash from the fires around us. What a weird place to live. Hope you get to move to a bigger garden soon!!