Tag Archives: garden

The garden.

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.


So. Do You Feel Lucky Slug?

Before we all went on holiday, I had restarted making my experimental slug deterrent. Unfortunately, as I hadn’t said anything to PIL about it, she found what she believed to be a bucket of gooey rain water in the garden and poured it away. Back to the beginning again.hostas-being-terrorized-by-slugs

What with work, stuff to do around the house and a thousand other tasks that I hadn’t done to sort out before we went away, I didn’t get round to carrying out the experiment. We’re back now, the catch up at work and home has been caught so now it is time for my experiment. Or so I thought. My intention was to grow some plain green hostas as a kind of sacrificial goat. Slugs absolutely love eating hostas so it was an ideal plant to see if my slug deterrent worked. We have a number of hostas dotted around the garden that we grow in pots to avoid serious slug damage. They are one of PILs favourite plants.20150612_100411


The three that I had grown on had come along nicely and looked like they would make an excellent meal for a slug or several. I planned to plant one in the garden uncoated with deterrent, another lightly sprayed and the final one soaked in deterrent. I would plant them about 18 inches apart.

I came home the other night ready to start my testing the following day to find my sacrificial hostas in one pot outside the front door.20150808_162320

“Er excuse me. Why are those hostas outside the front door?” I asked PIL.

“Don’t they look lovely there? Thanks ever so much for growing them for me.”

“But, but, but…….” I stammered.

“When did you develop a stutter. Good God man, you really are going to the dogs.”

“I was going to use them for my slug deterrent test.” I managed to say knowing that I was on a loosing wicket here.

“Well you can forget that sunshine. Find something else. I like them and they are staying put.”

Oh bollocks! Looks like SDG and I will have to wait a while longer before we make our fortunes. Sorry about that.

Have a smashing day.

More Dick soon.