Category Archives: Garden maintenance

You win some….

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….and you lose some, that’s the way in life. We can feel disappointed when something doesn’t go our way but there is always something else on the horizon. That’s the way it is with my electrical work, sometimes, well most times, I get to do the work I am offered if I say I will take it on. Sometimes though I find I am unable to do the work once I get to see what is involved. I am qualified and experienced enough to tackle any electrical work but now my age prevents me from doing too much and indeed I have chosen not to. So it was that on Friday I went along to assess replacing a couple of flood lights and discovered that although I could have done the work it would have been too much for me. The problem had nothing to do with replacing the lights but the way they had been wired meant that they needed rewiring properly. That led on to another problem for there was no RCD protection on the house wiring system so one would need to be supplied.

Residual current device 2pole 100A

Residual current device 2pole 100A (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All this would add to the expense and the time needed to do it all. That is why I turned down the work. Now it could be that the customer will employ someone else who perhaps isn’t as concerned about electrical regulations and just replaces the lights alone but there is no way I would. Friday was a day of rain and wind so I couldn’t have worked outdoors anyway. When I returned home I carried out a little maintenance work on the garage door and dug out a couple of bluebells I had noticed in the flowerbed nearby. It’s a game of cat and mouse with the bluebells! One day maybe I’ll be rid of them. As I write this it looks as though the weather for Saturday will allow me to work in the garden if I’ve a mind to do so but I might leave it until Monday. It all depends on how I am feeling and how bored I might be if I don’t do something. I might just go on a bluebell hunt on Saturday to allow me to concentrate on the stone edging in the days ahead. That’s the plan anyway….

Shirley Anne

All stop

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Wednesday turned out to be a gloriously sunny day, a little breezy but definitely a day for lounging about on the patio. Alas I couldn’t indulge until after my lunch and that’s what I did for an hour or so. On Tuesday evening I began to feel the effects of all my hard work on my upper leg muscles which made it difficult to get up if I was either sitting down or lying down. Once I was on my feet it wasn’t too bad and walking wasn’t a great problem as long as I took my time. So I made the decision on Tuesday night to stop the work I was doing in the garden for at least one day to allow my muscles to recover. Being on my knees (on a garden kneeling stool) digging and manipulating the large stones to make an edging for the long flowerbed meant I was stretching and that must have put too much of a strain on my leg muscles. I am still trying to figure out why only my legs when most of the work was being done by my arms! I had an idea it might be associated with the nerve in my neck being compressed because of the unavoidable position of my head whilst doing the work. Essentially it would be the same as if I were bending my head backward and looking upward for long periods. Whatever the reason a few neck exercises helped and during Wednesday morning things improved. I was glad about that for although I had stopped working with the stones for the day there was a couple of other things I could do without putting any strain on my legs. For some time now I have thought about putting more soil in the largest flowerbed on the patio as the level in there has dropped due to settling. There is plenty of spare soil in the corner plot at the end of the long flowerbed but there might still be bluebell seedlings in it so to make sure I filled some plant pots and left them standing…

If there are any bluebells in there they will appear soon enough, either way I will be able to use the soil in a few weeks, removing anything else that might have grown in there too. I may fill more pots to ensure I have enough. I did that just before lunch but after lunch I gave the lawn its first cut….

Even though I waited until the afternoon the grass was still very damp so it took much longer than it would otherwise do. If I attempted to cut using the whole width of the mower it refused so I used only half the width with each pass. At that time the patio was in full sunshine (just left in the picture) and you can see it is that bright for the edge of the patio at bottom left is hidden in the glare. My day was done as far as work went and I got the chance to sit in the sun. My electrical work till then had dried-up but someone called to put an end to that. I would be doing that work on Friday weather permitting because it is outdoor work and the forecast didn’t look too promising.

Click on pictures to magnify

Shirley Anne

A bit of rain

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The weather forecast for Saturday looked promising, no rain until evening though a few isolated spells of rain might be possible during the day. I was happy with that as I wanted to do some more work in the rear garden. The main project I have at the moment is to install a stone edging along the length of the long flowerbed. The bluebell removal project is ongoing though the bulk of the work you could say is done. It will take a long time to dig out the new ones as they appear and at this moment in time work on that small task is frequent. During the other work I was doing on Saturday I noticed quite a number of bluebells in different places which I dug out immediately. It would appear that I may not need to purchase any stone to install the edging as we had some stored and I planned to dig out some more from the west wall flowerbed. This was how that spot looked on Friday…..  Now it looks like this as I had dug out five large slabs and also some large stones as you can see…….

Those stones and slabs I moved here…….

The slabs count three from the left then a stone then two more slabs. The other slabs and stones I put there on Friday. I emptied the soil that we had stored in the white builder’s bag to fill the space that resulted from digging out the slabs. This picture was taken sometime last year I think. More work has gone on in the area since then….

Like this for instance……..

We will need more soil to top it off but though we have plenty of soil over the other side of the garden in the Corner Plot there could be some bluebell seedlings in it. In that part of the Plot it is more likely there are montbretia bulbs in it. One thing I noticed when working in that spot was the lack of any plant life below a few centimetres, not like I found in the main flowerbed. I will probably use the soil therefore which is nearest the back wall in the Corner Plot…….

Notice something missing? The yellow builder’s bag I was using to dump the bluebells because the two wheelie bins were full to the brim. I dragged the bag to the spot the white bag had occupied. When the wheelie bins are emptied I will be able to empty the contents of the bag into them…

….and these are the smaller stones I have removed from the ground during the work and there are still more to pick up and no doubt still to dig out yet….

It was one-thirty when I decided to stop for the day and as I did the rain began to fall but it was only very light and soon stopped. Our regular delivery girl brought yet another parcel for E. We chatted about work. She told me she was feeling a little tired to which I replied the same. I invited her to step into the house and on into the kitchen to have a look at the rear garden where I have been working. I think she was surprised at what she saw. As we moved back to the front garden for her to resume her deliveries she pointed to a couple of bluebells in one of the flowerbeds. That was it! When she’d gone I set about digging them out before finally returning indoors for a belated lunch.

Shirley Anne

Six and a half

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One might think by now I would have very few bluebells to dig out of the flowerbeds and by and large I have but no. If I calculate the percentage of bulbs I have removed I would estimate more than 95% and if I say I have removed well over eight thousand and probably over nine thousand there must be at least a thousand hiding from me! I work in bucketfuls and on Thursday I dug out another bucketful of them which would be three or four hundred. I suspect my calculations are inaccurate though and I’ve only dug out 90%. They just keep appearing in the areas I have been over two or three times. The strange thing is this, that the area which held the majority of them has far fewer appearing than elsewhere. I suppose that is due to the fact that it is an open border and I was able to systematically move along easier. Even so there were a few I dug out on Thursday. The plan for the day was to first of all check for bluebells and then perhaps start putting in some natural stone edging along the long flowerbed………

….but I only got as far as dumping a few stones on the soil at the far end in the picture. What I ended up doing was digging out bluebells in the flowerbed from one end to the other and then I moved to the Mound again for the fourth time and spent most of the day digging them out there too…….

The Mound was heavily populated with bluebells so I expected I would spend much time there but I never thought there would be quite so many. Imagine a hole, say 700 mm deep and around 150 mm across. That is about the size I dig when I discover a bluebell or two. They are often that deep and when I scrape with the hand fork I am amazed how many bulbs I loosen, thirty, forty all from the same hole! Well that’s fine for one hole but I’ve dug many of them in the Mound. It’s got so bad I find I’m having to constantly move the small plants there to get at the bulbs. If you don’t want a flower to take over your garden don’t plant bluebells! Whilst digging in the Mound I also removed a large quantity of small stones, well over two standard buckets full! There are more in there. As I was about to pack everything away I noticed  several bluebells close together in the flowerbed in front of the small greenhouse so had to dig them out too. Each time I thought I’d finished for the day I spotted more here and there too so dug them out as well. It was five-thirty in the afternoon by the time I got indoors. I had been working since ten o’clock with a one hour break for lunch, six and a half hours. Who thinks gardening is easy? Before I went indoors though I found a large bluebell growing here beneath the large stones on the left in the picture below,

I had removed some of the stones for use in the long flowerbed edging if I ever get to do it! You might just be able to see the top of the bluebell in the centre of the three large stones. I nearly forgot, I also planted two shrubs near to the large greenhouse in the corner plot. One I had placed there in it’s pot until I could plant it and the other I had dug out whilst digging out the bluebells beneath the large bush shown dead-centre in the top picture. In fact it was an off-shoot of the bush with it’s own root system.

Shirley Anne

Too busy?

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I had ordered a long LED lighting unit on Friday for a customer in whose house I had been working. My supplier told me it would be delivered to them on Monday morning so I arranged with the customer to install it as soon as it was available. I knew the delivery to the supplier would probably be mid to late morning so in the meantime I continued to work in the ‘Mound’ removing more bluebells. My readers might remember I had done some of the work on Sunday but heavy rain put a stop to it. Monday was a fine and sunny day throughout, ideal for working outside. I had a two-hour slot before I would collect the light unit and install it. Before I could return to the spot where I had left-off digging I saw more bluebells a short distance away which I decided to remove first. Eventually I returned to where I had left-off and removed those I hadn’t been able to on Sunday but in the process I dug out a large amount of stones too, including this slab of natural stone buried deep beneath the surface…

The longest side measures something like half a metre. No doubt there are more like it buried in the Mound. A couple of years ago we removed many large slabs of natural stone, some of which are in the picture above. At that time we dug out enough to make a pathway with stone edging as you can see above (enter ‘Mound’ in the search box to see more pictures). I collected the light unit and went to install it but was asked if I could fit two replacement switches too. Whilst there I received two calls from other customers and did those jobs too. One was for an elderly lady of 97 whose doorbell wasn’t working. She was very sprightly for someone of that age, very independent and insisting she remained living in her own house rather than in a rest home. What a lady! It was three-thirty in the afternoon before I could eat lunch so it was a case of visiting the pub and eating there. I was in no mood for cooking at home. At that hour there were plenty of vacant tables and I was spoilt for choice. I spoke with a couple of guys I know who were standing at the bar before seating myself for lunch, well dinner really as it wasn’t just a snack. I arrived back home around five-thirty satiated but tired…….Tuesday would find me at work again.

Shirley Anne

Punishing

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The work of digging out the bluebells has been very punishing. Although the work is and has been hard it is the fact that I am still finding plenty of them in places where I have already worked extensively. I got up late on Wednesday morning as there was no work scheduled and no reason to get up early and after a late breakfast of just fruit I resisted the temptation to have a walk around the garden to see if there were any more bluebells breaking through the surface. It has got to that point where I am actually frightened to even look because every time I do I find some! I had lunch late too but the idea of getting out into the sun-filled garden got the better of me and I had a quick walk about the rear garden returning indoors to put on my overalls to start digging out the few bluebells I had seen.

English: A common scold gets her comeuppance i...

A common scold gets her comeuppance in the dunking stool. A seventeenth century woodcut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were a few in the larger beds but not many so I spent only a short time there. I moved to the bed alongside the patio and found many more there to remove together with a few montbretia. That particular bed had been filled with montbretia until I revamped the bed some time ago and removed them so I expected to find the occasional one to dig out. There were far more bluebells there on Wednesday though none were deep-seated. Having finished in that bed I noticed a couple in the Mound where I had thoroughly worked in removing the bluebells only a couple of days earlier for the second time. I began to remove them, and they were deep under the ground, then as I did I noticed more. So it went on all along the front of the bed until I reached the space in front of the tree where I had removed something like thirty to fifty on my first visit weeks earlier. I hadn’t counted them, it was just an estimate but save to say they had all been in the same spot and deep beneath the soil. I found more on Wednesday in that same spot, well over a hundred of them and very deep among the tree’s roots! With each scrape of the fork I loosened more of them. It seemed that there were more bulbs than soil! Finally I reached the point where I couldn’t see any more of them and began to back-fill the hole with filtered soil. Thinking I had finished for the day I saw yet another a few centimetres away and found it wasn’t just the one, it was about ten of them! All I can say is that I have probably eradicated most of them…………..I do hope so.

Shirley Anne

The good…….

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The blue 'three triangles' logo, which station...

The blue ‘three triangles’ logo, which stations have to display, identifies approved MOT test stations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……the bad and the ugly. To be truthful Monday presented me with the good, a wee bit of the bad but none of the ugly. Come to think of it there is no such thing as the ugly. If we are talking about people every one is beautiful…..in their own way (sounds like a song), we are all God‘s creatures. Monday was the day I took my van in for a service and an MOT test. The appointment was for eight-thirty but as usual with me I arrived almost thirty minutes early. It didn’t matter as some of the staff were there. I left them to get on with it and took the mile and a half, well a little bit short of that, walk into the town centre. I had a large sum of money to deposit. I arrived there half an hour earlier than the bank opens its doors so I popped into ‘Nero’s‘ for a large latte and waited. Although the weather forecast was for rain it remained dry until mid-afternoon but by that time I was at home again. I made the deposit and then did some browsing in a department store looking at clothes. Whilst in there the service station called me to verify the level of service I had asked for. The MOT test had by that time been completed and my vehicle had passed the test. It wouldn’t take long for them to complete the service so I made plans to walk back but first I had some more browsing to do. The service station is located on one of the main trunk-roads out-of-town where  several large stores are located. Before calling at the service station I visited two of the stores, the second of which was an electrical appliance and computer outlet, ‘Currys‘, part of the ‘Carphone Warehouse Group‘. I called in to ask about a problem I was having with my Windows 10 laptop which won’t connect to the Internet even though there isn’t a problem with the adapter. It recognises the router and connects to it. Apparently it is a Windows 10 program fault. The odd thing is I had been on-line using the machine the previous night! As I seldom use the machine there was no urgency in solving the problem. My main machine runs Windows 7 which in my estimation is far superior and gives me no problems whatsoever. Anyway while in the store I browsed the fridge and fridge/freezer stock and immediately saw the fridge/freezer I would buy if the one I mentioned in yesterday’s post doesn’t improve. It was time to get to the service station to collect the van. It had cost £40 for the MOT test and £85 for the service. I was happy enough with the charge and paid up. I didn’t drive home though, instead I drove to the pub and treated myself to a meal. So everything was good. I have been keeping a close eye on the flowerbeds at home looking for bluebells appearing and when I finally got home I saw a few in different places in the front garden. Soon after I had gotten indoors to change my clothes and put on my overalls I went into the front garden and dug out those I had seen. I went into the rear garden and likewise saw a few more dotted about here and there so dug those out too. That was the bad part of my day but it is something I am going to have to do for quite some time yet.

Shirley Anne

The annoying thing is……

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Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…..almost everything when it comes to digging out bluebells! I had one small job to do on Friday morning in an apartment less than four hundred metres from home. It was a simple job that turned out to be anything but simple in its execution. I had one ceiling light and one wall light to install in a bathroom, a usually straightforward  task but it was one of those jobs that seemed to have everything going against me. Now I would normally take less than an hour to do this sort of job but I ended up taking twice that time and it was mostly due to poorly designed units. The lights nevertheless looked nice when lit which according to the customer made it all worthwhile. She didn’t have to install them! Anyway I was back home at eleven o’clock having started the work at nine. Before I had left home to do the job I had seen a few bluebells in the same flowerbed in the front garden which I have worked in quite a few times recently digging out bluebells as they begin to appear. I had enough time to get down to digging out the new arrivals, about fifteen of them in four different places! On my return home I saw one more bluebell but it was in the other flowerbed where I had to remove a Fuchsia a few weeks ago in order to get at the bluebells growing there beneath it. I dug that out with my bare hands then went indoors. Before doing anything else I put on my overalls and boots and went into the rear garden to dig out more bluebells in the flowerbeds again. The other day I had found myself behind the trees and shrubs getting at the many bluebells growing there but I hadn’t completed that work, I returned there to finish it off before finally getting to the ‘Mound’ again to begin, you guessed it, digging out more bluebells. I guess it must have been a little after twelve o’clock when I started on the Mound and it would be four o’clock before I had finished there. The bulbs there were growing profusely despite my having done much filtering there recently. The most annoying things about digging out the bluebells are their numbers and the fact that so many are deep under the surface and often beneath tree roots. I had missed lunch because I was determined to get as many bulbs out of the ground as I could find knowing that it might be many days before I got the opportunity again as rain was forecast. As it turned out I managed to cover the whole Mound before returning indoors. I would get the weekend free from work at least. I would also get Monday free from work too…my van had an appointment at the service station for a service and an MOT test.

Shirley Anne

Enough already!

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I had been working again in the rear garden yesterday removing more bluebells but had run out of dry weather as well as running out of daylight and had to stop for the day. Most of what I was doing in the two hours between three and five o’clock was centred at the far end of the long flowerbed toward the ‘Mound’ and especially behind the trees. I had piled up everything I had dug out ready to put it in a bucket to dump it all. However the rain by then was heavy so I left everything and went indoors. long-flowerbed-4According to the weather forecast a storm was heading in our direction to arrive on Thursday but that high winds and rain would precede it on Wednesday afternoon for my location. I lowered the flag we have in the front garden yesterday because the forecast of very high winds reaching perhaps 60 mph would rip it apart. Union FlagI decided therefore to get up early and get out in the garden while there was time. Almost everywhere I had removed bluebells a few weeks ago I now found had more growing there! ‘Enough already’ I thought to myself as I got stuck in to the seemingly endless task ahead of me. My only consolation is in knowing I have removed many thousands of them, possibly and most probably around eight thousand by this point in time. So that will be eight thousand less plants producing seeds and making matters impossible. As it stands today, Wednesday as I write this, I still have the tail-end of the corner plot to finish though that should only take a couple of hours. Unfortunately, again according to the weather forecast, we can expect rain for many of the days ahead. The break, if I get one, will allow any other bluebells to grow and show themselves and I will be waiting with my little hand fork to escort them away! The two months I have spent thus far digging out montbretia and bluebells off and on is beginning to rip me apart too! Hopefully the major part of the project will be over soon but as I have mentioned in previous posts, it will be on-going maintenance for many months yet.

Update: Later in the afternoon I returned to the corner plot and finished filtering the soil as it hadn’t rained. That rain came later in the evening. So here is a picture taken from inside the greenhouse….corner-plot-8

The plant in the pot is another shrub. It was an offshoot of a large bright green shrub further along the flowerbed far to the left. You can see it in the top picture dead centre. I had been working beneath that shrub earlier in the day removing more bluebells. The offshoot became detached in the process. It has of course its own root system. I put it into a pot until I decide to plant it later and after ensuring there are no more bluebells or montbretia plants in that place.

Shirley Anne

Dodging the rain

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I had been very tired when i went to bed on Monday night (see yesterday’s post) and was so ready for sleep. Thankfully I got it, eight hours of it with only one break half-way through to go you know where! Eight hours for me is unheard of as I never usually get more than five or five and a half but I must have needed it. With no electrical work scheduled I had Tuesday all to myself so immediately after breakfast I put on my overalls and went into the garden to push on with the bluebell and montbretia removal in the corner plot (see previous posts). I have been sidetracked so many times that reaching the end of the flowerbed has been much delayed. The forecast for the day was rain late in the morning but turning dry again a couple of hours later. I made the most of it and got a lot done before the rain appeared at noon. However, before I could get to the corner plot I had seen more bluebells growing in the long flowerbed and also the one in front of the greenhouses! I had only removed some from those two places a day or so previously. Finally I was able to get to the corner plot.corner-plot-7 Surprisingly the area, though covered with montbretia for the most part with a few deep-rooted bluebells here and there, was fairly easy to filter because the montbretia bulbs were mostly near to the surface. The picture show the area as it was before I resumed there on Tuesday because I hadn’t the time to take a picture on the day but most of the area behind the marking stones has now been filtered. It will only take one more day to finish that corner near to the greenhouse. It is just a matter of when at the moment. I stopped work at noon but only because it had started to rain. It was three o’clock before I could return outside. Now you might think I would have continued where I left off but earlier, when looking out of the wet room window I saw what I thought was a bluebell growing near to the laurel bushes in the ‘Plot’ alongside the patio. plot-35I had worked redesigning the Plot last summer if you may recall but hadn’t seen any bluebells. So before I did anything else I went to check and sure enough there were two bluebells growing there. Naturally I fetched the tools and dug them out. As I was returning to the corner plot I passed by the flowerbed on the other side of the patio just to check there too. Yes, more bluebells to remove there and also one or two in the ‘Mound’! That wasn’t all, in the end of the long flowerbed I had cleared of bluebells a few weeks ago I found so many growing there I had to redo it! long-flowerbed-10I found myself even going behind the trees toward the left in the picture below which stand next to the area in the picture above and digging out many more there too. long-flowerbed-4It isn’t so much that I am finding so many but because so many are deeply seated it is hard work digging them out. By five o’clock it had begun to rain again and I had to abandon the work. Whilst behind the trees I noted where more bluebells were growing beneath and around them which will be easier to dig out from the path side but that would have to be on another day. It is heartbreaking to discover more bluebells growing where I thought I had eradicated them. I have dug out so many though I won’t be giving up any time soon…………..

Shirley Anne

Bucket full

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Dig Dug: Digging Strike

Dig Dug: Digging Strike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a great feeling to be at that stage in life whereby you can pretty much do as you please as far as what you do in a day. At weekends I don’t do any electrical work unless in an emergency so if I don’t wish to do anything at all over the weekend then I don’t. On Sunday I was in no hurry to get up but I arose as soon as I awoke. After a shower and getting dressed I sauntered downstairs just before ten o’clock and had a bowl of fruit with a little muesli and milk. I had been thinking about going for a walk or maybe dining out at the pub to wile away the afternoon but by two o’clock I wasn’t feeling particularly well kind of like the way you feel when you have a bad cold. I decided to remain at home and have a late lunch instead, after all I had made a vegetable and chicken stew the previous day so there was no need to do any cooking. To kill a bit of time before lunch I made another ‘slab’ of rock cake because the other had been so nice but had all been eaten. After lunch I was feeling much better. The day before I had experienced problems getting my mobile phone connection. No matter where I was in the house or the gardens the message read ‘No network available’. As I was home it didn’t bother me too much because callers could contact me over the house phone if it was urgent. I wanted to contact a new friend just to say hello and couldn’t reach her even by text. I tried again on Sunday afternoon and suddenly everything was back to normal but I had a lot of catching up to do answering messages that had been left, mostly from people wanting electrical work done. I was able to contact my friend too and learned she was in the south of the country tending to her mother. Anyway before my phone connection had been restored I had been out in the front garden checking for a signal and noticed more bluebells growing in the right-hand flowerbed again. I had to dig them out, I couldn’t leave them for another day, they had to go! It was only a few days earlier I had been digging out bluebells in the same bed. They are a pain in the proverbial to put it mildly. As I was fetching the kneeling stool which I had stored in the greenhouse I noticed another bluebell in the flowerbed  by the greenhouses which I dug out once I had finished in the front garden. Thinking I had found them all I began to put the equipment away but lo and behold there were more, then more in the next bed. Finally I decided to dig out the couple I had seen in the flowerbed next to the patio whilst I was at it but didn’t get that far. On the way there I saw more in the ‘Mound’ which I started to remove. As I dug them out more appeared with each dig with the trowel or fork and before I knew it I had a bucket full of them! At last I got to the flowerbed next to the patio and dug out a couple there. I have never seen so many bluebell bulbs and plants in such relatively small areas, even rabbits don’t ‘breed’ so profusely! I did say there would be more and more and more and more………..yawn!

Shirley Anne

Surveying the land

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English: did you know that squirrels like beer...

Did you know that squirrels like beer? I did not know that. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually a term used to describe (in the dictionary – as a noun) ‘an act or instance of surveying or of taking a comprehensive view of something’. I am applying it in reference to my amble around my garden: amble: a verb – ‘to go at a slow, easy pace; stroll; saunter’, something I do quite often in the gardens throughout the year. I’ve grown to love and appreciate my gardens in the last few years whilst reflecting upon all the work I have done to get them to where they are now. My little surveys reveal the things I need to do to keep on top of things. Currently my thoughts are centred around spotting bluebells which have escaped my notice especially in the areas in which I have been working to remove them but also in other places they might appear. It was late on Saturday morning when I took a stroll along the path by the greenhouses and the first thing I noticed was a bluebell growing in the patch in front of the small greenhouse. I fetched the small garden fork and dug it out. Then I saw another and some more in the same general area. I have been expecting more to show as the weather gets warmer and I’ve not been disappointed! Having dug about thirty and removed them I thought that would be the end of it but no, there were some growing in the small plot nearby too. I removed them. I checked over the whole flowerbeds by the greenhouses to make sure I had removed all that had shown themselves. I spent a little time digging out a few more bluebells in the unfinished part of the corner plot where I have been working recently. I went indoors to prepare a meal. It was around three o’clock when I decided to take another amble around the garden and my keen eyes spotted a couple of bluebells in the flowerbed by the patio. I didn’t take any immediate action but noted where they were for the next time I would be working in the garden. I hadn’t much intention to work in the garden on the day because I wanted a rest from it and the weather forecast had been for rain anyway, though it didn’t rain until much later in the day. I spent a little time filling the seed dispenser for the birds as E seems to have forgotten to do it. On Friday morning I saw the strangest thing when looking out of the window into the rear garden. I saw ‘our’ little grey squirrel running along the top of the garden wall holding a slice of bread in its mouth! I never knew squirrels liked bread (and beer apparently) but I guess they will eat anything if hungry. We had been putting out nuts for them but hadn’t seen much of the squirrels lately due to the cold weather. Anyway the squirrel was being pursued by a jay who wanted a piece of the action but the squirrel was having none of it and kept out of the bird’s way. Funny what you see in the garden if you take the time to look.

Shirley Anne  

Diverted and stuck

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By the end of yesterday the sore throat I had disappeared, in fact it was late afternoon I last remembered having it. What would I be doing on Thursday? I had a couple of electrical requests but turned them down because one was too far away to be worth the effort and the other was simply too much work for me. I sat around until ten o’clock, mostly to allow my breakfast to digest and to play the guitar for a while too then it was on with my overalls and boots for a spell in the rear garden. I didn’t want to carry on where I had left off filtering out the bluebells in the corner of the garden, at least not to begin with. During the time I had been working on the ‘Plot’ project last summer and also in the front garden flowerbeds I had removed several bulbs. They weren’t bluebells, I think they were daffodils or tulips, probably both and I had left them in a plant pot in one of the garages. I wanted to plant them in two places, in the small plot between the small greenhouse and the garage and also in the ‘Mound’. Here are the two locations…..little-plot-5

the-mound

I planted a few around the exposed areas in the small plot (first picture) and then went over to the Mound (second picture) to see where I could plant some of the bulbs there. The picture shows the area I had been working in a couple of weeks ago when digging out bluebells in front of the tall tree in the foreground. I had removed something like thirty to fifty bluebell bulbs from the small area as I recall. The first thing I noticed was a bluebell growing in front of the small shrub in front centre. I dug it out but it wasn’t alone, there were several more beneath the soil level both to the left and behind the shrub. I even had to remove the large stone behind the shrub for many more bluebells were growing there too. I ended up digging out more of them in a triangle marked by the two angles in the stone edging and the shrub with the brightly coloured leaves just right of the centre in the picture. Most of the bulbs were located at least 300 mm down and beneath tree roots! Then I noticed more growing in the area around the angle in the stone edging, to the right of that position and behind it too. I filled a bucket with just bluebells. It was approaching two o’clock and I had spent almost four hours on my knees again, three of them in that one location and still I hadn’t planted any bulbs as I had intended. I found myself cursing the bluebells as I kept on finding more after thinking there were no more to find. Oh yes, there are sure to be more of them, I just have to wait for them to show.

Shirley Anne

Six hours minus lunch

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Tuesday was one of those days that was neither too cold nor too warm. Neither was it sunny for long but the wind was low and it was dry, just right for working in or rather working outside which was where you would find me. I had no electrical work so it was an ideal opportunity to carry on with what has turned out to be a long project, digging out the bluebells and montbretia. I was at last working in the corner plot and got this far….corner-plot-7

Compare to previous recent posts. You will notice that the small-leaved holly tree has been removed where it stood between the tree with the two trunks and the large sycamore trunk at the top of the picture. The holly is of a variety which tends to grow all over the place unless constantly pruned-back. I dug it out as I said I might. It was just as well for there were bluebells growing beneath it and behind it and they would have been difficult to get at with the tree in the way. The area in the picture at the top right and beyond the brick markers is mostly covered with montbretia. Fortunately most are growing near the surface and come out with a rake though I am using the fork to dig deep just to make sure. I use the kneeling stool and then dig out the loosened soil with a hand fork. That is why it is taking so long. I have to filter out the soil a small section at a time. You will notice a small shrub at the left-hand side of the picture. We had that growing in a large pot with the view of planting it out in the garden later. Before I planted it I dug deep in and around the spot to ensure no further bluebells were still lingering about. It was just as well I did for there were still a few in there which I had missed. long-flowerbed-15

I will have to leave populating the flowerbed too densely if at all for a while so that I can dig out any others I have missed. Speaking of which, I finally stopped work for the day at four o’clock and put the gardening tools away but when I took the photographs a little later I noticed four places in the bed to the left of the area in the bottom picture where more bluebells are beginning to show. Grrrrrr….! Using some plastic sticks I marked their positions so I would be able to see them for digging out later.

Shirley Anne

Creeping along

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On Wednesday I didn’t plan on working in the garden because I wanted a rest from it. At the same time I had no electrical job offers for the day either. The whole day would be spent doing well practically nothing. However, around three o’clock I couldn’t resist putting on a coat and taking the garden fork and some smaller tools and going over to where I had left-off a few days ago in digging out some bulbs. I decided to spend at least an hour seeing what progress I could make in removing what remains in the corner section of the long flowerbed. I got as far as this…..corner-plot-2

Only a small area really from the angle in the stone edging up to the bright stone marker a metre to the right and roughly as far back as the tree with the two trunks. The other tree to its right is a small-leaved holly of some type which is in need of some radical pruning or complete removal. I might just remove it and replace it with something else. To the right of where I had reached the ground is mainly populated with montbretia plants though there are some bluebells in there too. I will be glad when I finally reach the end…just behind the wheelie bin!corner-plot-1

The soil in the area is riddled with tree roots which have made removing the bluebell bulbs more difficult. I am hoping though that the montbretia bulbs will not be so deep beneath the surface but I will have to wait and see. Once I have finished digging everything out I will still have to be vigilant throughout the year to dig out any I have missed. Take my advice, if you don’t want plants that take over your garden don’t plant montbretia and especially don’t plant bluebells!

Shirley Anne