Category Archives: Garden maintenance

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

Old ground

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At the time of writing this on Wednesday morning there remains only the one area in the garden requiring attention regarding the removal of bluebells and montbretia plants. That is the area approaching the larger greenhouse. In this picture below taken before the greenhouse was erected some five years ago the area is more easily seen…Old greenhouse and new hard standing behind for new greenhouse showing path behind holly tree

Basically it is the area behind the tall holly tree running right toward the concrete base on which there are two chairs. When the picture was taken I had just installed the large sandstone slabs that had been used for capping the perimeter wall at the front of the house and had used them to edge the path which runs to the greenhouse. You can see the edging in the picture above and in this picture taken recently…long-flowerbed-12

The tall holly tree is beyond the right-hand edge of the picture. The front perimeter walls were rebuilt without the sandstone capping but have the wrought iron metalwork on them instead….After with new front wall and gates

These are all old, previously posted pictures from earlier posts. Anyway I have not been able to get into that small area as yet because I have been going over old ground and doing some electrical work in between. Yesterday (Tuesday) I took a walk of inspection in the rear garden to see where I needed to remove bluebells in previously worked areas, the flowerbed next to the patio, the ‘Mound’ and the end of the long flowerbed next to it. I dug out only a couple from next to the patio, a bucket-full from the Mound but two buckets full from the flowerbed! It is unbelievable the amount I have dug out since the beginning of the year. It was after one o’clock that I received a call asking for my electrical services. I had been on my knees so to speak for over three hours and had just about finished working those three areas. I was able to eat a small lunch before going to that job a couple of miles from home. On my return I went into the garden again just for a quick look around and was stopped in my tracks after a couple of paces. At the end of the flowerbed which runs in front of the greenhouses and next to the small patch where we grow rhubarb I could see the top of yet another bluebell! Two days ago I had removed around six plants just a few centimetres away! I was so annoyed I dug it out with my bare hands and it was quite a large one. Fortunately the soil wasn’t too compacted so it wasn’t difficult to remove. This is what I have had to do over the last few weeks, go over old ground and find any missed or late growing bulbs which need digging out. No doubt I will be doing that throughout the growing seasons to ensure complete eradication but it will be worth it.

Shirley Anne

Poor electricians?

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I am glad I entered into the electrical trade/business all those years ago. For someone who has an inquisitive mind it is the ideal occupation. People often ask why I took up electrical work and the answer I give is that I wanted to know how things work. It is still the reason even now and it doesn’t stop at electrical things, I am interested in many things and how they work, how they are made and the history behind them too. It is a passion I guess but it helped when I first embarked in my career that I enjoy working with my hands and to be truthful it was essential. There are no such things as poor electricians providing they are prepared to work.

Power to the people!

Power to the people!

I am not super rich and never could be unless I had a large business employing many people but that was never an option for me, I simply wasn’t that way inclined. Being self-employed is in itself a driving force though less so for myself these days because I am fortunate to have a two-pension income. My self employment allows me to enjoy that little bit extra without the worry that I would have to struggle on my pensions alone. I could manage on just my pensions and I could even still save something at the end of the month. It isn’t that extra cash that motivates me though, it is the fact that I am still capable of working and I enjoy the work and in meeting people. Of course I no longer work full-time, I have no wish to and probably couldn’t maintain full-time working for very long, even one day doing that is tiring at my age. On Monday morning I changed the bedclothes and washed the soiled sheets in the washing machine before breakfast then an hour later hung them in the boiler room to dry. It is such an advantage having cellars in a house. As I had nothing else planned I was wondering what I could do for the rest of the morning in the garden whilst the weather was dry. I didn’t wish to continue with digging out bluebells in the remaining section of flowerbed that as yet I haven’t touched. I thought there might be one or two popping up in places where I had been clearing them out so I went into the garden to check. I didn’t need to look far and soon found some beginning to show themselves in a couple of places. I spent an hour digging them out before returning indoors. It was now approaching lunchtime so I thought I would prepare a vegetable stew. Using onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots, sweetcorn, lentils, barley, green beans, pre-cooked diced chicken and seasoning I made enough for three meals.

Washing peppers

Washing peppers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now it was 12.15 so I decided to have some for lunch but my phone rang and it was a job offer in the next town. I drove there and did the work which has now led to more work in the weeks ahead. It pays being an electrician if you are prepared to work………

Shirley Anne

Day of two halves

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I was determined to get some quality sleep on Friday night so after a day with half-closed eyes or at least feeling that way, I went to bed early and was fast asleep at around nine-thirty. I still woke up a couple of times but my sleep was good and I woke up on Saturday morning very much refreshed. I ate breakfast around nine o’clock and waited until ten before donning my overalls and boots to go into the front garden and get stuck into the bluebell removal in the right-hand flowerbed. When I had redesigned the beds last year I hadn’t been thorough enough in eliminating the bluebells in this particular bed and now I was paying the price. Earlier in January I had actually dug out around a dozen plants but now they were back in number and I had to spend a couple of hours on my knees again digging them out. I guess I removed over a hundred of them. It was whilst I was doing that when my mobile phone rang. Why does it always seem that I get calls when I am doing something in the garden? It was an elderly gentleman asking if I could repair a loose lighting switch. I explained that I was digging out bluebells but that I would call back a little later to arrange to visit him. After another hour I had finished in the garden and gave him a call. I drove to his house which was only a mile and a half away and soon had the switch secured. After receiving payment I drove into and through the town centre and on toward my local pub for a meal. Here is a picture of the side entrance, the one most folk use, taken when they were having some outside work done…fishHere are the links to view much more about the pub http://fishermens.rest/index.html. and https://www.facebook.com/fishermens.rest/  .The place was full except for a space at the end of the bar, so I sat there. I only wanted a snack, a sandwich so sitting at the bar wasn’t a problem. When the ‘snack’ arrived it came with all the trimmings including chips (French fries) and a salad! I only really wanted a sandwich. Still it was enjoyable. No sooner had I finished eating when tables became vacant as many left the premises. Typical! I was greeted by many folk who hadn’t seen me for quite a while and asking why I hadn’t been to the pub for some time. I didn’t have an excuse except that I hadn’t wished to. I have been  correcting that of course having been there several times recently, I shouldn’t neglect going to the only place near to home where I am truly welcomed and missed when not there.

Shirley Anne

Fireworks

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I had a lousy night’s sleep on Thursday to Friday morning, tossing and turning throughout the eight hours I had. I had gone to bed at eight-thirty but didn’t actually nod off until just after nine. I was up and out of bed several times during the night until I decided I’d had enough and rose for the day at five-thirty. I remained in a sleepy state all day long and it was all I could do to stop my eyes closing. I had to go to that job I mentioned in yesterday’s post, no power to the downstairs lighting circuit. It was in the next town over seven miles away and I arrived there before nine o’clock as arranged. It transpired that the problem was a blown fuse and it had supposedly blown because one of the light bulbs on the circuit had blown. The lady’s son had previously rewired the fuse but it blew again. I could not find a fault so had to assume the fuse hadn’t been rewired properly. It can happen that if the fuse wire is too taut or has an indentation or even a loose connection causing an arc that the fuse gives up and blows under any load, especially if a light bulb has short-circuited. I repaired the fuse and all was in order. I was back at home just over an hour later. As the weather forecast was for rain early in the afternoon I decided not to do any work in the garden. I had been thinking of going to the pub for lunch yet again but thought the better of it as there was food in the refrigerator that needed to be used. E would be doing the weekly shopping and restocking the larder so to speak. She had been out all day on Thursday so switched to Friday to do the shopping. She even went out before noon which is a first as she usually goes out after two o’clock, even three o’clock sometimes. I digress. I prepared myself an early lunch because I’d had an early breakfast. When I had eaten I was looking out of the window at the rear garden, just pondering at first but then I went out and trimmed back the dead stalks on some plants so that the already sprouting new foliage could grow. Whilst doing that I noticed three or four bluebell plants growing in the flowerbed that runs in the front of the greenhouses..greenhouse-flowerbed-5

…..the one I had worked in late last year where I had fitted the stone edging and repopulated it. I knew there would be some popping up as is the case elsewhere. They were all located in the right-hand half of the bed where there had been a number of bluebells growing before I removed them. Just as I was finishing that small job I was shaken by the sudden loud bang of a large firework being let off followed by three or four more. They were exploding rockets being set off by workmen working at a house two doors away. The new owners have employed builders to renovate the property before they themselves move in, probably in a month or so. The noise was unbearable and I was showered with the debris which floated down over my house and garden and my neighbour’s garden too. I went upstairs and shouted as best as a woman can for them to refrain from setting the fireworks off whilst also telling them that they should be working. The noise abated, they must have heard me. I went to one of the front bedrooms and looked out of the window. I saw a couple of the men chatting and one of them walked past my house on the opposite side of the road towards his vehicle. I drew his attention regarding the fireworks telling him that there are folk in the area who work at night and they would be finding it difficult to sleep because of the noise. At first he tried to deny any knowledge of fireworks. I couldn’t believe his impudence. He apologised after I had told him I would be taking action if their inconsiderate behaviour lasted. It was only a few days ago I had to walk to the house to complain about the very thick smoke from a fire that was affecting several neighbours as well as myself. They had actually poured diesel on the fire to help it burn! Just then my next-door neighbour phoned and was wondering where the noise had been coming from. I went round to see her and explained what I had been obliged to do. She was answering a call from yet another neighbour who wanted to know the source of the noise too. Workmen can be so inconsiderate when there is no-one there supervising operations. Anyway it was around two o’clock and still there was no rain. As I walked up the path alongside this flowerbed I saw something that infuriated me…..No 2 Flowerbed 10

…bluebells! Now this was the second of the two front flowerbeds I had revamped last year and I had thoroughly sifted the soil from one end to the other. I was confident that there wouldn’t be any bluebells left as there are in the other bed  where I hadn’t been as fussy. If you magnify the picture you will see a shrub at the far right end of the flowerbed, a Fuchsia which I didn’t disturb when working the bed but did remove some bluebells from beneath it at the time. Now there were bluebells growing deep inside and among the stalks, impossible to remove unless the Fuchsia was taken out too. I was so annoyed but made it my business to remove it there and then. It took some time but eventually I got it out and then it was time to get at those bluebells too. I removed a bucket load of them! I didn’t really wish to lose the Fuchsia but on reflection it is a plant that grows vigorously, producing more and more stalks which get out of hand. For the time being therefore I am going to concentrate on the two front flowerbeds, especially the right-hand one which has many bluebells needing removal…Front flowerbed redesign 1

This is a picture (above) from last year. The rose has since been pruned right down and is going to look far better this year I think. Does it never end?

Shirley Anne

Back-breaking work

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Wednesday proved to be a fine and sunny day and much warmer than of late. I set my alarm to rise before seven o’clock but as usual for me when I do that I woke up just after six! After my prayer session I changed things around by going downstairs for breakfast before I washed and dressed. I did that because I intended to go straight into the garden once I returned downstairs and knowing I would need the toilet after eating breakfast beforehand. There is nothing worse than donning my overalls, boots and gloves only to need the toilet soon afterward! I was in the garden before eight o’clock to resume the mammoth task of digging out those bluebell bulbs. First though I decided to dig out a couple of Montbretia plants that were in the bed next to the patio, a couple I’d obviously missed digging out last year when I worked in the bed removing vast quantities of them. I moved to ‘The Mound’ (use search box over on the right) and began digging out several bluebell bulbs that had emerged from beneath the soil and in the front of one of the trees there I think I dug out around fifty just in the one spot! The tree is the slim one nearest the front just left of the green shrub.the-mound No doubt others will show themselves soon. Anyway after spending some time there I moved over to the long flowerbed (the other end of the one I have been working in removing bulbs for the last few weeks) near to the Mound to dig out several more from the same spot I had worked only three weeks ago. long-flowerbed-10It pays to wait for them to show. I moved along the flowerbed and dug out many more bulbs from beneath the holly tree and the bushes growing there. I finally came to the spot where I had first begun to dig out Montbretia in the centre part of the flowerbed and discovered more growing there. Is there no end to them? The sad part is I know there will be more to dig out as the weather gets warmer but they should only be few (she says hopefully). In the process of digging out some bulbs behind one of the bushes I removed a new shoot of that bush and put it in the bed further toward the little oak tree to begin filling-in the bare spaces. It is the green plant just right of centre by the wall.long-flowerbed-14 At last I was beneath the tall tree growing beyond the oak and removed quite a few bulbs from there. It is the tree with two trunks in the centre of the picture.long-flowerbed-12 As I move further toward the greenhouse there are fewer bulbs left to dig out, that is bluebell bulbs for there are other plants growing in the general area which I am thinking of digging out too. Here is a picture of the area…long-flowerbed-13

In the spot just to the right of the green wheelie bin there remains a few more bluebell bulbs to remove as I write this late Wednesday afternoon and the right half of the picture shows the ground riddled with montbretia plants and some iris’s nearer to the large sycamore trunk at the top of the picture on the right. The iris’s haven’t as yet poked their way out of the soil but they are there. I have decided to remove all the montbretia when I get the time and perhaps the iris’s if I’ve a mind to. By the time I had finished the work for the day and tidied up it was twelve-thirty. I had been working over four and a half hours without a break. I have reached that point whereby the wheelie bins need emptying but that won’t be until the beginning of March. I will have to resort to bags for temporary storage in the meantime. I said there would be thousands of bulbs and if I said five or six thousand I guess I wouldn’t be far off. I’ll be glad if I never see another bluebell or montbretia plant. I’ve had enough of them. I treated myself to another pub lunch to round-off the working day.

Shirley Anne

Another two hours

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The Off Hours

The Off Hours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had been rather busy last week with little opportunity to get out into the garden though I wasn’t that eager to get into the garden anyway. I knew I had to break that reluctance so on Monday morning and having nothing else to do I decided to do some more digging out of bluebell bulbs. I had reached that point in the flowerbed where the amounts of bulbs remaining are less in number though some would be difficult to remove because of the greater number of tree roots. It has been a long and laborious task and it isn’t finished yet. I managed to put in two more hours by which time I’d had enough. Most of that time was spent on my knees bent over and digging deep and I must have removed a couple of hundred bulbs yet again together with many fine roots. I also dug out the little small-leaved holly I had intended to remove as it was surplus to requirements for I plan to fill the flowerbed’s empty spaces with shrubs at some point in the near future. Although I have spent many hours digging out bulbs I knew there would always be some that I had missed. When I looked over those areas I had already worked in removing bulbs I noticed more had shown themselves through the soil, about six of them. They will be removed the next time I am in the garden, probably Tuesday as I write this on Monday afternoon or maybe in a day or so. I spent a few minutes walking around the garden later on to take note where there are other bulbs requiring removal, and there are quite a few. This is why it is best to allow the bulbs to sprout above the soil level so they are easy to spot. One of the flowerbeds in the front garden had a few bluebell bulbs needing removal a few weeks ago and I duly removed them but now I see there are more popping up in a couple of places! It would appear I am going to have a lot more work to do yet before we are rid of them.

Shirley Anne

Bloomin’ bluebells!

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It has been a few days since I did any more work in removing the bluebell bulbs and now growing plants in the rear garden. I had reached a spot just up to the little oak tree and there remained the area to its right and beyond though thankfully there seem to be only a few there. I have dug out around a dozen bulbs in the front right-hand flowerbed that had escaped filtering last year when I renovated the bed but as I write this I notice a few more beginning to show themselves. I am letting them grow just a little more so that I can locate them more easily when I dig them out within the next couple of days or weeks. Back to the rear garden though and here is the oak tree and the area beneath it and up to the stone markers I have placed in the soil which is now filtered. No doubt I will have missed some, hopefully few,long-flowerbed-9

I am thinking of moving or removing altogether the little small-leaved holly at the rear by the wall and just to the right of those markers. There is another one further along and to its right beyond the edge of the picture. I spent three hours on Sunday morning to reach this point. I have raised the supporting bamboo pole that supports the variegated holly shown in the next picture and it is now standing upright when once it lay at 45 degrees. It had been struggling to  reach daylight because of the trees that were there surrounding it. I removed those trees last year as a prelude to the current work of clearing out the flowerbed. Toward the other end of the bed in this picture is another variegated holly which had been suffering a similar fate until I cleared around it and gave it the support it needed. As you can see it is thriving and it is upright.long-flowerbed-8

It may be a day or two before I can resume working in the garden but at least much has been done and the majority of the bulbs have been removed through hard work and perseverance. As always,click on the pictures to magnify.

Shirley Anne

Not going my way but…

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English: Bluebell wood

Bluebell wood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a free day on Tuesday and as the weather report looked promising I was determined to get into the garden and attempt to remove more of those pesky bluebell bulbs, Bluebells are nice to be sure but they spread like wild-fire and eventually will take over the whole garden if left. I am at the end of the main flowerbed but there are still hundreds of plants to dig out yet. As soon as I had finished breakfast and checked my email box I donned my overalls and boots and began the work. It wasn’t long before the weather changed from being dry to being misty with a very fine rain sporadically. I managed to dig out the area to the left of the little oak tree (see previous posts) but it was hard-going for many of the bulbs were beneath the tree roots and I had to dig deep. Using the fork helped but it snagged on the roots so most of the work had to be done with just the trowel. I lifted out around two hundred bulbs of various sizes many in clumps. My plan was to cease working before twelve o’clock and then go shopping in town for some new underwear, bras and pants. I wanted black ones as I had but few in that colour. Anyway I received a call asking if I would repair a couple of ceiling light fixtures in a little flat a couple of miles away. I had worked there before for the couple neither of whom shall we say are very bright and I have a little difficulty in explaining things to them. Don’t misunderstand me here, it is simply how they are. It is a medical condition. They are lovely people and I was only too happy to fix their lights. I would have to delay my shopping for a while. After packing away the garden tools I removed my overalls and boots and drove to their flat. I was there for an hour, though the work hadn’t taken me that long. Soon I was on my way back toward town to do my shopping. That means I find a parking place out of the meter zone and walk the rest of the way but it is only a half-mile or so. I went into the department store and found my way to the lingerie floor. I was spoilt for choice when I saw the bras on display, there seemed to be much more there than at my last visit a few weeks ago. I had difficulty in finding my size and colour among the racks but fortunately a member of staff was close-by to help. After explaining my requirements she found them in seconds and I took three different pairs (of bras) into the changing rooms to try them on. The first one was tight so I called the lady assistant who changed them for the next size up. The next three fitted perfectly so together we went to the check-out desk to carry out the purchase. Thinking I was purchasing only one the assistant asked which one to which I replied ‘all of them’. I purchased two packs of pants and briefs, that is five of each. They come in packs of five. I had been enjoying some cheerful banter with the assistant and during the conversation she complimented me on my complexion and when I mentioned my age she couldn’t believe it. Her friend had thought I was about fifty. How nice. I got back home mid-afternoon and didn’t bother with lunch and my evening meal was small. I seem to be eating far less these last few days and I feel better for it. Better still though I am losing pounds where it matters!

Shirley Anne