Category Archives: Garden maintenance

Just right?

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After a recent bout of rain we noticed there was a leak in the new raised portion of the garage roof, that is the garage in which I park my van. E’s nephew, a builder, had done the original work and he called back a couple of days after we had informed him of the problem. However, the weather wasn’t particularly good at that time so he put off the repair until Friday last week when it was pleasantly warm outdoors. He cut away the fibreglass covering which had by then set hard as expected but hadn’t adhered to the wood-based sheet beneath it. Water had somehow gotten beneath the covering and leaked onto the floor of the garage. This time he produced a different compound/fibreglass mix which was presumably superior. I asked him how long it would take to dry out and he told me a few days. What he meant was that as soon as it was applied it became waterproof almost immediately but it would take a few days more in which to cure. I hoped he was right, he wouldn’t be happy to have to do the work again. The finished work looks good though, just right in fact. Here is a picture of the area after the grey covering was replaced.  Whilst they were doing that work I took the opportunity to shorten the excessively long electrical supply cable to the new door control panel and to tidy up some of the other wiring by using mini-trunking. Now that looks a lot better also. At the time of writing we still haven’t heard from the installers of the garage doors who were to return to install the door alarm system. We are hoping it will have been done by the time this post is published. I can now plan out how I am going to install the circuit to control the main garage light when the door is opened at night. I had to remove the existing circuit I had installed which was operated by the old door. I will carry out the work when I get time.
Earlier in the day I had been working in the rear garden tidying and sweeping up yet more fallen leaves. Already the two bins are again full to the brim though the leaves will compact allowing more to fit in later. Many of the trees still have their leaves and probably won’t lose them yet awhile, maybe by the end of the month. Our apple trees still have their leaves and the only four apples growing on them this year. In fact those four apples are all on the same tree, the largest tree has none. Must be something to do with pruning and the unusual weather we have had this year.

Shirley Anne

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The season’s work

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There’s no getting away from it, Autumn is upon us here in the UK. As the temperate areas of the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming Spring, we in the north are moving in the opposite direction. Leaves have been falling from the trees in greater quantities and for anyone living near that means the annual sweeping up of them! It’s either that else let the mess continue. Having a garden is a lovely thing and for those who wish to keep theirs tidy and well-maintained sweeping up the leaves is a must. The problem is the leaves don’t all fall at the same time. A couple of days ago I decided to sweep up as many of the leaves that had fallen as I could, mainly off the pathways because quite simply I got fed-up looking at the state of the garden. As the green waste bins were full after my trimming back the bushes in the front garden there was limited space for any swept-up leaves. I managed however to get them all in by compression. On Wednesday we were expecting another visit from the installers of our new garage door prior to it being installed the following week on Thursday. More accurate measurements were required and an assessment of the preparatory work we had done for the installation was needed. It was just as well I was at home for they had misunderstood my original request to maintain head-clearance and the reason for my having the roof at that point raised to accommodate the unit. They didn’t stop long and after five minutes or so were on their way. They weren’t sure if it would be themselves or the other local crew who would return to carry out the installation. E had been working in her studio during the morning but after lunch she joined with me and we cleared-up the fallen leaves once more but this time we included the lawn. Fortunately we have one of those devices , a rotatory sweeper which sweeps up the leaves into a hopper by simply pushing it along the ground. We had the work done in less than fifteen minutes but then had to put the leaves into one of the builder’s bags we keep in the garage. The green waste bins wouldn’t be emptied until two weeks later so storing the leaves temporarily in the bags was the only option and there would be more leaves to sweep up long before then. Autumn in the garden is never dull, there is always something to do, in fact I have some plans afoot already.

Shirley Anne

A dry slot

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I had placed an order for a new leather-look skirt on Thursday evening (21) and was informed it would arrive the following Monday but as seems to be usual for on-line shopping it was delivered sooner on Saturday 23. I had been woken by the mobile phone jingle that indicated a text message had been received. It was still only seven o’clock in the morning! That meant I had to get up just in case the postman arrived early. He actually arrived at ten-thirty, about his normal time for deliveries at our house. Now I had it in mind to do some work in the garden on Saturday morning whilst we were enjoying a couple of days of dry weather. I had to shelve the idea at least until the postman had arrived. The work I wanted to do was to mix some fine concrete and apply it as a fillet around the stone edging along the flowerbeds where it meets with the footpath. Early in the year I had installed some stones as an edging along the long flowerbed and had applied a thick fillet of concrete. Now I wanted to do the same to three other main beds, around the Mound, alongside the greenhouses and along the west bed. During the summer we had been pestered by ants digging in between the stones and the footpath in those areas leaving as they do the removed soil or sand. I wanted to put a thicker fillet of concrete down to prevent further ant destruction. Having mixed the concrete I got on with the work which took me two hours to complete.

The pictures were taken shortly after the work was completed so there remained the task of cleaning up the concrete from the paths. That couldn’t be done completely until the following day when the fillets had set. As usual click on pictures to magnify or right-click and open in new tab.

Shirley Anne

Front garden

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Much of the work I have been doing in recent months has been centred upon the rear garden mainly because there is always more to do there. However, though it may seem that the front garden gets neglected that is far from the truth. It simply requires less maintenance than the rear garden. Most of what we do in the front garden is keeping the weeds in check and laying down snail and slug pellets to keep them from devouring the plants. I am not sure how many other areas in the country are so infested with slugs and snails but Southport certainly is. It is only in the last year or so which saw us revamping the front garden flowerbeds. Prior to that it was several years ago, just before we had major renovations done around the garden and house that anything major was done in the front garden. We had three tall pine trees removed and a yew tree cut back a little. We also had removed a hawthorn and a holly tree and they were all just behind the then front wall. The wall was rebuilt with an extra opening in it. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the original frontage but only a couple taken just after the new wall was built. By that time all the tall trees had gone..

From the inside the existing shrubs grew to look like this about three years ago but became much taller since this picture was taken…

Those shrubs had beforehand been kept in the shade because of the pine trees and we had left them alone since then which was seven years ago. I had been promising myself that I would cut them back sometime and indeed E has dropped a few hints too! I had been out for a seven-mile walk on Monday morning (18th) so wasn’t particularly looking for much to do but after lunch I set things up and using the hedge cutter set to work. Now it looks like this..

It may not seem that much was removed but in fact they have been cut down more than half a metre. The hardest part of the work, which took me two and a half hours, was putting the cuttings into the bins as most of them needed cutting again to get them in. At least that is one job that won’t need repeating for a time.

Shirley Anne

 

This and that

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I had thought Sunday was going to be dull and windy with a little rain but I was far off the mark: it turned out warm, sunny and dry with just a slight breeze. I had mowed the lawn the day before and I was glad I did for during the early hours of the morning rain did fall and the grass remained wet for a time. What I wanted to do was a little bit of garden maintenance before lunch time such as cutting the flower stems from the Agapanthus plants and saving the seed pods for E. That I did before pruning back the overgrown Lavender shrub which I think has been attempting a take-over of the adjacent plot, the Mound. It has to span the footpath between and had made some progress toward that end. Nice as Lavender is it does like to spread itself about! I read somewhere that very few plants want to grow beneath or too close to Lavender, especially weeds which can’t be a bad thing. I have noticed that to be the case in our garden, at least as far as the weeds are concerned. Other plants don’t seem to mind but I suppose it depends upon the plants. Anyway having done that I went into the front garden to help E with the pruning of plants and shrubs. It would be green bin day on Monday, that is the collection of green waste. This time we had only the one bin full and ready for emptying; next time it would probably be two because of the Autumn leaves. It was around lunch time that we finished. After lunch I decided to move the plant I had been waiting to die-back for the Winter so that I could put another plant in its place. If you remember it is the one against the wall to the right of the new fan palm in the centre of the picture.

I moved this plant much further along in the same border. It will not sprout new leaves until the Spring followed by bright yellow flowers a few weeks later. I planted the Olearia in its place.

The Olearia is an evergreen shrub producing daisy-like flowers in Spring to Summer giving it the nickname of ‘daisy tree’. Hopefully it will grow to a height of two metres and have a spread of about a metre and a half to brighten up the wall. Later we sat out on the patio in the warmth of the sun for an hour or so.

Shirley Anne

Garden bits

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On Wednesday after some high winds overnight I hung out the flag having taken it down on Tuesday afternoon. I needed to do a spot of maintenance on the flag anyway. The top of the flag has a toggle which slips easily into the loop on the stay rope but there isn’t one at the bottom of the flag, only a small length of rope. Why the manufacturer doesn’t supply flags with two toggles on them defies logic. I have to use another method which is why it needed maintenance. That done I returned indoors to make a coffee for E and myself. She went upstairs to her workshop to do some work but I was at a loose end with nothing much to do. Well I couldn’t think of anything that wanted doing. I went into the garage to check if there were any leaks after the recent work then decided to tidy-up the raised planting bed between the greenhouses. This year we hadn’t planted anything new but had removed the strawberry plants that we had growing there. We decided that strawberry plants were too much of a problem. They put out feelers and produce more plants and need pruning back often. The fruit they bear is more often than not eaten by bugs despite efforts to prevent that. We are now thinking of growing potatoes once more which are less of a problem and produce a good yield. The bed awaits the planting season

The small greenhouse we purchased years ago has long since been used for storage and nothing is grown in it. It has become a store for plant pots and other odds and ends…

Whilst the large greenhouse has been used for growing some strawberry plants in pots and these bell peppers…

E usually grows tomatoes and cucumbers too but this year she hasn’t bothered much with the greenhouse except for growing the peppers. Whilst I was getting dressed in my bedroom earlier I noticed that the wind had caused an already broken off branch to fall lower from where it was hanging but it had been prevented from reaching the ground in our garden by the sycamore tree’s branches below. The sycamore tree is growing against the wall inside our garden. The lime tree grows on a neighbours land. See if you can spot the fallen branch. It is at the top right lying diagonally toward the centre in the picture. It looks small but in fact it is over three metres in length.

A couple of much larger dead branches hang on the same lime tree from which these branches keep on breaking off. One is shown in the centre of the next picture. Fortunately they are not hanging over our garden though there are live branches doing so

Finally I took a picture of the only apples growing on the trees this year, and these all on the same tree branch…

It has been a very poor year for apples for usually they count in the tens.

Shirley Anne

Strawbs and stuff

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I was feeling just a little tired after my early morning walk on Thursday but after a bit of breakfast and a short rest I was eager to do some gardening. My first task was to separate the two Fan Palm plants we had purchased the day before. They were growing in the same pot though we were able to purchase them for the price of one. It can be difficult separating plants if they have been growing in the same pot for any length of time and these two were no exception. It was like separating spaghetti without damaging it. Their roots had intermingled but with a little patience I managed to untangle them without damage and without losing too much of the medium in which they were growing. Adding new growing compost and extra feed I replanted one in the pot and gave it a thorough watering. I took the other into the front garden and planted it there giving it the same treatment as its twin.

The other I placed alongside the Olearia ready for planting out later, probably well into next month for a special reason. Here they are and will stay in the meantime….soaking up the sun in a warmer part of the garden..

I have to wait in order to plant them out because one of them will be going in the space already occupied by a deciduous bush which will be planted elsewhere. I need to wait until it dies-back for the colder months and in this plant’s case it will be sometime in September. It is already showing signs of doing that….

It is the plant just right of centre against the wall. It produces bright yellow flowers in Spring but the leaves as you can see are now wilting. Last year when I planted it there the same thing happened and I thought it was simply wanting water but I had been watering it every day as it was still establishing itself. I hope to place the Olearia there as it grows quite tall and in the space to the left and forward I hope to plant the Fan Palm, The wall is south-facing in case you were wondering. After doing that work I planted the Azalea in front of the Phoenix Canariensis in the west flowerbed and set into the soil a couple of stepping-stones to the left of it. You can just see the first one at bottom left. The second is out-of-sight top left. The Phoenix will grow much taller eventually. 

Following that I planted out the new Dahlia near to the bird bath. The deciduous bush will be planted against the wall in the space directly behind the Dahlia which is at the front in this picture…

I should have stopped there for lunch but as I had a late breakfast I worked on and applied the lawn weed killer using a watering can. That took some time but it got done and then it was time for lunch. It was much later when I gave the whole garden a watering and I took these photos as well as this one through the greenhouse glass….

This plant has produced many strawberries this season.and as you can see there are more ripening up in the sunshine.

Click on images to magnify.

Shirley Anne

20 August 2017

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It was one of those days that didn’t know it was still Summer, only a little sunshine but also almost no wind or rain. The rain would fall later in the evening. I had overslept and didn’t get downstairs until eleven o’clock, however it was Sunday and I had nothing special to do except perhaps go for an early morning walk. Well that didn’t happen. Although I arose at nine and was ready to come downstairs for a belated breakfast at ten I decided instead to clean out the gutter and brush off some moss which gathers on the sloping roof beneath my bedroom windows..(upper-left in picture)

I have a long piece of wood adapted at the end to reach into the gutter from the windows to get at the moss which falls into it. The gutter is over a metre out and at least a half-metre below my window s so it isn’t easy to reach. In the past I used the 7 metre high tower to reach the gutter and the roof but even then it is at a stretch. The gutter is around 7 metres from the ground! The day was sunny at that time and E and I sat out on the patio before lunchtime for a while. We decided to put the new washing line pole into the tube I had set in concrete the day before and sealed it at the joint using silicone rubber.

When we get a new line we will use the new pole and abandon the old one (behind the holly on the left above). The afternoon went dull and overcast but remained fairly warm so E and I did a little pruning and tidying up before returning indoors for the day. In the meantime I took these pictures….

In the next month or so things will look entirely different as Autumn comes knocking. I will then be able to do some outdoor work, filling in the edges of the edging stones around the Mound and flowerbed. Why then? There will be no ants trying to bite me whilst I am doing it!

Shirley Anne

Saying and doing

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How many of you say you’ll do something but don’t do it? I am sometimes guilty of this or have been in the past. I get ideas, think them through then decide if I will do them or not. I am more likely to do things these days than leave them to one side. E tells me that my problem is thinking up too many projects, no sooner have I completed one she says then I am thinking of another. I guess she is right but as I said to her I like to take breaks between them! It has been a few days since I completed my last project, the garden gate and the brick pillar though I’ve still at the time of writing this yet to cement on the capstone. That will probably be done soon however. On Thursday morning we were discussing unfulfilled projects, only unfulfilled because of other things getting in the way and now with nothing to prevent them being done. First off having discovered we could not purchase locally we placed an order on-line for a sturdy washing line pole. I will be installing it in a new position from an existing one. Next, we ordered two outdoor wall lighting units to replace the bulkhead fittings I installed over the patio some years ago but never really liked. I kept saying I would change them but never got around to actually doing it. Now I have no excuse as by the time you are reading this they should be here. I have to build two small pillars in brick to support a slab of natural stone for it to become a stone bench seat set in the ‘Plot’ behind one of the garages. See posts written twelve months ago regarding the Plot. We are thinking of referring to the Plot as the secret garden in future as it is now hidden from the main garden by the new gate. Anyway one of the other things we wanted to do was to fall a Mountain Ash (Rowan) tree which had developed a problem and had begun to die off. You can see the base of the trunk in the picture below, it is on the extreme right-hand side. As you can see the trunk begins to lean further to the right and ends up six metres high and hanging over the garden wall about a metre and a half to the right in this picture taken a couple of years ago.Whilst E was out doing the weekly shopping on Thursday I set about felling it. It stood in the Mound at the rear and was pretty much hidden by the damson trees growing there and it was leaning toward the garden next door anyway. It took me about thirty minutes to cut it down and cut up the branches and a further fifteen minutes to chop down what was left of the main trunk with an axe. The stump still remains so that is another job for the future. Incidentally, the tree stump in the front garden is still stubbornly refusing to go though I have been making progress on doing that, slow progress that is! So there are plenty of things to do outdoors to keep me occupied and that is besides the garden maintenance.

Shirley Anne

Blind man

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You must have heard the expression but if not….’A blind man on a galloping horse, won’t notice’……well that can’t be anything else but true, if you could have blind men riding horses at such a pace! It’s an expression used when excuses for something we have done is not appearing quite right. I didn’t go for a walk on Friday because I wanted to press on with building the column for the proposed gate I want to make. I didn’t wish to be tired from walking whilst knowing I had the work to do during a dry spell in the weather. I began the work at ten o’clock and was finished as far as I could go before twelve-thirty. I completed the column but have yet to fit a capstone. The capstone you see in the pictures is twisted and isn’t cemented to the column. I have never seen a piece of twisted capstone before but yes this piece is definitely twisted. It is also too long. I shall have to purchase another…

Anyway E came to inspect the finished work but before she could say anything I quipped ‘A blind man on a galloping horse won’t notice’. Well it looks alright but it isn’t perfect, just near enough! I could have said it is perfect as long as you don’t look at it or anyone living in Australia can’t see it. Actually it isn’t that bad at all. My next task, apart from buying a capstone is to begin manufacturing a gate, hopefully from timber I have in stock. It may be a while before that job is done but there’s no hurry. After lunch E and I sat out in the sunshine though it was still quite windy. Later I took a few minutes to mow the lawn whilst I had the chance, we were expecting some rain. I did however water the garden just in case it didn’t rain.

Shirley Anne

I feel the urge

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Master of Styles

Master of Styles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has to be said…I am feeling the urge……aha but what urge? Since declaring I am retired, officially that is, I have been enjoying much free time for myself. However as many of my readers will know and all those who know me will know that I need to find things to do else get very bored. A few days ago E asked her nephew, a builder, if he had any second-hand bricks we could have for a project at home. I mentioned what happened in an earlier post but since then we have decided we will require more than the forty-five we took at that time. He told us that we could have as many as we wished because he wanted to get rid of them. He told us that he would deliver them within a day or two. Perhaps when you read this he will have done so or I might have done so. I am in the ‘building with bricks’ mood and feel the urge to get my hands dirty again. I have a couple of small projects which I am eager to start, all depending upon the weather of course. If it gets too warm I will probably leave off beginning the work until it gets cooler though at the time of writing this on Sunday it is fairly cool at 16 deg C. This is the UK however and it can get hot or cold, wet and windy in hours! Hopefully I will be able to do the work soon and pictures will follow. There is always the garden to work in of course but at the moment the only work there is in removing weeds and mowing the lawn. Speaking of lawns, I have been on my hands and knees manually digging out weeds from the lawn recently, an ongoing problem which will take time to complete. Ideally the lawn should have some chemical treatment but it isn’t that bad or bad enough to warrant that just now. I don’t like to use chemical treatments if at all possible but in certain cases it is necessary or have a lawn of weeds instead of grass! For me though it is all about occupying my time. I suppose that when you feel the urge you’ve got to do something about it!

Shirley Anne

Now and then

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Wednesday had been a really hot day, well insofar as it normally gets around here it was hot. Although the average temperature only hovered around 21 deg C there was no wind. Out on the patio it was a sun-trap and probably hotter. Doing anything much was out of the question soon after midday. In the morning I had spent an hour or so in the front garden chopping down an unruly and overgrown tree. I am not sure it could be called a tree as such but it grew from a central base from which several ‘trunks’ and smaller shoots rose into the air to a height of  four metres. Here it is to the left of the tall holly tree ( picture taken  earlier in the year ).Many drooping purple-coloured flowering heads hung down among the leaves. It had begun to mingle in the branches of the large holly tree too. I say ‘chopped’ it down but in fact I had to use a saw, the axe simply bounced off the stems if used. E and I spent an hour cutting down the branches in order to place them in the wheelie bins. We neither of us worked during the afternoon but spent it, most of it, on the patio. The root ‘ball’ would have to be dealt with another day. On Thursday morning therefore I donned my overalls, boots and gloves to get stuck into digging it out. The day was beginning to get hot so I had little time in which to do it. However, I first had to saw off the remains of the trunks and offshoots in order to get at it. Another go with the axe proved useless though had access been better it might have worked. It would take a lot of time and effort to shift the roots which undoubtedly were mingling with the roots of the other plants and trees there. I had to give up on the whole idea. I remember the problems we’d had removing two other trees of the same variety when we started work on constructing the Mound in the rear garden a few years ago. They took a long time to dig out even though we had open access. It was only recently that I had cut up the remains of those root balls which after those three or four years had finally begun to dry out. Here they are on the ground which I have since worked on and call the Plot (bottom picture)

Even then it was hard work cutting them. At the moment of writing this I am not sure what we’ll do about removing the one in the front garden border. I have to check out and research some possible solutions, perhaps pouring herbicides into holes drilled into it to kill it off. I do remember I used salt around the roots on those other two plants which did stop them from growing new shoots but of course salt would kill off the other nearby plants too in this instance. Soon after I had stopped work I sat in the rear garden in the shade for a short time before an old customer called me asking if I would solve a couple of electrical problems for her. The work was local, easy and paid well. How could I refuse?

Shirley Anne

Still……..

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Norman tees off at Royal Birkdale

Norman tees off at Royal Birkdale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work is still ongoing at the house two doors away, though that work is now concentrated on developing the grounds rather than the house itself which is completed both inside and out. The ground works seem to be taking far longer than I would have expected but of course it isn’t my house. E and I were talking about the progress of the work which has been slow from the start and how much longer will it be before our new neighbours can move in. They had been expecting to move in two months ago! We think the slow progress has been due to a lack of control over the work that has been done. A project such as this requires a site foreman to chase the various trades persons to speed things up and to maintain proper control of schedules as would be the case in any construction development. We are not sure proper control has been maintained in this case. Still the noise from the house continues each day as it has done for over seven months. More noise from both our next-door neighbours over the last couple of days as one is having the garage roof replaced/repaired whilst the other has a guy cutting down some very out of control Leylandii trees in her rear garden.which should really have been cut down years ago long before they got so tall and wide. For years the husband would prune them back as much as he could but he needed to use an extension ladder to do it and even then it was extremely difficult. Since he died, it will be four years come November, she has had other Leylandii trees chopped down and removed in both the front and rear gardens. A few months ago I myself chopped down an out-of-control tree in her front garden to help her out. It was a job her son should have done as he is fit enough and twenty-five years younger! One snag there, he just isn’t capable but that is because he was never encouraged or prevailed upon to do his bit at home. So life is going on all around us. It will be great when all the work is done and we can have our street back for a while. Speaking of streets, the local authority have placed notices on almost all of the street lamp posts to indicate a temporary parking restriction in order to prevent them becoming congested during the British Open golf championship being held here once again at the Royal Birkdale golf course a week or so away. The ‘Common’, which is common ground adjacent to the club and used by many to exercise their dogs will be turned into a car park during the event. A fee is levied of course, any excuse to squeeze money out of people as I see it. Still….

Shirley Anne

Too hot

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English: Sheep in the shade. On the road from ...

Sheep in the shade. On the road from High Forest Farm to Clough Head. It was an extremely hot and humid day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is the same every year, I (we) moan about the dreary dull wet days of winter and when it gets hot and sunny I do the same, never satisfied. When it is cool (and dry if I’m outdoors) I can get on with the various jobs that need doing and special jobs I call my projects but once it gets too warm and humid I don’t feel much like doing anything. So it was on Saturday. I had slept in a little longer than usual but that was due to my not getting off to sleep sooner. I hadn’t done much on Friday so wasn’t as tired as I might have been. There wasn’t any reason for me to get up early anyway. By the time I arrived downstairs it was already bright, sunny and warm. I had a little something to eat and went out on to the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I had it in mind to do a little gardening but wasn’t in a hurry to start. In fact it wasn’t until mid-afternoon before I did anything. E went to her monthly meeting at one o’clock and I wanted to eat lunch before doing any work but it was too early to eat. I went back to the patio and lay down for an hour then had lunch. The work I wanted to do in the front garden was to pluck out weeds, plant a small holly bush in the mound, one that had been growing in a pot but needed putting in the ground and then to water the garden too. It was very hot in the front garden as there is no shade from the sun at all in the afternoon. Once I had finished there it was into the rear garden to water the plants there and again there was little or no shade there either! It’s all too much like hard work in the summer when all I want to do is relax. It isn’t that I don’t want to work but the heat and humidity make it so uncomfortable, for me anyway. E arrived back home around four-thirty and we both spent an hour on the patio, she to lie down, me to just sit this time and chat. She would be off again very early in the morning to spend the day at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham to a food festival being held there. It is an annual event she and a couple of others attend. I would have to either go somewhere or sit it out at home trying to relax in the heat. Either way it would be uncomfortable for me. Roll on the cooler weather!

Shirley Anne

Montbretia at thirty paces

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Another warm and humid day on Thursday yet I had determined to arise early and do some more work in the garden before it got too warm and sticky. Alas it didn’t work out that way as by the time I had finished breakfast it was already uncomfortable to work in. The repairs to the brickwork I had done on the raised bed the day before was now solid. The job I had in mind this time was to mix some, well quite a bit, of concrete made with granite dust (granno). I wanted to place it along the joints between the paving slabs and the border stones I had placed around the Mound and the west wall flowerbed. When I did the stone border along the long flowerbed a couple of months ago I formed a substantial joint along the whole length in order to prevent gaps appearing either caused by the weather or more likely the activity of ants! Ants have been very active lately along the west wall flowerbed border and also along the front edge of the Mound where they face the lawn and a couple of gaps have appeared along with the tell-tale sign of excavated soil. I’ll say one thing for ants, they certainly work hard. However I had to shelve the idea of doing the work until it gets a little cooler. I was sitting at the computer late morning when I received a call for my services. Someone not far away wanted me to replace a ceiling light. I was happy to do it and off I went. I was back home twenty-five minutes later. I waited a short time before having lunch after which I sat out on the patio for a while. I noticed the ‘bib tap’ (faucet similar to that shown in picture)  was leaking water from the handle yet it was valved-shut.

English: Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine ...

Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine castles yard, Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The garden hose is usually kept connected to this tap in the rear garden whereas we keep the hose for use in the front garden in one of the garages and connect it to the tap there when we want to use it. The packing seal, usually called the stuffing box, was worn so I used some PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape to wrap around the stem which effectively cured the leak. Now I was keen to do something else but there was little else to do so I sat it out again on the patio before watering the garden plants. I thought I would sit a while longer outside to relax and enjoy the view but I spotted a montbretia sticking out of the soil on the far side of the garden, about thirty metres away! When you have been digging out montbretia and bluebells for weeks on end (see earlier posts) you get to spot them as soon as they appear. Actually I don’t know how five minutes earlier I hadn’t seen it when watering the plants.

Shirley Anne