Category Archives: Garden maintenance

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

Not long

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I have been bemoaning the fact that I have felt bored lately but also lacking a little bit of motivation to do anything. I do have the occasional mood swings though I am happy to say it is only me who is affected. It just happens. Anyway with the prospect of fair weather once more I made up my mind to get up early on Wednesday morning to do a small job in the garden. Whenever I work in the garden I find one thing always leads to another and I have to discipline myself to restrict what I do. However on Wednesday morning that restriction was imposed upon me and in a way I was glad of that. For quite a long time now the raised bed that stands between the two greenhouses has been in need of repair. The top layer of bricks at the end were loose and they needed to be removed and then relaid. That was the work I wanted to do and so after breakfast I was out there in my overalls doing it…….

As you can see the rear layer of bricks, that is those on the left in the picture, are one brick higher than the rest. That was intentional when the bed was originally constructed to prevent spillage between the bed and the greenhouse. Normal access to the bed and whatever is growing in it is from the right-hand-side where the space between the bed and the other greenhouse is greater. At the moment the bed has nothing growing in it except  weeds. Whilst I was relaying the bricks, only eight of them had been loose, I disturbed many woodlice and they are the reason we don’t have strawberries growing there now. Last year they spoiled so much of the fruit by burrowing into it there was little left for us! I may decide to grow potatoes in the bed later as we haven’t grown potatoes there for a couple of years. By the time I had finished the work it was beginning to get too hot in the bright sunshine. I had been shielded from the sun when working on the bed but now it was beginning to swing around and the bed would soon be in full sunshine. Before I decided to stop work I wanted to tidy up the leaves that had accumulated on the other side of the large greenhouse and around the Mound at the other end of the garden. After sweeping up the leaves it was too hot to do much else so I left any other jobs for another day.

Shirley Anne

Different work in progress

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Today, Tuesday (22 nd) as I write this post, I have been busy at home all day long. I actually received a call an hour ago asking if I would do a small electrical job! Now there’s a thing but I am waiting for his return call at this minute to let me know for sure. So this morning my first job was to cut and fit four lengths of semi-circular molding to cover the joints on the pillar/stand I have made and then paint them with primer. An hour later I gave the whole unit another coat of gloss paint and left it to dry, which will take it at least 24 hours. Gloss paint takes time to dry and even then it will be a few more days before it becomes rock-hard. It will probably be the weekend before I attempt to use it. Following that work I removed the top hinge on the door to the small lounge in order to set it further into the frame by chiselling out a little wood beneath it. This has the effect of lifting the leading bottom edge slightly so that it clears the floor covering, the carpet. The new carpet pile was restricting the door moving over it. That work took me almost to lunch time and after lunch I decided to water the gardens because of the dry weather. As I went into the rear garden however I saw that the lawn was looking a little unkempt due to the daisies and other plants growing in it. I think it needs treating to eradicate weeds but at the moment it isn’t too bad. Anyway I had to mow it. Rain threatened, that is I could just about feel tiny drops of rain falling on my bare skin now and then but it didn’t materialise and I got on with the mowing. Once that was done I could water the garden. When I say water the garden I usually mean the border plants and those in planters or on the patio. I only water the grass rarely at this time of year though in the warmer months I try to give it a watering regularly. That took some time as once again I had to stop to dig out Montbretia shoots. I moved into the front garden and to give the plants there a good soaking too but first I spent some time removing a few weeds from the flowerbeds. I got stung by the rose-bush as I reached between the stems to get at a weed. I wasn’t wearing gloves and I had forgotten the fact that rose bushed have thorns, large thorns! The flowers are beautiful though in this picture only one has at yet fully opened..

I wish it were possible for you to smell the scent, it is a heavy and powerful aroma which can be sensed far away from the plant. Other plants in the front garden are in blossom too, like the small rhododendron in the Mound. The Mound has been left to grow a little wild though some wild flowers such as dandelions and thorny weeds I remove.

The flowerbeds I worked on last year have been growing back well but a few plants, supposedly perennials, haven’t grown back for some reason. See bare patches at the front.

Shirley Anne

All things new?

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I woke up on Saturday morning fully refreshed after a good night’s sleep. I wanted to give the new pillar stand a coat of gloss paint but first I had to move it into the boiler room where it is always warm. The room it was in whilst under construction is a far cooler room and the paint had been taking a longer time than normal to dry. I am talking about the primer/undercoat which is supposed only to take thirty minutes to be touch dry under normal temperatures. The workshop along with the room beneath the small lounge are always cool because the ground outside at the front of the house is raised above ground level. See behind the flowerbed the raised portion. 

I moved my ‘workmate’ bench into the boiler room too so that I could place the stand on it whilst painting. It didn’t take long to paint it but it will need another coat later. That done I decided to clean up the cellar hallway carpet and the floor in the workshop where I had been working. It was covered in sawdust. That took some time but soon I was finished. I waited until E had gone out after her lunch to her monthly meeting and then I retrieved the tall ladder from the garage where I had put it after completing the lounge project and moved it into the rear lounge. I wanted to fit the curtain rail in there and hang the curtains which I had removed from the small lounge a few weeks ago. First though, I had to strengthen the centre support by placing a metal tube through the support for the poles to be inserted and skim the ends of the poles so they would fit. It didn’t me take long to complete the whole job, about an hour…

I had skipped lunch as I wasn’t hungry at the time but made a sandwich when I had finished working and whilst I was making a vegetable and chicken stew for my evening meal. It was so late when I ate the sandwich that I left the stew for the following day.

The pan is larger than it looks for there is enough stew in it for three meals and it is only half filled. Anyone for stew? That done I went into the rear garden to water some of the plants, those which are under a canopy of leaves in the warmer months. It had been raining earlier but there was little or no wind which would normally blow the rain beneath the trees so occasionally I have to water those plants myself.

The plants affected are all in the long flowerbed (shown above) though in this picture taken in late Winter there were no leaves to form a canopy. That was it, finished for the day and time to relax.

Shirley Anne

Suddenly it was done

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Monday in the UK was a national holiday with many people taking advantage and getting away from home for at least the one day. Not myself however, E and I have never spent these one-day holidays away from home mostly because travelling on the roads is and was always a nightmare. Who wants to spend hours in traffic trying to get somewhere only to go through the same process on the return? Congestion is a problem we have in the UK on major trunk roads at the best of times. I have always spent the time at home either relaxing outside if it is nice weather or working either for myself or for others if the opportunity arose. At the moment as my readers will know, I have been redecorating a room at home so I wanted to take the opportunity to press on with it with the hope of possibly finishing the main part of it. I spent seven hours stopping only for a quick-lunch and finishing the work at four o’clock……..

Continuing where I left-off in the top picture I finally reached the left-hand side of the window frame having started hanging the paper a few days ago on the right-hand side.

As you might guess the most difficult section was that shown in the last picture. It was there that I found the walls misaligned the most, not a great amount but enough to cause me problems. I wasn’t defeated however and managed to get around them. That means I have finished the major part of the decorations and only have to touch-up things here and there. My next job will be to offer the radiator up to the wall so I can measure where to place the left-hand wall bracket I had removed because it was too high. The other bracket was at the correct height and I replaced it when the wall paper there had been hung. I will have to drill the wall to fix the left bracket. I need to paint the front of the radiator also before I replace it permanently. It is easier to do that while it is supported on the floor and of course that will prevent the paint ‘running’ too. When that is done my part in the work will be complete.
The end of the day was warm and sunny and because the garden has had little rain lately I wanted to water the plants again so I began doing that. I wasn’t going to get away with just watering however, I found a few Montbretia and Bluebells which I immediately dug out.

Shirley Anne

Spreading it about

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With an empty day ahead on Wednesday I decided to get into the garden again and do some work there. It was a dull and breezy morning and wasn’t that warm either but I guess it is still only early Spring. That didn’t matter for I would soon warm up doing the work. My first task was to rake off some of the soil from the ‘corner plot‘, filter it out and take it over to the patio in order to top-up the soil levels in the raised flowerbeds there. This is a picture of the corner plot taken from inside the large greenhouse after it had been raked. The strange clumps beneath the tree on the right are ferns beginning to open up. I love ferns and wished they were evergreen but sadly they are not.

Here is an old picture of the patio showing the three flowerbeds on it taken last year when the artificial turf was being laid upon it and before the Plot at bottom left had been redesigned.

Not only did I rake off the soil for that job but I also spread soil from the corner plot along the length of the long flowerbed to which it is connected……

…….and dug out a few bluebells along the way! One day perhaps there will be no more bluebells. I live in hope. After giving the greenhouse a sweep and putting everything away it was approaching lunchtime. I had thought about dining out again so I changed my clothes with that in mind but first I had to drive to the electrical store to order in another ‘part night’ photo cell. It wasn’t my usual electrical supplier but another who had supplied me with the same item last year when I was installing a lamp-post in the rear garden. We have an identical photo cell controller which switches on the internal porch light at the front of the house. That had become faulty a day or two earlier. When it becomes available I will be informed. I propose to remove the existing unit and wire its replacement to a position at the rear of the house rather than where it is at the front. It should really have been placed there originally as the rear wall faces approximately north. Anyway that job will be done sometime in the days ahead. Having placed the order I drove to my local pub but the parking lot was so full I decided to go somewhere else instead. The place I visited was a couple of miles away and was almost empty. E and I have been there a few times in the past and the food is always excellent. I was able to relax there for an hour or so before driving back to town, stopping off at a fuel station on the way back home. The sun had begun to shine and I made myself a coffee and sat on the patio for a time but it went dull again so I returned indoors. Whilst spreading out the soil along the flowerbed I had dug out a couple of bluebells as I said………but I had missed one! It was to have a seventeen-hour reprieve…………then I would return with fork in hand to remove it.

Shirley Anne

 

Bits and pieces

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It was all about garden maintenance and the opportunity to get something done despite the bad weather. It rained practically all day on Thursday but it did ease back during the later part of the afternoon. I had no electrical work for the day, that was to come on Friday, so I was itching to get into the garden and do something. One of the things I wanted to do was to empty out the dead plant material in the pots in the large greenhouse. They were the remains of the bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers which E had been growing last year. That took around thirty minutes. Meanwhile the rain stopped for a time and I did other work outside, removing a couple of bluebells and weeds and then on to the little plot between the garage and the small greenhouse. There was a shrub there that needed some heavy pruning and a few weeds removing in the same plot too.

The shrub is the one on the left in the above picture taken last year. I had rescued the shrub in that it had been split and overgrown at the time and I had tied it to a support to allow it to recuperate. Well it had done that and now it needed more pruning. That done I could find little else to do but I went into the front garden where I had seen more bluebells a couple of days earlier. Because it had been raining and because they were in such a position as to be difficult to remove quickly I could do nothing about them. 

As you can see they are trying to push between the edging stone and the concrete. It is unlikely they can be removed from the soil side as the edging stones are quite deep so it looks as though the edging will have to be removed to get them out. That will be a job to do later when we get drier weather. This is the bed where the edging stones are located (near to the white stone on the left). The tall rose-tree was pruned later in the year (last year) and is of similar height to the surrounding plants at the moment.

There is always something to do in the gardens and as long as the weather is reasonable I have a fair chance of getting it done!

Shirley Anne

Not as many

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I remember over the last few years how each Springtime we had to remove the sycamore seedlings from the lawn and borders by plucking them out by hand. That can be done very easily when they are small, it gets more difficult when they are left to sprout more leaves than the two they have at that stage for by then the roots will have grown deeper too. This year there have been far fewer that have needed removing and that was entirely due to the fact that in late Autumn last year I vacuumed the leaves from the lawn and obviously the seed pods too. I hope I can report the same next year and, dare I say, bluebells either! Since E has taken less interest in the gardens lately, that is over the past couple of years, I have become increasingly interested. Yes, I have done structural alterations and E has helped with some of that work but I have taken a greater interest in populating the gardens with new and varied plants. It has fallen to me to do most of the maintenance also, well I have spent much of my life maintaining one thing or another, including electrical engineering! Seems I was born to maintain things. As I grow older any work I will do anywhere but especially in the gardens will be maintenance. I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon (28 March) after returning indoors because it is now raining. I took a couple of pictures from my kitchen/dining room window…

I think the rain makes everything look fresh and clean. In the last picture you can see the white blossom on the plum trees and there is a lot of it this year. I wonder if there will be more fruit too?

As always click on the pictures to magnify.

Shirley Anne

Back up to six

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Tired of Hanging Around

Tired of Hanging Around (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ll be wondering what the title to this post means, so I’ll tell you. It is the number of posts I have in the pipeline already written and scheduled to post. I normally have five, six or seven ready to post at any given time but lately that number had dropped because I have been either too tired or too busy doing something else. On Wednesday I posted my usual offering at the usual time in the day at 0200 hours. They are all posted at that time. Later on Wednesday though I responded with another post regarding the terrorist attack in Westminster. I then rescheduled all my subsequent posts and deliberately didn’t post one on Thursday as a result. Thursday I was expecting a visit from my youngest brother and his wife who had agreed to spend the afternoon out dining with E and myself. I was going to spend the morning just relaxing though I knew there was work to be done in the garden. The recent poor weather had prevented that work being done, digging out more bluebells! I was determined not to be tempted and indeed I succeeded. However, my next-door neighbour asked me to check her faulty fluorescent light in her garage. I agreed to do it for her that morning but it turned out the unit required replacing so I obtained one and installed it. I still had a few hours to kill before my guests arrived but I stayed indoors, not even going to look in the garden at the work I would be doing the following day, Friday. My brother and his wife arrived before three o’clock to collect us and drive on to the pub. We had a great time together at the pub and later for a time at home. So Friday morning arrived and I was dressed and downstairs before seven-thirty and had eaten breakfast before eight so that I could make an early start in the garden. I was tired of hanging around doing nothing and was keen to continue with the work. Somebody phoned me at eight-fifteen asking if I could do a small electrical job. I had plenty of time so I went and did the work. Just as I had put the van back in the garage another call came in and I was asked if I could check a couple of faults for an old lady. That work was simple enough so I agreed to do it immediately. It was ten-fifteen before I again returned home. This time I was determined to remain at home and get into the garden. I started the work of digging out bluebells at ten-thirty and didn’t stop until one-thirty by which time I had dug out all the bluebells that had sprouted up since my previous session. Time for lunch but an hour later I was out in the garden again to do more work on the stone edging for the long flowerbed. I had reached the most difficult section beneath the holly before finally stopping work around four-thirty. I hoped there would be enough stones left to do the last section of the work but I would be in a better position on Saturday to find out.

Shirley Anne

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