Category Archives: Plants

Unless you’re a duck!

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Duck! Rabbit, Duck!

Duck! Rabbit, Duck! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really felt terrible on Friday, weary, tired and a little fed-up with things but it was basically caused by fatigue, overwork, all work and no play if you prefer. I went to bed early on Friday and had some quality sleep. I woke up feeling completely different from the way I had done the previous day. I had determined that the weekend was going to be work-free and indeed on Saturday morning I couldn’t do any work anyway, in the garden that is, as it was raining. It was ceaseless and lasted the whole morning. Great if you are a duck and we often see ducks in our neighbour’s pond but none were about on Saturday. Around one-thirty the sun began to poke through the clouds and the weather improved minute by minute until around two-thirty when it could improve no more! The afternoon became bright and sunny in complete contrast to the morning. I wanted to get out into the garden and relax but it didn’t happen. I took the van to Dobbies and purchased ten more trees and shrubs, I say trees but three are actually tall shrubs I suppose rather than trees. Anyway I returned home and planted them out, one in the Plot area, two in the west wall bed and the remaining seven in various places in the long flowerbed. I was then able to sit on the patio for a short time until I saw another bluebell appearing in The Mound! I had to remove it……them and then I began to see others in different places which I set about removing. What annoyed me more than having again to dig them out was that one group were growing beneath a shrub I had planted in The Mound eighteen months ago. I had to gently remove the shrub to get at them. The sad part is that I know there will be more to remove yet. In one or two places I have not been able to remove the bulbs because they are so deep beneath tree roots. In those cases all I can do is pluck them back to prevent them growing above the soil. The grass needed cutting again but that would have to wait until at least Sunday as it was too wet to cut on Saturday and I’d had enough!

Shirley Anne

Changing

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The gardens are changing, especially the rear one which has seen more alterations and additions in recent years. That is not to say the front garden hasn’t changed, it has done over the years and more recently last year when the two flowerbeds in front of the house were completely made over. Apart from the work which has been done by myself to improve things it is now Spring and the gardens are changing because of that too as dormant plants awaken and evergreens sprout their flowers. After a lovely warm, dry and sunny weekend including Monday, everything changed on Tuesday. Although it did get warmer and sunnier in the afternoon the day began quite cold and overcast. It was definitely not as warm as it had been and the weather forecast indicated rain in the days ahead. I had finished the stone edging along the long flowerbed and decided to ‘age’ its appearance because the cemented joints were too white. I took a large bucket and part-filled it with water. I took the sweeping brush, dipping it into the water then on to the bare soil in the border I brushed over the cemented joints and the pathway. When dry everything looked as if it had been there for years, which is what I had intended. That done I returned indoors for my bag and coat, yes it was cold enough to warrant the coat, and I drove off to ‘Dobbies‘ and purchased five shrubs. They cost me just short of £100. They were not destined for the long flowerbed even though it needs filling out, they were destined for the west wall flowerbed to fill in spaces there. I am hanging back from populating the long flowerbed too much as I want to make sure no more bluebells will sprout up this season. I know there will be some perhaps next year  but hopefully they will be few. In the meantime, unless I change my mind, I am allowing those shrubs I have already planted there to fill out. E would dearly love to put flowers along the bed but until we can guarantee there being few if any bluebells it would be a waste of time. I have moved so many small plants in The Mound when digging out bluebells. So I planted the new shrubs in the West Wall bed..

They are, one at the far right and top against the wall  in the picture, two and three dead centre at top against the wall, four dead centre of picture and five immediately behind the small edging stone at centre bottom of picture. Their names…..Ligustrum (Ovalifolium), Griselinia (Green Horizon), Prunus (Etna), Prunus (Novita), and Elaeagnus Viveleg.

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

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

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

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

Ho-hum and all that

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'I've had to book my appointment two weeks in advance, so we'll both sit here until I feel unwell.'

‘I’ve had to book my appointment two weeks in advance, so we’ll both sit here until I feel unwell.’

I had a lousy weekend, especially on Saturday. I was suffering with aches and pains and although I had been sweating a lot I felt cold most of the time. I was well-wrapped up but that didn’t seem to make much difference. I went to bed around ten and a boyfriend called me in response to a text message I had sent him. I had to tell him I was in bed and about to go to sleep so the conversation didn’t last long. The following morning I was as right as rain (odd expression that one) and rearing to start my day. I felt so much better so I guess the warmth of the bedclothes and my seeming strength and ability to shake everyday illnesses off did the trick. Anyway the point was I felt great. I had an electrical job to do for the guy in whose house I had worked the previous week but didn’t have the time nor the inclination to do it on the same day. It would have meant working all day and I was tired after I had finished the job I had been doing. I went along at nine o’clock did the work and finished around noon. I had received another call while I was there. It was from an old guy living in the next town who had a problem with his kitchen light and switch. I did the work and drove back to my own town to do some shopping, nothing special, just toiletries which I buy in bulk so that I don’t have to shop for them often. I drove home but left again immediately without getting out of the vehicle. I had forgotten to get diesel fuel for my van. I arrived back home fifteen minutes later and during that time E went out somewhere for the afternoon. When I got indoors there was the package containing the new shoes I had ordered late on Sunday! Now that’s what I call service. Strange thing about this is the fact that I had been experiencing problems with the company’s signing in pages when ordering. See yesterday’s post. More nice high-heeled stilettos. I opened the box and put them on to walk around in them to check they were the correct fit. They were perfect, so much so I didn’t want to take them off because they were so comfortable to walk in. Now these are high heels and yes they are over five inches but they really are comfortable. I have to add though that I am used to heels. Just a couple of pairs of my shoes are higher and they are hard to walk in but I will soon correct that with practice. Over the years I have tended to wear heels at four and a half inches so was never happy wearing anything higher but that is slowly changing. I used to think I would never wear high heels as I got older and most people my age wouldn’t think of it but I don’t look my age or feel my age either. After I had put everything away and sorted out my business paperwork I went outside to dispose of the cardboard and plastic waste and noticed some more bluebell shoots poking out of the flowerbed. I went inside to collect the keys for the garage then came out with tools and kneeling stool to begin digging out the bulbs. There were more than just a few but I persevered and dug them out, well all the ones that I could see. There will be more I’m sure of it but if there are they will show up soon enough. I returned indoors for something to eat as I had missed lunch. I’d had a very light breakfast too. It was only four o’clock so too early for my evening meal. I decided to have a bowl of fruit but gave up on it after only two mouthfuls. It seemed I wasn’t hungry so I put the bowl in the fridge to eat it later. Even now at six o’clock as I write this I am still not that hungry but I will eat. A text message had arrived but I hadn’t noticed. It was from the boyfriend asking if I was feeling better. Ah, that’s nice.

Shirley Anne

People and stuff

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I got up a little later than usual on Saturday, for me anyway, it was around nine-thirty as I began to have breakfast. I had been up a couple of times during the night with toilet visits but it had been a bit more involved than simply just relieving myself. I had a vaginal bacterial infection specifically a urinary tract infection and they are never nice to endure. Fortunately I have a routine I use whenever this happens which makes the experience less painful. Medication is a must for conditions like this so I make sure I have something to hand for such emergencies. I usually have some medication left over from treating previous infections as more often than not I get them during the night and over the weekend. I was able to get things under control but I wanted to purchase some new medication in case it was needed. I also wanted to visit my electrical supplier for some items to replenish my van stock. The other reason I wanted to go out shopping was to pay a visit to the garden centre once more to purchase more plants for the flowerbed I had been working on recently. My first stop was at the chemist (drug store/pharmacy) to purchase medications. The chemist asked me all sorts of questions as to why I wanted the medications and when it was I last contracted an infection. Having vaginal infections too frequently of course is a problem though fortunately that hasn’t been my own experience. However the chemist suggested a visit to the doctor should I contract it again. I would do that anyway. I was given the medication and I drove off to the electrical supplier.

A young girl greeted me and I was served immediately as there were no other customers in the shop. After the sale we spoke a little. She had noticed the bag containing my medications as I reached to get my purse and asked if I was feeling well. She must have thought I had the ‘flu! As there was no-one else in the shop I told her what the medication was for and she was sympathetic as she knew from experience how nasty the infection can be. I don’t remember how the subject turned to Jesus but we ended up talking about what people do to enjoy themselves, partying, drinking and so on yet they are never satisfied. Isn’t it so true that people are always seeking new thrills and experiences and never tire of it? They are trying to fill a God shaped hole in their lives with material things so they end up constantly attempting to satisfy their need yet never succeeding. Why don’t they simply turn to God instead? Life with Jesus in your heart gives you a different perspective on life and its meaning. I left the shop and drove off to the garden centre.

On my arrival I decided to treat myself to one of the two free cups of coffee or tea I am entitled to as a member each month. This particular month I am entitled to a free pot of tea and two scones because my birthday is in November. When I got to the restaurant the queues were too long so I went into the garden and selected nine plants and proceeded to the check-out. I had spent another £72 and that was with the 20% promotional discount. As a member I get a 10% discount at other times but I wanted to take advantage of the extra discount while it lasted. I loaded them into the van and returned to get that coffee. This time the counter was empty. Now although I had the coffee I had to go to the payment desk to pay for it or in this case have my card debited first. I had to wait in a small queue and my drink was getting colder. Eventually I got to a table but my drink was by this time cooled down somewhat. It was hardly worth sitting down to drink it but I did. A few seconds later I was up and walking out of the restaurant and off to my van. It was eleven-thirty when I got back home so I decided to put the plants in the flowerbed……..greenhouse-flowerbed-5

You should be able to see the new plants as they have all been placed at the front of the bed. Compare to pictures taken a few days earlier.

Shirley Anne

Woman’s prerogative!

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Changing her mind of course! Following on from yesterday's post where I talked about buying plants for the flowerbed I have been working on I had a change of heart regarding their purchase. It was such a lovely morning on Saturday, full sunshine all the way, a time for being outdoors.  I was going to put off purchasing the plants for a few days until I had more funds but with £150 in my purse I decided to drive to the garden centre and make the purchase. I spent only £113 and bought fourteen plants. They only filled part of the bed and I will need at least the same quantity, though not all of the same variety, to fill out the front half of the bed. I hope you can see the new plants clearly enough in this picture..

greenhouse-flowerbed-4The tallest shrub and that which will be the tallest once it reaches its maximum height I planted at the end of the bed next to the now bare rhubarb patch on the right. It is an ‘Osmanthus‘ that flowers in mid-late Spring with small white blooms. It can grow to three metres in height. There are two Coral Bells, one at each end of the bed at the front, the other eleven plants are all planted along the rear of the bed. They are five different Azaleas, four ‘Leucothoe  Axillaris’ (two Red lips and two Zeblid varieties) and two ‘Golden Arbur-vitae’ or small conifers. Much of the front of the bed still needs to be filled but I have yet to purchase those plants. The two flowering ‘Mums’ in the centre may be moved later once they die back. The bed is a little over twenty-four feet (eight metres) long from the rhubarb patch to the large stones at the other end. Each of the paving slabs is two foot wide. That is a lot of space to fill with plants. I will probably fill it within the next few days if the weather permits.

Shirley Anne

On my knees 2

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Scuffin' Those Knees

Scuffin’ Those Knees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, I ran out of titles……..I continued with the work on the flowerbed on Tuesday morning but all I had to do was to mix some smooth concrete and fill-in the spaces between the stone slabs and rocks. Still it took me almost two hours to mix the concrete, use it and then tidy everything away but I wasn’t in a hurry. All the work meant spending more time on my knees (hence the title). I didn’t use the gardening kneeling stool but a thick cushion directly on the ground or rather the pathway. It meant I could get closer to the ground than if I had used the stool. Most of the concrete was placed using just my gloved hand as using a tool would have been awkward. It was another dry day which turned into a blue sky day with lots of sunshine. After lunch I even sat out on the patio for an hour it was so nice. I spent some time thinking about which plants to buy with which to populate the flowerbed. At the time of writing I haven’t as yet made up my mind. These days one can plant at any time of year within reason for the plants are potted so the roots don’t get disturbed. Protection from frost is the most important thing to consider especially if the plants are not yet established. According to the weather forecast we will experience cold nights from now on. As I live on the coast the temperature is likely to be a little above freezing. Of course it does get colder sometimes. Tomorrow as write this I have a dental appointment just before lunch so I won’t have time for work. I might browse the garden centre for plants instead. I will post another picture after I have planted any plants I may purchase in the meantime.

Shirley Anne

On my knees

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Reading that title you might be forgiven for thinking that Shirley Anne has been praying. Well I do pray every day but I am hardly ever on my knees doing it, no, I have been doing more work in and on the greenhouse flowerbed whilst the weather is remaining dry. It was a cooler day on Monday but all I wore beneath my overalls was a thin cap-sleeved top and although the early morning  temperature was only 10 deg C. I wasn’t cold because there was hardly any wind. Once I begin to work I soon warm-up anyway so much so that later in the morning I had my overalls tied-off at the waist and not covering my upper body. It didn’t get warmer than 14 deg C throughout the day but I wasn’t cold in  the least. I prefer cooler temperatures anyway. So I spent most of the day until three o’clock practically on my knees. I had begun work around eight-fifteen by putting the remaining seven stone slabs along that part of the rear of the bed where they could be placed, which was up to the large greenhouse.greenhouse-flowerbed-3   Once they were in place I began to remove all the weeds and those small flowering plants we wished to keep, though I didn’t replant them in the same part of the bed. I actually planted them all later in the afternoon at the far end of the bed under the holly tree among the large natural stones I had placed there. I also planted them closely packed because I wanted them to fill the area with colour. Here are the same plants in bloom when they were originally planted in the bed.Under the apple trees

Now I am hoping all that colour will be concentrated at the far end of the bed. Having them close together will deter weeds too. I also spread more topsoil over the whole bed using the soil I had removed from the ‘Plot’ and had stored in the white bag I spoke about in recent posts.The bare spaces now have to be filled with new plants and I plan to have evergreen plants there when I get around to buying them. On Tuesday I planned to mix concrete to fill in all the spaces between the stone slabs as before. A neighbour living two doors away, our new neighbours to be precise, had tree surgeons in their rear garden all day long. Some trees were being cut down and others were being pollarded.  That meant chain saws and chipping machines being used all day long. I got used to the noise eventually!

Shirley Anne