Tag Archives: Garden maintenance

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

Punishing

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

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

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

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

Shirley Anne

The good…….

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

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

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

Shirley Anne

The annoying thing is……

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Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

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

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

Shirley Anne

Enough already!

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

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

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

Shirley Anne

Dodging the rain

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

Shirley Anne

Bucket full

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Dig Dug: Digging Strike

Dig Dug: Digging Strike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Shirley Anne

Surveying the land

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

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

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

Shirley Anne  

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

Another two hours

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The Off Hours

The Off Hours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Shirley Anne