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. According 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. I 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….
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.
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!
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.
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….
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.
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.
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…..
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!
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!
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…
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…
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….
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.
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..
…..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…..
…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…
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?
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.
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,
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.
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.
I think I worked pretty hard on Saturday in working in the garden and was glad for the rest on Sunday. Sunday was an ideal day for working outdoors too but it is a rest day for me. Wanting to resume work on Monday the forecast wasn’t promising in the least for it would be raining throughout the day. I am actually writing this on Monday morning and true to the forecast it is raining. We are told there might be a break for an hour or so around midday but I doubt I’ll be able to do much if I decide to make the attempt. What I might do is rake off as much top soil as I can so that there will be less of it to dig out to get to the bluebell bulbs I want removing. To give you an idea of how many there are here is a picture taken last year when they were in flower…
As you can see they are numerous. Fortunately about half of them are now removed. Those which remain as I write occupy the area approximately to the right of a projected line from the right-hand side of the path that runs from the bottom of the picture to the top. There might be a few to remove on the extreme right (in the corner plot) though E may have already done that last year. If not I will probably wait for them to appear above the soil to make it easier for myself. You will be able to see more clearly by clicking on the image to magnify. As I write this the forecast for tomorrow (Tuesday) is slightly better, though it will rain. Wednesday and Friday will supposedly be dry. By the end of the week we will be almost one-third of the way through winter but the next two months are usually the worst! I may find the time to get things done or I may not. I am at the mercy of the English weather. I will be available for electrical work once more from Wednesday onward so that may limit my spare time too.
After the rain on Friday i was expecting a dry day on Saturday but it was foggy throughout the day and very damp as a result. It wasn’t going to stop me from working in the garden continuing to remove bulbs from deep beneath the soil in the border. For four days, aside from Friday, I had spent quite some hours on my knees doing that work. All that remained was the last section up to and around the little oak tree that marks the end of the flowerbed as far as it is a flowerbed that is. Beyond that point there is still a border of sorts as it turns toward the large greenhouse. The part I will call the ‘Corner bed‘ and I may do some work there later in the year. It is populated with four small trees and one giant sycamore that is probably fifty years old or more. The holly tree hides three of the small trees in this picture. The bed also has numerous plants in it which I think are iris’ or something similar. They might take some digging out but at the very least the small trees will get pruned. It will be the only part of the garden to be tidied up. A few years ago I laid the large sandstone slabs there to make an edging for the pathway which leads to the greenhouse door. You can see the arrangement in this picture taken just before the large greenhouse was erected at that time. (Click on image to magnify)
The small oak tree now stands roughly at the point where the two pathways meet though in the rear bed of course. You can see the corner bed more clearly in this picture. Unfortunately I didn’t quite finish digging out the bulbs as I decided to finish for the day after four hours on my knees for the most part. There remains a half-metre or so of bed each side of the oak tree between the pathway and the rear wall to filter out yet, as of Saturday that is. Hopefully I shall finish removing the bulbs on Monday weather permitting.
Working on your hands and knees for long periods isn’t good for anyone but sometimes it is the only way some jobs can be done. I have been working in the garden over the last couple of days digging out unwanted flower bulbs and there have been hundreds of them. It wouldn’t be so bad but for the fact that more soil had been placed in the flowerbed by myself last year which meant the bulbs were that much deeper to get at. It hasn’t been too bad however except where I have had to dig alongside a tree or shrub as there are more roots to negotiate. Standing up and using the gardening fork lifts much of the soil and then getting on my hands and knees enables me to then sift out the bulbs and dig deeper with a trowel. I think I have been wise to leave the work until now rather than having done it in Autumn because the bulbs have been growing beneath the ground and are therefore much easier to see. On Wednesday I was side-tracked a little because I had noticed a few sycamore seeds, easily seen by their wings, and decided to pick them up before they could sprout. Trouble was though that I ended up going around the lawn looking for others, and there were plenty of them. I collected about fifty but no doubt there will be a similar amount still remaining. I remember last Spring when I plucked out numerous infant sycamore trees that had started to grow in the lawn. It will be an annual event unless I don’t mind having a forest of sycamore trees as my back garden! After I had finished picking up those seeds I then had to begin pruning the trees around the area I was going to work in removing the bulbs. That took me some time as I pruned elsewhere whilst I had the opportunity. I had to fetch a ladder to get at some of the tree branches. At last I was able to get down to the bulb removal which wasn’t easy due to the surrounding trees and I only managed to do half of the area before I finally decided to stop for the day. It was mid-afternoon by then and I had been working for four hours. I planned to continue on Thursday but it would be Saturday before I could continue any further as Friday was forecast to be a rainy day. Now it was Thursday, a bitterly cold day but that wasn’t going to stop me continuing with the work.
The picture shows the spot I had been working on both Wednesday and Thursday. The picture was taken after one o’clock just after I had cleared up. I had done four hours work in the cold temperature but the sunshine only reached the space after I had finished. Just my luck. There were a tremendous amount of montbretia bulbs and not quite as many bluebell bulbs which I removed together with a bucket load of stones. I am hoping I’ve got them all but somehow I doubt it. If there are any more they will soon show themselves in the coming weeks and I will remove them. The green wheelie bin was now full. After lunch I took the bin into the front garden where we store all the bins and exchanged it for the other one which was practically empty. I proceeded to cut up the branches I had lopped off the trees on Wednesday and put them in the bin, half-filling it in the process but they will compress. The remaining section of bed around the little oak tree now needs to be filtered and the bulbs there will be bluebells, hundreds of them…………it will keep me out of mischief on Saturday if all goes to plan.
Two days ago my post was about starting work in the garden and carrying out some maintenance work. That maintenance referred to the removal of two plant varieties, that is their bulbs some of which had begun to sprout. As I mentioned in my previous post those bulbs were bluebell and montbretia neither of which we want in the garden because they grow profusely and take over any flowerbed they are in. I made a good start on Monday and now as I write this on Tuesday I have been able to do more work removing those bulbs. However, Tuesday had been much colder because of the wind so I spent far less time out there but still covered about the same amount of area. Here are two pictures showing a closer view than the one I posted yesterday. Click on images to magnify.
Yesterday I filtered out the soil to the right of the holly tree and around the supporting cane of bamboo. Today I completed the area to the left of the holly tree.The two areas contained both bluebell and montbretia bulbs. There are now two main areas left to do. In the top picture to the right of the small rhododendron (right of centre) to just beyond the now leafless oak tree has the highest concentration of bluebell bulbs and I imagine will be the most difficult to filter. The second area shown in the bottom picture on the left between the two bushes has the highest concentration of montbretia bulbs some of which have already grown above the soil level. I imagine that area will be a little easier to filter. If the weather is fair I hope I will be able to get most of the work done during the remainder of the week. We shall see. If all goes well I propose to fit edging stone slabs at some point as I have done elsewhere in the garden.