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..
The 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.
Wanting to do things yet wanting to rest too wrestled in my thoughts but in the end I gave in to the idea of doing some more work in the garden. It just isn’t me to do nothing. Once again I received a request for my electrical services on Thursday afternoon, which I promptly did. I arose a little later than normal but only a half-hour or so and immediately after breakfast drove off to a centre which sells gardening and building materials such as ornate paving stones and slabs, fencing materials and numerous other things for outdoor projects. I had decided to purchase some lengths of natural stone which is used for capping brick walls in gardens and elsewhere. However, I wasn’t buying it for that application, I was buying it to use as edging stone for the flowerbed that runs in front of the greenhouses as I have decided to spruce it up. We are forever digging out weeds because there is insufficient ground coverage by the existing plants and some of those plants are really too small anyway. The bed really needs populating with more evergreen shrubs, especially flowering types to make it more attractive throughout the year. It gets plenty of sunshine which at the moment I feel is a little wasted on the bed if suitable plants are not there to take advantage. The existing small plants do create a splash of colour but it doesn’t last and as I said they don’t prevent the weeds from taking over. This is what it looked like about five years ago.
Since then it has become a little bit of an eyesore. The new stone will run alongside the edge of the paving slabs though not completely to the left where larger stones will be placed to create a bit of a feature. The rear of the bed which is exposed in front of the small greenhouse will also have edging stone fitted then I propose to raise the level of the soil using that soil which is stored at present in the large white bag shown in previous recent posts. Doing that will also enable me to get at the buttress I mentioned the lower half of which I propose to render with concrete. I arrived at the garden centre to see what was available and they had exactly what I needed but only just the right amount! I arranged for them to deliver it on Friday morning as it would be too heavy to carry it in my van especially as the van was full of my own stock. The small electrical job covered half the cost of the stone so I was pleased about that. Maybe I’ll get another to cover the balance!
Another funny day on Thursday but for different reasons. Nothing really was planned and I was to be house-bound for the afternoon. I had to wait at home for an engineer to check our faulty fridge/freezer under guarantee. It had been looked at some weeks ago but that engineer I discovered hadn’t checked it properly even though I was charged a lot of money for him to check it out. Modern fridges cannot always be repaired easily as many components are moulded into the fabric of the framework. The compressor and pipework are accessible though and can be worked upon. In our unit it turned out to be a heater fault . The heater is used to defrost the system automatically but unfortunately it cannot be accessed as it is hidden in the insulation. A stupid idea if you ask me for it means defrosting will now have to take place manually! I digress. A four-hour slot had been allocated for him to call which meant I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere until he had called. Wouldn’t you know it? He arrived at the end of the four hours! So what was I to do in the morning? There was a small amount of filling in with concrete on the Plot but I decided not to do that until another day. Instead, I drove to the garden centre to browse for more plants and returned home with three to put in the Plot, two in the ground and one in the raised flowerbed.
The small conifer in the left corner of the flowerbed and the two shrubs just right of the new steps are those which I bought and planted. I did no other work during the morning. E went out shopping as usual and I had to wait until almost five o’clock before I could return to the apartment I had worked in the day before and get paid by the old lady I had worked for. We ended up chatting and I didn’t leave until long after six o’clock by which time E had returned and was eating her evening meal! As far as the fridge/freezer is concerned I might just decide to buy another but of a different make, it will depend upon how frustrated we get having to manually defrost it every so often.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I decided to do no work……..that is electrical work! I wanted to concentrate on getting things done at home on my projects. I say projects for there are now two I am working on, both in the garden. The first as you all know is my redesigning of the Plot and the other is making a start on the lamp-post project. The weather forecast promised three or four days of warm and dry days so I had to make the most of them whilst I could. I had done a couple of electrical jobs on Monday which left me rather exhausted but after a solid night’s sleep I was ready to work on Tuesday. It was a little uncomfortable on the day for it was humid but I persevered and started by preparing the footings for the final step on the Plot and then laying concrete. It would be set by Wednesday morning and would allow me to lay the paving slab on it. Here are the two pictures
Once I had that done I went across the garden to a spot in the long flowerbed which faces the rear of the house. I had planted two shrubs there a few weeks ago but the area to their left was overgrown with Montbretia plants which I intended to remove when I had the time and before their leaves died back. As long as the soil is loosened they are easy to pull out. I wanted to fill the area with the soil I had dug out in preparing the base where the lamp-post will stand. I managed to clear the area of the Montbretia but there were two wheelbarrow loads to dispose of in the wheelie bin! There are more Montbretia plants further along the bed which I will remove later. You may notice the variegated holly tree being supported by a long length of bamboo.The tree had been surrounded by other trees and was being choked by them. As I didn’t want these other trees because they spread themselves by putting up more shoots I removed them some months ago. I wrote about it in a post at that time. The holly is slowly being trained to grow more upright and is already beginning to fill out.
So I dug out the area where the lamp-post will stand and filled it with hard-core before topping it with concrete.
I was ready for lunch by this time and as I wasn’t going to do any more work on my projects for the day I put everything away. After lunch at 2 o’clock I spent a little time resting on the patio but decided the lawn needed mowing again. So I did it as it only takes about twenty minutes with the petrol mower. Just as I had finished I received a request for my electrical services. I accepted the work and scheduled it for Friday. It would be about three to four hours work and would probably be the only work I would be doing that day.
It used to be that I arose very early in the morning to go to work but those days are long gone and I usually don’t get out of bed before seven o’clock for work these days. On Friday morning however I had to be at a job before eight which meant I had to arise before six just the once. I don’t mind having to do that occasionally. I was back home before ten and was paid a little more than I’d asked which made it worthwhile. A few weeks ago I did a lot of work in the two flowerbeds in the front garden but I don’t think I had put enough bark chippings down beneath the plants to cover the soil. Some weeds had begun to show and they needed pulling out and more bark added so I donned the necessary clothing and got out there to do the work. It was one o’clock before I returned indoors and with the work done I had my lunch. I had it in mind to start placing the plants I had bought in the mound and flowerbed in the rear garden for the weather was going to remain fine all day long. At two o’clock I got a call from an old guy who asked me to repair the light in his bathroom. I went along to see what the problem was and found I needed to buy some materials. I drove to the electrical store, returned with the goods and did the work. I was back home around three-thirty. E had gone out for a while so I set about placing the larger plants in position to see which was the best position for each of them. Having decided that I began to plant them one by one.
I managed to do them all before five o’clock but left off planting out the fifteen small flowering shrubs to do them the next day instead. A girl can do too much in one day after all! The middle two pictures show the side and part of the rear and none of the small flowering shrubs were planted there. They look a little empty in places so I will have to think about the possibility of purchasing suitable plants to put there. The side, shown on the left in the last picture and on the right in the one before does get full sunshine so I might buy more of the type I planted around the front or something similar. The rear of the mound gets very little sunshine for most of the time so perhaps a couple of shade-loving plants will go there.Anyway I spent a little time on Friday afternoon relaxing on the patio in the late afternoon sun before returning indoors to prepare my evening meal, oh yes, and to hang up the washing that I had put in the machine earlier onto the lines in the cellar.
Three electrical jobs were to keep me busy on Thursday morning but on arrival at the second and having discussed the viability and necessity of their proposed work I left without doing a thing. The guy gave me a little something for my time though it was his wife who had called me without thinking whether the job could be done in the first place. I put questions to my would-be customers in order to avoid wasted journeys but this lady had convinced me the work would not present any problems. It turned out that the ‘house’ was in fact a holiday-style cabin with a low internal ceiling and prefabricated wiring. She had purchased a large ceiling fan/light combination that if fitted would slice the head off anyone who inadvertently walked beneath it! There was no existing wiring to accommodate its installation and the power supply was at the other end of the building with intervening rooms. She hadn’t a clue what was necessary to be done should it have been possible to fit the fan in the first place. She had also requested the installation of an extra power outlet far from a possible source to connect it to and wanted the wiring hidden in the walls. That in itself was impossible because of the way the walls were constructed, any new wiring would have to be surface-mounted. Her husband had told her a few times that what she desired wasn’t reasonable nor practical but she hadn’t listened. He appeared to feel justified after I had discussed the problems with them and she subsequently realised her mistake. Whilst there I received a call which turned out to be the third job. I didn’t get to return home until after two o’clock but I had stopped off somewhere for a meal. Soon after I had returned home E went out to do the shopping and I returned to the van and emptied out most of the contents before driving off again to the garden centre. I purchased fifteen middle-sized and fifteen small-sized plants. They were left standing in front of the mound until I could find the time to plant them.The small plants will spread out a little and the larger ones will grow wider and higher once established. Most of them will be planted in the mound and some will be planted in the long flowerbed which faces the house, the end of which can be seen in the background on the right in the picture. That particular bed is filled with trees and large shrubs and I hope to keep it that way but first I will have to dig out all the montbretia and bluebell bulbs and that will take a lot of time. I think I am not yet finished with purchasing plants, even for my current intentions working in the mound and the flowerbed next to the patio, and of course I haven’t decided what I want to do in the plot where the gooseberry bushes had been.
…..the end is near. One small job to do first thing in the morning on Wednesday and then I could return home. In fact I got back at 10.30 or thereabouts. I wanted to get out into the garden once more but without plants I could do nothing. I needed to drive to the garden centre and see what I could purchase. I decided to leave it until after lunch for I knew I would end up missing lunch if I didn’t. Just before lunch E told me that her mom had again been taken into hospital for observation and E and her brother who collected her, went off to see her. She is advanced in years and a little frail and has various ailments common to some elderly people. I prepared my lunch as it was now after noon and I had eaten breakfast early. Soon after lunch I part-emptied my van and drove to the garden centre. I browsed around looking for suitable plants, evergreens and plants that don’t grow to any great height, though I wanted some taller ones to fill in the rear of the bed. I bought some plants of the same variety we had put in the other flowerbed a few weeks ago but the others I bought were different. We don’t want the two flowerbeds to be identical but only similar. I was away from home for an hour and on my return I set about putting the new plants in the bed. Here is the result
I placed some large natural stone blocks here and there amongst the plants as I did in the other bed. I may put some more in later after or before we plant some flowering plants in the bed to fill it out, again as we did in the first bed. I think it looks better already but it should look even more so once finished. It is far better than what it looked like a week or so ago.
The smallest part of the flowerbed I have been working in has taken the longest time for its size to do. On Monday I almost finished filtering the soil but time was pressing on and I was tired so I left off doing the final section until later. I had hoped it would be Tuesday morning and my wish came true. There was about a square metre left to do that is almost a half of a cubic metre for I had to dig down a half metre as I had done with the whole of the flowerbed. It took four hours to complete the final section though part of that time was taken up topping up the bed with new soil. Last year around early October we had purchased a one ton bag of clean soil for filling the three flowerbeds I had newly constructed on the patio and quite a lot of it was left over. It had been stored near one of the gates in the front garden by the delivery driver as that was the only place it could go and remain out-of-the-way. Finally I was able to empty the remains (about six wheelbarrows full) to fill in the flowerbed. It is surprising just how much was removed in the way of weeds, stones, roots and bluebell bulbs especially! If I ever see another bluebell bulb it will be too soon. So now the bed looks like this All we have to do now is populate it and it will take many plants to fill it. I plan to fill it with evergreen plants so the only plants which will die back in the winter will be the Fuchsia (at the far right in the picture) and what we think is Iris (centre). The Azalea is replanted on the extreme left and that other evergreen shrub was replanted next to it. Still haven’t found out its name but we’ll work on it. Naturally I took the rest of the day to myself. The following day I would be out doing electrical work.
I had another day free to myself on Friday and though I had three requests for my electrical services I rejected two of them. The third will get done sometime next week. That meant I could work in the garden. The conditions were ideal, not too warm at 16 or 17 degC with some cloud cover and dry. Even at those temperatures and me wearing only a flimsy top I soon worked up a sweat! The best time to work in the front garden here is as early in the morning as possible when the sun is blocked by the house next door and the trees in their front garden. After ten-thirty if it is sunny the sun begins to appear over the flowerbed currently being worked in. The first picture shows the bed as it was before any work started
The second picture shows the initial work done last week and before, the work mainly involved removing the Hydrangea bush that was at the extreme left in the bed as seen above.
The final picture shows the bed after my hard work on Friday. I spent two hours before lunch and three after. You can see I have moved the Azalea to the spot left vacant by the Hydrangea. I moved that strange bush with its branches sticking out all over the place (next to the variegated yellow/green shrub on the right in the picture above) to a spot near the Azalea. One tall Iris (we think it is an Iris) was left where it stood but the other which stood close to that strange shrub I moved next to the first. Before all that could be done I had to filter out more of the flowerbed soil which contained hundreds (literally) of bluebell bulbs as well as stones and weeds. I have never seen so many bluebell bulbs in such a small space! There will be more to filter out when I work the other half of the flowerbed.
You can see a stake sticking up in the centre of the picture as well as the end of a length of plastic board which separates that part of the flowerbed that has yet to be worked in. I did some work in that part of the bed however, digging out the two shrubs we had there, cutting them up and disposing of them. We had thought about keeping the variegated shrub but it is of a type which spreads itself everywhere in the soil, something we are keen not to have. The second plant was another Fuchsia which wasn’t needed. The main Fuchsia will remain where it is at the extreme right of the flowerbed (just out of sight in the second two pictures) as seen in the first picture. There will be many weeds and bluebell bulbs in the remaining half of the bed so there’s still plenty of work to do yet. When the bed is ready to be populated with new plants only four of the original ones will still be there five if you count there being two Iris plants next to each other. I have been thinking what type of plants to purchase and have in mind Lavender and Cabbage Palm at the moment but obviously there will be others. I believe Lavender is a plant which discourages weeds growing near it. Now that is a bonus but it can get out of hand if left to grow too large even so it smells nice and gives good cover where it is needed. As I write this on Friday evening I am not sure when next I will have the time to continue with the work but I suspect it will be Saturday!
Boredom is beginning to set in for me. The recent hot weather had put paid to any ideas of working indoors at home and because it is still that way as I write this on Tuesday it remains so for the time being. Don’t misunderstand me, I do like to take a break from work just as others do but eventually I get bored and am on pins looking for something to do. Having no electrical work for a few days doesn’t help either. There are plenty of jobs I could be doing outside the house of course as I have plans to replant the other flowerbed which needs doing in the front garden. To do that however I need E’s committment too. She is sometimes reluctant to make the effort especially if I am suggesting the removal of plants and replacing them with another variety. For years she has resisted digging out this particular flowerbed properly and has wasted (in my opinion) her time by simply weeding it out when all that happens is that the weeds return soon after. I should take the bull by the horns so to speak and start the work by myself as I did with the other flowerbed recently. She soon changed her mind once the work got started. It will put another hole in my purse of course for cultivated plants don’t come cheap. I must easily have spent around £200 on plants for the other flowerbed but populating this bed shouldn’t cost as much I am thinking for some of the existing plants will remain. We could make the two beds identical but that would mean removing all existing plants and for no reason. I am sure we can come up with a way to incorporate them in any new plans. One thing I would prefer is to populate the bed with evergreen plants as we did with the other bed but one plant which is not evergreen I will keep and that is a Fuchsia because we both like Fuchsias. At the moment it occupies the space immediately next to the stone steps (see below) and it can stay there because the rest of the flowerbed can be filled with evergreen plants. In fact there are three there already. One is an Azalea standing next to the Hydrangea on the far left. There is a variegated plant of a variety I cannot name standing next to the Fuchsia and to the left of that is a strange-looking evergreen shrub that needs pruning into shape. I have no idea what its name is either. E got if from somewhere a few years ago. Other greenery in the picture includes two very tall Iris’s and the rest are weeds! It certainly needs attention. It will be difficult to decide how to plan out the bed to effectively incorporate the existing plants and it is slightly larger than the other bed too. The starting point will be to remove the Hydrangea as we did in the first bed a few days ago. During the winter months the Hydrangea plants look terribly bare and unsightly as they lose all their foliage. I will plant evergreens because they keep any flowerbeds looking alive during the colder months and they are more pleasant to look at when everywhere is drab under the weather. If I don’t make a start on the work it won’t get done at all but there are other jobs which need doing inside the house too. They can wait whilst the weather is fine. If the weather turns a little cooler than of late, and the forecast is that it might, you’ll probably find me taking the plunge and getting down to it…………..unless some electrical work gets in the way! Apart from the ‘mound’ on which the flag pole stands, which has recently received four new shrubs in the open area, there are two other flowerbeds, this small one by the gate
And this one approaching the other gate….
Neither of which need any major changes until they become overgrown of course!
I didn’t eat my usual type of breakfast on Saturday. E had ‘burnt’ some toast the day before, though it wasn’t really burnt but simply too dark for her taste and I decided to eat it for breakfast and have a little canned fruit too to mix with the fresh fruit I was going to have also. That meant a trip into the room in the cellar where we keep canned foodstuff. She happened to be down there and asked me to turn around from the store cupboard to look at something. The centre of the room is filled with all kinds of things, mostly belonging to my eldest son but there was a small child’s rocking chair there on which sat an enormous spider. He wasn’t the only one either, there are many spiders in the cellar rooms and some were on the same chair. As I attempted to get rid of them some fell into a box beneath the chair so we dragged the box outside and emptied its contents. It held several cartons of canned cat food and other foodstuff which had to be binned. We threw away what we couldn’t keep which meant we kept the canned food as my youngest son has a cat and might want to take it home. There is nothing wrong with it. I decided to mow the lawn at that point but had to open the garage doors to access the green waste bin. The lawn only took a few minutes to mow so I suggested to E that we might as well cut down and dig out the Hydrangea shrub in the front flowerbed rather than just cut it back at the end of the season as I had suggested in a recent post about the front flowerbed. It is shown in this picture….
It took us some time to cut it down and especially dig it out but the real work came after when we had to filter the soil which was full of roots and hundreds of bluebell bulbs. It is almost impossible to filter out all of the bulbs but at least any that now grow will be easier to remove. We were very tired and retired indoors for a late lunch. After lunch I suggested we go to the garden centre and purchase more plants with which to fill the now empty half of the flowerbed. On our return we finished filtering the soil and then we planted the new plants and filled spaces with some of the many rocks we have stored in the rear garden, those we had found amongst the many we dug out of the mound in June and July 2014 (search ‘mound’). Now the bed look like this…..
There only remains for the rose-bush to be pruned down a little at the end of the year. That is one plant we have every intention of leaving where it is. Those flowers are so heavily scented and fill the garden with their aroma. Some of the new plants surrounding it are also heavily scented when they are in bloom. To think it all started with a spider. We didn’t get back indoors until after seven o’clock for a well-earned rest.
What a lovely warm and sunny day we had on Sunday. I had arisen early and after an early breakfast I was thinking about going for a walk or even a bike ride once I had the washing done. It was ‘clean sheet day’, a day to change the bed linen and I had placed the soiled sheets in the machine soon before E came downstairs for her breakfast. I hung the washing on the line and put the second wash into the machine. By the time I had done that it was getting a little too warm for my liking to go walking. I much prefer to do my walking or cycling whilst it is still cool. That being the case I chose to sit out on the patio under the canopy to read my book. Eventually E joined me and we relaxed in the warmth for a while. Soon E got restless and decided to do some weeding out in one of the flowerbeds. I returned indoors and prepared our lunches. I say lunches because we don’t often eat the same dishes. She came indoors and we ate. A few days earlier I had mentioned that I wanted to purchase more plants to populate both front and rear gardens and E reminded me. So off we went to the local garden centre and we bought four Dahlias, one Princess Lily Alstro, one Magnolia Susan and one Magnolia Stellata. On our return home we first planted the two Magnolia shrubs in the front garden. They are the two plants behind the flowering Rhododendrons in front of the flag pole.
E planted the four Dahlias and the single Princess Lily in front of the large greenhouse. The Princess Lily is the middle plant in this picture showing its red flowers.
There used to be gooseberry bushes where we have now placed these new plants in front of the greenhouse but I dug them out at the beginning of the year and gave them to members of the family who wanted them. Meanwhile those gooseberry bushes in the vegetable plot have been doing very well and already they are covered with gooseberries.
And the Rhubarb is thriving too as I have resisted the temptation to pluck a couple of stalks but I will be doing so soon!
As I write this it is the beginning of the second long weekend in the month. In May we have two national holiday days both on a Monday, one at the beginning of the month and the other at the end of the month. It means, theoretically, that we get three days off work at the weekend. Of course not everybody will observe these extra days as days for relaxing. Traditionally I too don’t treat them as special days but that is because I am self-employed and take time off as I need it. For those who are not self-employed these days come as a welcome break. I’d had a couple of electrical jobs in the previous week and one I thought I was going to do on Saturday. The lady who asked me to do the work didn’t call back as she had promised so I was set for the long weekend free from work other than that I might do at home. The problem was that she works in London and has not been able to arrange either for herself to be available or someone else. However just as I was about to eat a late breakfast someone else called asking if I could exchange two ceiling lights with replacement fittings. These fittings it turned out were second-hand and one was missing its fixing bracket. I decided to take the job though I had ideas about working at home. The work itself was easy but I had to manufacture a bracket to replace the missing one before I could fit the second unit. It is fortunate then that I could find some metal in the van with which to make it. The lady was well pleased that I could make the bracket and not have to return at some later date to finish the work. It was lunch time when I returned home and I could look forward to the rest of the day to relax in, and that is what E and I did out on the patio for a time. It turned cool and cloudy for a spell and we returned indoors. An hour later and it was bright and sunny again. English weather! Whilst I had been away from home E’s nephew had called and finished off rendering the small wall (shown above) that had been constructed a couple of months ago! It will need painting sometime in the weeks ahead. Whilst I was taking the picture I took another showing these two rhododendron shrubs. I had planted them in Autumn last year. They are different types of the same shrub. The one on the left flowered a couple of weeks ahead of the other which only opened its blossoms last week. Eventually they will grow to fill the area surrounding them. I am thinking of planting one or two more shrubs out there in the front garden as there is plenty of space for them.
Static & Silence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My readers will know by now that I am somewhat of a restless person, always looking for something to do. I rest on Sundays in so much as I don’t work at my usual job or any project I might be doing at home. I am however open to ‘leisure work’ or I call it ‘pleasure work’, though that might hint at all work being a pleasure to me. In fact I do enjoy work but the only work I might do on a Sunday apart from preparing meals and washing dishes is a little gardening and I do emphasize it is minimal. I might mow the lawn, dig out the occasional weed, potter about or water the garden with a hose. Although April thus far hasn’t been all that wet we have had some rain but over the last week or so we haven’t had much to speak of at all. Twice this past week I have had to resort to using the hose because the plants have needed the water. Sunday was one of those days. I got the hose out even though a little rain was in the forecast and I watered the gardens front and back. It was quite a cold day on Sunday and the wind made it seem that much colder. I was glad to return indoors. During the afternoon it did rain, twice but the amount that fell was insignificant and would not have been enough for the gardens so it was just as well I had used the hose pipe. I get restless as I said and late in the morning I decided I would bake another fruit cake just to relieve the boredom so that is what I did. What does one do when there isn’t much to do? My problem is I get bored too easily I suppose and that is why I take on projects at home if I am not out working. I am always looking for something to do but on Sundays I am restricted to household chores if I cannot get out into the garden and if I want something to do. Playing the guitar and watching television doesn’t count though at times I am too tired to do anything else!