Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A day which started badly but ended very well

When a builder says "I might be round Tuesday afternoon, or Wednesday, maybe" the last thing you expect is for a white van to arrive at 8.00am on Tuesday, made worse by the fact that although I'd been up since before 7.00, when I saw the van arrive I was in the bathroom in a state of significant undress {☺} about to step into the shower . . . another reminder of just how fast it is possible to get dressed when necessary. The boys worked hard all day extending the path so that Miss Daisy will have no access issues. Going up and down a not-wide-enough path with unstable boards at the side has been 'interesting' to say the least and we've had a couple of near misses. I was fearing considerable mess but Wayne and Keith have worked here often enough that they know life is easier for everyone if they tidy up as they go along, funny that ....

Copious amounts of tea and Pepsi works wonders and they got a lot more done today than I expected, accompanied by much teasing and messing about. By the time they went home Keith had been threatened with a pickaxe (twice), kicked on the shins (extremely gently, four times) and whacked on the backside with a rubber mallet . . . hey, whatever it takes to keep the workers happy :}

When I wasn't making decisions, making tea or refereeing a kindergarten I was gardening. Yes, real hands in the dirt, playing with plants gardening! I weeded all of the long bed in the Cottage Garden, gently forked it over to break up soil that's been compacted by winter rain, chucked a dose of organic chicken pellets over all of it and repainted the wooden arbour. I wanted to mulch the whole thing with some well rotted bark chips that have been stored in the Coppice since last Autumn but that would have required getting Miss Daisy out of the shed. I needed neither an audience or requests to be a co-pilot so I will save that job until there are no trades here :}

Last Autumn half of the bed was mulched with half-rotted leaf-mould but half was left bare because I ran out of materials. Guess which end had weeds and which end was virtually weed-free? Another 'tick in the box' for mulching thoroughly.

Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem', gorgeous foliage.  Definitely on the shopping list next time I go back to Seaview, one of these is not enough.

If I'd been on my own without interruptions I reckon I could have got the whole bed weeded, pruned where necessary, prepared and mulched in one day (yes, that's one looong-Hobbit-day) Apart from occasional dead-heading, that is pretty much all the attention it needs for the rest of summer; the planting is shrubs and perennials which mostly take care of themselves and bodes well for my grand 'low maintenance' plans (she says, hopefully!)

Hazel's hollyhocks have come through the winter well, and the Persicaria has settled in nicely (much to the disgust of our agronomist friends ☺ ).  The only things which really seems to have suffered are the Globe Artichokes, all but one looks like it has rotted in the wet.

Midway through the afternoon Wayne's uncle turned up (small village, nearly everyone is related to someone else) to tell us about an auction 'on view'. Sadly, a local building firm has gone out of business and all the stock in their yard is being auctioned by the Liquidators. We piled into the uncle's car and went to Maryport where there was much scribbling of lot numbers and quantities. I may be buying some building supplies on Thursday . . . fingers crossed!


  1. That sounds a very productive day!

    I love your "stumpery" in the third photo.

    What`s wrong with persicaria in the right place? We seem to have collected a few varieties and they make an interesting structural plant in the summer.

    Sorry to hear about yet another small business biting the dust.....

    1. Morning DW. I love persicaria and as that end of the long bed is meant to be fairly wild I think it suits well (the other plants are teasel, honesty, ferns, ivy, etc). A couple of friends used to work in agriculture and hate the plant when it gets a hold in sugar beet fields. This is p.bistorta 'Superba' and is a lovely plant when in flower.

      Felt very sad looking round the builders' premises - some bargains to be had but 18 local people have now lost their jobs.

  2. I can feel your satisfaction in the word 'weeded'! Behind which is the graft, sweat and effort expended in hard landscaping over the past 3 years - culminating in .....GARDENING! Hurrah!

    I had a pleasant workman/time incident today too - last Friday, a work job which 'could be done next week at a real pinch, but would be better the next week' by a newly appointed contractor was in fact, done today. :-)

    And - surprisingly for me (I'm not good at non-edibles) - I recognised your Sorbaria - mum bought one for her garden last year, and I absolutely fell in love with it.

    Must tell BIL about the hollyhocks which were from their Fareham garden - he'll be delighted that they have come through - I must nudge you to take a pic for me in the summer to send to him.

    1. Thanks Hazel. Only a mad Hobbit can think weeding 50 feet of mixed border as 'relaxing' but compared to what I usually do around here it was a doddle! Very glad to hear your own work progressing, look forward to the odd sneak-peak.

      The Hollyhocks are seed from your lottie, bet you thought I'd forgotten/lost them :} Will have a go with some more this Spring, who knows, the seed might well still be viable?

  3. I had spectacular hollyhocks in 2009 (8 feet tall!) and since then I can't even keep a plant alive no matter what I do. I've given up on them. :-(

    I, too, have saved certain activities for those days when there is no audience. I once thought I needed a hammock. The first time I got in it, it upended and I was trapped under the framing. I frantically tried to get out from under before my neighbor (mowing his lawn) would reach the end of the row, turn around, and see me entangled. LOL
    I returned the hammock, BTW.

    1. Kris, I'm not surprised you sent the hammock back! I'm not laughing at the thought of you tangled up in it, honest :}


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