Saturday, 3 March 2012

Driving Miss Daisy

Edit December 2012:  With the arrival of a little four-paws who needs the name more than the lawn tractor, Miss Daisy as a ride-on petrol-driven garden assistant is no more.  Currently referred to as the Little Red Tractor unless/until I think of something else :}

Hobbit is suffering intense frustration from having a glorious little lawn tractor in the shed and ground which is too soft to ride across.  The rain shows no signs of slowing down - every time we get a few hours dry weather with a little breeze it's followed by more water.  Being unable to go outside and do what I want doesn't stop me thinking about the ponds, stream and paths though.

Now, to wind back a little and set the scene, it has always been part of the plan that the top pond and big pond would eventually be linked by a stream (which will act as an overflow for the top pond).   If you squint really hard at this picture (taken last September from the scaffolding) we'd even started to mark out a stream route.



Also part of the long-term plan was to put in permanent pathways so that we can move around the garden during the wet times of the year that currently seem to be eight or nine months out of twelve.  Although some experts advise putting in paths first, that doesn't work for us.  The best paths are those which are laid exactly where people want to walk, if you make the route forced and unnatural it is human nature to cut off a corner - look in any park to see the short-cuts which folk have created.

I always felt the paths would be one of the last things to be built but I think it's now time for them.  Seeing how much the tractor is cutting into the ground made us realise that if I'm to use it during the winter, I will not be driving over grass.  There followed cogitating, mental planning, and long conversations with Management.  In his usual fashion he took my initial idea, extended it and has come up with a brilliant design that I can already see completed in my mind's eye and am more than a little excited about!  We decided that when Geoff comes back to haul out the escallonia stumps, we will ask him to excavate pathways at the same time and then LP can get busy with quarry waste, a whacker plate and lots more bark chip.  I took this picture at Holehird last Spring, it comes fairly close to how I imagine ours will look in places.



This week I had the pleasure of a long chat with Nutty Gnome.  She and the Reincarnated Inventor are having a holiday in Cumbria later this year and we're making plans to get-together, ostensibly to talk gardening but G&T's were mentioned on more than one occasion ☺  Mrs Gnome and Himself are veteran pond builders and stream constructors-extraordinaire so I asked her advice and one of the things she emphasised was hosepipe on the ground.  It's not completely accurate, but the hose is meant to be stream and the ropes are meant to be path:



The next part of the plan is to start using the tractor, heck, we didn't buy it to spend its life in chained to a shed!    Driving Miss Daisy* around will help define a natural and comfortable route and when the ruts get too deep and muddy I'll throw down bark chips.  When Geoff scrapes it all out with a big digger he can put it in the front bed where the stumps are coming out and the bark will eventually rot and help the soil structure. 



© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


Nodding quietly to self, yes, pleased with that plan; am sure I will get very frustrated along the way when it takes three times as long to complete as I want :{


* groan ..... but I think the name will stick :}

( Now that was an excellent film which made me cry.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_Miss_Daisy )

8 comments:

  1. I do agree with you about pathways the best ones follow the routes most often walked.

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    1. Thanks Sue, I keep walking the proposed routes (mud permitting) to make sure they 'feel right'.

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  2. I feel tired just reading about the work you have to do, but it does all look rather splendid Bilbo.

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    1. Pat, if you feel tired just reading ..... (pfnar, pfnar, pfnar). It's coming on though, I hope you get to see if for yourself one day.

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  3. Ooh, gosh, (*blushes*), thanks for that lovely shout-out there Bilbo...bit embarrassed now (*lowers head, fiddles with fingers*), especially as most of our pond building and stream constructing seem to involve extending what we've already made - and in our case 'veteran' actually means that we've taken an awfully long time doing it!!! :D
    Glad to see you took me seriously about the hosepipe, once you'd stopped laughing! Can't wait to see it all in person and, maybe even get to ride or drive Miss Daisy? (you're right, it's sticking - and it is SO much better than Sandra Situpon!)

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    1. Hosepipe is working well thanks:} As for being allowed to /play with/ ride on Miss Daisy: I expect so, if you promise to be gentle with her!

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  4. Miss Daisy!!!!!! She is going to be a big help in the long run. Of course my little Miss Daisy is always by my side in the garden, even if she is mostly good for chasing squirrels and petting! Little by little all your lists will be checked off Bilbo.

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    1. Hi Eve, your Miss Daisy is an absolute bundle of cuteness, but I reckon she's likely to misbehave far more than my Miss Daisy? Give the hounds a scratch behind the ears and a cuddle from me :}

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