Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Helping Hand

Pretty much everyone who visits Bag End recognises the amount of work to be done to turn our little patch of heaven into a garden. Most comment on the scale of the task still ahead of us and usually have the decency to compliment the progress we have made so far (although the visitor who thanked me for the "Weed Tour" was not being funny just extremely hurtful and isn't going to be asked back).

It's the scale of the task which occasionally daunts me to the point of paralysis, so much to do that sometimes I don't know where to start but when I do begin a job it is rare it can be finished in a day or two. So it is with the soil preparation and making of new beds - digging is hard work and has to be done just when our clay-based soil is neither too wet or too dry.

Thankfully, help is now at hand in the form of a friend who lives in a nearby village. LP is one of those rare people who claims he is not a gardener but understands soil preparation, planting conditions and generally just "gets" what we want to achieve at Bag End. Weather permitting he's going to come over for a couple of days here and there during the summer.

Double digging the LP way: tarp on grass, 8 x 4 board on tarp, a full spit's depth of soil onto the board (from which he has removed all stones bigger than about apple sized). He then dug over the base of his trench another full spit depth and piled all the soil back in after breaking up all the clods and reducing it to a surprisingly fine tilth. To do two-thirds of the Cottage Garden middle bed in one (not ridiculously lengthy) day is nothing short of miraculous.

Before, During and After - I'm not used to so much progress in one day, nor having it all tidied up so beautifully.

Seeing so much accomplished in such a short space of time is unbelievably motivational - which might be why I did a rather full day myself!


  1. Please tell LP if he ever fancies a trip to London...... Oh, what a treat to have help!

  2. Sorry - shouldn't laugh - but really, that 'weed tour' comment must have made you goggle in astonishment! Rudeness of the first water, m'dear - although I'm quite sure that you can take it in your hard-working, achieving hobbity stride (even if lamping him/her with the rhubarb forcer must have been rather tempting at the time!).

    In all seriousness, I can empathise with the 'so much to do' mountain leading to paralysis, but LP sounds like a good egg indeed.

    I can see how clay-y the soil is by the sharpness of the soil edge on the part-dug bed. But you don't seem to have killed him off - and it is all ready for planting now? Bet you're mouth's watering at the prospect - proper gardening at Bag End? Oh yes

  3. Oh! Appalling grammer! Of course that last bit should read "Bet your mouth's watering at the prospect - proper gardening at Bag End?"

  4. Ladies, kindly leave LP alone!!!! It is going to take him all summer to accomplish the list we have for him and today's rain hasn't helped.

    Hazel, my rude visitor made her comment in an email after the visit. If she had said it to my face then I'd like to think I'd have told her to sod off but probably wouldn't.


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