Thursday, 14 May 2015

Bye bye bark chip

Phew, the bark chip is gone.  Well, not exactly gone but moved from our paths.  Most of it is in a huge pile on the drive waiting for me to spread it as a thick mulch on the flower beds, and some is heaped onto one of the vegetable beds, shortly to be distributed amongst all of them.

There’s no way I could have managed all of this on my own - Management laboured for most of Sunday with me and we cleared about half, I’ve had a couple of sessions during the week with LP finished it off this morning.  I’m sad, I love the bark paths but if I’m serious about minimising the upkeep of the garden then replenishing them each year or so is not sustainable.  I’ve refused to give up in the Coppice, my little ‘woodland patch’ is going to keep its bark and as this area doesn’t get as much foot traffic as the rest then it shouldn’t need redoing too often.  For the time being I’m also going to keep a soft floor covering in the greenhouse, it’s so nice to stand on :-)

Once the paths were cleared, LP and I finished up timber edging in the vegetable area which is becoming a terribly smart ‘Allotment At Home’. He then set to moving what must amount of tons of soil. Without any input from me, he’s decided that I ought to have as level a surface as possible. I decided not to disagree and let him get on with it because for the sake of just a couple of days more work I will end up with a quite amazing space for many years to come.

This means that my Grand Plan of us finishing up this week has gone the way of all “plans” at Bag End.  Although shortlisted, he didn’t get “the job” he wanted.  There was always a fallback Plan B and that involves moving from Cumbria to the other side of the country towards the end of the year, so in theory he is available for about six months more and that’s it, but both Management and I have had enough of the constant landscaping and we want to stop.


We have been dropping the hugest hints all week but I’m not sure he’s hearing us.  Or there is nothing wrong with his listening skills but it isn’t what he wants to hear. Part of this is because he also has a lot invested in the garden and wants to see it finished, how many people are fortunate enough to have a friend/helper with this much determination?  I think the way forward is probably to take a good break once the paths are done and then review things at the end of June.   I am completely knackered and he knows that, so I hope we can negotiate a decent interval without causing any upset.


  1. A very smart allotment at home and so much easier to work at that height.

  2. A sensible move to replace the bark chippings with stone - the bark on the paths at the Hill don't last as long as I would like either, but I think that anything more permanent would be frowned on by the committee. At least it is relatively easy for me to turn the rotting chippings into each bed (and good for the soil) every other year, even if it is a job that I don't particularly relish.

    Looking good at Bag End - no reason why you can't take time out for a couple of months, and reflect on whether there is anything else that you want doing as a matter of urgency (before the end of the year). About time you both had time just to sit and appreciate what you've achieved.

  3. It's looking amazing Jayne but I can appreciate and understand just how much you want and need your own space (and time) back. I can also understand your dilemma. Good luck! x (PS Remember it's your life and your garden x)

  4. I know what you mean about nark chippings but what will you use instead? No way that is an allotment it's too smart - more a potager!

  5. Looking good so far and I do envy the way you'll be able to garden, saving any backpain. We'll be making use of our terracing at the new house and putting in veg beds down the side so I don't have to bend too much as my scoleosis has definitely got worse as I've got older. Think carefully over summer, as gardens change constantly anyway, as our needs change, so relax and enjoy the way you want for a while. Take care and huggles to all at Bag End.

  6. I've been outside much of the day and come in to a lovely collection of comments, thank you all :-)

    Jessica - I have Management to thank for the height of the beds, it was his idea. Left to my own devices they wouldn't have been half as ambitious.

    Hazel - as long as you have enough fresh chippings each year then enjoy the 'free' soil conditioner.

    Jill - hope you will see it for yourself soon :}

    Sue - we're using sub-base (which is quarry waste mixed with finings) instead. Today's pictures coming soon. Potager sounds so grand - it's what I called the eight beds at the front originally but that didn't last.

    Susan - take advantage of your already-in-situ terracing, I'm loving ours :-}

  7. I nearly commented on your bark chip paths years ago - been there, done that, got rid of them due to all the problems/issues you've discovered. You're going to be totally happy with permanent, not degrading material paths. Luckily LP is still in the picture during this changeover. Looking forward to seeing the final result. :-D

    1. Hi Kris, I might be happy with not having to replace the bark chip every couple of years but the new surface is going to change the look and feel of the garden and I'm not thrilled about that :-{

    2. I know... it'll take some getting used to. Everything has pros and cons. You've learned all the wood chip cons. Take some time and learn the pros of the new surface. I wish I had the resources you have - I'd lay down decomposed granite paths in a minute. Everything is looking good there, girl.


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