Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Whilst I was on a roll

This follows on from my "out of sequence" post about the Fruit Cage.  After two days solid weeding the fruit cage looked fantastic and I would have been quite happy with a day off, but co-operative weather meant I could not bring myself to relax on the Monday.   Weekend discussions had produced a plan to get Management to a point where he can have an Obsy, so I chose a long-outstanding task adjacent to where M. was working on the cold frames bench.  That way I was on hand to help lift things and make decisions about how long, how high, how wide.

The little pond on the edge of the Cottage Garden has been bugging me for a very long time. It was the first pond we created and is a success in some ways and not in others.  On the success side it is relatively deep for such a small area and the water remains lovely and clear most of the year.  As it is directly outside my bedroom and bathroom windows every morning I see various birds having their own ablutions and my attention is quite often caught in the mornings by hearing a blackbird splashing around with great intensity :)

On the less successful side I have never been happy with the planting in the water, and there were really too many large stones submerged.  The other problem is the perennial one of trying to make the edges look nice.  This is May 2016 - ghastly mess.

We went through the massive job of putting slate chippings on most of the paths in May/July 2015 but for various reasons there was an area at the front which got missed out until August 2016 (yes, things do tend to drag on at Bag End ...)

Despite my request that chippings were kept two - three feet away from the pond, you've guessed it, they were stacked up as close to the water as the wheelbarrows could get, and the whole area has been a miserable mess ever since.  Try as I might I cannot locate photos of the carnage, but that is most likely because I tend not to take pictures of the parts of the garden which depress me!  So, with all that preamble out of the way, this is how it looked on a bright Monday morning:

By lunchtime I had cleared away stones which really should not be there, and created space for two huge slabs which needed a home.

What I failed to clear away was the frogs - these two kept insisting on returning to a particular spot regardless of how many times I moved them, so I just had to be terribly careful I didn't squash them whilst moving the heavy rocks.

Typically, no pictures of 'in progress' because I was too busy actually doing the work to photograph it, but a few days later (in the rain) it is looking much better.

In the ground leading to the pond I've planted a dozen of one of the most glorious of the primula family - Primula florindae, also known as Giant Himalayan Cowslip.  When in bloom the flower stalks can reach two feet tall or more with a fabulous lemony vanilla scent.  Happily it tends to grow well here and the new transplants have already started to show this season's growth.

Once I make a start on tidying up the Big Pond there will be plenty of surplus plants to add to this pond, and I need a couple of "interesting" bits of log to cover up the liner at the back.  But finally, and perhaps for the first time ever, it is looking reasonably OK :-)


  1. That is looking good so far & to be truthful, I remember the big pond, but not the small one, when we visited. I think it will look lovely when the spring blooms appear. Your frogs are doing well & I wonder if we'll get many this year, as we didn't have as many as years gone by. Our blackbirds & sparrows use the pond to have a dip in, now & then too. Take care.

    1. I suspect Susan, that last time you visited the weather was such that we went out for the day, and didn’t relax in the garden and on your previous visit there was just not time. Third time lucky?

      Our frogspawn has now become tiny tadpoles, wonder how many of them will survive because there is definitely much less than in previous years๐Ÿ™

  2. Sounds like we have both been transporting frogs. Blackbirds seem to prefer bathing on our pond rather than the bird baths too.

    1. Hi Sue, we never bother with bird baths, too much faff to keep them clean.

  3. Your pond looks more than OK. It will be wonderful when the primula grow I can almost smell that scent now.

    1. Thank you Eileen, I confess I have been fiddling with it again today :). I wish I could share the scent with you.

  4. Clearly huge progress being made at Bag End- as ever. Hope that you're not overdoing it. x

    1. Overdoing it?
      Clearly Sir, you are confusing me with one of your other women!!! {pfnar, pfnar, pfnar}


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