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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Settle down, buckle up, this is going to be a long ride

RELENTLESS

Fashionable bloggers often select a word as their theme for the year, heck, I tried it once myself but not being remotely fashionable it did work very well for me 😊   But if I had to have a word to describe May and June it would most certainly be RELENTLESS.



There you go, all those little words in blue.  That has been the last two months.

When I was writing this post in my head one of the possible intro's was "Be careful what you wish for".  Oh yes, be very careful about that!  At the end of April, I had a grumble in my 'comments'.  I wrote:

my problem is the weather. If I knew I could go outside for an hour every morning after breakfast
then gardening at Bag End would be perfect. 
In a month or two I would have virtually nothing to do!! 
The problem here is that more often than not the weather doesn’t let me do what I want when I want/need to do it, 
so when we can get outside there’s always a backlog to catch up with

For the past few weeks I have been chuckling to myself about this little statement.  Because I ~have~ had the weather to enable going outside every morning and would you "Adam and Eve it", I now have virtually nothing to do except mow the grass, water things, and do 'elective' gardening, rather than the constant fire-fighting which has been my horticultural life for so long.

It has not been gardening 24/7.  Management had to make two trips down to his Mum to help when she broke her hip, and I had a bug on one of those occasions and used the second to have a damn good rest, but even so we have been outside nearly every other day, tackled big long-overdue jobs, and lots of small "never got to them because there wasn't time" jobs, and all of a sudden I can stop, look around and instead of the shoulders going down because "all" I can see is the endless litany of work not done, I now see a GARDEN.  I have to confess, it is Pretty.Bloody.Amazing.  Only taken ten long years . . .

One of the Big Wins was making a huge decision to use slug pellets, progress in the Net House will get its own post after this one.

In mid-May I wrote myself another list, which I unearthed this morning and it's as good a place to start as any (because I'm struggling to remember everything that's been done!)



I planted up a new bed near the drive; one of the cotoneasters has died (it was a self-seeded plant, fortunately there are others) and the rowan appeared out of the compost heap earlier this year.  It was Management's idea to put a small tree here, and we have it's twin in the staggered beds.  This morning I put shade net around both, it might help a little in this current ludicrous weather and I will probably leave the netting in place until next Spring to give some protection over winter.







I have some Crocosmia growing on in the cold frames which will be planted into the gap at the back of the heathers, but not until the weather settles down.  Aside from the Crocosmia, nearly everything from the cold frames has been planted out so that's another 'tick' off the list 😊.

Management helped me secure the obelisks; two are in the fruit cage supporting Honeyberry plants.  Someone told me I would not get any fruit, cannot remember the reason she gave, but whatever it was it was wrong;  there are a few small berries.  Tried some this morning but they are not quite ready and still a little sharp, even for my taste.  Interesting flavour, will have to work out what it reminds me of.





The other two obelisks are in the big border at the side of the Cottage Garden.  No idea (yet) what I will grow up them, but that's not important right now.



I brewed up some exceptionally pungent garlic spray and gave the hostas a good drenching, that little anti-mollusc topic deserves a post of its own . . . to follow :)

I had to do more tweaking at The Bag End Buffet.  Some months back I got fed up of the larger birds (corvids) hogging all the food and lifting the peanut feeders off their hooks and throwing them on the ground to get at the contents.  The endlessly useful protection cages from Gardman found a new use; small songbirds, blackies, starlings and woodpeckers can all get inside - the magpies, jackdaws, rooks and crows cannot.

But never under-estimate the intelligence of corvid species who worked out they could STILL displace the peanut holders.  Even when I'd used spring clamps . . . little sods!





Enter a couple of sheets of perspex, left over from goodness knows what, and some carefully drilled holes & a few cable ties.  The cages now have clear 'lids' which not only keep the corvids out, but will also act as a see-through roof if we ever get any rain.

After the BIG achievement getting our soil heap moved, I covered all of the bed with a very thick layer of chippings.  Six tubs per trip - ten trips . . . that's a lot of mulch.  The bucket near the black trellis marks a hole ready for a tree (when the weather breaks).  Jury is split between the lovely Himalayan white birch, Betula utilis var. jacquemontii, which looks stunning all year round, or the temptation of a Prunus 'Amanogawa' which is another favourite.  I already have three of the birch . . . decisions, decisions.



Management then raked and smoothed, and raked some more and just before I went to Scotland we took the risk of seeding the whole area.  The section at the back has a mixture of native plants, some Yellow Rattle seed I saved last year (which should really be sown fresh) and a couple of odd packets of "wildflower meadow mix" that had been sitting in the seed box for far too long.  The front section is ordinary grass seed.   I hate to have to do it, but yes, the hose had been out when this picture was taken 😞.



At the same time Management moved more of the bark chip into a storage bin, hot work in this weather.  We still have a pile the size of a small car waiting to be relocated!









That will do for now :)   I am off to sit in the shade and read.



16 comments:

  1. Congratulations on getting there with the plans for your garden. Ten years of hard work, both of you are determined and amazing!

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    1. Don't know about determined Eileen, a lot of the time it has been bloody-minded and slightly obsessive!

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  2. Phew I’m breathless just reading your post, you really have a beautiful huge garden, I hope you now now find time to enjoy it, rest and relax.

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    1. Thank you Marlene. This is the first year I have been able to look around and think "that's nice" rather than see endless work.

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  3. Oh Jayne. All your hard work has paid off and it all looks fantastic. This is the time (and you've certainly got the weather) to enjoy the fruits of your labour. X

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    1. Absolutely right Jules. The lounger is out, a shady spot has been set out, and at present I am averaging one-book-per-day on the Kindle!

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  4. I feel exhausted just reading all this! You've achieved so much over the last ten years though, now's the time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the end results, especially in such glorious weather :)

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    1. Thanks Eunice, there was quite a bit of exhaustion here too! But the pendulum has swung the other way now, and it is time to sit down and enjoy what we've created.

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  5. Gardman protection cages.. could they be squirrel proof as well?

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    1. These particular ones - no, the mesh is too big. But they do make others to protect individual feeders which should work against greys.

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  6. Wow you have been busy and achieved such a lot.

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    1. Thanks Sue, a lot tidier than when you saw it :)

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  7. Wow! An amazing result. It all looks wonderful, particularly the rampant clematis.
    I have officially Given Up in the vegetable garden this year. After a slow start, baking heatwave, a neighbourhood cat digging up and crapping on my chard and pigeons stripping my berry bushes, I have thrown in the towel and said enough. The greenhouse and courgettes are the only exceptions. On the plus side the climbing rose has been wonderful. I will be netting my fruit bushes next year!
    As to your pergola - a Hop! wonderfully aromatic and the dried flowers are great for sleep pillows.

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    1. Thanks m'dear. I am sorry you've had so many garden problems this year, sometimes it happens like that.

      I love your suggestion of a hop. On the non-clematis side of the canopy we have a honeysuckle that was cut back very severely the same afternoon, not sure if it's worth keeping it - was never a 'good' plant. But a hop would be a splendid replacement . . . thank you :-)

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  8. I'm so impressed with your inventive bird-feeding cage! I definitely need to get my other half to put together something like that to stop the pigeons hogging everything!

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    1. good luck :). it is nothing very clever - some joining plates and cable ties !

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