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Thursday, 14 February 2019

More of the same, and a new kind of madness

More of the same:

Today I reckon we shifted half of yesterday's small delivery.  It was lovely - the pile included some conifer so the chippings smelled great and with no rain it was really light and fluffy, very easy to move.  The long bed in the side garden is now finished, and we've a full set of tubs ready for the next session.







This is incredibly satisfying and I'm having a lot of fun (in a strange and exhausting way) but I won't pretend it is easy.  I am tired, my back hurts, Management's back hurts, there are simply not enough hours in the day to fit everything in, and there is an awful lot more garden to get round.  BUT, being able to mulch like this is an absolute gift.  It is not only the garden / soil / plants / hundreds of mini beasts who live here who will benefit.  I will benefit for the rest of the season, and through into next year too - watering and weeding should be significantly reduced, and therefore my workload.  Good grief - I might actually get to sit in the garden and enjoy it if we have another nice summer!












A new kind of madness:

Last year it was obvious that the massive waterlily in our Top Pond had outgrown its space and needed moving.  This year, with such a mild winter and Spring now seeming to be heading our way at a great pace, if we don't get the plant moved now it will soon be too late.  New leaves are already appearing out of the rhizome and whilst tidying the Coppice I've seen a couple of frogs.  Disturbance to the ponds needs to happen right now, or it we'll be getting in the way of the very creatures for whom we've created the habitat.



First step - how deep is the rhizome currently?



Second step - clear less important plants from the shallow end of the Big Pond.

At this time of year the water temperature below the surface is about 7 degrees.  In the middle of summer it only takes half an hour of standing in a metre of cold water to get hypothermic - in February getting very, very cold was pretty much guaranteed.  My normal slender silhouette {ha ha} was bulked out with multiple layers of thermals and the mad but effective addition of a hot water bottle in a small backpack.  Don't laugh - it actually helped hugely and I managed a good half hour in the water before a glove sprung a leak.  It was a freezing cold hand that got me out of the pond, and whilst the "cold shakes" did set in afterwards, it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been.



A large pile of oxygenator and other rampant growth which I cannot remember the name of found its way to a wire rack on the edge of the pond.  Whatever is living in the sludge has a chance to get back into the water before we move the debris to the compost heap.



Darling Girl came out for a little while and sat in the sun with us, I love the look on Daisy's face - clearly she thinks I am nuts too:



Fortunately we were just about ready to stop when an unexpected visitor arrived.   Once again, a truck with a pair of phantom legs found its way onto our drive.



This was another massive load:



Clearly the hydraulic lift works fine:



Simon's client today, from a village across the valley, did not want the "bark chip" (which is how the brash, small branches and general debris from tree surgery seems to be referred to) because "it was not big bits of bark and it was the wrong colour"!   Unkind comments were made - not by me I hasten to add - as to what it was going to cost this chap to collect a similar quantity of "big bits which are dark brown" in 50 litre bags from B&Q.   Later, I went online to see just how much bags of "bark" cost, Holy Heck . . .







12 comments:

  1. Wow, more of the beautiful stuff for the garden. Must be nice knowing someone who is willing to offload it to you & I certainly can't understand why people wouldn't want it. Daisy is probably just amazed that you are in water, seeing she doesn't like it at all. We must clean out our pond too, though more because it's gone a yucky colour this summer. Have a great weekend & take care.

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    1. Hi Susan, best way to keep your pond water clear is to have 50% of the water surface covered with plants, whether it is water lily or other floaters. In summer too much sunlight hitting the water triggers algea growth, which is what makes the water appear cloudy.

      We are very glad more people do not appreciate this wonderful stuff for their gardens - more for us! We do pay Simon, but he will only accept a token amount.

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  2. I think I agree with Daisy - you're nuts! :) Maybe in last year's hot summer wading in the pond would have been quite pleasant but not at this time of year - at least you managed to get a lot of clearing done though. And another load of bark chip from Simon - his client must be mad for not wanting it but it's an advantage for you :)

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    1. Oh, and what the heck is rhizome? - sounds like a boy band to me :) :)

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    2. Eunice dear, sweetie, m'lovely . . . have you only just realised I am 90% of the way to being completely cuckoo!!!!!

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    3. Join the club - I've been 'not quite all there' for many years!! lol

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  3. Only just got the rhizome question. Short answer - it is a big fleshy sort of modified and enlarged root. Think of a tulip bulb - you've got roots coming out of the bottom of it, and the plant growth at the top.

    A rhizome is a similar sort of growth arrangement, but not in a bulb shape, more like a chunky sweet potato! All iris plants have them, in varying shapes and sizes, as do a lot of other plants.

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    1. Thank you, I shall now consider myself educated about rhizomes! lol

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  4. We are lucky as the council deliver wood chippings to outballotment site. To get the brown colour I guess that they have to strip off the bark and just chip that. The lighter colour soon turns darker.

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    1. Your council is good - I bet the deliveries don't last long :-)

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  5. Jayne, have you tried those Cura-Heat max size pads for your lower back. I used to use them when unloading deliveries in our very cold storeroom at work. They really do help with back ache and the warmth they give is lovely. Although I have to agree it doesn't seem wise to be standing in cold water mid-February. A beautiful day again here today, I hope you don't overdo things but how lovely for you to be gifted all this bark.

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    1. Thanks Eileen, a hot shower or soak in the bath sorts my back out, and I don't plan to spend long enough standing in that pond to justify buying something. The hot water bottle worked really well though :-)

      Another beautiful day here too, yes we are going a bit bonkers but once it is done that's much of the garden set for the whole year!

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