Saturday, 24 August 2013

A Close Shave

The ivy had reached the roof tiles and was beginning to cover the chimney so it had to be chopped.

He had a neat business card and headed note paper.  He has carried out work in my mother-in-law's garden and she found him through another satisfied customer.  His quotation was acceptable and he started work on Monday.


Three men turned up: the Boss was going to erect a fence and prepare the base for the new greenhouse; the worker's job was to prune the ivy and play with the chain saw and the youngest one was paid to look bored and hold the ladder. 

All was going well.  By Monday afternoon we had half a fence; half a laurel bush and we could see the brick work round the front door.


Hadn't expected it to look quite THAT naked but I thought I can now repaint the woodwork.  That's when I realised he had chopped back the honeysuckle I had grown round the door!!  Gutted!  I just keep telling myself it will grow back!

Tuesday morning two turned up ... the Boss was taking his sick dog to the vet.  By lunch time previously shaded plants were basking in sunshine as the top few feet came off the rowan and lilac trees.  Everything seemed fine so we nipped out for lunch ... mistake!  The van had gone when we returned and the neighbours were waiting ...

Apparently the young lad had been rude; they had failed to move the van when someone had wanted to turn their car round and the garden waste had been left "all over" the lane. 

To be honest there was some mess ... slightly more than I would have liked but a LOT less than there could have been!  It would take hours to tidy up every twig after cutting back so many branches so some mess was only to be expected.    

Wednesday morning no-one turned up!  Andy phoned the Boss.  The dog had died.  He was too upset to work so they will be back next Tuesday.

The sight of this beautiful Amaryllis cheered me up.  I put the house plants outside over summer and this one decided to bloom now instead of waiting until Christmas when it usually flowers.

The raspberries have been moved up to the allotment.  The rhubarb, currants and gooseberries are up there as well but I'm keeping the strawberries at home until the fruit cage is built.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


We have a few changes planned for next week.  I have to dig up the vegetable patch and the soft fruit then dismantle the greenhouse (the cat won't be happy!).  We have a man coming to trim the tall trees and a larger greenhouse being delivered (perhaps she'll stop sulking once she's seen it).  The old greenhouse will move up to the allotment, as will the soft fruit.  Really looking forward to everything being sorted!

I've been making jam this week ... strawberry and raspberry and it won't be long before the plums are ready.  Quite a good crop this year.  The apples are weighing the tree down and there are a few pears on the young tree I planted two years ago.  Loads of lovely puddings and desserts for the future ... or for the freezer! Our eldest son is getting married next April so the diet has started already! 

I left teaching three years ago and discovered the joys of pottering.  I enjoyed my job and have some great memories.  I remember my last Sports Day ... a very warm, sunny day ...  as I passed a Year 8 boy who had just won a 200m race I said, "You look hot."  Quick as a flash he said, "Thank you!"   There's never a dull moment in a secondary school!  As September gets closer I should be all smug smiles but this year I've agreed to go back for a term!  I'm going to miss the lazy days. 


Friday, 2 August 2013

Golden Rod

Golden Rod reminds me of my childhood as my grandfather had planted it in his garden. It has the same effect on Sue Garrett as she recalls walking to her grandparents' house through a field where Golden Rod grew in wild profusion.  It is a beautiful plant but, as I have discovered, it can be rather invasive.  Janneke gets round the problem by using it as a cut flower with Crocosmia and Gaillardia - sounds lovely so I reckon I'll be following her advice.          

Bees love the flowers and Golden Rod honey is delicious.                                                                          

Parts of the plant are edible.  Golden Rod tea is used by herbalists to reduce inflammation and to aid recovery from kidney stones.  It is known to be a diuretic.

Historically it has been used on the skin to help heal wounds and American Indians chewed the leaves and roots to relieve sore throats and toothache.

Golden Rod leaves naturally contain rubber!  Thomas Edison carried out experiments to try to increase the amount so it could be used commercially.  A typical yield is 7% but Edison's plant gave a rubber yield of 12%.  When his friend Henry Ford gave Edison a present of a Model T Ford the wheels had been specially made from Golden Rod rubber!