Monday, 25 July 2016

Fight Back

I put it off long enough .... I kept wandering round in despair at the state of the place instead of reaching for the shears. The pond had completely disappeared under the pond weed and the paths were becoming impassable.  

The crocosmia had to go.  I love it but it just spreads too much and flops everywhere.  It has gone into three large pots because it is about to flower .... I have lots of clumps elsewhere in the garden but this lot can be used as cut flowers if I haven't killed it!!

Next I totally surprised the frogs by pulling all the Parrot-feather pond weed out. It came off in one huge piece.  Suddenly the frogs were blinded by sunlight.  I counted twelve little heads staring at us but there are probably more under the water. Andy chopped back the honeysuckle and the snowberry bush: in half an hour the green bin was full and the wheelbarrow was overflowing but the pond had reappeared.

Still need to tackle that side border but the pond is looking better.

You can actually see the pump again. I will have to keep an eye on the hosta as it will probably be attacked by snails so close to that pond.

Improving the seating area was easy ....

.... just move the chairs and give it a quick hose down.

Chopping the vegetation at the back took some time though.

I then had far too much waste for my green bin.  Fortunately the bin men came today.  Now we are always first on their round.  They ALWAYS arrive on Monday morning at 9am prompt.  Always!  I can not count the number of times I have had to rush outside semi dressed because I have heard the van reversing sound and realised in a panic that I haven't put the bin out! This morning I was up very early as Iknew I had work to do.  I had already filled my bin to the very top but a couple of kindly neighbours allow me to add to theirs if there is room. Well, I filled their bins too and still had loads of waste!  It was five to nine when I noticed one neighbour's almost empty bin.  He can be a bit grumpy to say the least and I didn't want to cause any trouble but I knew he had gone out and the bin men would be here any minute wouldn't they?  ... so, yes, I filled the sack and dumped it in his bin!

Ten minutes later ... I heard the car stop and I knew he was checking to see if his bin was empty and, yes, the bin men were bloody late! Typical!  Hiding was an option, but I thought I'm not a child, so I  rushed out to apologise before he had chance to blew his top ... luckily it wasn't his bin!  The lady who did own the bin didn't mind at all! Phew!

I turned my attention to tidying the other borders. 

A very satisfying day in the sun but I am feeling rather stiff now!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Traditional Vardos

We nipped out for lunch yesterday.  The Royal Oak at Car Colston is right next to a large common where cows and sheep are allowed to roam and the village cricket club entertains the punters on sunny match days.  This weekend there were some extra visitors:

Beautiful aren't they?  The paintwork was exquisite!

Their horses .... with lovely plaited manes ... munched away at the grass while the travellors built a wood fire and cooked their dinner.  They were very welcoming and keen to show off their beautiful vardos (posh name for these waggons!).  The detail both inside and out was tremendous.

The villagers were also very welcoming.  The Caravan Club holds regular meetings (normally behind the pub rather than in front of it) so the residents are used to visitors. These vans were something special though.

Fancy one?  Click here.

Friday, 22 July 2016

July Rose Arch

Front garden
We have had quite a hectic few months .... a birth, a death and holidays .... so the garden has been left to rampage and it has! The borders are filled with things I don't remember planting ... and slugs .... thousands of slugs and snails ...... we have been invaded but not a hedgehog in sight.  I can't bring myself to kill them so I throw them in the compost bin and close the lid.  One day I will open it and the whole thing will be a huge slimy mass of writhing bodies! Horrible!

Opening to the back lawn 2016
This is the path onto the lawn.  As you can see there is a flower border on the left and a very large honeysuckle climbing over a trellis on the right.  The honeysuckle is astounding ... it was a tiny stick when it arrived from Thompson & Morgan (free with Gardeners' World Magazine) in early 2012.  It has thrived ever since: the trellis collapsed under the weight earlier this year.

Here is the same place from June 2011.  The trellis had not been added and the rose arch (towards the back of the lawn) had just arrived from the blacksmith.

Back lawn June 2011

The arch was the first change we made when I got into gardening.  You can hardly see it now as it is smothered in red roses and honeysuckle.

Looking through the rose arch 2016
Well I decided I wanted another arch at the opening to the lawn.  The old blacksmith has died so I couldn't get one to match.  After a few weeks of searching I found a metal one I liked.  B&Q promised to deliver in 14 days and I happily paid over the cash.  A week later the supplier (not B&Q) phoned to arrange delivery.  I waited in all day on the agreed date but they were a no show.  I rang customer services to be told they were very sorry and it would arrive in the morning.  I waited in again.  The van did arrive this time but there was no arch on board! Another phone call elicited a promise it was now on the van and all would be sorted first thing in the morning.  Another morning wasted!  A third phone call to customer services ended when they informed me the arch was now out of stock so I would have to wait another week.

Obviously I was not impressed and asked for my money back.  That would take 3 to 5 days .... which I found annoying: my payment had gone out immediately but their payment would take days!  I have always had good service from B&Q but this time their supplier had let them down and the admin system caused a short delay ... okay.  Unfortunately the money had still not been returned a week later so yet another call to customer services.  "Oh" said the girl, "did you want the order cancelling and your money back?  Sorry, that hasn't been authorised.  I will get onto it straight away ... it will take 3 to 5 days!"

New rose arch 2016
 As compensation for their poor service B&Q have given me a £25 voucher ... that will probably cover the cost of the phone calls!

I decided against a metal one once the money had been returned and I found this wooden one at half the price.  Our local garden centre was selling it for £79.99.  Andy kindly came to the rescue and put it together ... I helped but it was a two man job, especially moving it into place.  The old stone trough had to be dug out and shifted to another part of the garden ... I couldn't have managed that without his help.  I am really pleased with the result but the honeysuckle needs a proper cut back this autumn.

I will root a few cuttings because an old honeysuckle on the back fence has suffered an infection of some sort and I have had to cut it out.

Back lawn 2016
There's LOADS of work to be done.  The place is in a terrible state! The weeks in America spent visiting our eldest son were brilliant so I really don't care that I fell behind with the garden!  I looked round today then instead of sorting an obvious area I tidied up behind the greenhouse!

 Yes, there was a path there!  The edging now has rhubarb plants and gooseberry bushes (with a couple of flowering plants).  Now the allotment has gone I had to find a fruit patch so it made sense to put it near the strawberries. 

 The fruit has been great so far this year.  The apple tree is laden and the raspberries have made a wonderful breakfast smoothie blended with Greek yohurt and honey ... even better with a few strawberries added and poured over vanilla ice cream.

Before the honeysuckle took over ... May 2012