Reflecting on the 2020 that should have been!

It’s nearly October and I haven’t really made use of the time that this year suddenly gave us. I’ve gotten even more befuddled by the ways/things we have to do online because there are so many systems/platforms. It’s great we are able to swap about, don’t get me wrong but it’s hard to remember where those contacts/that info and the blinking passcodes/PIN or safe words are written down/typed in my memos, as they can’t really fit into an already beleaguered mind.


Hey, even this site could disappear if I don’t work out why the credit card won’t be accepted or in other words what I’ve neglected to do when my most recent replacement card arrived. I don’t remember how long I signed up for originally but it looks like November is an anniversary of sorts, when I moved from Blogger to WordPress, and set off on a new blogging journey, which has had ups and downs, highs and lows and is steadily getting colder and wetter. And yes it’s that Brit thing, talking about the weather! I am so glad of our new radiator in the bedroom which means blogging from the bedroom doesn’t have to mean under the duvet.

The tree guys are booked for next week and having sorted the admin of the many surgeons examined and over quoted to do the job, I probably should make some plans. I’ve held off from having adverts on the site but I understand it might generate an income of sorts? I have to look at how that works and introduce it. I hope it will come with appropriate content, nothing sleazy or obnoxious content, and hopefully not put people off reading. Anybody with advice? Let me know! I feel like giving a random selection of images to mark the turning of the seasons so I’ll see what 2018/2019 gave us? Enjoy 😉


Tree Experts and Garden Companies!

It seems the Aborists are busy post lockdown! I managed to get a few companies to come round and the good news is, the tree won’t fall down unless we have really high winds. The quotes you can get vary from high to low, seriously, and some of the tree experts think it will be easypeasy. As we will keep the wood for the woodburner and the chipped branches for mulch, there is no taking anything offsite.

Thought it was just autumnal…

I’ve also visited the nearest neighbour to say it’s coming down and we had a few crossed wires when she thought we might be asking her to do something, but no I ended up being offered access through their garden should we need it. I think we may get a visit from her partner to clarify, but I just wanted them to be aware there was a problem with the tree and it being attached currently to the fence between us. I didn’t go into the problems with the fence as that is a whole other can of worms, but if it’s needed we can get access by their narrow side access. Gardens are complicated!

Dealings with companies on Facebook or via their websites can also add to the confusion of which forum I’ve used and how to check what time to expect a visit. I think I now will have quite a range of costs and services to consider. One guy said he couldn’t believe how high the quotes can be in Letchworth and proceeded to give me the highest quote so far. Fingers crossed the figures continue to go down, as it affects the shed building.

Meantime I have also slowly been using the soil dug up for the slabs to build a little earth path which will be edged by brick and topped with gravel using the plastic gravel holders to keep it in place. I might play about with the pretty gravel I have a few bags of and see if we can afford some contrasting bags to finish it off. I have lots of ideas in my head!

A rotten tree!

We made a rather sad discovery today as one of our two considerable trees has rotted through. It will need to be taken down carefully by a tree surgeon. The foliage has always looked ropey so it has always been targeted by the moth caterpillars that make patterns on the leaves. As it is attached to our fence by a post this could become messy to take it down.

It will make a big hole in our privacy and we shall keep fingers crossed that it doesn’t affect our sycamore too. I believe it’s a horse chestnut like the other tree we had taken down and have only recently been able to burn on the stove as it’s thoroughly dried out.

Dan said earlier he thought we were going to lose the apple tree this year so clearing the garden may be more radical than I intended…

Shearing laurel…

I did some more digging but I also did some pruning of the laurel. The brown bin is filling. We have lots to get rid of and the pegs are in to start our shed layout.


Lots of digging is going to be happening apparently, despite my claim that I’m too old? I think the slabs require a lot more digging until the slabs slope away from the house. We have too many flooding the garden experiences to have the slabs slope toward the house…

But it’s hard work and the grass area in front of the bedroom is obviously full of couch grass, so I am very reluctant for that to be our grass area. It’s going to need some taming!

So much weeding needed!

I have the idea of using the gravel I bought randomly the other week to form the path but I am being told by hubby that it also needs digging… lalala I am not listening! It won’t need much now we have a tamper! I picked it and the crowbar up from the post office.

We moved this piece of concrete to make a sloping path from the side gate…
Very dusty pale mauve penstemon.

Rearranging stuff!

I may have overdone it today! I moved things around and set up a border for the flowerbed in the front. I also cut down some spiky bits and stabbed myself in the process; maybe I need to invest in armour?

In progress…

But it’s not possible to add to the garden waste for collection as it’s full, full, full! And I am trying to avoid further digging cos as I said last time, it wipes me out, fatigue like I have any number of autoimmune conditions all at the same time.

This rose bush needed cutting.

But I moved the little slabs to the front and almost made a circular ring round the bed I have ignored for a while. It needs compost I think and I will use some of the bags I bought on the last trip to the garden shop, which I haven’t visited in a while. I’m not sure whether we checked the ph there but the weeds are rampant…

Trolley was one of my best bargains this year!

I feel a bit more positive after achieving the circle and cutting back the rose which had regrown and I thought I had killed when I dug over that bed. I’ve added a few bulbs (it felt like a lot!) that I hope are not found by squirrels.

Washing off the pea gravel was taking too much water. It will go under the slabs. Hubby got a very heavy crow bar and an even heavier tamper which l had to pick up from the Post Office.
From a distance it looks almost circular?

Still pondering whether the grass can be dug up, ever?

I’ve started this blog so long ago, and in posting about getting paving slabs delivered in March I don’t believe I am still not walking out of the bedroom onto a patio… Every time I think we are going to move forward, my other half finds a reason for me to have to do another bit of demanding physical work. And I can’t, I truly can’t keep digging. I don’t have the strength. I can prune and weed like it is my only role in life but not digging, I feel like running away and not coming back.

Right colour!

The shed has been decided but it’s not really for me and the planning and building seems to have moved full centre on the plans we have for the foreseeable. Which has put said slabs on hold…

Not sure I can plant these where I was thinking I’d plant them!

In St Albans, I dug a pond but my dad helped me when I was flagging but it was when I was turning 35 and just before my MS diagnosis. I’m now closer to planning my fiftieth than I care to think and dad is mid 80s, planning on golfing his way to 100! I am not giving in but I am facing reality. How do I finish the slabs when lifting one is hard and moving four, one at a time, kills me? I’ve been advised in the past to get a work party organised by offering food and drink? Well that’s also easier said than done when we have barely seen a soul during lockdown. In the past I’ve tried to get charities to help. I must be sounding too well off or something, not so in need as others. I got a freebie from a gardener but he does plants rather than hard surfaces.

So I have so many things currently in progress that it is depressing me so much. I am not as fit as I was in November, the Pandemic saw to that. I have only got sporadic work and it pays for the odd coffee/bag of compost from the garden shop, so I am caught in the cycle of being unemployable due to lack of experience and employment that pays the bare minimum. Which garden rescue tv programme can I apply to, without having to stump up a budget or hack off a leg? (Only joking but my MS is largely too invisible… and I have not been raising millions online for others). My Green-fingered Christmas Selfpity Fairy? Ho hum. Ho hum. Ho hum.

Also the right colour but salvia not standing still…
Bags of pea gravel…
Raking the slab site but it still slopes the wrong way and the trays for drainage will need a bit more dig out! Eek!

Checking our pH levels?

A garden centre was visited and seemingly random and fairly cheap purchases were made. I was bought a pH meter and for £7.99 lots of fun was had wandering round the garden. As I suspected beds varied a lot! From highly acidic to virtually neutral. Hey no alkali but we don’t have rhododendrons? I think I remember that correctly.

Not sure which is which now…
Almost alkali in the newest bed?
New grasses!

But I’ve also been weeding as certain areas were in need. Hubby thought I was going to weed the raised beds but no I wanted to tackle the grasses growing mad in the triangle bed and the apple tree bed. I collected some more windfalls too and slipped them into the brown bin. I am not making lots with the mad quantities of apples we seem to have this year. Probably missing a trick. The juicer needs more use I think.

We actually visited two garden centres today, the second being where we can buy cheap pet foods as well as random plants. And I bought some grasses; well, the tree palms were a bit over budget at £150. But I am keen to structure a bit more of the garden using repeating plants, so I bought two types of grasses to border the brick path to the greenhouse. We will pick up pea gravel tomorrow so that might also make the path stay weedfree if we use it between the bricks I’ve moved around. As well as weeding I move things around, a lot.

Lots reflowering, this clematis normally comes out in May. Don’t focus on the weeds below…

And some of the paviors in the back are getting moved round the front! And the front is full of spiky froths from the bush by the drive. I really wonder about the things that keep popping up all over. Are they really part of the plan? No! I’m struggling with all the things I cannot fit in the green bin or compost. I was well impressed with Monty Don’s compost bins on Gardeners World last night but such a structure is definitely sinking down the wish list now, as the home office slips into a likelihood as hubby’s working from home has been made permanent. So it’s not MY office…

Roughly laid out bricks to form a path…