Changing the front garden!

I started off digging a trench for tulips in the front garden and I dug a ten centimetre trench. It defines the area to the left which must remain garden and we had intended to make into driveway if we had the funds… (I need a job!)

Bulbs in their packets.

The grass was largely moss and plants I don’t want. Not grass at all. So I covered an area with weed barrier and used the bags of peagravel we got from my friend. It had a lot of compost mixed in so I’ve used that on the area of weed barrier and I planted some of my festuca glauca plants down the edge.

Tulip trench!
Ladybird investigates the weeding…

I’ve used four concrete slabs for walking, laid over some sharp sand and I will bring round some compost to fill some of the areas. But there’s lots of blooming golden rod and valerian which needs digging up. Those are my weeds if I’m honest, as well as the spiky bush at the gate which keeps regrowing. I’ve chopped it three or four times this year and I have to try and eradicate it before it gets too big again.

Tulip Bulbs!

Still ducking in and out between rain showers, the front garden is a work in progress but I think it will look good after we’ve had a couple of rains. I will try and find some other plants that will look good between the festuca. I saw some amazing heucheras yesterday. I sense a purchase…

Not finished but the garden is always in progress I’m learning!

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.

Spider!

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.

Gladioli
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?

Blown in by the wind!

We used to get lots of empty drink cans in our front garden (we are on a busyish road) but the wind also deposits other detritus which in Covid times appears to mean the clear plastic gloves… Joys! But seriously who is taking care to wear the damn things and then letting them blow in the wind!

The black sheet is to keep weeds down.

My garden is meant to be my safe space (dog deposits are the other bugbear) and I didn’t expect to have to get gloves on to pick up this random unsafe material and distract me from the other maintenance the garden so obviously requires.

Have I ranted enough? Shall I do passwords or PC/Apple incompatiblity? Or messy family members or finally getting 2-years-suspended jobs finished? Another post, another day!

Grass needs cut/dug up? Tended. As this is an area we will keep!
A teeny tiny rose still out today.

Our shed to be

It’s been long desired, and when you start laying out bits of the garden furniture to give a sense of actual dimensions, then it starts feeling like the shed will happen. A barbecue is on to feed us this evening – it’s been a gorgeous day so it makes sense – and the little one’s made a salad already. Life in the garden takes on meaning when you can do so many things. I’ve dried bedlinens as well today and they have the scent of being blown dry. Scrumptious!

Maybe we can have a large pool too?
These are definitely weeds! And beside a bush I can start clearing as it’s privetty and not desired…

The area behind the shed has never been cleared/planted with anything special and so clearing it all will not bring any anxiety. I have promised to try to grow some rose cuttings so that we will be able to grow some of the stripy, and beautifully scented roses, but it’s not something I’ve done before. A bit like my first plantings in the raised beds and greenhouse; all a bit experimental, and not necessarily successful. And it does mean I can remove the shrubs I am not bothered about, which are largely spiky and not wanted! Yay!

Boxes moved to see where the outline might be.

We’ve even discussed taking away a lot of the lawn by the new shed and making it a real planted garden, was I hearing that right? Has my other half offered me a budget? Well no, but he mentioned digging up the grass… and planting in front of the shed! So it could be lovely! I might just have to resite my successfully growing silver birch? I already have to return my herb garden to usefulness. It might mean moving our raised beds but I am not offering to do that yet!

Keeping the dog away from the fire pit.
Things are growing despite the weeds! Lambs ears I think they’re called. And part of my purchases at Beth Chatto!

Admin and stuff…

The first child returns to school tomorrow and in a way it feels like something is starting to go back to normal. But it is still weird wondering whether sending the children back to school is correct? We have a testing system (I believe) but we really don’t understand (and some aren’t following) the rules. What am I going to do with no children at home? I’ve applied for jobs and heard nothing. Some random people have approached me but I don’t think it’s about work for me, more they want to part me with what little money I have.

I’ve also been doing some online networking and trying to get my blog onto other platforms. I believe this should be straightforward but platforms have different systems and languages (and I’ve never professed a multi-linguistic bent) which need more time than I want to spend. A little of that and I’ve lost interest to be honest. Any suggestions: send me a Messenger/WhatsApp/text you know how!

And then there was a bunch of Scottish rhubarb to be stewed and baked before it went rubbery in the fridge. And I’ve made a better job than last time we tried to use up garden produce. It had one largish apple from the garden and the quantity was doubled in one dish (not two) so hopefully it will still do a couple of meals but the sponge wont be rubbery. Good ole Glasgow Cookery Book, and the recipe is Eve’s Pudding, who knew?

And I have bought some bulbs, passing through Hitchin market I bought some blue tulips. And the guy said these are targeted by squirrels- who knew? – as none appeared last year he’s possibly right! Morrison’s saw me getting more purples. And Alan Titchmarsh was showing how to layer bulbs in pots the other night. Diarmuid OGavin was also showcasing garden arrangements on Channel Four and I loved his sketches. Must do some for our new plans…

A garden visit…

Visiting Scotland and staying with grandpa meant looking for things to do in the middle of the post pandemic shutdown. I read an online report that described the top things to visit and Cambo gardens on the Fife coast came highly recommended. It was a wet day so the kids got to spend the day in Broughty Ferry.

We bought tickets online and drove to Kinsbarns nr Craill and arrived just after opening but the last space in the car park was ours! It was very well set up and there was a really nice gift shop and cafe.

A heron kept watch on the stream.

The garden was mainly in a courtyard but all laid out differently with occasional signs explaining areas under renovations or under weed extermination. There were veg herb and fruit beds and vines and cordons. For the end of August there were lots of blooms (my fave agapanthus) and considering the reduced garden staff due to the pandemic it was in quite amazing luscious conditions with bright colour swatches with swathes of grasses.

We had a healthy plate of salad made fresh from the produce – some peas were definitely saved – and the walk from the garden through woodland led straight out to the sea (over the golf course tee and green).

Definitely a good garden to visit if you’re near St Andrews. And combine it with the botanical gardens and butterfly house (that we visited last year) makes for a real gardeners paradise.

Sea shore
Healthy lunch
In the conservatory
The woodland walk down to the sea: quite a gentle walk with one steep stepped stretch.

Baking bits!

We have a few too many brambles, and I left the biggest bunch too long! Soggy mouldy blackberries don’t make super crumbles… we made two sponges today and that wasn’t using too many berries so I’ve gone out to pick some more and with my Apple catcher pulled off some largish apples from the tree. The sponge mixture was a bit soft because I decided mid mix to double the quantities and went a little off recipe… And we are getting a chorus of sorts from the apples, and I get the feeling we may lose a few more smashing onto the Perspex of the greenhouse.

I love the little buds on verbena boniariensis.

Lots of sweet little flowers around and about in the garden at the moment and I had thought all the best things were past. I discovered a penstemon or two coming through. I’m not sure whether that is perennial or not. Will watch out for it next year!

Penstemon planted in the spring.
Oxalis? Peeking through in one of the raised beds…
Apple and bramble sponges. They do look a bit flat…

Some tidying before the end of summer?

I don’t like driving up to the house and being confronted by weeds and all things needing trimmed. Even worse when we have been away? So the garden bin was collected this morning and I’ve hacked at the golden rod and spiky buds and remains of valerian. And that’s before I can get out of the front garden.

Hosta flowers. Maybe it’s in a better place.

So the back was full of windfalls… makes the bin heavy and I am bushed. Thankfully I only get to the windfall apples every few days, as the waste of apples makes me sad. We have some brambles so I shall make a crumble or a sponge when I get some energy back.

Bud on my passionflower.

The house is looking tidyish but I am loathe to muck up the kitchen making sponge… but it’s the one I prefer. Sponge it is!

Still turning red.

Rain to end the hot weekend!

We have been busy pulling up the weeds and I made the first prune of the trees next to the herb garden. Herbs are being relocated and cuttings are in water to try and grow new plants. I am excited for what is planned, which in a roundabout way was what I originally hoped we’d do.

Barbecue has been rehomed.
Greenhouse glass needs a use…

The greenhouse has a step of grey paviours which looks very smart, thanks to hubby.

Calla lily was spotted…
Second flush of roses after deadheading…

I have been clipping initially round the tree which has the yellow plums on. We still want to check these are edible… but there is so much potential now for that corner of the garden.

And it’s raining now so I have decamped inside.

These have been replaced!
Reallocated paviors
Are these edible? From the clipped tree.
The initial clipping has uncovered a lot of contorted limbs. And brambles behind…