The front garden was glowing in the dusk…

I’ve used most of the cobbles I bought several months ago now to border the four slabs I’ve added to the front garden. It taken most of the afternoon and a couple of trips to purchase extra plants! Heucheras and Lily of the valley and little bulbs with blue flowers I forgot to note the name of are planted on top of my tulips beside my festucas. I love being creative and my youngest helped with the pebbles to get the path finished before it got dark.

In progress…
The gravel would have been too fine and would attract cats so the pebbles are a cat deterrent.

I may also return to a garden centre where I saw some extremely delicate heucheras which were blueish with a red veined leaf which will contrast nicely with my apricot and plain chocolate purchases today. I also contrasted this with white cyclamen.

Grit was purchased…
Planted! but not finished…

The existing flower bed with the tree stump was covered in snails. I am hoping by mulching it with horticultural grit and compost it will become less attractive to the slimy creatures but I suspect I may need to clear them a lot. I might start collecting egg shells to dry out and scatter. The garden could do with fewer snails if we can. They eat a lot of my favourites – they may be the culprits of munching my missing Japanese anemones… And there is still some things growing round the stump which need eradicating. Another day tomorrow…

I’ve chopped back the golden rod and valerian in this bed but I feel it may be an ongoing battle…

It’s all spiky!

I thought I’d spend some time weeding but the bit I attacked was all spiky so after a little while I gave up as I don’t like feeling attacked back! It was a bit much for me after another afternoon yesterday of lethargy. I’ve run out of my cbd and realising that it was helping, despite it getting the blame (not by me!) for causing the itching. I’ve realised the itching is probably exacerbated by the inactivity which has been recurring during the lockdown period.

Not so easy to dig after three days of rain…
Paint everywhere!

I am not full of vim anymore (was I ever?) but I try to narrow that down to anything in particular and it doesn’t appear to be one thing or another. I am trying to focus on finishing things too. We have lots of paint tins needing used. In fact yesterday morning was spent clearing up a tin that toppled over and caused a great big mess (I wasn’t going to say anything about that!) but it was part of the reason my spirits dipped yesterday and despite my youngest helping with the cleanup, finding my jewellery tin abandoned in the garden put me in a foul mood. The tin, a toilet bag and some necklaces are still covered in paint…

But going back to the garden and thinking about removing all the stuff I dislike, so much that I liked about the garden and was going to keep (the horse chestnuts being key here) have had to be removed and it’s really changing what the garden looks like. The grass that grows (wildly) is largely consistent with wild grass, and I think couch grass must have several cultivars? Some of it is wide leaved and some is very thin. I yanked out lots of the thin stuff today but brambles and wild roses grow through it too, as well as the weeds with fluffy seed heads (not dandelions). I hoped that we can perhaps reclaim my older daughter’s flower bed which is wild but she likes the biodiversity and her tree (not planted) as well as the orange gladioli. I will keep at the weeds in it however though I need to find some tougher gloves! Shall I change my blog to weeding within limits?

Spikes and grass!
Path is forming.

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!

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.

Random continues…

I drove a little way away from LGC and bought some gravel. Four bags full. I am now questioning why I do these slightly random things? Not part of the giant scheme of things for sure and not identical to previous freecycled gravel…

Before decanting the umbrella…
Now the bench and table get respite!

All will come good for sure. Maybe it’s the time of the year or the random things that being stuck at home do to you. Maybe I need to go and take the lumps out of the patio slab space? Then we can use the gravel from the herb garden to level it… not sure how, we don’t have a roller?

And today the umbrella was moved so the corner I’ve been eating my lunch is sheltered. More weeding and pruning was needed as bindweed went mad unchecked. Lots of areas being changed for the better and trees are being dug up too.

This spiky plum? tree which has only produced fruit this year is being pruned heavily. The gooseberry bush at its base had dried up so much it literally snapped apart so I could get to the ivy on the wall that was running amok. That’s given me a dry throat so needed pulling for sure. But spikes and dust made me want to stop for lunch. Bon appetite!

You can see the woodpile behind the ramshackle shed after clearing that corner…

Much needed Rain!

The hottest days have cooled down again. Today is fresh and I feel quite good about the weeds! Shock horror!

Actually I lied! But I have discovered another horror! And we identified this new terror after it had chewed it’s way through lots of buddleiha… and I spotted the leaves first, then the huge beetle which was identified as a cockchafer beetle or a May bug. They will eat trees, bushes and flowers! The larvae grow underground and eat roots then the bugs emerge round about now. Eek! Not what I wanted to hear. I honestly don’t want the adult eating my garden but I am not going to go out and exterminate them… catch 22!

Chewed leaves..
Vine Weevil AKA cockchafer beetle AKA May bug native to Europe.

I went back to work this morning to a very different college/exam setup. I was wiping everything multiple times. Think I will take gloves tomorrow! Afternoon to relax methinks.

Clematis atop the apple tree.

So my penance…

For cutting off the electricity my penance was weeding. Smallest helped but got to use my hedge gadget! I am not sure I will learn how to use that this year? But we/I pulled up lots of mares tail and pulled out dead valerian. That also appeals to miss helper? Hard to miss and not the prettiest when it is dying.

Valerian getting culled.
My nemesis

And the mares tail is everywhere… this may be the worst mistake of our house purchase. To not know the weeeds… Five years in and we haven’t really made a visible mark on the garden but my intention to be working and the reality are different. I am lucky to be working, don’t get me wrong, but zero hours don’t contractually make you well off. I will do as much as I can over the next month and see whether I can ‘magic’ something into my life that I had to put on hold, due to Covid restrictions like everyone in the world.

Thursday is our garden collection day and the grass cuttings are rather pungent. But adding a load of other weeds today made the front garden a little tidier. Little one didn’t get up to the top of the hedge but thoroughly enjoyed using my new hedge gadget and my new tipper cart. I have to do a little more digging and soil shifting to lay out the slabs I want, and we have to order a tonne of sand and some lime cement to lay the slabs properly. I am not a big strong builder and neither are the rest of the family, so we may be a while getting the slabs laid. Oh well…

The hedge is a bit taller than my youngest…