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…

Another post? For another day?

As it is spitting (Scottish term for light rain, in fact it could be called drizzling) intermittently, and I don’t like getting wet, I have time to write but actually I want to be planting! I purchased a couple of cheap plants in my favourite Woolworths replacement store. I have to plant the grasses too and bulbs. Next spring needs to have an explosion of colour! So there are more bulbs to plant too.

Rose haw

Lunch had been forgotten and I went for a packet to be quick. Bad move when something called Piri-something is left. Yuk! But the outside is calling. The Ivy has sprouted buds and I wasn’t going to cut it when it was sunny and covered in bees, but it’s wet now and I need to discourage bees like the monster that came inside yesterday. Seriously huge, like a bird buzzing furiously, I was scared for us all. I am not a naturephobe, more appreciate such beautiful creatures on the other side of the window.

We asked for it in chunks…
Don’t look to hard at this one?!?

Can I carry any of the tree chunks I need to pile up? Good question and I have new gloves so maybe I can try? These are coming recommended and I think will be good for all the prickly stuff.

These are flowering again…
I hope the striped rose survives trunks landing on it…

Still gardening!

It’s lovely out today and I’ve done some of the stuff I had been putting off. I’ve replanted the heuchera that was in the rotten garden box. It is beyond saving that one but I’ve popped the heuchera into the bed I cleared yesterday. I was visited by my friendly robin. Well I would be as I uncovered snails and all sorts.

Sun on the gladioli…

I’ve also done some digging but hey the sun is now too high and it’s my least favoured job. But I replanted the heuchera and was rewarded by a visit from Red. I buried the bulbs I put in on Saturday with a layer of compost from the rotten box so I’ve mulched the bed I cleared.

I’ve also ordered some super tough garden gloves as I am tired of fishing out thorns in the evening! And the tree boys come tomorrow. There is lots happening, like the snails it will happen, slow and sure.

Red.
Transplanted heuchera.

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.

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!

Gardenkeeping!

Like housekeeping only in the fresh air! Excitingly the Perspex ordered for the greenhouse arrived tout suite and in a day the ‘glazing panels’ with shatterproof and appleproof qualities have been inserted. The greenhouse is back in action and tidy! Lots of pressure washing has been done and decisions about steps into the greenhouse are in place.

Great slabs of concrete were being used around the littlest shed, which lies in pieces around and about – and it would make more sense to use them for steps out of the house? We built an extension and have never had a proper kitchen step. And double doors on other rooms also land on, well, not a lot, and it’s been a few years now. Like I’ve said before, lifetime projects…

But we have a paved area where the greenhouse was which can now be a little patio outside the shed in progress? It was made with some lovely little paviors I got through free cycle. And a little sitting area is much better use of this sun trap.

What a cracker!
Repotted my banana plant.
Still needing tidied up! And weeded!

Feeling invigorated!

I’ve started to feel like I can foresee new avenues opening up again. Lockdown is over, for whatever that means, and I have now worked through two weeks of exams. I have work next week and I have applied for several new things to keep me feeling like a useful member of society again. I have been out in the garden and applied the trimmers to the hedge to cut away the corner of the hedge so the neighbours can see out of their drive.

If we can have some rain free days, like on Sunday, we will be doing some more garden maintenance, making some more changes. Hubby went and purchased a stand today, and before you ask, is that like fork handles, it’s a short stand to cut up logs on. We’ve had lots of logs drying out in the rear/side of some sheds to make firewood with but I knew something was holding us back; the stand will make log cutting safer. We also have lots of extra shelving from blowaway greenhouse to stack cut down logs on? Stuff comes in useful if you hoard it? I also wonder if it got stacked along the walls of a work shed it will add an insulating layer when winter hits. Because I see my husband home working for the foreseeable future, like many others, fingers crossed, if their companies make it through the pandemic unscathed.

Love this astromeria!
Need to add this ivy etc to the green bin…

Life after lockdown is slowly looking like it will start returning; my youngest went to school to pick up her things from the year before homeschool and she felt better for seeing her friends again. She said they sat in hula hoops to keep 2 metres apart! So whoever is making hula hoops will be making it through the pandemic for sure…

I’m sure I planted more than one of these spherocephalum but I think I pulled some up in a vigorous weeding moment…

A Heatwave is predicted!

Life in Hertfordshire is tense. Parts of North Herts have a huge number of Covid deaths and that makes me feel nervous again. I am going to a meeting to talk about how to go back to work and four of my colleagues are already saying they may not go. That in turn makes me question my my readiness to go back. My doctor said I wasn’t high risk but other MSers have said that being on my medication makes me vulnerable according to their GPs. Who knows who is correct?

This also a new wild rose I’ve spotted?
Alstroemerias
This new rose has budded.

The UK has the highest death rate in Europe. That’s the scary bit and I have to wonder whether the uncertainty is adding to my fatigue levels and I’ve had other MS symptoms like dizziness and anxiety welling up. I have been out and about but I am lacking enthusiasm and energy for working in the garden. Things have gone crazy and with the rainfall we have had, the garden is looking healthy.

Something eating my sycamore…

I’d better watch out to keep the plants wet while the predicted heatwave hits at the weekend – in time for Father’s Day.

I don’t know what blossoms here?

Lots of love…

The garden is technically a mess. But it’s also where lovely and toxic plants co-exist. And a different Bindweed variety is attacking the roses… Dioscorea communis or Black Bindweed has heart-shaped leaves and it was twining itself around the roses. Eek! Took my eye off the ball for a few days! I’ve filled the brown bin completely this morning, so heavy it is hard to trundle it out of the garden.

Black bindweed my new nemesis!
Clearing bindweed, and ivy, and other of my nemesis weeds. A life’s work!
Clematis we got with a moving present.

I am back to feeling spurred on to do a bit more again but I must admit the lockdown seems never-ending. I’ve devoloped excruciating itching, so bad I’ve made myself bleed really badly. Ouch! Is it a side-effect of Tecfidera? Another one I’ve discovered is that it may be responsible for my newly curly hair. I thought going short did that but it seems to be a side effect: unlucky people lose hair, but others find little ringlet waves!

I must be more positive is also my birthday resolution! My girls just asked me to give them present ideas, trying to get me to say the ideas they have had. And the DPS guy delivered something I wasn’t meant to see, but the way he said my name made me think it was addressed to me… Everything inside is still a mess (except for my beautifully tidy kitchen surfaces after yesterday’s burst of energy) but you know what? We are all safe, well and happy.

Look at those potatoes!
Lambs ears! They are so soft.

My garden. A place of meditation, bruising hard work and contemplation. Supported by my family in these tough times.