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…

Back in the Garden! On a Bank Holiday no less…

I have picked up six bucketloads of fallen apples. I have composted three and brown binned the rest. We have received the bill for our next year, to start in October. This includes our three months extra and we are gonna need to continue paying. Lots of talk about the Government sneaking through changes to council responsibilities but hey we are getting used to this by now.

The garden isn’t paying any attention as a week’s neglect has just seen the same old, same old – weed growth and more weed growth alongside a heavy scattering of fully plump apples. I was meant to cut the grass but apple buckets were filled instead.

And discussing the shed has meant a new site has been chosen. Still need to clear the fallen sycamore which was stored for burning. Think it is seasoned after three years? But the garden is being planned! And it is going to mean a lot of work…

Neglected marrow!
Mushrooms behind the book shed!
Apples! For compost!
Clearing this area by the greenhouse still needs to happen…

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.

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…

Hot again!

Those two trees got a serious trim. They are spiky too which adds them to my least favourite options for keeping in the garden of the future. It seems the chop they got last year encouraged them to produce fruits but I’m not 100% sure what they are…

Lots of spiky things growing here!

Why do plants in some places grow well and others they fail to thrive? Buddleia grows amazingly in the bed by the house but there is a narrow spindle I have identified next to those spiky trees as buddleia which must have been planted 3 years ago. We struggle to stop the monster by the house…

Straggly buddleia… (before brambles were culled)
…monster three buddleia after a trim?

But the culling better stop as it’s brown (garden waste) bin tomorrow and I have filled as much as I can with the weeds I don’t add to compost. I feel sure my energy levels are rising again and I have to say it could be down to the cbd capsules I am taking. Still only one tablet but much higher concentration. Reading the small print it says to disclose it to an employer in case they do random drug tests, but it’s thoroughly tested to not contain any credible levels of the stuff that can get you in trouble. Not working through the summer so not panicking about it either…

I have lots of seeds to scatter and lots of places to put them. To have a garden with lots of flowers next year would be fabulous. Need to decide where they go! Random as ever and reallocating herbs along the way is interesting too, as I think I will not lay out a herb garden again but integrate them with other perennials.

Significant apple drop from the tree that failed to fruit last year. And a drum beat from landing on the Perspex…

The garden is growing organically!

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…

Maintenance!

There has been a bit of hard work today! Given a 430 wake up from our intrepid scout who was brought inside by the smell of a dead rat… found by the side of a shed (we have a few, take your pick!) she had managed a good few hours of sleep! My bags, however, are deepest purple today!

The grass has been cut, brambles and spiky things excised, and several discussions about shed renovations and purchases and repositioning have been had.

White cosmos- think courgettes will be exchanged with next door!

It’s thirsty work all this gardening and friends exchanging photos from the socially distanced pub make me want to find said secluded spot. But the media has been full of bad behaviour which makes me less inclined to think it a good idea.

I’m still finding my happy medium however as yesterday’s family reunion took it out of me, as it became a longer day than anticipated and then we had the scout overnighter going on simultaneously by zoom.

Hence my editing of areas of the garden needing weeding- a job for another day…

Buddleia in bud.

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…