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!

Ouch!

Smallest is home after throwing up and she had her earphones on. Husband is in the shed, and ditto, so no one heard me… I had decided to clamber over the piles of logs (was it wise?) and investigate the space behind the shed.

These chunks are too heavy for me…

Which was weedy and filled with firewood in waiting. I pulled out a few weeds and was trying to clamber back. It would have been fine if I had not stepped down too hard on a pile of very soft sawdust. My foot went down and down and was close to my ankle snapping (I think) and me being stuck behind the shed for quite a long time.

Some bindweed coming over from next door.

As you can guess I did manage to put some weight back on it and fumble my way out of the space I no longer want to explore. I think I may be stuck to the house for a bit. Again not helping the grand scheme of things. I feel I may grapple with leg pain for the next few days. I said I’d work tomorrow as well. I don’t need to be hobbling round exam rooms. Ouch!

Needs cutting back but I didn’t take my snips on my clamber!

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.

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!

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…

Transformation!?!

It’s one of those days: neither hot or cold but a mission to clear the ground by the middle shed of gravel and herbs has given us lots of tasks.

Painterly…
Seiving the gravel…

I also have a helper who has now turned her attention to the bench I inherited from a friend when we were sharing a flat many moons ago. She found me through FB at the start of lockdown but I didn’t hear back from recent posts. It was a while (20 years?) Blimey! I feel old!

Muddy knees!

We have moved some bricks to form a path from the greenhouse and replanted a rather woody thyme. I’m smelling rather herbal and it’s not my medicinal marijuana! Which has raised my mood and possibly my energy. Life seems good in the garden!

Moved the path… or work in progress?

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!

Father’s Day! We didn’t Forget!

Early start with a cooked breakfast then a drive with a walk round Weston. We’ve never done this one and according to Samsung it was 1.8 miles. (Apple had it at over 4,000 steps…) Walking through fields I didn’t spot the electric fence corralling the large cows and I’ve realised I get anxious which I never used to. The dog doesn’t seem interested but it is a sheepdog and although very obedient, still a fairly new thing to worry about. I’m going to have to meditate later.

Big baker?

But we also had a tip off! Hubby and I drove to a Stevenage garden centre where they had tipper carts less than half price so less even than the wheelbarrows I saw in my favourite Woolworths (sic) which remain out of stock (when I was looking before).

First babies…
DIY assemblage…
Are mahonia berries poisonous?
Are these bramble blossoms?

And after a lot of bad words, it is assembled and in use. Not quite needed for picking our first potatoes but we have some of those for dinner tonight. And those were grown using potatoes that went to seed in the cupboard earlier this year. Little one spotted a big one (nearly a baker!) but we’ll see what we make to work out whether it just gets boiled. Something well worth growing.

Instructions were poor…