So, the cats aren’t the only animals that enjoy our garden. Grete snapped these photo’s early one morning in March.
Bright sunny day. Wouldn’t say it was warm, but the sun is pleasant if you’re out of the breeze and not in shade. More importantly, it’s dry, so I finally got a chance to get back into the garden and finish up what we started last year before I had the hernia.
Time to get rid of the deck (once and for all!) It’s been piled up at the bottom of the garden since last year, so the wood’s in pretty bad shape now. Some of it is still too long to go into the car though, so this morning I’ve been moving it to the side of the house and sawing the bits that aren’t going to fit. I’ve moved about a third, and since this is the first physical exercise I’ve had since winter set in, I’m taking it slow! Here’s how we left it in 2009.
Moved around a third of it to the side of the house, and cut some of the longer beams.
But it doesn’t look like that much has changed yet in the garden!
Total number of amphibians re-homed during this process: 1 (running total)
So we’ve crawled, wrapped in our fleece blankets and new hats, out of the freezing white bitter cold of December into the wet miserable damp grey cold of January. We’ve managed to stay above freezing for a week or so, but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant out there. I’m no lover of sun, I don’t like bright lights and never have, but I’d rather have the white cold of snow than the grey murk of whatever-it-is-we-have now. Soon though it’ll be spring (and as we get older, the seasons come and go faster, so it’ll be spring before we know it and autumn will be fast approaching with summer just a hint of heat in the middle), and hopefully we’ll get out and get the outside of the house sorted a bit.
Woodwork, holes in the walls, the garden – that’s this years focus I feel.
It’s been a while since I bored you updated you on the state of the garden. Since you can’t see any of it due to the snow, I thought now was a good time!
We’ve had a couple of decent snow falls over the last week or so, the first didn’t melt before the second arrived, although the skies have finally cleared so we might be okay for the rest of the day. Here’s a long shot of the garden.
We bought a water tub / plant feature thing ages ago, it’s probably been in a few shots of the garden. We take no care of it at all, and each year it grows a few plants from the bulbs which somehow survive. We keep it mainly because the cats like drinking from it in the summer when the water is pretty clean. At the moment, it’s an ice cube.
Much like the surface of the canal near here, which is now solid ice (kids have been cycling on it) except for a couple of areas of free flowing water where all the birds are hanging around. Anyway, here’s two shots of our apple tree.
We’re treating / painting our fence! Takes about an hour to do a single panel, slightly less now, and there’s 10 panels left on the side of the house with the most fence. Some photo’s for proof! We’re using the same stuff that our next door neighbour used first on her side of the fence, so she chose the colour which we actually quite like.
In order, the front including the half panels, the side, to show the difference between treated and untreated, and lastly, the remaining 10 panels.
The garden’s doing pretty well although we’re coming to the end of summer. The grass we seeded has grown in and we’re starting to get it tidy, and the flowers are really doing well and have looked great throughout the summer.
This year has seen us do more for the house / garden than we’ve ever done for any property we’ve ever lived in, without a doubt. There’s so much in the house we should still get sorted (but we’re just so bad at doing it, well, I am, Grete tries to encourage me, but I mainly just stall and fob her off) but getting the garden sorted has been such a good thing and I’m glad Grete has been able to enjoy it while the weather has been good.
Took this shot in July on the concrete just outside the house. We don’t have a pond, although we see a lot of frogs in the garden so there must be water somewhere within reach. I think it’s an English common newt.
Some folk might be wondering ‘yes, a newt, so what’, but we don’t really see much wildlife in the middle of this part of Nottingham, so it’s always nice to see something alive in the garden that isn’t just a slug.
Which leads to these photo’s. Two slugs in August, hanging out on the patio. The book is for size reference (it’s a regular paperback), not something they were reading at the time (although the title, an accident, is somewhat amusing).
That’s two different slugs, and probably the reason why one of our plants in the border just mysteriously vanished one night, without a trace.
The garden’s really coming along, the little planters we bought for the patio really brighten the place up. We had a couple of BBQ’s last week during the nice weather and it was really pleasant sitting out there surrounded by the flowers. The grass in the front has come through pretty much all over the soil, but at the back it’s very very patchy and I think we’ll need to do some extra sowing. I suspect the birds ate a lot of the seed.
The big apple tree has a thousand apples on it, more than ever before which is odd considering we pruned it really close before the spring. Grete is frantically picking up the small ones that drop (probably about 10-20 a day, seriously) and keep the thick down before they all fully grow and drop. It’s a huge job getting them off the ground when they’re big and slightly rotten. The small apple tree seems a little sick, the leaves went brown and pretty dry although it looks like it’s recovering and starting forming apples. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. The cherry tree we bought has done – nothing. Not a zot. No change at all. Not sure if it’s dead or alive. The Acer is healthy enough and looks happy surrounded by the lush grass.
The little plants in the big borders look lonely, but we really only stuck them there since we had a load of spares. The shrubs are growing and hopefully next year it’ll look a bit more even and full. The plants in the front are slowly spreading as we hoped they would and it should look spectacular when they all flower next year.
I’ll post some photo’s in another update when I get time to sort them out.
I can sense you’ve been longing for an update on the garden. And you’ve come to the right place. Right up until the point where I was diagnosed with a hernia I’ve been out in the garden every day it was dry trying to get things sorted. Once I was diagnosed I tried to cut back a bit, but it’s not an easy habit to get out of. Grete works in the garden like a demon, weeding, cutting, and keeping everything in good shape. Who would have thought we’d enjoy a trip to B&Q to buy plants and planters? Anyway, here’s an update and where we are and how things progressed.
We’ve bought a new tree for the garden (cherry tree). When we had to have the huge tree cut down to allow a fence to be put in by our neighbour, we promised ourselves we buy a new tree to replace it, but something we could keep under control. So we did, and we’ve planted it at the bottom of the garden (at the moment, next to the huge pile of wood I’m no longer allowed to carry and move).
It doesn’t look like much at the moment and we’re really hoping we planted it well enough for it to survive. It definitely had enough sun and rain in the few days after going in. We’re trying not to think about the choice of cherry, we already get frustrated by picking up a thousand apples every summer and cherries might just drive us nuts (no pun intended) but hopefully it’ll look nice and the birds will enjoy it.
Now that the concrete patio is pretty bare we decided to get some planters to brighten it up and throw a bunch of flowers into them. We ended up with far too many flowers and far too much compost so we finally sorted out the two mini-borders near the house and used most of the rest of the plants on those. There are four terracotta planters down the fence side of the patio, each of which we put five or six plants into. The photo to the left is how it looked when it went in. Since then the plants have put on a little bit of volume and one or two are threatening to flower.
Along the side and front of the kitchen we dug over the soil and got rid of a rose with a root the size of a small barn, and replaced it with some of the same plants. That area suffers heavily from snails, slugs and other various vegetable eating life so we’re surprised they’re doing as well as they are. We did lose one of the plants entirely – one day it was there, the next it was just a stem lying on the ground. Here’s a few shots of the progress of both the planters and the borders.
As of today, we’ve got flowers and buds.
Where’s the Grass At
The grass is coming on really well. The front has really spread and looks like it’ll cover everything, in the back garden it looks a little sparse still under the tree but it’s spreading slowly. Looks like we’re going to have a mixture of lush green grass and old faded yellow grass, but I guess over time it evens out. We could try some stuff to fix up the old grass, but honestly we like the garden kind of natural rather than pristine looking golf course grass.
The acer is still alive and looks like it’s doing okay, hasn’t changed in size much yet but they’re very slow growing, hopefully it’s rooted well and isn’t just slowly dying without looking like it.
After putting it off for ages, I finally got around to sanding down and treating the wooden sill at the bottom of the patio door frame. I think it’s a sill. Anyway, sanded it down with our little electric hand-sander thing, the stink of cat was pretty bad (see following post #5), took out all the old silicone, treated the wood and put new silicone in. I hate, hate, hate putting silicone in, I’m so bad at it. Anyway, photo’s to prove it!
I know you’re probably thinking ‘omg, so you sanded and sealed some wood, so what!’ but this is a big deal for us, so deal with it.
Before Grete had major back issues for half a week, and before I really accepted I should be resting due to a potential hernia, we cleared/dug over the back and front garden areas ready for some grass seed, and then put the seed down.
It took ages for it to show through and we’d started to assume the pigeons had eaten it all – but then a couple of days ago we spotted a thread of green! It’s odd though, if you look down vertically onto the soil you can’t see the grass, if you look at an angle you can and if you look at it horizontally, it’s clear to see!
The front doesn’t look as good because neither myself nor Grete have been in any condition to get out and keep it weeded, but hopefully the grass will pull through. The back is looking excellent and we hope the grass will stop the soil washing down the bank in the first sustained heavy rains we get. The other side of the apple tree is on the same kind of slope and the grass keeps it all in place.
The apple tree has gone crazy as well, I thought the pruning would keep the apples away this year but the tree appears to have decided to wreak revenge by growing twice as many apples. The thin branches are dropping under the weight of the slowly forming apples already. I suspect I’ll have to take action to get rid of them before they mature otherwise the branches are really going to suffer.