Monday, May 31, 2010

Sittin' in the mornin' sun

An established bay tree is usually very hardy, and able to withstand cold weather without turning a ... I was going to say hair, but that's not right, and leaf doesn't really fit the bill ... anyhow, they can usually come through the winter unscathed. Last winter was particularly extreme, and our poor tree is rather the worse for wear.

The leaves should be a glossy dark green, not dry and desiccated. In places there are signs of life and regrowth

but despite waiting for months, others have clearly had it completely.

If we amputate all the dead bits I fear it's going to be very lopsided and unbalanced. The poor thing might have to come down completely.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gentian, lupin and tall hollyhocks

As is traditional on a Bank holiday weekend it was time to get working on the garden. The monsoon conditions of yesterday had softened the soil to workable levels from the solidity of its previous dryness, and today (surprisingly for a BH) the weather was absolutely perfect. Ned dug out the final enormous lump of concrete, and a friend's jack hammer made short work of reducing them all to more manageable proportions. Several trips to the tip will be needed, but soon it'll all be gone!

I took a barrow up the road to a neighbour's smallholding and relieved his fields of some of the molehills, which are the most gorgeous riddled topsoil and have filled in the holes beautifully so that it no longer resembles a poor parody of the Somme. One more barrowload should see the major earthworks completed.

Next job is to install the new fence, and then I'll be able to put in some plants so for a few brief weeks it might look attractive.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The concrete and the clay beneath my feet

A long, long time ago when we bought Genie Towers, it was what would nowadays be called 'a project'. We did a fair amount of updating (some new wiring, new windows, redecorating, new kitchen, new bathroom, new carpets, etc - all of which are now past their best again - don't mention the bathroom) but pretty much just kept on top of the garden. This meant that as it became more and more 'established' it started to look a little neglected, if not downright shabby. So we've taken the bull by the horns and decided to replace the fence at the front, from a delapidated standard panel affair which was well past its best and was, frankly, falling apart, to (eventually) a picket fence. This means not only removing the panels which I think were being held up by the ivy, not the other way around

but also removing the rotten supporting posts. It was at this point that we realised whoever installed them intended them to be there for ever and ever. How much concrete does it usually take to support one 3" x 3" fence post? We didn't expect this much. I wonder how we can get rid of it, other than digging another hole and burying it ....

Elsewhere in the garden the lily of the valley is going feral. That I can live with because it smells just delicious in the sunshine.