Green Fingers

Therapeutic GardeningWhilst I love living where I do, the sea on my doorstep, the beautiful countryside all around, there is one thing I miss, and that is my own garden.

It has to be said, that there were times in the past, when weeding or mowing the lawn was a bit of a chore. But after many years, the opportunity to get stuck in and help in the garden today was a bit of a treat.

It was fun working together, the whole job was sorted within a couple of hours, and the sight of a nicely mown lawn is always a nice reward for your efforts.

It helped that the garden in question was pretty small, the grass dry and not too long, and that the flower beds simply needed a good weeding. Non the less, the whole process was rather therapeutic, and working in the cool of the evening made a nice contrast to what had been a really hot and sunny day.

Pacing Ourselves, Or Not

Privet HedgeAfter the full on day yesterday, the start this morning was a little more sedate, although we still had big plans for the privet hedge, so breakfast was soon over. Bumble is trying to pace herself, trying to cram less into the day and give herself more time to just be.

We had promised ourselves, that we would only do an hour of trimming the hedge, but we made such a good start, that I was determined to get right to the top of the garden before we called it a day.

The cutting went really well. I ended up in the lane next to the cottage, standing on the top of a set of step ladders, so I could reach the hedge. Bumble stayed in the garden, so we were able to attack the job on two fronts and still chat.

Apart from a few interruptions, stopping to let cars down the lane, and Bumble going to get some industrial strength loppers from the chaps next door, we went at it for a lot longer than planned. But the end of the trimming was not the end of the job.

We managed to talk a neighbour, Tim, into letting us dump the clippings in his field, which saved a lot of time, but there was still a huge pile of them to get moved. At first, Bumble tried moving them in the green wheelie bin, but that proved rather unwieldy, so then we stuffed as much as we could into a huge hessian sack and moved it on the wheelbarrow.

That too proved difficult. The sack was far too big and too high to balance on the barrow, so while I wheeled the barrow, Bumble tried to hold the sack in place. But the path through the field is rather narrow, surrounded on both sides by fruit trees and other stuff, and I had the misfortune to get whacked round the ear by a small, but rather firm apple at one point.

Bumble appeared to see the funny side more easily than I, but I did reap my revenge at her mirth, by putting the empty sack over her head once the clippings had reached their destination.

With most of the grunt work done, I retired to watch the Belgian Grand Prix while B pottered around the garden until her friend Carly, a fellow Occupational Terrorist, came to visit. Carly did at least provide an interruption to the proceedings, so a little pacing was achieved.

When Carly left, around dinner time, I planted some new seedlings, donated by the chaps next door, who are shortly off to live in Malta, while Bumble set about making dinner. Even so, by the time we were fed and watered and had showered, we were both pretty well pooped.

So another fruitful, in more ways than one, kind of day. Lots done, with a degree of moderation built in to boot. By ten we were both tucked up in bed and out for the count. Pacing yourself is sometimes easier said than done, but with both parties giving their all in the quest for a shorter hedge, I think we managed it pretty well.

Hedging Our Best

Mr GrumpyThe privet hedge down the left hand side of the cottage garden is becoming a bit of a monster. The garden side was getting far too high to be trimmed without the aid of a safety net and the lane side is more in the domain of steeple jacks.

It had been decided that we would use the hedge trimmer to give it a good haircut and Bumble had already started the job earlier in the week. It had, however, also been decided that we would give ourselves a rest this weekend and do fun things rather than just chores.

So I set to with the trimmer and had finished the job B had started in about an hour. Feeling pretty satisfied with my efforts I was rather dismayed (huge understatement) when I found Bumble talking to Roy, one of the neighbours, about how the hedge had been managed in the past, and how it would be much easier if we were to lop a couple of feet off the top.

I was pretty miffed and made no secret about it. B went into one of her ‘leave it and I’ll do it myself’ moods, which just made me more annoyed. So having delivered a wise instruction to ‘not speak to me’ I got well and truly stuck in with the tree loppers.

I wouldn’t recommend using anger as a way to boost your life-energy, it’s pretty volatile stuff. But by the time we had decimated twenty or so feet of the top of the hedge my mood was much improved and we hadn’t killed each other.

What started off as a one man hedge-mashing exercise turned into a two man (well one woman and one man) project. I burned off all my angst and Bumble forgave me for being less than sociable for the initial half an hour.

Speaking about it later, we decided that the whole incident could have been avoided with a little better communication and we have promised to try to achieve that in the future. Neither the course of true love, nor the path to enlightenment are without their challenges, but having overcome the problem, we are better for the experience, and we have a much more manageable hedge.

Gardening At A Snails Pace

2012-06-04-158The rain that had watered the runner beans and hanging baskets while we were in Surrey had finally given way to the odd patch of blue sky and sunshine by the time we got out into the garden to plant the new arrivals, purchased yesterday.

With Bumble still incapacitated by her injured ankle, she set to weeding all the buttercups out of the border by the cottage from a seated position, while I was charged with planting the Lupin, Scabia, Foxglove and Sweet Peas.

The rain had turned the soil into a wonderfully moist texture, compared to the arid dust of just a few days ago, and the smell as I dug the holes was very cathartic. B was busy creating a huge mound of uprooted buttercups when she suddenly found her new friend.

Wondering what was tickling her leg, she looked down to see a rather large snail that had decided she was more tasty than the vegetation it had been hiding in. Mr Snail was a very friendly chap, not the usual shy retiring sort that hides in his shell when you pick him up.

It was very interesting to be able to inspect such a curious little creature at close range, and it made me realise just how much wildlife, apart from the ever present birds, we share the garden with. Sometimes beauty comes in some rather unexpected forms.

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