Thursday 20 October 2011

20.10. Garden is improving

Hello again, just a quick update from my garden tonight, as things are slowly progressing. The log-rolls are ready stained and in the ground, finally, but no gravel yet. I want to finish all the planting first as I keep dragging soil with me from my boots onto the path whenever I go in and out of the beds. Besides, the gravel and also the bark I need to mulch around the plants are quite expensive so I need to save up for it before I go off to B&Q; it is amazing how much things add up to when you go to a place like that to just have ‘a few things’ !

But I have plenty of jobs to do in the mean time, I counted all the plants I have been growing in preparation for this revamp of the garden, many more than I needed I thought, but it seems I should have had more! The beds on the sunny side will be full by the time we get to May or so, but on the shady side it is a bit sparse and there is room for quite a few more. I prefer to have as many evergreen plants as possible, so that the garden isn’t too empty during the winter, I need to think a bit about what to get for this area. Evergreens for a shady area can be a bit tricky, unless you get something boring that is just green leaves and no flowers.

Here is the garden the way it looked when I finished yesterday evening. I have spread out all the plants I got in pots, 49 in total, and I also have 75 anemone tubers and 150 crocus bulbs to plant.  In addition I have 10 lavender cuttings which might be large enough to be planted next autumn, not sure how long it is going to take because I have never taken lavender cuttings before so this is a first for me :-) I also have 9 passion fruit cuttings I have taken from someone’s garden, also a first for me so not sure if they will take and grow to new plants, but all these cuttings need firstly to survive the winter, root nicely and put on a good growth and then I can find a good place for them in the garden.

Here is the part of the garden I am working on at the moment, with all the pots spread out. When I am finished with all the planting I will get bark to cover this area too, just as I have further up. The bark looks nice and tidy and keeps the weed at bay. The stepping stones were a birthday present from my son, after me hinting to him that this was on my wish list. They look great, like a slab of wood, but are actually made of concrete, so totally maintenance free and will never rot. With beds this deep it is great to have something to stand on when deadheading and pruning.

Here is left and right corner; the left corner is the area most in need of more plants but the right corner got quite a few early spring plants that will start to come up in just a few months. This is where the anemones and crocuses are going in too, in between the small pots which contain a lot of Arisaema amurense.

And here is a view back towards the house. When the gravel path is completed it will look great and even more importantly; the garden will be much more practical for me. No more grass to mow, no more gardening when I need to, from now on I will do gardening just when I want to – apart from watering. In fact, I gave away my lawn mower to the neighbour yesterday! Well, I don’t need it anymore, do I….they don’t have any grass either, yet, I actually made that garden when the previous tenant lived there (see my posts from March, April and May), but the tenant died, and new people moved in who didn’t like large flowerbeds and gravel paths, they have 3 children and wants grass, ideally the whole garden full! So they are redesigning their garden too, and putting grass IN rather than taking it OUT as I have done. Well, we all have different needs of course…

I didn’t get anything done in the garden today, so what you see here is how far I got Wednesday. Today I have spent the day mostly on my sofa taking care of a hugely swollen right arm, after getting an insect bite late Wednesday afternoon. It was probably a bird flea that bit me, there are lots of them in the garden at this time of year and I have already got 3 bites before in the last 6 weeks, every bite giving me a bigger and bigger reaction. After a restless night with a painful arm and most of the day feeling pretty bad, my face started swelling up and the pain and itching started spreading from my arm to my chest and back. I decided it was finally time to go to the A&E to get something stronger than the anti-histamines I had been munching away on the last nearly 24 hours. When I undressed for the doctor my whole arm got revealed in all its horror, as I really only had seen my hand since getting up in the morning. My arm is swollen like a thick piece of timber! No wonder it hurts. When I sat waiting in the A&E – only 2 hours wait today – sometimes it can be as much as 4 hours, my tongue started swelling up too, not so much that I couldn’t breathe, but enough so I could feel it when swallowing and talking.  And all this for a bird flea so small you can hardly see them. I get really bad reactions from mosquito bites too, but luckily I haven’t had a mosquito bite for many years now and I never sit outside after it has got dark, that’s just inviting to get stung. So that’s what I did today, no gardening for me. And no gardening tomorrow neither; if I can manage to get out of bed tomorrow I have a hospital appointment to see my physiotherapist. It is one of those ‘whole day’ trips, with hospital transport in to Central London, so it is going to be a looooong day.

Let me finish with a picture of my cat I took here the other day, I haven’t had a picture of him here for a long time. I got a cupboard upstairs on the landing where I keep my bed linen, and for some reason my cat just loves to lie in that cupboard. Whenever I open the doors to the cupboard to get something, he will come running and ask to be let in, even if he is downstairs he will come running up the stairs and sit next to me looking up and ask to be lifted up so he can crawl in and lie down. He can lie and sleep in that cupboard for hours and only jump out when he needs to go out. Cats are funny animals, aren’t they?!

That’s it for tonight, my left hand is tired from typing and my right hand and arm is really hurting; I am off to have a long bath and then to find my bed. See you next time, take care.

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