Monday, 31 March 2014

The Big Garden Clear Up

March has been a particularly busy month for us, but over the past few weeks, we've managed to give the garden a good sort out.
Unlike other parts of the UK, we've been fairly lucky & although we have had wind damage, it's been confined to the garden. Other parts of the country have not been so fortunate -  Mother Nature will always have the upper hand though, no matter what we do.
Thankfully, we've had no flooding, although, on our jaunts to Canterbury hospital, we've seen houses with hose pipes hanging out of cellar doors, basement windows & letter boxes. We've seen village greens looking more like village ponds & we've seen swans & ducks making themselves at home in front gardens :o)
The wind has been pretty damaging & in my garden, the fruit & veg cage are no more :o( The fruit cage will be replaced, but as I no longer have as much time to tend to my veggies as I used to, I've decided that I will grow a few things in large pots & turn the veg patch into a large flower bed :o)
With this in mind, we set to & started clearing the fallen branches & dismantling the cages. Luckily, 'imself's foster brother was able to give us a hand.
This pic shows part of a branch that fell on the fruit cage.

My poor veg cage :o(

When the branch came down, it managed to move the bench & the arbour thingy by about 3 feet & somehow wedged it b etween the path & Kit's Korner, my little memorial garden. It took quite a bit of shifting to get it back into place.

The veg cage from the front. Well & truly mangled.

Colin & Shaun trying to hack their way through all the fallen bits & bobs.

We couldn't get Shaun's wheelchair up to where he needed to be, but he managed to get his walker there, so made himself as comfy as possible on the seat & Colin & I did all the running around, while he was Foreman :o)

The pea shingle area was in desperate need of a good weeding. When we did that part of the garden, we put down weed suppressing material, but it seems it doesn't last for more than a year or two.
We're trying to come up with something else to put in this part of the garden now - unfortunately, nothing much grows here because of the hedge roots & because it's a very shaded area.

The fruit & veg cages - GONE !!!

 I dug the veg plot over, weeded it & then plonked Morty the ghost in place :o) The large black tub has rhubarb in it & has now been moved elsewhere. Grandson 1a's little blue garden is falling apart & still needs to be disposed of. He was upset about that at first, but now he's quite happy because I've given him a rhubarb crown of his own & two pots to grow white flowers in for his Mum :o)

With the help of some fab friends, who decided to take over & rearrange my garden, the little house that Grandsons 1a & 1b use to keep their outdoor toys in & the bench & arbour thingy, were moved further up the garden, allowing me to utilise the areas they came from.

The beginings of the new flower bed :o) I've planted over 300 bulbs, transplanted a couple of hemerocallis & about 8 hyacinths. In the greenhouse are seed trays of sunflowers, lupins, larkspur, poppies, cornflowers, aquilegia & others that I've forgotten :o) I think I'm going to be very busy over the next couple of months, so fingers crossed the weather is nice.

 We also hacked down this bush. Why ? For a couple of reasons, really. Firsdtly because every time I hung the washing on the line, it got caught in the bush & secondly, because we have plans to make this part of the garden more wheelchair friendly :o)

Now you see it, now you don't :o) It took a fair amount of getting out. Shaun sat in his wheelchair & cut it down in an afternoon, but the root had to be dug out & we had to wait for Colin to help again. Grandson 1a did his bit too - he sat on the edge of the hole & kicked at the root with all his 5 year old strength :o)

This photo just shows an uninterrupted view of the garden from the conservatory step, now that the bush has gone. It really opens up the garden, just as getting rid of the veg cage & the dead trees at the far end of the garden has :o)
The plans to make the garden more wheelchair friendly are to dig up the grass to the left of the dotted red line & lay slabs down. We would, ideally, like to put a slope in from the end of the slabbed area but that means digging up part of the rockery, where the bird bath is. If we ever manage to get that done, then I'll slab around the rose bush etc. & will then oput my veg pots on there.
But, in the meantime, the veggies will be grown here:

where the boys' little house used to be :o)
As you can see, the compost is ready to be put in the pots, but before I do that, I want to get the veggies under way in the greenhouse. I really don't want to fill the pots now because the local cats will think I've opened a public convenience just for them !! :o)
The large black pot in the middle is the one from the veg plot that has rhubarb in it. The two terracotta pots will have runner beans & the other two black pots will have courgettes. In the greenhouse, I have two troughs with Iceberg & Little Gem lettuces & two troughs with Moneymaker & Gardener's Delight tomatoes in.  I'm running a bit behind because I've still got to sow runner beans, courgettes, pepper & Dwarf beans, but with luck, if I sow them in the greenhouse, they won't be too far behind.

Since I took the photos, I've planted more plants & bulbs in the ex-veg patch & the blossom has started to appear on the pear & plum trees.  
All we need now is for Spring to start proper & the days to get longer & warmer :o)