Confession time. no 1.

They say that confession is good for the soul, so here goes.

I have not shown you certain areas of the garden for years now as I have thoroughly neglected them since my dear undergardener died five years ago, it has taken me all my time to keep the rest of the garden presentable. I now feel quite ashamed at the state that it had all got into and the time had come for me to do something about it. This was brought home to me when my roofer, Joseph, (remember storms Eunice and Franklyn in February?) asked if he could see the garden, he wanted to see how far it went, he had been looking at the garden when he was up on the roof and couldn’t see where it ended! I didn’t want to take him up through the pergola to what used to be the fruit and veggie garden as I knew it was such a dreadful mess, but he insisted. This is what he was confronted with….

when you got to the end of the pergola, you couldn’t get any further!

Nature had been really quick to reclaim it.

Brambles and nettles had gone mad, along with masses of ash tree seedlings.

Joseph told me not to worry, he could slash and hack everything down in no time. I thought “hacking and slashing” weren’t words that I would ever hear in my garden, but thought – why not- as everything would be dead by now and there was no damage that he could do. He came the next day and started, look what he found……..

He found some raised beds, originally there were quite a lot, I gave Joseph a plan of where they were so he wouldn’t fall over them!

and he found a fence panel that had fallen over where the raspberries used to be.

He soon had everything slashed and hacked back, then it was a question of getting the bramble and nettle roots out.

This work had to fit in with all his other work of course so it was a while before he came again. In the meantime I started to get rid of the ivy on the fence by the field, that took quite some doing and by this time the weather was hotting up and the ground was getting harder and harder. Joseph finished the ivy and it took him a fraction of the time it had taken me!

I also made a start on clearing the ivy from the pergola uprights, it was fiddly but I got there in the end.

I had to decide which beds I wanted to keep and which could go. A lot of the boards had rotted but some could be used to patch others.

Now that there is just me living here I don’t need to grow anywhere near the same amount of food that I once did when the family were here, so decided that half the area could be planted up as a little Acer glade and I could have a bench there for quiet contemplation!

These beds on the left hamd side could be kept for salad leaves, veggies a bit of fruit and a nursery bed for sowing hardy plants and growing cuttings on before planting out.

Starting to look a lot better now. The new wood was found in the garage and was left over from when we had the conservatory built nearly 30 yrs ago, I knew it would come in handy one day!

It’s so good to see lots of clear space at last, I’d forgotten what a large area it was.

So much space to play with, now trying to get it raked level once more, Joseph has moved the soil from the redundant raised beds to top up the remaining ones. Any gardening that was done by me was done from 5am onwards, it was far too hot for me to work after 10am! Joseph worked so hard in the heat, I tried to keep him supplied with chilled drinks, the poor man was shattered by the time he finished each day.

For a long time I was still finding bramble shoots trying to trip me up, it was quite hard digging them all out. Eventually I gave up and will do the rest once the rain has softened the soil.

No this isn’t just a pile of rotten planks , I asked Joseph to make a place of safety for the toad, frogs and newts that live nearby  in the garden and use the pond for breeding etc. My new planting will be in front of it so it won’t be seen and the wildlife can hopefully live there undisturbed.

I think that will do for the first instalment, I must now get a lot of compost dug into the soil  in the raised beds to improve it and into the area where I will be planting my Acer glade. Loads of compost was delivered the other day by Joseph’s sister and their Dad. His sister has a business delivering compost all over Devon. The gravel will need topping up later when everything has been raked level and the planting will hopefully take place October/November time when Nature can do the watering! I will let you know how I’m getting on and when I eventually get round to the planting. We have now had some much needed rain but I will need a lot more to soften the soil to a decent depth before I add the compost, also it will need to be a bit cooler!



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12 Responses to Confession time. no 1.

  1. Allison says:

    What a fun restoration project! No shame attached either. We all have such areas (and not for such understandable reasons)

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Allison, you’re very kind. I have enjoyed the redesigning of the area, it is a long time since I have tackled such a large project, I can see it all in my head, just hope it turns out to be the same when it is completed!

  2. Denise says:

    Wow, what a project Pauline! You certainly don’t do things by half measures. How amazing it is that nature so quickly takes over again. Your plans for the area sound lovely and I look forward to following its progress. I feel sure your undergardener will be keeping a watchful eye too.

    • Pauline says:

      It was a case of “needs must” Denise once I had shown it to Joseph. I can’t help but think back, to when I was both younger and more energetic, it was a lot easier then, it must be a good 20 yrs since I have tackled such an area! We have had a fair amount of rain now, but still need more to soften the soil so that I can work it level. I would think that the undergardener would be thinking “At last, and about time too”!

  3. Frank says:

    Oh my gosh that’s a change! Good for you taking it on and giving the area a little more ‘guidance’. New areas are always fun, and honestly there’s always a section or two of this garden which go wild due to neglect each year. I just have a much harsher winter which resets the garden and gives plenty of down time to regroup.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes!

    • Pauline says:

      Having confessed to you all Frank, I’ll just have to get on with it now won’t I! I have always enjoyed doing new areas in the past, it just takes longer now as I’m a lot older and with our milder winters we don’t have any down time to regroup, it’s non stop gardening, I’ll get there though, eventually!

      • Frank says:

        Haha, I usually put off revealing new projects so that no one realizes how long they actually take! Yours is already well on its way though. Vegetable gardens are a lot of work, but as long as you’re not counting on the potatoes it can be fun!

        • Pauline says:

          At least by telling you Frank, I can’t put it off now can I, it will make me get on with it, which will be good. There’s no rush to do it as planting won’t take place until autumn when I can move and split plants that are in the rest of the garden. I’m hoping not to have to buy too many plants. I already have 3 of the Acers for the Acer glade, one is a seedling, one is in a pot and the other is planted in the woodland but it has been suffering in the drought with all the huge trees sucking up any available moisture so will benefit being moved elsewhere. Can’t wait, but I’ll have to, still a lot more work to do first!

  4. Cathy says:

    What a revealing post Pauline, and what a trooper your roofer (?!) Joseph is!! I wonder how you felt as these areas were revealed again – it must have brought back bittersweet memories, I guess. For me, it made me think ahead to what the future might hold in my own circumstances. Anyway, it’s not Joseph who has worked hard as you have been quietly getting stuck into it yourself and it’s astonishing the progress that has been made – over how long a period, Pauiline? I look forward to hearing more

    • Pauline says:

      All the really hard hard work has been done by Joseph Cathy,who is a roofer and double glazer, so as well as the tiles on the roof, he replaced the 2 panes of glass in the conservatory that were also smashed in February.I would never have thought of asking him to do some clearing of the garden, but he just wanted to see where the garden ended and offered to hack and slash when he saw the mess that I had! He had a look when he had finished the conservatory on May 30th and started hacking and slashing on May 31st. His next visit was Jubilee weekend, he was rewarded with a large piece of Jubilee Pavlova as it was so very hot, poor man! Next visit took place on July 11th, then he finished his work on August 2nd and 3rd. I was doing little bits in between his visits and then carried on until it got far too hot for me to work. Now it has cooled down a bit I must get back to it and finish digging out the bramble roots which keep trying to trip me up! Progress reports will be posted when there is something worth seeing!

  5. snowbird says:

    Goodness, what a transformation! It really is looking wonderful. A lot of my garden went wild when my hip started playing up, it really is hard going trying to reclaim

    • Pauline says:

      Nature is so quick to take it back Dina, I’m sure the wildlife enjoyed the brambles and nettles, they must have been having a wonderful time in there until I came along and spoilt it.x

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