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Waiting for spring

          The flowerbeds have recovered slightly since “Storm Bella“. I’ve cut back the climbing roses to take away the spindly bits of stems at the ends and I’ve taken off the remaining bedraggled leaves from last year. I’ve sprayed the new buds to give them a good desease-free start, so now there’s not much I can do until we get a bit more of a break in the weather.

          The walls need a bit of touching up in the garden this year in some places, such as behind the flowerbeds, more than others, but obviously, dryer weather will give a better resullt.

         I’ve replaced both the arches now, they’re very low quality ones and so need replacing every-other year, they’re very low cost though so it sort of balances out. I did think of getting better quality ones so they’d last, but the arches aren’t equal and getting some made to measure didn’t come anywhere near budget, the less expensive ones have a lot more give in them, so I can squeeze or expand them to fit, and as they’re now secured to the wall with hooks, they’ll take the weight of the roses fine … I just need to remember to cut back the unsecured stems before the winter storms and not after.

          I’ll be painting around the door and windows of the fairy house, I’ve had to add a couple of big stones to step up to the door because the soil in the beds seems to have sunk. That’s OK though, it makes it easier for me to paint around the edges, and once it’s all painted, I’ll tip a couple of bags of compost around the plants to raise the level back up again. I’m sure the plants will appreciate the boost in goodness to the soil.

          That’ll be almost it then. I’ll give the cast iron garden decorations a quick rub down and a couple of new coats of hammerite to stop the rust and apart from the grass we’ll be done. But for now, I’m just waiting for spring.

          More from before : Going’s on in my “Garden“.

Storm Bella

After such lovely weather for our “Christmas morning” wander storm Bella swept in on Boxing Day. To be fair, we didn’t have any big plans for Boxing Day anyway so they weren’t interrupted. Hubby and Mum-in-law were quite entertained with the wall-to-wall sport on TV, and I just pootled about the house and tackled the settings on my new tablet, a present from Hubby with a much bigger screen for video calls to the girls.

         Storm Bella didn’t announce herself with a huge bang, she breezed in swiftly amidst some horizontal rain so as the daylight faded we pulled together the heavy curtains on the bay windows, turned the lights on, turned the heating up and settled down for evening with Mum-in-law.

          I woke up briefly during the night, I could hear Bella throwing a bit of a tantrum outside but I just huddled down under the warm duvet and went back to sleep. Then, when I emerged from my cocoon this morning, Hubby waylaid me before I went downstairs…”There’s been a bit of storm damage in the garden”, he warned.

          The whole of Weymouth is built on clay, a trade off for being surrounded by so much water I suppose. Big foundations are fine, and there was no subsidence detected on, or rather under, our house when we had the investigations done before buying. However add-on’s, such as garden walls, do have a tendency to move. When “Building the Garden” one such movement was tackled on the left hand side wall. The broken blocks on the wall were replaced and the crack repaired, then the wall was anchored to the front and back of the flowerbed walls on their new foundations.

I obviously moved a lot of ground when I basically turned the Garden upside-down by putting the old smashed up paths and wall etc underneath the nice soil to create the raised lawn and during the time since then, there’s been a little “settling”, causing a few cracks to appear which are waiting to be filled and painted in the spring… With Hubby’s worried expression I was fearing the worst, imagining that the high winds had caused the side wall to topple down into next-door’s garden. A quick look from the back bedroom window reassured me that storm Bella hadn’t penertrated my defences.

          A little rubbish, no doubt from someone’s windblown recycling, was scattered around the garden and the cat had blown off the shed roof. The cat was ok, a little bent and probably carryingz few more scratches, but again a coat of spring paint would fix that. The two baby dragons had succumbed to the wind but had toppled onto the grass. Howevef, the two solar powered lights which were pretending to be rocks had blown over their respective walls into next-door’s gardens either side. They are back a little worse for wear and I’ve given up on trying to repair them. They weren’t quite as effective as I would have liked them to be so its no big deal really.

The main casualty was the rose next to the gate on the righthand flowerbed. This was the same rose that took a battering last year, I must remember to cut it back next year before storm season and not during. The rose itself didn’t get damaged this time and both arches were due to be replaced this spring, so again, no big deal that the arch has been broken. I’ve done a little damage limitation, I’ve taken away the buckled side of the arch and tied the rose temporarily up to the hook in the wall. I’ve ordered the new arches a little earlier than planned, and as soon as there’s a spell of better weather I’ll be out in the garden preparing it for spring… Can you see a hint of the spring bulbs in the bottom of the flowerbed ?

          More from before : Going’s on in my “Garden.

Green fingers

        What is this strange feeling I’ve found while poking around in my flowerbeds ?  Surely I’m not turning into a Gardener ?

         I’ve been weeding around the alpines as they’ve grown, I did take away the protective sea shells once the plants were established, but the cat visited again so I’ve put some back as the cat doesn’t like them.  I was a little disappointed last year with the lack of flowers on most of the alpines, but they’ve more than made up this year.

          The daffs did well in the right bed, but not so well on the left.  I’m planning on adding a border of daffs in the front garden this year so I can just pop a few in the left bed at the same time.

          I moved a few of the larger bulbs, the honey lilies and purple pom-poms, back underneath the arches so that I could offer them more support and they rewarded my interference by mostly not flowering this year, again the right bed has done better than the left.

          The roses have taken by far the lion’s share of looking after, regular spraying to avoid a repeat of last year’s greenfly and rust attacks on my red roses, and the replacement of my yellow rose with a second orange one.  There’s been a regular watering and feeding program through the last week or so of unseasonally warm weather as well as some deadheading of the spent blooms most eveninings.

          The grass, originally nice fresh turf, isn’t looking quite so green as it did at first.  We only lost one little spot, which was quite good, but now it’s a bit sparce all over.  I scattered a few seeds and I’ve been keeping up the watering, as well as keeping down the weeds, I’ll just keep it happy through the summer now, and scatter some more seeds in September.

          Until then, I’ll just sit in one of the chairs you can see at “The other end” of the garden, I’ll put my feet up on a second chair, sit back with the scent of fresh coffee, and maybe close my eyes for a moment or two while I listen to the birds flying back and for to the feeders. 

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          More from before : Going’s on in my “Garden