I have been working my socks off around the garden - doing all those jobs that I keep meaning to do and never get the time.
Most people, I am sure, have 'junk' areas - those sorts of places that 'stuff' just collects - well I don't any more.
Take this area for example - I wish I had taken a 'before' photo, but I was too embarrassed. It is beside my studio, out of sight, hidden, hence it became just a place to 'dump' trays of empty pots, seed trays, compost etc. - anything that didn't have a proper 'home'.
It was covered in weeds too! So I weeded it, got rid of all the junk - a trip to the (not so local) recycle dump sorted that. I laid thick plastic - not membrane. Recycled a couple of the pergola posts, recycled some gravel from the garden, and voila - a gooseberry bush bed with a couple of little rhubarb plants. We moved some slabs that were just piled up there too and put them at the back of the studio and weeded that - so its now perfect!
Another problem area was when you come in the side gate next to the bungalow. It's an awkward area as there is a path then it plunges down a dip (in Norfolk they call it a hill - we are living at the bottom of a slight incline!
Again - no before photos - but there was a ladder which had leant against the wall for 10+ years. I bought the brackets - but Mr Lottie wouldn't help me put them on the wall. He didn't refuse - it was always 'at the weekend' when its not so hot/cold/wet/ you get the idea. And so it was that this useless waste of space was just the place to put sacks of garden waste ready to take up the allotment, sacks of horse manure that our friend delivered, more trays of pots/seed trays/ anything really just got put there 'out of the way' to be moved later. I got so fed up with keep moving stuff so this was my solution
After getting rid of all the 'junk', weeding it thoroughly, adding gravel, I had the brain wave of moving and planting up some pots of hostas. It's just the right place - shady!
And - at last I got Patrick to put up the ladder hangers - with my help and supervision!
He is so pleased now with how it looks. 'It only took 10 years', I said.
'Don't exaggerate', he said, 'It's five years'.
After a lot of deliberation and working out dates and events - we agreed it was nine!
Who says that I am not a patient woman huh?
I have also, single handedly cleared out the other side of the bungalow. Yes you guessed it another 'storage area' for 'useful' things. Apart from the weeds between and along each side of the paving slabs, I had a broody ark, another larger wooden chicken ark, (just in case I needed them), these were covered with half a dozen bent corrugated sheets of iron, a big heavy cold frame, a wheel barrow, some pots managed to find their way around there, a plastic sack or pots, and under the oil tank I found six more bantam eggs!
The broody ark and big heavy cold frame made out of windows have gone to new homes via Freecycle - I got 20+ replies to my advert. The pots have been sorted and in the lean to, I have weeded it all, swept it, and dismantled the other chicken ark so that it is packed flat and that's wrapped up and destined for the garage. I am keeping that one 'just in case' you understand.
I spent some time up the allotment on Friday - not much, about an hour or two. We were having a clear out - must be something I have eaten as I am getting everything de-cluttered. I inherited lots of metal when I took over the plot - corrugated sheets of iron, poles, rusty chicken wire, lots of wood. All the metal pieces have now gone - the farmer was having a clear out, and had a trailer of waste metal - so we added ours to his - and more from home too. When we saw him on Saturday he said, 'Scrap metal is worth a fortune these days - guess how much I got for the junk I have had in my shed for 50 years - plus your bits - £230! He was clearing out even more stuff with great enthusiasm when we saw him!
I am thrilled to bits with how the garden is shaping up - so much easier to manage. I just have one area left to clear - and once we have our little shed assembled then that will sort that out.
Yesterday was tipping it down with rain on and off, so I paid a visit to a chap in the village and bought some annuals to for the garden.
I prefer perrennials for the structure they give, like the delphiniums above just about to burst into bloom, and tend to go for English cottage garden flowers - which are seasonal. During the summer there is often a bit of a famine of colour, and annuals fill that gap nicely. I always used to grow my own, but decided to buy them this year.
I took these photos at 8pm this evening when I went out to call the chooks in for the night. It doesn't do this garden justice - its almost on fire with the yellows, oranges, and gold.
I spent quite a time today filling up big pots with topsoil and compost and annuals. This if full of fuschias - trailing for the edges, and bushes for the middle. I just know it will look picture mid summer to the first frosts.
I had to enlist help lifting these huge pots - they are really heavy even empty!
It took three bags of topsoil to fill them and half a bag of compost!
I have filled them with geraniums, nemesias, and trailing petunias which smell wonderful. It won't be long before they are tumbling over the side of the pots!
I have lost a few sunflowers in the bed - my fault entirely, I planted them out when they were a bit too small and they got scratched up by the chooks - but don't the courgette plants look good - they have really grown and escaped being dug out.
See how easily I get distracted - I only went out to call the banties in!
It's a game of hide and seek with them sometimes. They are so tiny and are easily hidden in/under/ the plants and shrubs.
And it's only when I get right up close that I can see them
It's still hard to see Poppy on the left having a dust bath with Daisy looking on.
I am captivated by these little hens, always have been, always will be - and I have been seriously tempted to add to my flock having seen some little chicks yesterday!
I expect you are wondering about those eggs I found under the oil tank - well I did the float test and they were all perfect!