Saturday, May 29, 2010

Garden makeover - right up to date!

Patrick has been painting the fence and finished it on Thursday
I have made wigwams and planted runner beans in the raised beds and some salad leaves and a few courgettes - all desperately needed planting.
I have also another wigwam of climbing beans on a raised bed next to the rhubarb

I was worn out after an appointment Friday, but when we came home, rain was forecast for Saturday afternoon - so we just had to get the lawns mowed.  (I am a hard taskmaster aren't I)

It was very much a joint effort with Patrick mowing the front and me doing the back.  He had to get the mower started for me as we had problems with both the petrol and electric one.  I think we should invest in a new mower - one with a push button start instead of pulling the string - it would be so much easier.
The wood edging I put all along the path has worked - the chooks no longer scratch up the gravel onto the path and garden

But hey - we did it! We mowed all the lawns!
I am not too impressed with the quality of turf - but I am sure that it will pick up with some rain

It is really taking shape now, and I think it looks so  much better.
I pruned the willow arch and covered up the patio table and umbrella - wishful thinking that the rain forecast will arrive.

The garden is starting to look lush now - despite the heatwave and lack of water.
Maxine's bed is going to be stunning. 

Reluctantly I pulled up most of the forget-me-nots which had gone to seed, but the lupins are racing away and are almost luminescent as dusk starts to fall.  They are just coming into flower

I have popped some cosmos seedlings in amongst the Alstromeria perennials - the little twigs are to keep the bantams off.

This gorgeous is flowering for the first time this year - I think it is because the pergola has been removed and they are now in full light
They look like a form of Iris - but with fine leaves and more than one flower on a stem.

The pathway under the now removed pergola should look a riot of colour this year.
Just in view on the left is a willow wigwam with a clematis growing through it - I have high hopes for this

I have weeded the woodland garden - it flowers later in the year, but the shrubs positively glow, and the chickens love rummaging around in there.
Where the chair is is the corner, where the gazebo used to be, I have laid out the turf that Pat dug up - grass side down - to rot and create perfect soil for a continuation of the woodland bed.

My garden studio with a new coat of woodstain - I have only been in there to vacuum up the floor once the gardeners had gone.  It's calling me to relax and do some crafting. 

I hear you - but I have got to go up the allotment first before I can pay a visit.

The lean-to potting shed - has had a coat of stain and looks so much better.  The door and frame came out of the wall completely, so I had a man in to fix it for me.
This side way was a complete mess - wish I had taken before photos.
Basically the chooks used to scratch all the gravel from the sides every day over this pathway, plus soil from the flower beds.  I have weeded out all the self sown flowers - mainly hollyhocks which are huge and grew over the path.  Taken out all the weeds, and recycled some of the 4x4 roof struts of the pergola to create an edge as I did alongside the bungalow - just to stop the chooks scratching any soil or gravel onto the slabs.

I had transplanted my tomato plants twice before, and now I have planted them in pots where they will stay for the summer in the lean to potting shed.  They will grow really quickly from now on!

Apart from the above, I have weeded every flower bed in the back garden, moved sacks of top soil, sand and cement.  Tidied up lots of other areas - cleaned the filter in the pond pump five times since it was installed.  Planted up many pots of flowers - with lots more to do besides.

I have the bruises, splinters, and scratches to show for it.

But do you know what?  I feel so happy and 'alive' to be outside working - even if it is late in the evening.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Busy, busy, busy - Garden update.

I don't seem to have had time to sneeze, let alone update my blogs.

The reason being that I/we have been doing a makeover of the garden - and it's taken me ages, as I can only do it when the sun goes in.

In the last post here we had had the pergola taken down, 18 turfs laid, the fish pond cleared of excessive plants, and the new pump fitted - oh and some wood attached to strengthen my somewhat 'Heath Robinson' home made chicken run - which is now my fruit and veggie cage.

Patrick and myself took down and cleared and dumped the Gazebo, and tidied everything up.

Here are some updated photos - for my records really - so that I can look back at everything that has changed.

The tiresome job each evening of watering the turf and transplanted tree and plants.
This was six days ago - and still no rain - just hot sunshine all day.

I will be out there doing my rain dance this weekend - goodness knows what our water bill will be!

The new turf is suffering despite the nightly watering, but the pond area looks heaps better without the net and there is a lot more bird activity around it now that they can drink from the pond.

Not the chooks though - thank goodness

The grotty corner where the gazebo was. I have painted one fence panel, but had to stop to trim back all the shrubs and vegetation to get to the rest of the fence.  I was really cruel and cut everything hard back - with a view to making topiary trees out of the laurel hedging.

Poppy strutting her stuff.  Her new flight feathers are just starting to grow back

A bit of respite - to look at the plants coming into flower - Aquelegia is everywhere having self sown and in all different colours - from 'Black Knight' to palest pink

These were taken late evening so not very bright - best stick to the makeover pictures
Well as it had been too hot, and sunny making it impossible for me to go up the allotment field.
I persuaded Pat to bring me a couple of raised beds back for the garden.
He was not amused, but he knew that if he didn't - I would just do it myself.
So whilst I was clearing another part of the garden, he dug out the bed for me.
Rather reluctantanly - but he did it bless him

As soon as he was finished, I put in the raised beds,  filled them with top soil and well rotted manure, and laid turf around the rough area beside them

The chickens joined in, and in turns, all jumped in and mixed it all up for me, whilst I got back to the boring task of clearing the fence panels and pruning

It's going to be worth it!

There was so much to do, but already it looks better

It was a horrid job, but it had to be done, and Patrick couldn't do it, but he is going to dump all the sacks of prunings for me.

What's that saying?

'The couple that play together, stay together'

It sure works for us!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two in a bath

Daisy was enjoying a nice quiet dustbath when Gozzie arrived
 and shoved her out
She was not amused!

Have you noticed their new nose jobs?
I have fitted them all with anti pecking rings - as one or more of them keep plucking the feathers from the game birds necks!

Zola was next for the bath - you can see a video of her here 
She bathed for ages - about half a hour then just dozed in the sunshine.

The anti-pecking rings don't stop them doing anything they would normally do, except being able to pluck out feathers.  Once the girls feathers have grown back I will gradually remove the rings and hopefully the plucking will have stopped.
I have tried using sprays - very expensive and smelly ones at that - but as soon as the feathers grow back the plucking starts.

I saw Poppy doing it when the girls were sunbathing once - they didn't seem to mind - but you have to be careful in case it becomes a habit and their 'cannibal' nature 'kicks in' - then it becomes a serious problem.

It's the first time I have ever had a feather plucking problem amongst chickens - maybe it's just the Sebrights that do it - it's the first time I have had that breed

We shall see.

Friday, May 21, 2010

On the hunt for worms and frogs

We demolished the gazebo on Saturday and the bantam babes were quick off the mark to scratch around hunting for frogs and worms which were under the floor amongst the leaves.

You can see them HERE on video

Because I have to keep out of the sun, I have been gardening in the evening - until around 9.30pm - so it has been too dark to take photos.

Hope to take some tomorrow if  can.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Little and larger

Just had to show you these eggs laid this week.

The one on the right is a standard size bantam egg - which is small - half the size of a chicken egg
The egg on the left is a miniscule one.  It even had a pin prick sized yolk inside.

These are some of the yolks - they are really really a deep orange

Garden Update

As it has been incredibly hot and sunny - I have been either gardening in the shady parts of the garden - or as last night - gardening in the evening until late.

These pictures were taken at almost 9pm last night.  The turf has been laid around the edges now, and I have to spend quite a time watering it in.

I love this time of the  year, with all the lovely fresh perennials suddenly shooting up

Some of my strawberry runners I potted up are starting to flower

They are looking quite good

My lettuce seedlings are now starting to look like lettuce!

I have planted more of my salad seedlings amongst the strawberry runners
In a few days time they will be upstanding

These look rather limp-just been planted and watered - but in a few days time....

It was getting rather dark - I took this quick photo from inside the 'cage'.
We need to put new netting over the top - it's got a new roof structure, so the cane with the milk bottle holding up the netting with be a thing of the past.

You can just see some of the new turf - in a few weeks' time once they have rooted and knitted into the existing lawn you won't be able to see the join!

Gravel paths gone, wall knocked down and just a low capped wall.
At this point it got too dark to take any more photos.
Lots of new turf - making the garden look so much bigger.
The cage looks a bit rustic - but so do I!
I'll take more photos over the weekend - they are for my records so that I can see how it progresses over the summer

Monday, May 17, 2010

Smash and grab

We had visitors arriving for the weekend on Saturday, but a their ETA was just after lunch time we decided to do a bit of demolition work!

The poor Gazebo took a real bettering over the winter

After much thought we decided to demolish it, as it would cost too much to restore it and maintain it.

There's nothing better a 'boy' loves to do than a bit of demolition work with a hammer!  (Apart frm a bonfire that is)

So unperturbed by bantams sratching around underfoot

He had a smashing time with the sledgehammer

And I got the short staw of removing all the roofing felt and bagging it up

Next came all the trellis work

As fast as I grabbed it and barrowed it away - more was waiting when I got back!

You would never expect such a huge pile of wood from a simple structure - but it was solidly made!

Underneath the floor was a deep layer of leaves which the girls loved, so I left them playing before I dug it over.  They also found some frogs and worms - I didn't linger to watch at that point

When they had exhausted their search of anything living they went off and left me to it

I dug it over, tidied it all up, and this week I hope to paint the back fence
The gardeners are coming to finish off their work - laying some turf, changing the pond pump, and tidying up.  Then I will be doing the 'finishing' touches.  Moving any surplus topsoil , sand and gravel.  Buy and planting up more of the woodland garden, and in the Autumn planting lots of bulbs for next Spring.

As you can imagine - I am feeling rather tired after all that and a busy weekend entertaining, but it is such a happy tired!