Before and after 

I’ve been in tenderhooks all week, wondering if the base for my shed would be acceptable. This became all the more a concern, once I realised just how much I needed the shed.

The wind the other day not only made a lot of noise and created disarray around the garden because of misplaced objects but these objects, I subsequently noticed, had almost denuded the bay tree. 

Eight-thirty this morning: view from the kitchen window

However, the men who installed the shed this afternoon were not only efficient in their work but added some wood to balance out the base. It was only a tiny section: I’d forgotten to consider longways. 

Anyway, I am ecstatic. Shaws for Sheds is a company I would definitely recommend. The shiplap, tantalised frame plus delivery and installation weren’t cheap but after some of the experiences I’ve had with shed suppliers (and their offerings), they have been a godsend.

Four o’clock this afternoon: view from the kitchen window

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A crash in the night

Last night, there were high winds and inevitably there was disturbance in the garden. Friday can’t come soon enough for somewhere to store all the garden paraphernalia dotted about outside.

This is what the wind did to stuff piled up on and around the herb garden:

That might not seem like much but more surprising is the lid of one of the bins being blown up and over. Especially considering that with two hands I had trouble pulling it back up into position!

However, I had a call from the company who are bringing the shed today, so the fact that I am getting one seems more real. And it looks like one of the tomato seeds has germinated, so I’m eager to sow some more stuff. More reasons to look forward to Friday😊.

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Herb bed extension

A few years ago, whilst making a trench in the back garden, I came across an empty crisp packet from when the house was being built. Somehow it felt a bit creepy, even though the design of the packets hadn’t significantly changed.

Today, I had a similar moment, whilst clearing away the sand and rubble from the patch on the patio I wanted to turn into ground suitable for growing things in. First came a piece of plastic sheeting,

which at first I had been concerned about disturbing, in case it was somehow connected to the drains. Fortunately, it wasn’t. But then I found a block which was a bit like a sponge but harder and covered in foil.

So, one way or another I am starting to see how archaeologists end up with work to do. Human beings haven’t evolved much.

Anyway, I couldn’t clear as much of the rubble as I might have done, as my back started to twinge. Now, of all the parts of my body I expected to suffer, it never occurred to me that the back would be the thing that might give out first. Still, it lasted until I had made my latest hugel bed, where part of the patio used to be – and the soil mound on top of the strawberries has been reduced quite considerably.

I don’t have enough soil to cover the other side of patio which has also lost its flagstones. So, it looks like I might have to buy in top soil, which is a bit of a shame. However, that’s tomorrow’s problem.

The bed I built today will need to settle. There is also the possibility of strawberries growing in it, as well as spring flowers, as I can’t be sure I got all the bulbs out. But I’m going to sow phacelia so that its roots can condition the soil and we’ll see how it goes.

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Getting to the bottom of matters 

Yesterday, we went on the hunt for a shed. Not only did it need to be a good quality shed, it needed to be delivered, carried through to my back garden and installed on a day I would be at home. 

The first place proved to be a bit awkward, since I would have had to carry the shed parts from the front to the back of the house myself and then wait a week for installation. Mm.. Fortunately, the next place, as recommended by people at the Old Sleningford volunteer workday, turned out to be my saviour.

A bit more pricey, but on top of the aforementioned stipulations, I had been hopeful of tantalised ship lap, and that’s what I’ll be getting – with more secure bolts, to boot. However, I realised that the base as laid down a couple of weeks ago would not do. It wobbled, was lopsided, uneven and not big enough. 

After working on it this morning and again later in the afternoon, it is no longer quite so wanting. And I think it should now pass muster.

I had to lift two of the flagstones, which turned out to be a lot easier than anticipated. Then I brought sand up from the patio to even out the ground (and got to use the spirit level I always knew I would need someday) and enlarged the base with smaller flagstones and bricks.

Apart from the advantage of being able to repurpose the sand from the patio – or rather some of it – moving it meant I got to see how deep it was and what was underneath. 

Well, it turns out to be on a bed of yellow clay and the sand is rocky (or maybe it’s bits of concrete). So, I’m going to move the soil currently covering half my strawberries, which was dug up from the area where the shed base now sits, to replace the sand.

Maybe I need to do a bit more clearance from the patio, having learned that builders sand may have growth inhibitors in it, but one way or another the garden is going to look a bit different in the near future!

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Springing up 

What with going away last weekend and it still being too dark when I get home from work, not an awful lot of gardening has got done recently. 

However, my curiosity has been piqued by the appearance of bulbs underneath the bay tree. How many times have I reacted with consternation at the goings-on in the garden? Well, this is another occasion when I have no answers.

When I built the hugel bed last February, I am certain that there were no bulbs in the soil in that spot. Furthermore, I can hardly imagine planting any flowers there, considering it is supposed to be herb garden.

In any case, now the bulbs are there I will just have to see what they turn out to be. Then dig them out and move them on – unless they are Spanish bluebells. I definitely don’t want any of these anywhere front or back (apart from the back border, as my neighbour is rather partial to them there).

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Tame deer

The other day at Belton House in Lincolnshire we were in the playground when who should come to join us?

It was a gruesome day, more like late December than mid-February, so we didn’t explore the parkland, although I was itching for a walk. No doubt there are gardens, too, but they can be visited another time!

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Houseleeks and other front garden matters

When I was at my parents’ at Christmas, I noticed some plants in their front garden which looked particularly attractive. Little did I realise at that time that they were in fact sempervivums, more commonly known as houseleeks, which I had previously thought of buying.

Well, buying them hasn’t been necessary, as I’ve brought some from my parents’ front garden today and planted them in my own. They might not absolutely love being in a northeast-facing garden but it does get dry there in summer (and it certainly isn’t especially damp in winter). So, all being well, they will provide excellent ground cover.

Before I went away for the weekend, I’d noticed another type of ground cover, although this one is a mystery.

Where on earth can the cut grass have come from? Perhaps someone had kindly thought of mulching the front garden for me, although adorning the heuchera wasn’t something a seasoned garden would do, I’m sure (heuchera not shown).

Anyway, it could of course be worse. Hopefully, the houseleeks will take and spread as time goes by!

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