The end of the goji berry bush

A few years ago, my parents passed their goji berry bushes onto me. One went in a hugel bed but the other looked like this

until I came home from work this evening.

I’d been trying to decide whether to keep it or not. Yes there was a space for it, no there wasn’t. Then my mum gave me an early birthday present of a raspberry cane, which decided the goji’s fate.

So, it is now in pieces in a large pot. Last year, I filled this pot with fuchsia and bokashi for a tomato plant. I was a bit disappointed with the number of fruit I got but there’s no harm in trying again. Especially as I don’t have the soil space anymore for many tomato plants.

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Lichen or something else?

I hadn’t been totally sure if the daffodils were out early this year or if was my forgetting when the normal time was. But at yesterday’s Old Sleningford Farm workday, everyone confirmed that I hadn’t got muddled.

In any case, my own rhubarb, which doesn’t normally appear till April, has started to poke its head above ground. This may be simply because I didn’t plant the crown quite deep enough on Saturday. Again, though, if the daffs are out…

I haven’t taken a photo, as you’ll know what rhubarb looks like if you’ve got it. I wish I had taken a photo of the hellebores yesterday, on the other hand. At the end of the workday we took a walk through the gardens at Old Sleningford Hall, which are awash with snowdrops interspersed with purple hellebores. Now I think I need some of these.

Something else I need is an identification of what’s growing on the bark of my oldest apple tree.

I imagine it must be moss, since the air around here surely can’t be clean enough for lichen. We’re only about two miles from both the M1 and the M62 but there probably isn’t that much pollution generated directly round the house. So, who knows?

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Out of my winter home

In order to build the pond, I needed to move the rhubarb into a container over winter

so today the crown finally moved into its new home. I’d prepared the ground at the beginning of last month and was waiting for the bokashi solids to mellow a bit before putting the rhubarb crown in place.

With this job done, I removed the slope from round the pond, so that the edging stones could sit more squarely on the soil. Wouldn’t like to have to fish a stone out of the pond at a later date. Then I added the excess soil from this area as well as more generally over the bog garden to the raised bed.

Other good news – which is none of my doing – is that this year we have glory-of-the-snow again. It appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared again. Possibly gathering steam for a new burst?

And I am over-the-moon that I hadn’t removed all the wild garlic from the back of the garden. The roots I had moved to a new bed by the back door have not show through the soil, so I think I must have killed them. The back of the garden is more of a woodland area anyway, so I’ll leave it up to the ransoms to chose their own location from now on.

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Folding it up

After a few days of deliberation, I had decided what to do about the pond liner which was sticking out round the pond.

Basically, I folded it under the pond as best I could

so that I didn’t make any mistakes whilst cutting up. In other words, I didn’t cut it and the added bonus of folding it is that round the edges of the pond there are multiple layers of liner to protect the top from stones, where I noticed I hadn’t laid sand or any other barrier between it and the soil.

Then the Yorkshire I’d acquired through Freegle could go round the edges of the pond to conceal much of the liner at the top

and I topped it up with a few more bowls of water.

Hey presto! I have a pond.

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Twenty-one washing up bowls of water

After my siesta yesterday afternoon, I started on revamping the pond. I’d left it a bit late in the day, though, and from past experience have learned that rushing a job when my heart isn’t in it leads to mistakes.

As I was packing up I saw a pair of courting pigeons

on my neighbour’s shed but, perhaps fortunately, they moved off before completing their baby-making activities.

Onto today, I wanted to wait until it warmed up, to give the pond area chance to dry out. The original liner hadn’t been successful at keeping the sand I’d lined it with dry.

However, in the end I decided to get on with relining the pond anyway.

So, now the new lining consists of bubble-wrap and cardboard as well as the original plastic bags used to bring the sand in. Then the liner I got from my dad last weekend could go down.

The manual says to leave the liner without filling the pond immediately. This is to give it chance to settle into the grooves. With this liner being on the rigid side, and there being a breeze, though, I decided to get down to filling the pond straightaway.

As it’s not possible for me collect sufficient rainwater for such a job, unfortunately I needed to use tap water. Hence, the title of this post. At least, as I’m not intending to put any plants in just yet, there is time for the chemicals in it to evaporate.

Anyway, I am leaving the pond to settle now. Then when I have time this week, I can sort out the finer details of cutting the liner to shape and decorating the edges with stones.

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Improving the bog garden

Until last weekend, I thought that my bog garden was complete. Sigh!

I already knew that it needed holes in the liner to stop the water stagnating. What I’d not thought about was some liner on the pool side of the garden. Then looking at the instructions again, it suggested putting bricks inside the bog to hold the walls up.

Too many reasons not to get the spade out yet again. Indeed, once I’d got going I realised a fourth. I needed to scrap away all the soil in the original bog garden, which is when I discovered the area was too small.In fact, most of the original would actually have been under the stones decorating the pond.

Aerial view of bog garden once the original soil had been removed.

The bog garden will still be on the small side because of the bricks I’ve lined it with. However, I’m really pleased to have emptied the rest of the garden of them. And in sorting out the bog, I’ve also improved the wall round the raised bed.

Many of the bricks have cement on them, which does make for rather a wobbly wall. Now, the worst offenders are underground and the more appealing ones are in the raised bed wall. So, it’s been a win-win kind of morning.

Bog garden being lined with bricks.

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Signs of survival

After the dogwood I bought last summer being in a small pot during the drought, I had wondered if it would still thrive once it was put in the ground. Need I have worried?

Well, no. Beautiful golden buds have appeared on the dark stems, so it looks good to go.

The phacelia from seeds which I’d had in the airing cupboard for a long time and then sown in the border between the fence and the pond are also clearly doing fine. This border is going to be a little hard to access, so something of a more permanent nature needs to be planted in this spot. Not sure what that will be yet but at least it’s not just bare ground.

Just as pleasing is the sign of broad beans germinating in the propagator. So, hopefully, I’ll get a decent crop of them this year (in comparison with last).

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