My daughter’s tree

It’s not often we go out for the day and come back with a tree. Nor do I frequently get a helping hand in the garden.

However, this is a special tree:

Scrumptious after planting in its permanent home.

My daughter chose it at R V Roger’s Apple Weekend last October and I explained that as it was hers she needed to learn about planting it and subsequently looking after it.

Of course, I got to do the digging and soil shifting to make sure that the soil was up to the correct height below the graft. I also filled the hole with feathers and straw but the extra pair of hands came in useful for holding our newest tree in place at the appropriate time.

The final job will be to sort out a stake. The tree does look quite sturdy but then it’s quite still today. I can’t say we want for wood, though, so it’s only got to go the night without support.

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The almost pond

This morning, the pond area looked like this:

The soil on top of the liner which will hopefully become a big garden is starting to dry out. We’ve gone back to no-rain and moving the soil will have aided evaporation. So, it’s most certainly not boggy at present.

I plumped for our local garden centre to get the sand to line the pond: four bags for £10 seemed a good deal to me. They even pushed the trolley to the car and loaded the bags into the boot for me.

Then, after I’d carried them through the house to the back garden, I got straight down to emptying the bags into the pond and packing the sand down round the bottom and sides, which I found an enjoyable task. There were a few more stones to dig out along the way but I had reached the point where I felt enough was enough.

The final step for today was to lay the first sheet of liner over the hole. It doesn’t quite fit but the second layer will enable the pond to be fully formed. So, until I have time to do that I just hope that we don’t have rain.

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Looking back, moving forward

I’ve totally up how much produce I got from the garden last year and by my estimations, had I bought this stuff it would have cost me £183.

The figure quoted above is down considerably on last year (2017’s was about £250). However, I didn’t even attempt to grow as much and the extended heatwave/drought, along with codling moth on the apples, put paid to a higher figure.

So, will I be able to achieve greater things in 2019? My forest garden should become more productive over time and I could also take greater advantage of what I already have. For example, how much hairy bittercress have I eaten this winter?

Starting to get a weekly portion of fruit and vegetables from the local community supported agriculture scheme has made me less inclined to forage in the garden. At the same time, we did take up the scheme as the night’s were closing in.

There’s no excuse not to go and pick some of that hairy bittercress this morning, though. There is glorious sunshine and mild temperatures, so we will also be going for a walk today.

What better way to start the new year. I hope you’re having a good day 😊.

Statue at Rufford Park on Boxing Day

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Last garden bash for 2018

I can’t believe it is the end of the year. And after about a month of work on the pond, it is still not finished. However, I feel real progress was made today and I’m sure I will sleep well tonight.

This morning, I cleared away the last of the soil from the area which is to be the bog garden. Part of me wanted to give up, as I wasn’t feeling too energetic after a long day out in the West Midlands on Saturday. But I persevered, knowing that the sense of satisfaction this evening would be worth the effort.

Then after lunch I used sand which had originally been under the patio slabs to line the bog garden before putting down the liner. There were rather more stones in the sand than I’d hoped for but I think I’ve picked them out sufficiently to prevent the liner from puncturing.

Should the stone issue prove to be too thorny, as you may have gleaned from the above photo, I’ve got plenty of liner. It’s not the most flexible but I saved it from landfill. And in using the sand for the bog garden today, I know I must purchase stone-free sand for the pond proper.

So, 2019 here we come. I’ve still got a number of other jobs to do this winter to complete my plans but I’m going to enjoy some rest for a day or two…. unless I sneak in a visit to a garden centre at some point tomorrow.

I hope you have a wonderful start to 2019. And it would be nice to think the world will be a better place than it was in 2018.

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Raspberries in December

After an hour’s digging this morning, it was time to hit the sales in Leeds. Well, to get a new kettle, to be precise. This gave me the opportunity to have a wander through the sustainability garden at work, which seems very fruitful for the time of year.

I was a little surprised to see there were still raspberries on the canes. That said, when I tried them I could see why they were uneaten. Notwithstanding, seeing the arrangement gave me food for thought.

I wonder though if the flock of pigeons on a roof

further along the road had any notion that there might be something in the garden for them. What were they all doing there, anyway?

Whatever the answer is, we were tickled by the sight of them. At home, the pigeons also continue to give me such pleasure, as they perch in the leylandii two doors down. The blackbirds, too, have caused some amusement as they hang around in the hope of finding worms in my excavations. Sadly, I couldn’t get any photos of my own feathered friends.

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Boxing Day home and away

This Christmas, the weather seems to have been particularly gloomy but I was determined to make the best of it. Thus, the first item on my list was to have a look round Rufford Park in Nottinghamshire.

I think we will need to go back in the spring or summer to get a proper appreciation of it. However, I was pleased to see the huge holly trees and a number of yews in the parkland. I was also taken with the story of Anne Savile

defending Sheffield Castle during the English Civil War (1642-1651), when she was in the later stages of pregnancy.

After this outing and upon arriving home, it seemed fitting to get the spade out and continue the pond-building. Having talked to my dad about it, I have decided to add a bog garden to the side of my pond. And I have a good idea of how I am going to achieve this.

More will be revealed in the forthcoming days.

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A Christmas trip round the world

I wouldn’t say I’ve managed to get round the entire world today but I’ve made a good start.

Hopefully, before too long I will be able to start filling my garden with some of the perennial plants listed in Stephen Barstow’s magnificently informative Around the world in 80 Plants. However, I need to finish the pond off first….

Which seems like a possibility over the next few days, as no rain is predicted. Whether or not the prediction is correct is another matter but if I could finalise the shaping and get the sand followed by liner down, then it can rain as much as it likes.

In the meantime, merry Christmas to all my readers. I hope you’re enjoying your holiday, if there is one where you are.

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