A typical day, but so far not a typical week, as it's now Friday, and everywhere and everything that I had scheduled in the diary has actually been done. No rainy days, no customers asking if "while I'm here, can I just take that tree down" or some such thing. There is a certain feeling that comes with nearing the end of a week up to date, and that feeling is peace of mind.
Two places to go to yesterday, and the first was the place that I have mentioned somewhere before, where there is a monster laurel hedge growing alongside a main railway line. The property is four storeys high, and the hedge screens them from the trains, by sight if not noise. The photo doesn't really show it, but it takes two sections of ladder fully extended to reach the top, and this is the bottom fifth of it's length, the easy part, as there is at least a path to work off and not a bank full of shrubs. My task was to reduce the last couple of years growth by about four feet off the top. I hate this hedge with a vengence. A computer keyboard hasn't got enough letters on it to say what I would like to say! Anyway, job done, trailer filled with severed laurel limbs, and off to Eco to dump
That done, and after stopping off at home to check if there were any phone calls to attend to, it was over to Branksome Park to spend the afternoon at this place. All of the properties that I attend to require differing frequency of visits depending on their size and job requirements. Some monthly, some fortnightly, and some such as this have weekly visits. A really lovely and sunny day, spirits are as high as they can be and the afternoon was most enjoyable.
I took over this place a number of years ago, when Amanda was still working with me, and up until then it had been maintained by a very elderly gentleman who was nearly seventy and ended up apparently spending most of his time chatting and drinking tea in the end, and so consequently the grounds were in a severe state of neglect. The main lawn looked like the battlefields of the somme, due to years of chafer grub infestation and various animals digging for them. Lawn edges were, and I kid you not, overlapping by six inches! None of the shaped hedges had shape, and the shrub borders in the main lawn weren't there. Weeds, rubbish, and what grass was left needed four cuts at reducing heights to bring it down to something approaching tidy. Crikey, even the garage roofs have been jetwashed!
There was all of the grass to mow and edge, the driveway and other areas to blow clear of leaves (please hurry up Mr.Repairman and fix my knapsack blower!), borders to hoe over to freshen them up, some of the summer bedding to take out ready for re-planting, ivy to get rid of as it was starting to encroach on a border, and a little pruning.....quite an afternoon.
The four borders in the front lawn are starting to fill out nicely, but it's just a pity that the Halimium libanotis didn't take. The first year saw the young plants display their bright yellow flowers magnificently, the second saw the plants grow to 30 inches in diameter, but the third saw them dead....hmmmm! A rethink methinks!
These lacecap Hydrangeas along the back of the garage block were flowerless and growing into the gutter when we first came, but after a hard prune every second year, they now flower prolifically, and at a proper height and shape.
During the summer, I have been gradually reducing overgrown shrubs, removing some that were in the wrong place, clearing unwanted stuff such as Alstromeria, ivy, old Polyanthus etc, with a view to replanting any bare areas this winter. You can't really see it in the photo, but just past the two Hydrangeas is an area of about 18 square metres that needs totally replanting, and the owners have asked me to come up with planting plan.
This is a view of the front lawn, the previous border is just out of picture to the left.
After work it was into Westbourne and the Bar Soho, to wait for Amanda to finish work. 6pm, and in she came looking tired but happy, a pot of tea and pint of Peroni is ordered, and we settle down to an hours chat and catch up before heading home.
It's now 8pm, and a little too late to cook anything serious, as we are both too tired to bother, and so slices of bread with fresh olive oil are put under the grill, and to go on top, a pan of chopped fresh tomatoes with onion and fresh chopped garlic, with finely diced mushrooms. I like this kind of dinner because if you are still hungry, and there is still some hot stuff in the pan, then you just have to bung another few bits of bread under the grill....sorted!