Monday, 14 February 2011

Catch Up

Sorry to all of my fellow bloggers for leaving it so long. It's been a strangely varied couple of weeks on the whole. Work has been fairly quiet as it always is at this time of year, still mainly consisting of going around the properties tidying up any loose ends in readiness for the manic race that starts at the beginning of March. Unpredictably, all of the landscape quotes that I have so far submitted have been accepted, and as a result has caught me a little off guard. The rocks that I mentioned previously have been re-scheduled for placement next week, there are two large planting schemes now to do next week as well, and as a result of this the whole of Saturday is put aside for driving with an empty van and trailer to collect an order of around 50 specimen shrubs...very excited about this as I love using specimens. It's better for the customers as well, because even though each plant costs in excess of £80, the overall effect is vastly better.
As well as work, there has been the discovering of an old friend of mine. A best friend from the age of five, but sadly life 'stuff' saw us drift in different directions shortly after leaving school. He has barely changed at all, and it's really great to be catching up for lost time after the last thirty plus years. He also is the owner of a Kawasaki Z1 motorbike, simply THE best bike of it's time (maybe he will let me have a go at some point?).

I mentioned in an earlier post about the fact that my step-mother had passed away over Christmas, and this has resulted in piles of letters, photographs and belongings, mostly of which were my fathers, being handed over to myself, my brother and our sister. A past that involved my father flying Messerschmitts during the war, an uncle in the SS, love letters and so much more. Still lots to go through, and a very emotional time, but I plan to tell my fathers story shortly in a later post.

For now, back to a bit of gardening, and as you can see from these pictures, work on the allotment has finally begun. Amandas beautiful smile hides a knowledge that the task ahead is awesome...and not in a nice way!

The weedkiller has done it's job, killing off all of the green weed growth. The two apple trees above are dwarf varieties, and we are unsure at this point as to what varieties they are. The one in the foreground had quite a lot of damage, and as a result was quite badly diseased, and so we had to remove it sadly. The remaining one is in good condition and shall be moved a little further back.

The picture above shows the effectiveness of the weed killer. The shrubs in the backgroung are roses, and these shall be pruned down hard and moved into the grass area just to the left of the polytunnel.

As I do this post, music is playing in the background. 'A Kiss from a Rose' by Seal...mine and Amandas song.

Have I managed to make you ignore the two 'compost' bins with my romantic reflection?..... Thought not!
These are little presents left for us by the previous allotmenteers....thanks guys!

All of the weeds came up fairly easily, me slicing them off with a hoe whilst Amanda raked the heap along.

Among the assortment of buried treasure unearthed was this blue plastic pot filled with stones...not sure quite what the purpose of that little beauty was.

This sycamore sapling, a young tree of around three to four years of age, had been allowed to develop right in the middle of the plot, and had even been staked....a sycamore! Add to that the fact that we discovered two Acer palmatum Dissectum planted underneath it, one has to question the motives of the guys before us.

More buried treasure! I have a metal detector in the shed...maybe there might be some roman coins or a viking helmet a little deeper?

A little more raking by Amanda, doing her best 'Felicity Kendal in The Good Life' bit (only more gorgeous than Felicity!)............and Hey Presto! Enough for an afternoons work. All of the old raspberry canes on the right of the picture below will need a days careful digging out. Unknown varieties and so vigour, taste and pruning unknown at this point as well and so it will be simpler to just plant our own known varieties.

Now, when I said enough for an afternoon, it was because we had spent the morning getting several hundred bedding plants from a nursery before taking them to the nursing home that I look after. In the picture above is just one half of this greenhouse. There are four of these, just housing Pansies. Another four for Violas, the same for Polyanthus and Primroses, and numerous others for the less common bedding plants. I went for mixed pansies, mixed Polyanthus, and rather a large number of Narcissus that had been started off in pots and could just simply be planted straight into place for immediate effect. The only annoying thing at this point was a rather big problem caused by the nursery. I had previously ordered sixty spring hanging baskets for collection today as well, only to get there and find that the person....and I use that term loosely.......had left their job there and not filed my order, along with most of the other contractors orders. It's a huge company with hundreds of customers, and when you think that my order alone was worth £1800.....well you get my drift! Needless to say it is now too late for all of us to get the number needed in time, and the customers that rely on US will have to wait until the summer baskets are ready now.

Anyway, moan over. It was lovely and sunny. The soil had that lovely warm and moist feel, and the smell that goes with it. Bedding plants were well rooted and went in quickly and easily.

This area in the picture below has just been cleared of a massive Cryptomeria, and is waiting for an infill of soil to bring the levels up. Then more specimen shrubs will be planted to fill and provide an overall evergreen finish with something giving colour all year round. The pot is just sitting on the old stump that's left, and maybe I will put something in it, not sure what just yet....any suggestions? The best idea will get used, hows that for inspiration for you guys?


  1. I am catching spring fever big time and this has only added to it! I can't wait to attack the spring chores. Also agree with you completely on specimen shrubs. I need to make better use of them. Thanks for posting.

  2. Looks like things are getting busy very early in the season. In the US, I get the feeling people are simply accepting the "recession" as it is, and deciding they're moving ahead with life (perhaps more modestly). Sounds like you've gone some great jobs coming in!

  3. You're right, what bizarre leavings from the previous plotholders. We inherited a typist's chair in a greenhouse full of raspberry canes.

    I haven't heard of Old Dollar Bill - it's sadly a long time since I've been in a pub in the Royal Mile!

  4. Your allotment looks enormous, and goodness me you two got a whole lot of work done. I can't wait to see it all planted out, it will be quite fabulous.

  5. I'm exhausted just looking at your blog, Gary! It's always a bit of a panic for me at this time of year - I think that my dodgy hip and back are not up to the task ahead, then my body warms up a bit, along with the weather, and my gardening continues!

    You left such a fascinating comment on my Corfu posting and I was going to ask for more information, so now I'm pleased to be promised your family story some time soon.

  6. two were BUSY! Now I feel especially lazy when I think I didn't do anything in the garden this weekend.