Saturday, 22 October 2011

Clearing Under Way

I came downstairs, looked out of the back window, and was met with this beautiful sky.

It's Saturday morning, 7am, and I should be preparing myself for a whole mornings mowing at a large place in Branksome Park that is a regular. Amanda was going to lend a hand by doing all of the leaf blowing and clearing at the same time. However, the week has been tough, the old muscles have reached their limit, and considering that apart from the regular weekend meet-ups with Amanda, Claire and Rebecca for running training, we all must get in at least two more during the week. And so, executive decision (one of the few advantages of being self-employed), work is now postponed until first thing Monday morning and the rest of the weeks work can get shunted up a bit.

Two things happen EVERY morning at about this time. One is that our neighbour, whose house is joined to ours, uncovers his damned African Grey parrot which is just the other side of the wall, and this starts the daily sounds of whistling, phone ringtone sounds, robotic language, chirping and squawking that the bird insists on letting of continuously at 150 Db.
The second is that as soon as I appear downstairs, Hobie takes up his place on the lounge floor and howls, and howls, and howls until he has a cuddle. A minute or two later, he is warm, I have even more fleas, and the world is once again a better place.
But moving on to work matters.

 At one of our regular places, in fact opposite where I was due to mow today, there is a large front border that I may have mentioned before at some time. The remit was to provide form and colour throughout the year. I am quite bad at remembering to take before and after pictures of work like this, and in this case the 'before' picture is the one above. Just to the right of the van, the border was filled mostly with a very old Laurel and Arbutus that had been trimmed into a wide hedge, along with some wild Rhododendrons and various large shrubs badly placed by the 'landscapers' who initially laid it all out. Firstly, we tagged with red cord the few shrubs that we may be able to use in the new scheme, and then removed absolutely everything else.

 That done, the area was made level with the addition of six cubic metres of compost and is now ready for us to transplant what shrubs we need, and plant up with all of the new stuff.

 Our quote for the replanting was deemed a little too much to afford in one hit, and so it was agreed to complete the planting in two stages, the first being any shrubs on our list, so that the border took on some substance, and then next year we shall introduce the herbaceous perennials. The few shrubs in the pictures are the ones that we shall be using amongst the new planting. For anyone that's interested, I've given a list of what is going in under the next picture.

1 Phormium tenax
1 Fatsia japonica
1 Photinia fraserii
1 Cortaderia 'Pink Feather'
1 Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'
1 Cotinus coggygria 'Grace'
1 Callistemon linearis
7 Gaura
1 Mahonia 'Winter Sun'
1 Acer 'Senkaki'
1 Acer griseum
7 Verbena bonariensis
5 Hydrangea 'Red Baron'
5 Phygelius 'Funfare Orange'
1 Sambucus nigra
5 Choisya ternata 'Sundance'
1 Viburnum tinus
5 Phormium 'Gold Sword'
5 Euphorbia wulfenii
7 Lobelia 'Hadspen Purple'/'Fan Blue'
5 Phormium 'Evening Glow'
3 Phormium 'Black Adder'
7 Lobelia 'Queen Victoria'
3 Cordyline 'Sunrise'
7 Pennesetum 'Shogun'
5 Lavandula 'Hidcote'
7 Agapanthus africanus
5 Hebe 'Anna'/'Linda'
5 Convulvulus cneorum
7 Nerine 'Isobel'
1 Ceanothus prostratus
5 Hydrangea 'Lanarth White'
7 Hemerocallis (assorted)
6 Sedum spectabile 'Autumn Joy'
7 Rudbeckia sullivantii 'Goldsturm'
5 Cistus x argentus 'Silver Pink'
5 Tradescatia 'Blue & Gold'
5 Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
7 Andromeda polifolia Nana
5 Houttuynia 'Chameleon'

 Next on the 'clearing' list, were these two small front gardens on the cottage estate in Mudeford. Overgrown Hebes, Lonicera and a rather nice specimen Mahonia (which I couldn't save as the soil was so hard), all had to come out.

When the estate was initially built, the 'landscapers' did the usual thing and stuck in pretty much any old rubbish, regardless of how it grew. As long as it was cheap to buy, came in the hundreds, then that was good enough. With new builds this is a very common problem, and now these are two of just a few on this estate of 42 houses that remain to be changed by me. Although all of the front gardens were planted with almost identical plants when I arrived, now, in consultation with the owners, virtually every single one is different and personal to the resident. These two, being adjoined neighbours, both wanted the same, and it was agreed to just plant Lavandula 'Hidcote', so that a miniature knot garden effect was created.

There is a lot of shrub clearing throughout various sites that I tend. My aim is to get all of this done by the end of October, and then get everything planted up everywhere during November.

The empty front gardens

And last but not least, for this post anyway, while gardening at the rest home at the beginning of the week, the owner came out and let me know that not only was someone very high ranking from the army coming, but also the Bournemouth mayor, press and TV......and all on the 8th November! The few remaining old soldiers are being given some sort of service medals and the day will be one of 1940's dress, food and champagne. Oh, and can I put up 20 new pansy hanging baskets for the occasion? Panic!!....usually these are ordered several months in advance, but luckily I have rather a lot of empty ones at home going spare. It was then off to the nursery to get the plants, and collect compost on the way back. When we got in from work late yesterday afternoon, myself, Amanda, and her mum Celia set about the task of making up the baskets. Not long to go, I hope they fill out in time!

Thanks for dropping by.

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