It's been a difficult and thought provoking week. As well as work being pretty tough, there have been the deaths of three residents that I have come to know quite well over the last fifteen years
A few weeks ago, an elderly lady who had just recently lost her husband, asked me to tidy up her back garden, as her husband used to, and she was now unable to due to illness. She lived in one of about twenty houses that encompass a central communal garden area, with the rear gardens being looked after privately, or in some cases by me. Whilst working, we talked about her husband and their time together, and afterwards we said our farewells with smiles, and 'see you next times'. I went to do the communal grounds last week, and was given the news that she had passed away.
On another day last week, I was working on the front lawn of another property, and a black suited resident who I see regularly came over for a chat. I asked after his reason for wearing black, and was told that a dear old lady that I had been talking to only a fortnight earlier had also passed away. I remember how she was looking forward to seeing the end to the Red Thread in the large front lawn.
And finally, on another property, the Mudeford cottages, a lady who always brings out a very welcome cold drink, did so again, but this time there were no smiles or initial chit chat. She was stony faced, and couldn't speak as she handed me the usual drink. I had to ask what in the world was the matter, and then amid floods of emotion she informed me that she had just been told that her husband only had a few hours to live, and that she was waiting for a taxi to go and say her farewells. I had known all of these people, lovely people, for years, and in one week three had gone in one fell swoop. Life can be so unfair, and it's left me really quite shell shocked. I suppose it's just a normal part of life, but it never get's easier.
I just had to put something down, I don't know why.
On the agrdening front, the Red Thread problem everywhere appears to be slowly clearing, and in the following couple of pictures you can see how things are gradually picking up on one of the lawns.
Two weeks later
This is a Fatsia japonica that had become massively overgrown, and at the start of the year I took a say and pruners to, and reduced it to about three feet high. Now, at about nine feet it is looking much healthier, and is a more appropriate size for the border.
Rhus typhina - Stags Horn Sumach
Although there is still a very long way to go with catching up on the work after all of the bad weather over the last few months, there are around thirty of these places to take care of after all, some are now coming together. Grass is finally getting down to a more appropriate summer height, bedding plants are flowering in the new sunshine, and hedges are slowly getting trimmed one by one.
This Pyracantha 'Orange Glow' had almost covered this poor lady's window, and I received a smile and a thumbs up from inside, once the last piece had been snipped away.
The weekend arrived, and only one job to do on Saturday, the retired Royal Marine who calls me a couple of times a year to bring his garden back up together, and each time I am met with this! Believe it or not, it is getting easier to bring under control each time, and I love these small tidy-ups, such a refreshing and rewarding change from the large scale contract work. I only took a before picture, as we got chatting over coffee, and I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished article, but it did look much better indeed.
It always seems a like a bit of overkill, me invading such a small garden with my machinery and tools, but then it did only take eighty minutes to have everything looking trimmed, weeded, pruned and hoed. Heck, he even gave me a tip! It's another lovely job, with a lovely person to engage with.
After such a week we were both shattered, and so for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday we headed to Upton House on the outskirts of town, as they were having a summer fayre. Far too much to tell on here at the moment, but will post about that separately. Let's just say there was Suffolk Punch horsemanship, ferret racing, terrier racing, folk music, a beer tent, performing goats, demonstrations of old craftsmanships, Punch and Judy, a stately home and cockerel. Oh, and more besides, quite a mad time. We drank real ale, tasted chutneys and ciders, and jigged along to 'Over The Hills And Far Away'.
It's evening at home now, the sun is going down, party girl Amanda has fallen asleep in the lounge, and I am here doing this, and trying to get psyched up for tomorrow, and another week of energy draining work.
Also, I know Michael Phelps is an outstanding athlete, and one that I greatly admire. And as for Katie Ledecky, well, just unbelievable.
But at the moment we have 16 Gold Medals!!!!!
Almost as amazing as this Hydrangea we saw at Upton House today!
Thanks for being here.