Sunday, 5 August 2012

Not An Easy Week By Any Means

 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.


  1. My sympathies for all those who have passed. You certainly get to know the nicest people. The fountain video was very soothing.
    Sounds like you continue to find good people to lend your skills to. Nice to see results in a place in such little time.
    Ferret racing??? I had no idea. Sounds like a fun festival for sure.
    Take care.

  2. I don't know....I think the hydrangea is a lot more beautiful than the gold:) And I like how the Fatsia is used as a border. I have one here in a pot. I always trim it back and it comes back bushier than before.

    Yesterday I was stressed so I went to work out in the garden and it felt good. It kept my mind occupied and in the end, the project turned out great. While it all costs money, it was fun to go to the nursery with other gardeners and just shop. I don't know why but it always seems to center me. Anyhow, hope busy week begins on a positive note.

    As for getting older and death. It seems the older we get, the more memories we accumulate and absence of loved ones,friends and neighbors is a hard one to understand...especially when you work in something as personal as a garden. There is a connection that goes beyond the simple, "Hello, how are you?" Hang in there.

  3. How lucky you are to have clients of such long standing, and how lucky to be able to spend your days bringing beauty to their lives!

    Obviously I'm supporting the US athletes, but am delighting in watching such a great show from the Brits, as well! We recorded the opening ceremonies and watched it twice again....just outstanding!

  4. Hello Gary:
    How very sad that you should have had to face the deaths of three people who you have known over the years trough work in such a short space of time.

    But we are delighted to know that you are at last able to catch up after all of the appalling weather over the past few months which must, surely, have hindered your schedules.

    Here summer continues apace with today's temperature set to be over 40C. Too hot for anything!

  5. Hi Sherlock,
    Thanks for your kind words. Yes, the weeks left me a bit all over the place. We always take tea whilst sitting on the edge of the fountain and discussing what to do next. Ferret think I will explain in the next post. Take care.

  6. Hi Chris,
    I thought the same about the Hydrangea. The lacecaps in particular are beautiful in my book. It's funny, we arived twenty minutes early for the show, and so went to kill the time with a few photos. Three hours later we went into the show! Gardening is a wonderful purifier of the mind and soul!

  7. Hi Tim,
    Long time no see! We never lose sight of the fact that we are so lucky to have clients for so many years. Only trouble is that you get attached to them. The American team are performing very well indeed, but Yey!......Andy Murray as well!

  8. Hi Jane and Lance,
    It's 7am on a sunny Monday morning. I think the week is finally going to be a better one thanks. 40C?.....Phew, but maybe not too hot for a nice cool Daiquiri on a shady terrace somewhere? Thanks for dropping in.

  9. Working in health care in a small community for 12 years has taught me a lot about the unexpectedness of death. .and losing friends and acquaintances! But over the last 6 months we have buried a dear friend and mentor at the age of 67, my own father 2 weeks before his 63rd birthday, and my husbands 34 year old cousin. .hers was the only one we expected. This was the first time in my existence that I have been so profoundly affected by it. .I think it is always a great reminder to those of us in the living. .that we DON'T have forever!! Too many people live like they do. .And I'm always thankful for the fact that right now. .God, my Father, is preparing a place for me. .How wonderful that will be. .where there will be no questions, no tears, and no sorrow!! I hope to meet you there one day!! Here's to a better week for you!