Friday, 21 June 2013

Features and Fathers Day

We went hawking for a day recently, and what a day it was, culminating in flying this magnificent  Alaskan Bald Eagle. I could tell a bit about the day, but the 'bit' would make an entire post, and so maybe at a later date, as things on the gardening front have been somewhat busy. Add to that Father's Day, and I'm not entirely certain where all the hours in the day have come from.
The landscaping job in Sandbanks had slowed down quite a bit, as plants had to be sourced, and planted in conjunction with the preparation and laying of the artificial grass.
 The last few days have seen a few 9pm finishes, as we wanted to press on with the work while the owners are away at their holiday retreat. The main front border is having an upright theme. Different grasses, Phormiums, Libertia, Japanese Blood Grass, Eryngium, Crocosmia, Festuca 'Elijah Blue', Verbena bonariensis, just a few of the selection chosen. Either side of the house we have transplanted some large Fatsia japonica, and infilled the front of these with Nandina domestica 'Firepower'. We plan to plant a tree either side as well, preferably flowering, but because of the different width between the boundary and the house, two varieties are a must. We are thinking Prunus serrulata 'Amanogawa'  and Prunus 'Kanzan'.
It's a relief to get stuff out of pots and into the ground, as watering was getting to be a daily occurrence, and given the three mile drive either way, took a good chunk out of an already busy day.
The artificial grass is now down, and all that needs doing is some final planting, weedproof membrane laying over the last borders, and all in time for next Friday when eighteen tons of ornamental Scottish pebbles arrive for spreading.

 We were very tired indeed by the time the border was finished, and it was nice to finally water everything in.

 To allow for the clumps to grow together and thicken up, the membrane is first cut away between the plants, and then a smaller grade Scottish pebble than the main infill is used to cover, but will allow the plants to push it to one side if needed.
 By the end of this particular evening, things had just been thrown into the back of our once tidy van. We were eager and ready for that pint in The Porterhouse.
Other than that, the general garden maintenance has been going ok. Grass is green and under control, and now it's large scale trimming and pruning. We are headed back to this place this morning (Friday), to work on the borders behind Amanda.

The orchard at the end of the garden, with it's two new apple trees, is going well, and there are plenty of flowers setting to fruit on the mature trees.

All this alongside twenty seven other gardens had produced the usual weekly mountain of rubbish to be taken care of, and so last thing yesterday had me heading over to Eco Composting to get rid of it. It hadn't been raining, as it appears in the picture, they have misters dotted about to keep dust levels down. Are you suitably impressed with the size of that compost heap? Behind that are three more, and to the left of the van five more, all at various stages of decay and turned and 'minced' regularly by very large machinery.
Father's Day
On the Sunday just gone, the daughters took me for a picnic in the New Forest. There was Claire and Rebecca, Joshua and Ella, and Dom. The day had started a little bit tricky, as a trip to a castle some miles away was arranged, but the weather forecast wasn't too good. We decided to head first to The Jazz Cafe next to the beach at Sandbanks, for a hot chocolate and discussion about how best to spend the day.
And so the forest became the better and safer option. And what a truly lovely day it was.
First we had a long walk through the Bolderwood area of the forest, and I watched as Ella and Josh (and Claire and Bex for that matter) stared fascinated at the deer in the sanctuary there.

We found a lovely spot for the picnic, and by now it became very apparent that the weathermen had once again got everything completely wrong, as it was glorious sunshine. The girls had laid on a feast fit for a king, and we all tucked in. There was lots of laughter, some serious talk, periods of quiet, and play.
Hide and seek was a must, and we all had a turn at grabbing a grandchild and burying ourselves in the undergrowth. The time flew by, and far too quickly the end of the day came and we had to reluctantly head back home. Very full and very tired.

The Allotment
On the allotment front, we may not be Tom and Barbara from The Good Life yet, but what we are trying to grow, appears to be trying to grow at least. We have marrows, green and yellow courgettes, butternut squash, pumpkins, runner and french beans, broad beans, and the fruits bushes I mentioned in an earlier post. Part of the plot is still bare and untended, but we are trying it differently this year. Instead of turning over the whole plot whether we need to or not, things are a little more on an 'as needed' basis, so as to make the whole thing a little more manageable.

We have made a few new friends there as well, one is a professional gardener, the other a couple with no gardening experience whatsoever. The latter own the plot below, and are enjoying some late sessions here as they experiment with various ideas. To me this really does emphasise what is important about an allotment. Sure it's great to have a plot bursting from corner to corner with lush crops, but isn't it more important to gain something much deeper from it?
There are of course the 'old boys' brigade with plots here, all vegetables huge, lush and neatly in rows. But also very predictably potatoes, onions, cabbages, lettuces and such like. Everything tried and tested, the same every year. We personally don't grow these as they are so cheap at the greengrocers anyway, that it's also not cost effective.
It's nice, as I stroll around to see what other plots are like, to see the various people taking what they need from their plot. For some it's the companionship of a loved one, as they talk and toil together. For others it's the physical work that helps them to unwind from a day that was perhaps spent in an office. At other times just a lone person laying on their side, propped up by one arm while they slowly weed with the other, very slowly, and completely lost in their own thoughts. In most cases it's clearly the process that's important, rather than the outcome. For me it a bit about all of the above, depending on my mood at the time. A days gardening at work can either leave me incredibly stressed, tired, or jubilant, and so at the end of each day, lookout allotment, here I come with my demands!

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Good morning Gary ~ Great photo of you with the eagle.

    Love seeing the work you and Amanda are doing. Do many people go with artificial grass?

    Your Father's day looks and sounds like a wonderful day.

    I loved hearing about your allotment and others that surround you there and getting to know people there.

    Have a wonderful weekend ~ FlowerLady

  2. Wow on the bald eagle. Really shows how huge they are. Amazing to see one flying.

    Love the idea of meeting and sharing with other gardeners at an allotment. Can always learn from one another.

    You indeed had a good father's day. Very awesome family you have!

  3. Must be magnificent to look into the eyes of an eagle. I'm fascinated by the size of the garden you are planting. It looks huge ! I'm also curious about putting down artificial grass, is that common where you are? It looks like you had a wonderful Father's Day and the weatherman - he never gets it right :)

  4. WOW! You have had a LOT going on! Loved seeing the photo of the artificial turf!! That may, possibly, be the only way I would ever get nice grass to grow in my yard!! I'll mail order you some rhubarb pies and punch. .if you will mail order me a scrap of turf :-) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

  5. What's really nice with artificial turfs is that they look natural. Not every brand would feel as synthetic as grass, but you can always assure a satisfying appearance. And that's exactly what I'm seeing in your lawn. :) Wilbur@SWG

    1. Thanks for the kind words Wilbur.