Saturday, 2 May 2015

It's nearly all gardening!

Outside the rain is teeming down and the wind is blowing!  It's been like this for a few days now and I don't think it's going to change for a little while.  I am wearing jumpers again and we're lighting a fire in the evenings again.  But.....prior to this, the weather has been fabulous, warm and sunny. We have been wearing our shorts and our flip-flops and were beginning to wonder if we would need a fire again before the autumn!  Ah well...

Needless to say, while we had such glorious weather, we have spent quite a bit of time in the garden. And yet again, the indoor jobs like redecorating the lounge and making curtains have taken a back seat!

Last year I was given some wisteria cuttings and I was thrilled to spot my very first flower last week. It may not seem much but it's a start.  All around the area where we live I see mature wisteria growing and I can't wait until ours is as abundant.  Still, this is what I have right now (I've highlighted it so you don't miss it!!

On the other hand, in another part of the front garden, we have had a fabulous show of camellia, rhododendron, azalea and of course the magnificent ornamental cherry.  I have to say I am quite relieved as I did a lot of cutting back in the autumn and had wondered if I may have gone a bit overboard!  But no, it's all been looking wonderful.  I took this picture a few days ago and you'll see that despite the carpet of cherry blossom, there was quite a lot still on the tree.  After the last few days though, it is looking very sorry for itself.  I can't even bear to take a picture!

Those of you who have visited us will know that we have my mum's old garden bench just outside to the left of the front door.  When the weather is nice, Danny and I like to sit there of an evening, enjoying an apéritif or two!  Although the views are wonderful, there is a flowerbed in our immediate view which has always been something of an eyesore to me.  Filled with various bulbs and rhizomes that have ceased to flower, the bed had only a few redeeming features left.  It was during one such evening that I made the decision to dig up most of the bed, leaving only a few shrubs and a couple of plants I liked, cover it with a membrane and bark, and plant several small shrubs.  When I discussed it with Danny, he offered to help and I am very glad he did as it was a big job and hard work!

This is what the bed looked like at the start - well after a bit of digging!

Then, when all the digging was done, we removed a few inches of soil and raked it over.  Once that was done Danny cut and laid the membrane then covered it all with a good layer of bark.

I then spent a very pleasant afternoon, browsing around my favourite garden centre in the area called Jardiland, selecting and buying several new shrubs and plants.  A few days later, I spent a not-so-pleasant afternoon putting in the plants!! But it's worth it, because here is what the bed looks like now.

In case you're wondering why I wasn't able to persuade Danny to help with the planting, it's because he was, at that time, involved in doing another rather large job in the back garden.  And that is the removal of the hedge between us and our immediate neighbour.  Over here, when you plant a hedge it has to be at least 50cm from your neighbour's fence.  I believe the intention is that if your neighbour needs to maintain his fence, he has room to do so.  The other advantage is that when you need to trim the hedge, you can easily get behind it to do so.  Regrettably, our predecessor planted this particular hedge way too close to the fence and it's been very difficult for us to keep it trimmed and to stop it growing through the fence.  During the winter, we made the decision simply to cut it down then get a chemical product to kill the stumps.  (I would have them dug up but frankly, the thought of having a digger in the garden again, fills me with horror!)  I say "simply cut it down" but it is far from simple and like all these jobs, it is hard work, monotonous and seems never ending!  It will be worth it in the long run, I'm sure and this is what it is starting to look like....

So that's about all the garden news.  As I said at the start, the last few days have been wet and windy so I was able to return to my curtain making.  And I have now finished a set of curtains for one of the windows in our bedroom; hopefully I'll be able to do the ones for the other window in the next couple of days.  I have never made eyelet headed curtains before and I'm rather pleased with the way they've turned out.  What do you think?

To give credit where it's due, I must confess that Danny came to my aid yet again!  It was he who prized open each of the rings and carefully cut out each of the holes in the fabric.  Doubtless the curtains would have ended up spotted with blood had it been left to me!

And finally.....I shall leave you with this totally unrelated photo of our cat Whisper.  Looks innocent doesn't she?  Don't you believe it!  She is sitting right near two of the bird feeders....lying in wait to see if she can catch herself a bird!

Don't worry - we shoo'd her away after the photo was taken!

Until next time, à bientôt!