Saturday, 24 March 2018

Pedal to the Metal

Out of the gates & running like the wind.

It's #SixonSaturday time, guys.  Six things happening this week in my still-new garden.

Last week, it was all wait wait wait for the stars to find their proper alignment before big things could happen.

This week, everything's slipped into gear.  I do believe we took advantage of it.

1.  Shed update.

The potting shed arrived without instructions.  Several phone calls & a few emails later, they sent us a list written in what quite possibly was Middle English.  Ultimately, my budding relationship with the shed provider broke down & we were on our own.

Despite this, by Day 1, we got the floor in place.  As we stood admiring our work, I heard a noise & turned to find myself eye-to-eye with a DoodleFace on top of the wall.  Our Artful Dodger dog had unlatched 2 doors in the house & climbed the wall to share in our joy.

End of Day 2.

The end of Day 2 coincided with the end of the week & all 4 walls in place.  Just before dinner, the missing parts to our storage shed arrived, so next week it'll be duelling sheds for my Six.

2.  Securing the perimeter.

Our back garden has six levels to it.  We took the property on the condition that a 5' fence be erected around the first 3 levels to prevent the continued adventures of Mlle DoodleFace.

This wasn't done (thus the Doodle escape in #1), prompting a 3 week discussion about what constitutes 5'.  That disagreement ended with the consensus that 5' is in fact, 60".

New discussions have commenced over who owns the 4' fence between our property & our neighbours.  The neighbours have several shrubs & small trees along that fence, but there are places where a well oiled Doodle can slip through.

The first breach is next to a small, shady raised bed to the left of the back door, previously loaded down with BioBizz.  Shifting the bags uncovered debris from some long forgotten re-roofing.

Fern bed

Once the area's cleared, a woodwardia unigemmata fern will go in the far corner, & a gillenia trifoliata on the other side, with some smaller plants at the front of the bed.  As a temporary measure, I'll stab a few bamboo sticks next to the fence to fool Mlle DoodleFace into thinking it's 5' tall.

Yes, I'm a dreamer.

3.  Herb garden.

The bed on the other side of the steps gets plenty of sun.  Since the back door leads into the kitchen, this little bed's a great place for the herb garden.

Future herb garden.

Excavating the coping here initially caused a fright.  No bones, but the unveiling gave an impression that under the grass, the whole area'd been paved.  However, eventually the fork sunk up to its armpits in the soil, so herb garden, here we come.

4.  Keep your enemies closer.

When the Beast's snow melted, it showed the prevalence of ground elder in our new neighbourhood.  For such a neglected garden, ours has surprisingly very little.  The bit we do have seems to've originated from under the contested boundary fence.

My first experience with ground elder was 4 gardens ago when we lived in the 17th century priest's house. 

In spring, a triangular bed between a gravel path & an apple store turned yellow with aconite.  Once that died back, the ground elder came along, bloomed a white carpet, then got mowed down by the landlord's gardener.

Sounds very civilised except the ground elder, not content with its triangle, colonised all the beds in that garden.

The Doodle, the kerria, & the ground elder.

Considering the relatively short time we'll be here, I've decided to conserve energy by embracing our ground elder.  Or at least, maintaining a truce with it.

As luck would have it, the ground elder grows at a gap in the neighbours' side.  I dropped in a couple of kerria that I brought with me, thinking they're big & ugly enough to take on ground elder.  Even though they can be thugs, I'll probably stick in a few more to give the impression they're a hedge.

Hopefully, adding some bad tempered bamboo stakes here will deter a certain canine from absconding.

5.  The Pile.

If you remember, the site of our potting shed was previously occupied by a survivalist's shed.  I didn't mention at the time that The Pile occupied another part of that level.

The Pile.

The person who removed the survivalist shed wouldn't take The Pile because it consisted mostly of garden waste.  That undoubtedly makes sense to more knowledgeable persons that myself.  People who also understand badly written Middle English.

Because of this arcane rule, my pots've spent 3 weeks sitting on the lawn.  This week, a certified Pile Remover came, so the Great Pot Migration has begun.

Potted forest, garlic, & weight reduction.

All the garlic, Bast's weight reduction chamber, & about half the potted forest've been moved.  If I want my pears to cross pollinate this year, I better shake a leg & reunite them.

6.  Front garden.

I do have a front garden, but until this week it's been filled with pots, & latterly, shed parts.  This state of affairs causes anxiety in the tiny OAP fairy woman next door (who shouldn't be confused with the RtHL BossyBoots).  OAP fairy woman periodically emerges for updates & offers of tea.  She's relieved that work's begun to expand a bed.

At present, my plan incorporates This Thang growing under the window.  It looks like a passion flower to me, which is strange because it survived the Beast.  Could there be hardy passions at our new house?  Do hardy passions even exist outside works of fiction?

We shall see.

This Thang. 

The proposed occupants of the expanded bed include a spirea & some roses, all languishing in their pots.  The roses were grown from seeds found in a graveyard in Paris.  Hopefully I can propagate them, because it'll take nerves of steel to leave those babies behind.

There's also a peony that, with 2 of its mates, I dragged from the Angry Village (3 gardens ago).  The 2 mates grew happily in the very next garden, so were left there.  The last of the trio - wherever I've planted it, however much I've cossetted it - rewards me with peony pouts.  Maybe this bed'll put a blush in its blossom.

In the space beween the plants I brought with me & This Thang, I'll plant some of my colourful veg in lieu of garden flowers.  I'll let you know how the OAP fairy takes to them.

Well earned rest.
And that's our busy week.  It's felt good to make progress, limited though it may be.

Now that you & I've caught up, be sure to head over to The Propagator to see what he's been up to.  In his comments, you'll find links to all sorts of Six-on-Saturday folk hailing from 4 continents (at my last count).

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you next week.


  1. You've got your work cut out, haven't you? I am glad I'm not the only one to fashion dog proofing out of bamboo canes, sticks and whatever else comes to hand. Mine only hold for a little while, then Pepper escapes, we panic, my wife moans at me and I promise to put a proper fence up. Rinse and repeat. I hate fences.

    1. Gardeners the world over use all sorts of odd bits & bobs to deal w/their garden problems. We're just like that.

  2. Kerria is a good idea to combat ground elder. My weapon of choice is euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae.
    Looks like you have lots of exciting times ahead!

    1. I'm not a great fan of euphorbia, but in this instance, I might be convinced.

  3. Considering the Middle English instructions, you've done a great job with the shed so far! I either end up with instructions that are just pictures with vague arrows pointing in various directions, or ones that just say "remove part A" without telling you how part A actually comes off.
    That looks like the perfect place for a herb garden - any particular herbs you tend to grow? (I've been trying to expand my herbs from just the boring old woody lavender plants)

    1. It took several great minds & several days to figure it all out. Was really not very much fun. Herbs - the garlic, mint, saffron & thyme all grow elsewhere, but 2 kinds of parsley, the chives, oregano, basil, & whatever else'll fit in. My rosemary died, but it'll have its own spot, too.

  4. Funny as ever Lora and I'm in awe at how much you get done each week. I think that's definitely a passion flower. I think the basic one that has white flowers with purple trim is fully hardy. That'll have such lovely flowers to welcome you home.

  5. What puzzles me is why grow it under a window. It's self seeded in everyone else's garden, so is not only hardy but prolific as well.

  6. Wow .. what job you had (and still to come soon)!
    I admire your patience. It isn't easy to start all over again in a new garden ... the shed is taking shape, aromatic plants will soon be planted, the cleaning of the garden is underway.
    So for me, it's also a Passiflora caerulea. Being close to the wall could probably protect it from the Beast ?!

    1. As you know, our nomadic lifestyle means I've lots of practice w/new gardens - it's a creative challenge. The patience is needed for taking fatigue days - one day of work followed by one day of rest. Not my cup of tea.

  7. Laughing at your description of Middle English shed instructions. It does look like you have a lot of work to do - have you been given free reign? If so they are lucky to have someone willing to take it on. Look forward to seeing how it progresses.

    1. No objections've been expressed as yet. But if the previous tenants could grow cannabis in the house, my little projects must seem quite tame.

  8. I so enjoy reading about your progress in the garden and it will be fun to see how it all progresses. Are passionfruit grafted in the UK? I wondered if This Thang could be a common passionfruit graft which would mean it’s very hardy. They are a big problem here. In a previous life, when we had our olive farm, I used to go down on our riverbank to remove them, but they always grew back prolifically.

    1. It's self seeded all over the place, so probably a distant relative to what you had down on the olive farm.

  9. You've been busy! Glad to see you getting stuck in to the new garden.

    1. Yes, it's nice to have a garden I don't hate. Gives me that, ah . . . feeling.

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  11. OAP fairy woman.....I like that!

  12. I hope we stay in her good books. Wouldn't want to annoy a fairy.

  13. Your solution lies in bricks and string (you could substitute super glue for the string). You are certainly getting on with things at a rate of knots. I hope you will stay in this place long enough to enjoy the results. Your neighbour has probably ceased worrying that you are lazy and will bring down the neighbourhood and has progressed to worrying about your mental state. Incidentally, the solution option 1 involves tying string round bricks and then to paws. Option 2 is coat tops of bricks with super glue and stand dog on top. ;) I see Gill has had a problem commenting but won't comment on her bot.