Our beech hedges are looming large in the bubble chart of my mind at present.
A few days ago, when we were parking up after dinner out at the always excellent Radjhani Spice in Coldstream, we spotted a hedge hog sprinting along at the bottom of the hedge round the front lawn. It looked to be a young one, which is pretty encouraging and hopefully there will be a family in the underbrush somewhere. We’ve been quiely confident for some time that we have some, but sightings have been few and far between. (I nearly brained myself on the running machine late last year when one jogged past the gym window (it doesn’t do to pause when it is set to sprint)), but I’ve not seen hide nor prickle since until Junior Tiggiwinkle’s recent night time foray. It does mean that we’ll need to be super careful with bonfires and clearing up (but at the current rate of progress this does not feel an imminent concern).
I have also finally got going in the new border carved out of what was previously some rather sad grass behind the beech hedge along the drive where we have various clumps of assorted daffodils (hence the sad grass). We set the shape of the bed earlier in the summer with the lawnmower (basically we mowed to where the edge was to go and let the grass grow in the bed area so we could get a sense of the shape. It took a couple of drive pasts with the mower to get the final curve right, but overall this was a much easier method than parting about with hoses and talcum powder! We then sprayed off the grass and then took off the bald turf before seeing in the boards along the edge. As this whole project started in early summer, the daffodils are well underground so the first task before getting planting has been prospecting for daffodils and marking the clumps so I don’t put anything on top of them. The second task has been pulling up the roots in the soil left by the old bronze cherry trees that were cut down last year (several fell down in a gale and the rest were looking fairly ropey so we cut them down and have replaced them with new cherries (the great white ones) and magnolias (Star Wars). Aside from the roots, which come out in a fairly satisfying way if you prise them to the surface then yank like billyo, the soil is heavyish, but not nearly as bad as the soil at the back of the house so I am pretty optimistic about what will grow there.
It has been slowish progress so far. The edging went in last Friday but I was overtaken by sloth on Saturday morning and spent quite some time lying in bed thinking about what I was going to do, without actually commencing… I then got sidetracked into soup and bread making to use up a ton of tomatoes from the greenhouse that were going over (bread recipe loaded on the recipe blog and accessible via the link on the homepage). As Lachlan has started his course I have also been official morning dog walker of late, with much trampling over the stubble -it has a very satisfying crunch This is the only moment in the year when you can cut a corner across the field. Once it is resown we are back to the margins – you have to take the diagonals when you can…
Anyhow somehow or other I’ve squeezed in maybe three or four decent shifts and I am feeling them…
The idea is to plant the border up mainly (I am reserving the prospect of some new things as an incentive scheme….) with plants which are taken from elsewhere in the garden (things in the wrong place, splittings of oversize clumps etc), bulbs, things kindly gifted by fellow garden buffs in the ongoing borders plant “swap shop” and a few items grown from seed. As a result, there is a lot of digging up of other beds to tackle first to source the “new” plants. Lyra escaped from the kitchen around lunchtime today and was somewhat taken aback to find me lying flat on my back on the lawn having a breather after wrestling a peony from a windy spot where it doesn’t flower well (all of the energy seems to have gone into the roots!). She gave my nose a good lick to check I was alive then sat companionably next to me for a bit. Later in the afternoon I was leaning on my spade, slightly dazed, after repeating the process with an aruncus when the plasterer arrived (the library makeover has commenced). “Are you all right” he enquired peering at me. It appears that I am not exuding sprightly vigour….
I was fit for nothing but the bath by 5.30 but lost the best part of an hour sorting out a monstrous fankle in the hose which had somehow tied itself in knots around the wheels of the trolley that the hose reel sits on. Those things are the work of the devil. It cannot be beyond the wit of man to come up with a better design.
Anyway I am now tucked up in bed with a cocoa and my laptop like a (technologically savvy) old dear.