Last Saturday afternoon I decided I’d make a real effort to get my derrière in gear and start working my way through a list of garden tasks that I’d been putting off for weeks. I had jasmine to chop, guttering to put up on the blue shed and a water butt to attach to it, the zinnias, tomatoes and sweet peas to pull up, the swing seat to cover, the garden bench to put away, the garlic, Sweet Williams and ranunculus to plant, and pots to tidy. There was quite a bit to do and not much time to do it in as the weather wasn’t looking all that promising for the weekend. The sooner I started these tasks the better. But then I pondered whether I should have a cup of tea first and perhaps finish off the last of the chocolate hobnobs. No. No more prevaricating. The jasmine, guttering, water butt, deceased annuals, swing seat, garden bench, garlic, Sweet Williams, ranunculus and pots weren’t going to chop, put up, attach, pull up, cover, plant or tidy themselves.
Ten minutes later, sipping at my piping hot tea (black, no sugar, just in case you were interested) and munching away on the last chocolate hobnob, I looked out at the garden. Everything still looked very leafy and green in places and it seemed hard to believe that the trees and many of the shrubs would soon be bare. Yet one week later, after several days of wind and rain, the garden has undergone quite a transformation.
1. Early last week, before heading off to work, I noticed that the leaves of the new tree/stick (Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’) had turned a lovely autumnally colour. “A great SoS photograph opportunity” I thought, heading off to work, and I figured I’d take a few snaps of it during my day off on Friday. However, by Wednesday morning I realised it was losing its leaves at an alarming rate and I took a photograph of it there and then in case it was bald by Friday (and it very nearly was).
It was a similar story with the Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’. Last Saturday it still had most of its leaves and they hadn’t yet taken on their autumnal hue (from early summer they’re a sort of burgundy colour with a whiteish tinge along the edges). However, a few days later their colour had completely changed and by Friday morning many of the leaves had fallen.
2. Last Sunday I chopped back the jasmine on our side of the trellis fence. It tends to grow to hedge-like proportions during the summer.
3. I spent Friday morning rushing around the garden in an attempt to complete last weekend’s to-do list before the rain and gales arrived. The metal garden bench was purchased during the summer to replace the rotting wooden one that was already here when we moved in 6 years ago.
Rather cunningly it folds up and has now been stored in the shed.
4. The swing seat was also covered up ready for the winter. The first time we put the cover on the swing seat we had gales in the night. When we awoke the next day the cover had vanished (we later found it in a neighbour’s drive). Having learnt a valuable lesson, we now wrap some string around the middle to prevent it from flapping around quite so much and we also anchor one corner to a rock, another corner to a lump of cement (created after a failed attempt to cement the rotary washing line holder in the lawn) and one corner to another heavy object…
When we moved here we discovered this rather sinister looking ornament in the garden.
We very nearly got rid of the Hedgehogs from Hell but realised they were rather useful in helping to hold down the swing seat cover. However, they’re banished to the back of the blue shed each spring.
5. I still haven’t planted the Sweet Williams or the ranunculus. However, yesterday I finally put the garlic in.
We usually plant shop bought garlic in my mother-in-law’s vegetable patch. It didn’t do very well this year, so this time we’ve opted for proper garlic bulbs. Some have gone in troughs and some have been planted in one of the flower beds.
6. And finally… Last Saturday, after I’d finished that cup of tea and chocolate hobnob, I spent what was left of the afternoon putting up the gutter on the blue shed and attaching the water butt to it. When I put up guttering on the new shed a few weeks ago it had gone really smoothly. It was easy. Straightforward. A piece of cake. This time things didn’t go so well. There was a tree to contend with, the connecting-guttering-together-clippy-things broke, twice (resulting in some cursing), there were miscalculations of the measuring kind, dropped screws, water butt issues (mainly of the drilling-the-hole-on-the-wrong-side kind), more cursing, drizzle and, as the light began to fade, a bit of despairing.
However, it got finished. Getting to the new water butt (we now have three) isn’t going to be particularly easy. You have to make your way down the side of the shed, where I hide the compost, pots and other stuff…
… and then make your way round the back. I’ve advised my wife that if I ever go missing she’d best check here first. She’ll probably find me lying in a heap amongst the pots with those hideous, though admittedly useful, hedgehogs grinning at me.
And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.