Goodbye, sycamore

We’re having to say get a 300-year-old sycamore tree at the bottom of the garden felled. It’s right on the boundary between our house and the church next door, and we knew nothing (Jon Snow) until someone cutting the church’s grass noticed it was bleeding sap on that side.

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A celebration

We had Jude’s Christening and birthday celebration last month, and every spare minute we had went into preparing the house and garden for our family and friends to come over. Many hadn’t seen it and we’d taken the leap of organising a garden party and just hoping the weather would hold.

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A catch-up with the spring garden

It’s been a bit crazy since I started back at work after maternity leave, and while I think we’re just about managing to keep up with the garden, I’m not doing a very good job of writing about it!

Before the weather totally changes again, I thought I’d just share the photos of the garden that I’ve taken over the last few weeks when the weather was just turning warmer.

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Creating the orchard

The trees arrived for the little orchard Barry’s creating – this one’s all him – all I’ve done for this is water a couple of trees. He’d allocated an area for it where the chickens are, near to a plum tree, and he’s chosen to plant them with an imaginary path running through there, for when we can get that down.

I was a bit surprised that five trees could be delivered packaged like this, and survive.  They seem ok though, kudos to UPS!

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Clipping their wings

Tiana taking the mickBefore DEFRA decided that we needed to keep our hens in, they had free reign of the bottom of the garden.  Barry put up a fence that’s about 4ft high, which actually posed no problem to them to fly over.  While they’re billed as not very good at flying, they can flap enough to get a bit of height, especially if they can “hop” from one thing to another, say… from the ground to the compost heap, to the potting shed… and then right off it.

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Getting the veg patch started

img_9735Barry dug out the veg patches a few months ago, and has been developing a plan for a whole host of new fruit and veg to try and grow this year.

Gone are the towering artichokes, tiny peas and failed onions from last summer’s beds.  As of last week, in trays in the potting shed, we have cauliflower, broad beans and chives, and he’s also chitted our potatoes; a verb I wasn’t even aware of until last week.  It means setting them out in the sun to sprout ready for planting (for the uninitiated, like me!).

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Plans for the front garden

Rosehip pickingBack in July, I wrote about the front garden looking a bit overgrown.  This photo of Barry and Scarlett picking rosehips is from September, and as you can see, they should really have taken food and water, and maybe one of those survival bracelets with them to battle their way out again.

There are some lovely plants in the front, no doubt about it; delphiniums was probably my favourite surprise as the flowers appeared over the summer. But again, like some of the features that didn’t make the cut in the back garden, there are metaphors about coats and cloth here, and we’re not landscape gardeners, we both work, and we’ve got two kids.

Front garden February 2017Plus, it’s been a bit of an eyesore over the winter and the drive desperately needs redoing.  This is what the front garden looks like from Jude’s room.  Hope you appreciate this photo; I may or may not have put my phone in mortal danger trying to take this through the inch gap of a safety locked window.

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Here come the girls

img_7355In my very last post, I did say that chickens were expected to land next year.  Turns out 2017 has come early here, because we just went and got them.

I’ll say it – they do freak me out a bit.  Their feet belong to dinosaurs, The Birds put me in fear of being pecked to death and when they want to run, they can sprint like mad.  Not to mention the flapping.  But there’s something about these ones – our ones – that I’m not quite as afraid of.  They’re actually very tame, and observing them, you can clearly see personalities coming through – this is just a couple of days in.

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What happened to the rest of the turf

Turf and a garden forkWe had a dither about what to do with the excess turf after we’d covered the area we’d ordered it for.  After listing it locally for a quick sale and getting no interest, Barry had a brainwave about a practical use for it in our own garden.

Behind the greenhouse was a fairly clear area, not a lot going on apart from the odd shrub and some mint.  We got a sunny day (not ideal for laying two-day old turf), but it meant we all got outside for a bit and Scarlett helped too.

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Turf’s up

Turf deliveryThe turf arrived in huge rolls on a pallet that the strapping delivery guy couldn’t even pull down the drive. Turf is heavy!  We got lucky that it was a bit damp on the day, as apparently that will help the turf take a bit better than if it was sunny and dry.

I already talked about prepping the garden for the arrival, and on top of clearing the area, Barry spread some fertiliser over the ground right before rolling the new grass out.  He then spread grass seed over it too. You’ll see from the photos, but he sadly bought the wrong kind of weedkiller to get rid of the dandelions and sprayed the garden with a solution that’s killed huge patches of the grass that’s already there – just in case you were wondering!

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