06 January 2013
I went into the garden for the first time in ages today. After all the nastiness with the builder and landscaper, the builder virtually doubling the price and the landscaper lying to support the builder, I haven’t wanted to go near the garden or look after it.
K has argued that I should keep the anger I have about what was done to us separate from the garden (which was what the builder and landscaper worked on) and that I should reclaim the garden as the built monument to my dad and as a place of enjoyment. I know, on an intellectual level that he’s right, but on a visceral level, I just can’t do it. I’m so angry, with no outlet, and until the balance has been redressed and both parties have had what they gave out threefold, it’s a challenge to make the separation. I suppose that rather shows me up as an unevolved troglodyte, but I don’t care.
I had ordered some bulbs way before the court case and they either had to go into the ground or I had to accept I’d effectively burned a whole lot of money, as there were quite a few. The plan had been to move some debris and put in swathes of purple and lilac coloured tulips and then fill in with other plants as the fancy took me. The intended spot was the end of the long flower bed where the landscaper had left in a heap of stones, some the lovely buttery yellow stone that’s full of fossils from around here, and rubbish, like a broken spade handle and other rubble.
Earlier in the year, we had moved a lot of the stone to a corner to create a new Toad Hall where our resident amphibians could over-winter and also to give them a place to shelter from the cats, but we were still left with a great big pile of stone. One of our neighbours has taken some of the excess stone for a wall restoration and the remainder is sitting on top of the wall waiting for him to take it. K moved the remaining stone from the flowerbed and we rescued some day lilies that had been shoved in a corner and stones piled on them. K planted some of the bulbs and I did some tidying up and cutting back of manky old foliage, before we got too puffed out and gave up. I suppose we shall plant the rest of the bulbs next weekend, though now the stones have gone, I shall be able to do bits on my own, thanks to K’s efforts.
The worst part is that i feel so conflicted – I want to look after the garden and as soon as I start thinking about it, I can’t help but plan flowers for the coming year, and on another level, I’d like to bow the whole thing up with dynamite and never have to see it again. Actually, I’d prefer to blow up the builder and the landscaper, but I know I must let Karma do its thing and that’s where the problem lies. I’ve never been terribly good at sitting back and waiting for things to happen, or for the universe to do its worst; I’d far rather give it a helping hand… only I can’t. So, here I am, feeling torn about the thing which as meant to give me pleasure, commemorate my wonderful father and be a place of solace. Is dynamite good for smudging…?
06 March 2010
Though today dawned bright and sunny, by the time I had eaten breakfast, mooched through the newspaper and groomed Phoebe (more about her later), it was cloudy and looking like rain.
I decided I’d try to sneak in a bit of tidying in the garden before the rain came, and donned my scruffy old gardening fleece, tied my hair in a pony-tail and pulled on pink gardening gloves. Crumbs, it was cold! Still, cold weather is a great incentive to get moving to warm up and I dug over the herb bed. This is the first time I have been able to raise my foot enough to park it on the shoulders of my garden fork for nearly two years. What joy! I dug till the bed looked loved and a shade more respectable than it had, pulled weeds and dead stems and felt very pleased with myself.
Not content with swinging my dodgy legs and hips on the herb bed, though they’re proving to be rather good these days, I decided to dig up two self-set cotoneasters and re-home them where they were wanted. We have a large cotoneaster along the scullery wall and the birds love the berries in cold weather, so a few free plants, courtesy of Mother Nature, seemed like a good thing to nurture.
The cotoneasters settled into their new spots, I noticed that my pot of snowdrops was a bit strangled with sphagnum moss, so that got a tidy up, as did a few more pots that were sprouting bulbs and a profusion of baby weeds. By this time I was limping badly, but had a cold nose and happy heart. I decided I’d worry about the four, yes four, self set hollies another day.
While I was doing this, Kim raked off the devastation from the ex-lawn and it looks a lot better – no grass – but at least it’s not all rubble-strewn and ugly. What a satisfying spell – I feel so happy when I have been in the garden, and to be able to dig is pure pleasure.
I have to have a hot shower now to loosen up my old limbs before heading off to exercise the grey cells in a Wine & Wisdom quiz, but I shall write all about the lovely Phoebe some time very soon.
28 February 2010
Goodness, it’s been wet lately – the ground everywhere is waterlogged and unable to soak up any more precipitation, so the roads turn into rivers whenever more rain falls.
Happily, yesterday morning cleared up from driving rain that make Kim look up ark building courses on the internet, to bright blue skies. What a delight. It has been so gloomy of late that clear skies and some watery sunshine were a real tonic and enough to persuade me to get out into the garden. Rubber clogs dusted off and my flowery Cath Kidston gardening gloves on, I ventured out into our soggy little patch.
Oh my, what neglect and devastation! Last summer I had paid for new turf to be laid on our little patch of lawn and had spent as much time as I could trying to make sure that there were perennials to come through this year. It had been a mixture of getting help and some pained attempts from me, but by the end of August, the garden was a riot of colour and looking loved.
Of course, having central heating installed was always going to make a mess, but careless workmen threw rubbish all over the lawn and left it there to kill off the grass, and all the other bits that had been tucked into corners were moved on to the grass or plonked on top of flower beds. I now had a sad patch of mud where there was once grass.
After some vigorous weeding and removal of dead foliage, some judicious pruning and a few yelps from me (my hip still hurts like hell when I bend over or kneel down) I had managed to make a difference. The grass is still a complete disaster zone and I shall probably have to get someone around to lay turf again, but at least the big flower bed looks like someone cares about it, rather than seeming like something from an abandoned building site.
It’s just wonderful to see new ice plants poking through, a couple of crocuses opening and my little pot of snowdrops blooming. Best of all, my beloved hellebores are blooming a deep satiny burgundy colour and I treated myself to a hellebore niger which is now tucked into the bed close by.
My small success inspired me to want to go out there again today, but after heavy rain all night, it really is a mud bath – I may have to wait a while and do something else… still, I have a pile of sewing, a book binding to finish and loads more craft things, it’s just a case of working out what to do next!