Today I bought an axe.
Today I bought an axe.
As I mentioned in my last post, my mum was visiting this weekend so it’s been a quiet weekend on the gardening front; to worsen matters not only has the weather been all over the place the past few days – I also forgot to put the garden waste bin out on Thursday, so the garden waste heap is still growing!
On Wednesday after work there was still a bit of sun, so I popped into the garden once I got back and made a proper start on the brambles. I managed to get the majority of one bramble cut down before light was too poor to carry on; the rest of the week was not good for light after work so that was that!
I wake up on Sunday to a hailstorm outside… Which was the last thing I wanted on the only day I could really get stuck into the garden. In disappointment I put on a film or two and after a few hours the weather was the polar opposite, bright sunshine and not even a breeze. I started on the brambles again, it’s a slow process at the moment but I managed to get a fair bit cut down. I also cut the rose bush right back and pulled out lots of dead plants; after a couple of hours it started raining again so I called it a day (although it did get lighter later on). I think if I want to make a real impact on the brambles I’ll need weed killer and possibly a better cutting tool than secateurs – perhaps Loppers or even a hand axe.
This weekend I’ve not done as much as I wanted. I’m putting that down to attending the company birthday party on Friday night; to say the least it resulted in me being extremely drunk, wearing a Fez; fake mustache; and walking around a posh hotel pretending to be an English Gentleman – all the while talking to colleagues I’ve never seen or spoken to before. Just a standard night out for: Andy Mepham! *Superhero Pose*
Ahem.. On Saturday I had plans with my housemate to go to a nearby garden centre, I dragged myself out of bed at half one in the afternoon and was looking around a garden centre and some other nearby shops not long after. Unfortunately, still being half-cut from the night before, I struggled to concentrate on the pictures I was taking, so the below are the best of a LOT of poor images. I’m hoping to go back next month to actually BUY some plants rather than just peruse, so I should get some better pictures then.
We got back from Trentham Gardens around half 5 and after a short attempt at cutting out some Brambles, I called it a day. On Sunday I felt pretty rough so barely left my room, although I do feel bad for not making an effort to get outside as it was a lovely day. So that’s it for this weekend! My mum is visiting next weekend, so I doubt there will be much progress in the garden on Friday or Saturday, but hopefully I will be able to do something during the coming week (light evenings permitting) and on Sunday. Here’s hoping!
Today I’ve been continuing work on the front garden. I started by mowing the lawn (twice) and going over it with a strimmer to tidy up in places. I also had another look at the hedges, in the fresh light of day, and noticed a few areas I had missed (largely due to the longer grass) at the bottom of the hedges.
A lot neater! It’s a shame however that the grass isn’t a little greener, but I did cut it quite low as I wanted to give it a thorough going over. There was a lot of twig-like branches in one part of this area (roughly where the mound of garden waste is located) I have a feeling this could have been from the last time the hedges were cut, I assume the branches weren’t removed after.
I also cleared some of the weeds and grass growing in a section of the path, it all came up quite easily with a shovel. I hope the garden path in the back is just as easily cleared; I also have another stretch of the front garden to clear but ran out of space to dispose of the waste – otherwise I would have done it today.
This area was last to get my attention, and with a full garden waste bin and sunlight quickly going, I only cleared up what was necessary. There is also two inspection drains at the back of this section, which may write it off as a viable place to put plants (other than potted plants) as the soil seems quite shallow in places.
So that’s pretty much all I’ve done today, although it’s taken a while to clear. It actually looks all right at the front of the house now, not as neglected as it was before and hopefully with a little more attention it should be possible to make the front of the house presentable.
I might do some more work during the week if weather and light permits, but otherwise it will be next weekend, when I’m planning to look on clearing brambles! Yay! *Disdainful Face*
Warning: This post contains Latin plant names. I don’t know what I was thinking, sorry.
Today was the first day of working on the garden! I spent most of my time at the front of the house, as I thought the hedges needed the most immediate attention (it is apparently best to cut them before spring kicks in to full swing), and I wasn’t wrong!
I started out on a small test-section near the garage – that had slightly overgrown but no-where-near as much as the main hedge row – just to get a feel for the hedge trimmer as I hadn’t used one before.
I had a quick look online for any tips beforehand, and it seemed fairly straightforward – as long as you’re not doing anything dangerous! The primary suggestion was to cut with a scything motion up-and-down the height of the hedge, which worked brilliantly; it was time to tackle the main hedge rows!
I found quite quickly that it’s easy to tell where the natural width and height of the hedge is in relation to the overgrowth, I think this was aided by the fact there is Common Holly [Ilex Aquifolium] growing in the hedge in places, which seemed to be overpowered by the spindly branches of the majority of the hedge (having a quick look online, it looks like the hedge may be primarily made up of New Zealand Broadleaf [Griselinia Iittoralis] as this is a common hedge plant in the UK and is known for fast growth – that would explain it!).
Whilst cutting the hedge at one of the corners I found a (thankfully) abandoned birds nest between some sturdy branches in the hedge row. I had previously read that it’s best to avoid cutting hedges between March and August, as this is the time of year birds nest; but god-only-knows what state the hedges would have been in by the end of august if I hadn’t cut them!
Obviously it’s important to consider the wildlife when gardening, the RSPB have an advice article about maintaining hedges here about this.
It wasn’t long before I had to venture to the other side of the hedge and cut from outside the garden. I saw a few neighbours knocking about during this time, I can only assume they were sighing in relief as the unsightly house on the corner was no longer lowering the resale value of their properties. After half an hour or so of trimming, the front of the house was finally presentable!
I returned back to the other side to take a quick look at it again from inside, after a little more trimming, the hedge was looking pretty good from both sides:
I’m not entirely happy with the shape of the hedges, but I think this has more to do with them being overgrown. I’m going to take another look at them tomorrow and trim if necessary. Just for comparison, here’s what they were like before:
Time for a little break before tidying up, thankfully I had some San Miguel chilling in the fridge – winner.
It took a while to clean up, and I near-as-dammit filled the garden waste bin with the cuttings. I thought I’d call it a day here, but before I did I had a quick look at the back garden.
On my last post I mentioned vines growing in the garden, a few people told me that they believed these were Brambles, and it seems that’s the case. Brambles [Rubus fruticosus agg] are actually the same plant as the fruit-bearing blackberry, and one of the plants in the garden seems to be an – overgrown – blackberry plant (high in the plant are even some small fruit), but I’ll refer to it as a bramble plant as it really isn’t fruiting and is more of a bane than a blessing. The bramble is most definitely the source of these vines, and is extremely overgrown: almost twice the height of the fence in one place.
It’s obvious I need to get rid of this plant for good, and from what I’ve read it’s no easy task (see previous link for the plant species, and this blog which is very well written and detailed). They can grow back even after a few years, and consistent de-weeding of any spindly brambles should be removed as soon as possible.
I cut out one of the large sections of bramble that was crossing the garden path, the growth of it is quite incredible seeing as I had removed them last year. It had branched and rooted itself into four places in the lawn and one place in the wooden decking!
That pretty much concludes my gardening adventures for today. Tomorrow I’m going to look at tidying the front garden up a little, and maybe tackle the brambles if I can get some gardening gloves; ultimately though the brambles are my next target.
I took the day off work today, primarily because I’ve been really busy at work recently and felt like a cheeky workday off, but also because I had a few deliveries: my new Nikon D3200 and several gardening items.
Everything I was expecting to be delivered was here by 8:30am, trying to make the most of the day off I naturally went straight back to bed; a well earned lie-in on a Wednesday was more-than welcome!
I woke up around lunch time and began unboxing my camera, putting the battery on charge in preparation for an afternoon walk around the garden. An hour and a half later the battery was fully charged, I experimented a bit with Manual mode on my camera in bed for a while, got dressed, and then headed outside.Note: Those with a phobia of unruly gardens may want to stop reading here. You have been warned.
The hedges at the front of the house are extremely overgrown, having to slide through the front gate during the winter usually resulted in being soaked from the rain water on the leaves, and on one occasion almost being hit by a cyclist I couldn’t see coming down the street.
The garden behind the hedges is in an equally bad state, there’s quite a big strip of lawn here; during last summer I mowed it once – which may not sound like a lot, however at the time it was at least 3 foot high – cutting it right back down basically resulted in a straw carpet for the rest of the summer.
The path down the side of the house to the back garden is full of weeds, and will need tidying up as well:
Here’s where things just go to a whole new level of overgrown. I tried to combat this last summer (it was in a pretty bad state when I moved in, back in June of last year) but not to a good enough extent, obviously!
So for starters – broken fencing, dirty decking and an overgrown garden path… lets focus on one thing for a while whilst that sinks in.
We seem to have a vine problem which will need to be addressed, I’ve seen these all across the garden:
I’m not sure how best to address these, which may be an area for investigation. I definitely don’t want them growing back, that’s for sure! Right, back to the garden as a whole.
The below area might be a good spot for some flower beds, along the wall of the garage perhaps. The plants in this picture were massive last year, I think they need to go.
To the back of the garden there are some awful weeds that need to be brought to heel, as my housemate phrased it “This corner has the worst weed to plant ratio.”:
The very back is.. just a state.. There seems to be several paving slabs back here amongst dozens of weeds, hopefully I can do something good with this area.
I’m intrigued by this chimney pot, I like how it looks, might have to do something with it and make it a feature:
TODO: I need to get a picture of the left side of the garden.. I don’t know how I managed to miss that area, I think it was because of my run-in with the creeping vines.
The left side of the garden is dominated by three large, overgrown plants; primarily a rose bush that is a mess of branches and will need to be cut right back. This area is going to take a lot of work I think.
There is bamboo paneling on one of the fences, it’s a little dilapidated, but the ivy growing on them is rather nice.
I think that covers the garden in general, not a lot going on with it at the moment.
So it begins here. I got a delivery today from a gardening company with the following gardening tools, these should tide me over for the foreseeable future as I don’t really want to pay for speciality tools that I may only use once or twice right now – so I’ve just gone for the staples of a gardening tool kit:
Over the coming weekend I think my housemate and I are going to make a start, looking at the front garden first, so I’m sure I’ll be posting a new blog at the end of the weekend and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in!
All of the photos on this blog can be found in higher resolution on Flickr, here.
I’ve had a quick nose around some gardening blogs the past few days, and there seems to be a very common theme for recommended blogs – photography. Pictures of the work, either in progress or after; are core to a good gardening blog. I’ve used this gardening-blog-staple as the motivation to do what I’ve wanted to do for quite a while (regardless of the stigma attached): get into photography.
I’ve been looking around a few review websites and on YouTube, trying to get an idea on a great entry-level DSLR, and finally I’ve decided to go with the Nikon D3200; it’s had great reviews, seems novice-friendly and isn’t ludicrously priced.
I got the Nikon D3200 for a reasonable price on Jessops and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it on Monday. So this should mean I’m killing two birds with one stone (strictly metaphorically speaking), I get to learn to garden and take photos of said-garden in the process, bettering my photography skills also.
So! On Monday I’m sure I’ll write a little blog about the camera, perhaps an unboxing and I’m really looking forward to what the summer will bring now, pictures and plant-life alike!
As per usual I have been neglecting this site. Terrible.
I’ve made a decision however – I’m looking to get into gardening this summer, and thought I would start blogging about it; I guess you could call it tracking my progress – I’m a novice when it comes to gardening, beyond mowing the lawn.
Hopefully next week I’ll start blogging what I’ve been up to in this regard, and most likely as the summer gets closer more content will follow regularly!