Ah! Glad you could drop in! Just sidle past the man-eating rhubarb by the front gate and come in.
As you wander through this page, don't be put off by the amount of work to do: I wouldn't expect you to do it all by yourself - or all at once - and don't worry that some of the jobs look a bit difficult, or that they may call for effort.
Cup of tea and a biccie? (If I can find the biscuit tin...)
If, instead of edging past the rhubarb, you bypass the front gate and march down the loke to your left, the first sign of hedging work will be seen on your right - the rather vigorous
Triffid bramble which menaces burglars and trespassers and sprawls across the front of Fruity Corner.
In front of the bramble's
lair roots there's a bed with sage and marjoram and oregano and strawberries, and blackcurrants and a self-set goosegog, and oh, lots of other things, some of which will have to be moved, 'cos the herbs especially are burgeoning.
Behind the bramble lies Fruity Corner, a suntrap which has become overshadowed by a rampant lilac and a rather nicely-shaped holly tree. The lilac is being reduced by around 2/3 of its present size, and the holly is being relocated, as far away as possible.
In front of the bathroom widow is a fig tree in its third fruiting year, and which grows in a sunken bath. Round its feet, and escaping everywhere are wild strawberries. There are also fritilleries, but they aren't adventurous at all. The tracery of branches on which grows the pink flah almost dead-centre of the pic is a Japanese Quince and behind the quince and clambering up the gable-end is a Black Humbug. The big planter has a Hunza apricot in it, with cranberries crawling over its toes. Other pots have things in them which aren't doing very well. (Chinese gooseberry and asparagus.)
The little planter in the foreground has a fig branch pegged-down in it, for the molishment of extra figses. Out of view is a white grape which, if it survives, will crawl up the other end of the wall (towards the front of the house) and double back above the Black Humbug.
Walk down the loke a little further, and a scene of Devil's Station will assail your eyes. I am building a gridge and workshop, and shall be hanging a
conservative conservatory on the front of the gridge bit. Most of the structure was standing in next-door's garden last year. The really spongy-with-woodworm bits have been sawn or broken into firewood and any plastic sacks you may see lurking behind, under or on things (or even flaunting themselves) are full of firewood. For the greater overview see the AD - but beware! There are no return links, as this was a standalone website, and not intended to have been viewed by all and sundry. However, now I have a willing workforce, I think, like a stately home garden, I can open it to the public innit.
Keep approaching the bit that looks as if a hurricane's hit it and you'll think that a hurricane's hit it. In fact, what's hit is infinitely more deadly: it is I, and my helpers (see what advertising does for you?) Sam and Imogen - and/or vice versa.
Now, please allow me to explain how it is that so little has been done for the last two years or so: another web page will be prepared to chronicle the dastardly behaviour of the DWP, who are, by the way, the subject of a little competition currently being run on uk.rec.gardening and shortly to be extended to uk.rec.sheds and the (sorry, closed to all but Zetnuts) Zetnet newsgroups.
Briefly, I became eligible for my state pension in 2005. I asked for it in 2005, a few months after it was due, because I had been actively seeking employment, but nothing of the sort had been offered, and my funds were severely depleted. Filled in the form and it was 'lost', whether in the post or the department, Bob knows. Filled in another, and nothing happened, and all my letters to them went unanswered. It took me about two years from that time to actually receive anything other than an extremely grudging and equally miniscule crisis loan. Despite many letters, it was only after I'd involved my MP and the then Minister that the DWP even bothered to acknowledge any correspondence, and only when I sent it by recorded delivery, at that.
Even now, I haven't got all the backlog, and the latest outrage is that they are trying to tell me that I'm not eligible for my 2005/6 and 2006/7 winter fuel allowance because I "was not at the time in receipt of pension or benefits..."
OK, some of the problem might have been down to the Post Office Online Postcode Database, which didn't include my
mansion cottage or the three adjoining ones in the terrace, but that's a pretty poor excuse, especially as they could have consulted the Online Register of Electors, which is correct.
So, here we are doing catch-up, and measuring-up for materials to complete the gridge and workshop, and buy things to replace the straggly Lonicera wossname hedge which is only good for nesting-places for birds. I do expect that the replacement hedge of fruitbearing trees, shrubs and so-on will provide some suitable nesting-places, and I shall leave one stand (shelter belt?) of Leylandii. You'll see this in the triffid pic, and I promise you, I'm going to give it a haircut very soon. I was going to trim it months ago, but every time I het out the stepladders and scaffold-board, I find some bird has set up home there. I think they've all gone now, which will leave a small widow of opportunity to get stuck into. (Oo-er, missus!)
Water has passed under the bridge, and as the twilight creeps up it is even now falling from the sky, which it has been since this morning, so even more will be passing under it pretty soon. Precious little done in the garden because of it - just some Jalapino seeds planted, and some of a larger, milder chilli which tastes strongly of red pepper, until it introduces itself properly. These will live in the greenhouse, if it is completed before the winter.
I've tomatoes, Shirley, and Tumbling Tom, and Garden Pearl, and one called Black something-or-other, which looks from the illustration to be heavily coloured with purple. This last I shall try to cross-pollinate with black nightshade in order to get an even blacker fruit. While I expect it to be perfectly edible, I shall be taking care with the fruit next year - you never know what you might get when mixing genes like that...
I have some willing workers, weather permitting. Their usual day is Saturday, but as they have now left school other days are sometimes utilised. (Where on earth do they get the energy?) This is just a beginning - it gets worse...
A little later and they're getting into the swing of things. Smoke? What smoke? I can't see anything.
Still, somebody seems to be enjoying it.I want a fan. Something powered with a Merlin engine at least.
The bare patch in the foreground had the lonicera hedge over it - yes, it sprawled over a good six feet of useful soil. Well, fairly useful. It's improving a bit, and some of it has been planted. At the back, there are some apricot saplings and a peach, which will be grown in cordons and/or espaliers, or a tangle of the two. Unseen, and right at the back there is an allegedly evergreen thornless cut-leaved blackberry - however, the new shoot coming up from the base has some very evident thorns...
In front of the woody stuff there are some blackcurrants and raspberries. In front of those there is a mixture of nicely-flavoured strawberries and alpine strawberries. Oh, and weeds. The lesser bindweed - don't talk to me about the lesser bindweed! Just turn yer back and it's climing up yer legs. Stand there too long and agggghhhhh-choke-choke-thump.