We've had a few days off work, which spaced over the Bank Holiday has meant we've had a prolonged spell to tackle the garden, so I thought now would be a good time to share where we've got too. You'll remember we started to add edging - or circles - to our garden last summer, removing lots of earth, some turf and adding some definition to the grass. But it's been a long slow job, and the plan for our time off was to really make some progress here as if I'm honest, we're both a bit bored of digging a ten centimetre trench around the edge of our lawn, adding a chunk of metal and then filling it back in.
Which in summary, is what we're doing. I know our garden will benefit from it, but digging a stony garden with a trowel is hard work. Of course me being me, meant I'd lots of other things planned for our time off too. Those activities also included a day trip to France, a visit to Grand Designs and an early celebratory meal in a fancy restaurant. Actually reading that list back it's amazing that we got anything done in the garden!
Before we get to the circle progress, let's share some of the prettier parts. Remember those tulips which I forgot? Well, despite the odds they've started to flower, they're on the miniature side, some might say stunted, but there's flowers. They've also had to contend with the local squirrel population who took a shine to them, and preferred to leave them around the garden rather than in the pots I planted them in.
I found one growing a good six metres away and that was doing much better than the one I've shown above. That is until MOH got it with the strimmer, although he denies all knowledge of that, but I know it was him. Mostly because the poor tulip was severed, the strimmer was out and I didn't see the squirrel anywhere in sight. Maybe I'll have better luck with these bulbs next year, I certainly intend to treat them better.
The wallflowers though have done much better. I've rich velvety orange and a deep dark almost black red flowers and I like these rich colours against the fresh blue of the forget me nots.
And while the forget me nots are pretty, they are close to reaching "treat like weeds" status which we need to do or otherwise we'll only have these pretty blue flowers in our garden.
In between circling I've been doing some pruning. In one impromptu pruning session I managed to fill two green wheelie bins which the council will collect as green waste. The result was a much slimmer, but better shaped pear tree - and despite this photo, it really does look better.
The berberis got the better of me though, with its prickles. Foolishly I donned my new gardening gloves - yes another pair, I'm trying a different type this time round, and I think there may still be some prickles in them. After pruning the berberis back to around five foot I pulled out at least three splinters which had gone through the gloves.
Ironically I only started to prune the berberis because it was a case of now or never. It's behind the three peony bushes, which for the first time are all in bud. I wanted to get the pruning done before I disturbed the peonies too much. I still need to stake them, having learnt from previous years, when the flowers just get too heavy for the plant to hold up, but I think I've a little time to do that yet.
Nearer the house the laburnum tree is starting to flower, and it's beautiful - I'm glad it's one of the trees that we can see from the house, because for the few weeks it flowers it's a great thing to see.
The little black and white cat that's adopted our garden likes to sit under the fatsia. To start with we thought that was because it was a good bird hunting hiding place, and it could be that, but he doesn't seem to be so interested in the birds. I've seen him chase insects and hunting isn't this cats key skills. Looking cute and rolling in dirt - under the fatsia - appears to be much more of a strength. The fatsia seems happy enough with this arrangement too.
You can see in the picture below just how much space - and dirt - the adoptive cat has to roll in. I wonder if when the slate is down if we'll be as popular and visited quite so much, we'll see.
After a few tricky pieces it seems we raced down towards the house and slowing a little back up the other side of the lawn. When the fitting gets to its trickiest I head off to do some pruning, fill in some of the gaps in the circles or other kind of faffing, sometimes in the greenhouse, sometimes somewhere else entirely, as MOH is the one with the patience - and the hacksaw - to get the edging fitting just so.
He has done a great job, and this is a clear time when we'll play to each of our strengths. His for finessing the details, mine for ploughing on and getting things done.
But we're close to the end of the circles. I'm another pair of gardening gloves down, and I now have some gardening shoes, which are a little muddy from all the time I've spent kneeling down.
And once the circles are done - there's just one and a bit lengths to go, where there's a very large bag of slate on top of it - it's time for laying down the membrane and moving the tonne of slate into place.
I still can't help but think that it looks as if we've put one of those extendable cake tins around the grass!