Garden Makeover

During the summer Barn and I had the great idea of using our time off work to overhaul the garden and do a little decorating in the house.  There was an absolute deadline of 13 days for completion of said projects, as on the 14th day we were hosting a BBQ for the day job staff.

In truth it was more my great idea than Barn’s; he was what you might call a reluctant participant in the grand plan, but fair play to him, participate he did, despite some ‘heated debates’ that occurred along the way 😉

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As ever with such projects, I somewhat underestimated the amount of work involved; apart from anything else, our gardens (front and back) are infested with bindweed.  It’s a despicable plant that lurks around the pretty blooms, stealthily creeping up stems and strangling them to death.  Any teeny tiny part of the bindweed plant can regrow and become a new one, and it has spectacularly fragile roots which break into little pieces when they hear the spade approaching.

We also have a couch grass problem; this stuff makes the lawn look like a paddock and, in hyena-like fashion, prowls the flowerbeds, finishing off what the bindweed started.

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Using weed killer is not a route I wished to take so every square inch of soil had to be carefully turned over and picked out.

IMG_2495The weather was on our side as we started to hack through the shrubbery and clear out the shameful quantity of accumulated junk*
*Yes, that is an old mattress and a weight bench – doesn’t everyone have these things in their garden? 😉

Some 10-15 years ago the hedge was planted with the intention that through the archway would be a vegetable plot.  The best laid plans…

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Although we were clearing out most of the plants, I wanted to keep and make use of a lot of the decorative, ‘I like it and I’ll use it one day’ things that have been collected over years.

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The Crazy Empress took a great interest in the proceedings, overseeing the work and enthusiastically hunting down insects and spiders.

At the start of day two the hedge was nearly gone but roots still remained, digging had commenced in the back corner and a second fire had been built.  The weather continued to be on our side and sun worshipping Mooch made the most of it.

So we dug, and we dug, and had achieved this much by the end of day two.

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It was Barn’s birthday on day 3.  This chap was the only one utilising gardening tools on that day.

We were inside with the family, enjoying a birthday brunch buffet of thickly sliced grilled bacon, roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine, scrambled eggs, cheese stuffed mushrooms, spicy kedgeree with yoghurt sauce, freshly baked bread rolls, baked figs, fresh melon and strawberries and, of course, cupcakes.

On the fourth day the swing seat was scrubbed and painted, and Crazy Empress became very attached to a piece of green tarpaulin, upon which she would sit, no matter where it was placed.

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On day five the rain came, but still we continued to dig, scraping the mud from our weighted down boots every 10 minutes or so.

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During a break in the precipitation the ghostly gardener dropped by to help out.

The rain continued to fall in biblical quantities over many days but nevertheless, over the course of two evenings, Medieval managed to build the decking frame and on the third evening Petit Man finished off laying the boards.  Meanwhile, Barn and I continued to dig.

I used the many, many bricks we’d dug up to make a pathway from the back door to the lawn area…you can just see the end of it towards the middle right of the second picture.  I also used bricks to edge off the newly laid (by me) turf.

At this stage Barn was inside the house painting the hall, stairs and landing and preparing to lay the new carpet.  It may seem that I had the rough end of the deal, being out in the rain while he was cosy inside, but I far preferred grubbing about in the mud to wrestling with carpets and keeping pets out of paint pots.

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Finally, some 12 days after we’d begun, with aching backs and ruined hands, we strewed the last of the wood chipping mulch…

…and were able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labours…

…just in time for the staff BBQ – then back to work the following day.

Barn has vowed to book a holiday abroad next year so that he can actually rest during his time off.  I was thinking the bedroom might need an overhaul… 😀

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