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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Cake and Pimms, Dahling?

I started to get a clue that my cakes and family birthdays were becoming a synonymous thing when I received a telephone call from my mother, which went something like this:

Mum:  “Your sister and I have been discussing my upcoming birthday.  I’d really like to have a Pimms and cake party, but there’s a problem.”

(Pause to allow me to make appropriate querying noises)

Mum: “Yes.  You see, we have the Pimms side of things sorted.  We have the ingredients for Pimms cocktails.  We know how to make Pimms cocktails.  The problem is the cake.  We have such a severe shortage of it.  In fact, we have none!”

(Slight pause for dramatic deep breath…continues, in tones of faux distress…)

“This is such a huge problem, we don’t know how to get ’round it.  And I do SO want a Pimms and cake party for my birthday.  I don’t suppose you have any ideas, do you?”

(Pause, filled with expectant waiting and the sound of Big Sis giggling in the background.)

Me: “Would you like me to make you some cakes for your birthday party?”

Mum (in totally feigned surprise): “Oh, would you?  How incredible of you to offer!”

And so, this is how it came about that I made four fresh cakes for my Mum’s 2013 birthday party, including my third fondant covered and decorated cake.

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