Yes I know it’s a gardening blog and the above heading does seem to suggest construction activity mixed with witchcraft and farming. But I can assure you it is about gardening, but just not as you know it. The problems started when Cruella (my wife) and I visited our English house to see our idiot son. Whilst in England, besides meeting the idiot boy, I tend to get stuck into our English garden whilst Cruella spends most of her time reading tea leaves.
Now as I’ve explained before our English garden consists of two parts a small open garden at the front that has Yuccas, a small walled bed and a large Cotoneaster. The back garden is long, narrow, walled and has a variety of climbing flowering shrubs growing up the walls. My work in this garden mainly involves extensive cutting back between visits. This in turn usually involves me in various feats of what I call “laddery” which is defined in the dictionary as “the effective use of ladders and/or steps to effect a task” – I made that up.
31st August: Things I have been doing lately.
🎢 Falling off a ladder in the front garden. The front garden in England needs to be tidied up twice a year. The big cutback is in January when I reduce the height of everything by using a hedge trimmer to reshape it all. But this time of year it is necessary to make some cosmetic cutting just to keep things in shape. In England you should never cutback hedges or trees till late August or September as this ensures all the bird chicks have left their nest. The photos below shows the front garden before it’s cosmetic clip.
Now from the photos above you can see that the big Cotoneaster has begun to obscure the window of the lounge hence the need to trim and the use of ladders. Now ladders and I have a long history of parting company and usually when I am right on the top rung holding a chainsaw or hedge trimmer. And yes dear reader it happened again. I was leaning over right at the top of the Cotoneaster when I over reached and slid down the wall between the tree and the house. Having thrown the hedge trimmer sideways I gracefully and somewhat painfully made my way to the ground. I did intend to show you a photo of the newly trimmed front garden, but instead I have called in a Tree Surgeon who for a very reasonable sum will trim the Cotoneaster etc back to 3 foot and hopefully it will come back, but we shall see.
🎢 Falling off a ladder in the back garden. Having recovered from my front garden mishap I was determined to go on and tackle the back garden. Yes, this does need a bit of ladder work, but it is not so high and therefore less painful when you fall. The back garden is a typical English walled garden, if you keep it trimmed it looks lovely; if you don’t it looks like a scene from “Day of the Triffids”. The key to a late Summer trim is just to tidy and not to try and cut right back. In this way you allow for second flowering and retain things like interesting seed heads and Rose hips, all of which provide excellent Winter food for birds (that’s the second mention of birds my friends Hilary and Jeff will be pleased). The photos below show the back garden midst trim back.
My next ladder incident occurred when I overreached across the wall just behind the brown bin in the second photo. Some long Rose branches were just out of reach and yes you’ve guessed I fell off the ladder on to the top of the wall and into the Rose. Not as spectacular as my front garden fall but just as dangerous. When Cruella (my wife came back from shopping with the idiot Son she berated me for my carelessness. Mainly she was concerned about where she would put me if I had died as we don’t have a compost bin in England. Anyway, the photo below shows the back garden neatly trimmed; but not shorn.
🗿 Garden statuary. I have long been a fan of discreet statues placed carefully around a garden in such a way that a casual visitor would come upon them and be delighted. Well, in cutting back the back garden and reshaping some ground coverage I opened up the vista to one of my favourite statues. This is the head of a female dressed either in classical or medieval garb I’ll let you decide. The photo below shows her in situ.
Unfortunately, having told you about my statue, Cruella has demanded that I share with everyone her choice of statue. The photo below is what I call “the evil Lamb”. Cruella says this used to belong to her Mother and is therefore an heirloom worthy of a prime position in our garden. Now I don’t know about you but this scares me. If you look at the eyes they are particularly evil looking and what’s more they follow you everywhere. I have woken up at night and it is in my bedroom just staring at me. And the times when I fell off the ladder I am sure I felt the ladder leg being pushed and heard a Lamb like laugh.