Finally Fatigued From Finishing Fruit Avenue

After a summer slaving away creating the new borders in the garden, carting tonnes of soil and tilling more we decided that we needed a break. We hadn’t had time off work in months and it was becoming more and more difficult to get motivated to be out into the garden to finish the borders before the end of the season. Working either at work or in the garden just carried on and on all season long, seemingly with no end in sight. We were getting desperate just to have a sit down. The work and our depleted energy meant that we didn’t get out often, spent the best of the weather toiling and were generally under stress and pressure to finish what we’d started. It wasn’t sustainable and eventually, we had to call time and book some holiday for a rest before it got medical.

We came to a natural rest when the holiday coincided with the weather turning decidedly awful around the start of September. There was still half of Fruit Avenue to complete but at this point, we didn’t care and decided that we would just finish that off next season. The bare root trees that I had already ordered to go in this yet-to-be-made border would just be temporarily planted elsewhere. I was desperately looking forward to two long weeks of full-on intensive slobbing.

Of course, it didn’t turn out that way.

The garden work meant that the house had gone to pot and my parents – as welcome as they are – decided to visit us for a week while we were off. Cue four days of intensive cleaning, hovering, washing, laundering, polishing and sterilising in anticipation of their arrival. The first part of our holiday was spent desperately catching up on a whole summer’s worth of backed-up chores. I had just finished cleaning the underside of the door handles when my parents turned up.

As soon as they did, the dreary, murky, cold wet weather inexplicably became dry, warm and sunny. We were even able to sit and eat outside in the sunshine. I spent a few days pottering about in the garden occasionally turning my eye to the unfinished border, wondering whether to just do a little bit more. I decided not to and enjoyed the time with my parents while they were staying.

They left, we cleaned up and one day paused to notice that – almost a week later – it was still warm, sunny and dry. With just under a week of holiday left we would have to make one last push to complete Fruit Avenue before we had to go back to work. This really would be our last chance this year, if we missed this small window of opportunity, it would be over six months before we could work on it again. It really wasn’t a question of “if” and so it was with not a small amount of moaning and groaning that we decided to get the tiller out again.

It took three intensive, full days of barrowing soil, tilling, churning and mixing before we reached the end of Fruit Avenue. It then took another day to sculpt and shape the border and to restore the edges. In the time we had left we also managed to finished the remaining piece of The Crescent and plant it up. This final effort completely drained us; we were now completely shattered and it was the weekend before we headed back into work on Monday.

So much for a sit down.

But at least Fruit Avenue is now complete.

New Fruit Avenue

It doesn’t look it, but that border is sixteen metres long and nearly two metres wide. It runs all the way from the lower terrace to half-way down the garden. The bamboo sticks are where I plan to plant the bare root trees. I’m hoping to have six and then there will be soft fruit bushes dotted about too. The trees will be arriving in the winter and they’ll be ready to go in as soon as they do. Beside each tree I will also plant a clematis from the front patio trugs. Those clematis have done even poorly than last year so it’s time to admit defeat and move them out. I can then plant something less embarrassing in the trugs to replace them. I’ll fill in the gaps between the trees and fruit bushes with herbaceous perennials and summer bulbs.

The work we put into the garden this year has been incredible and I’m still not really sure how we both managed it, however the effort hasn’t been without cost and it’s left us fatigued. I’m wondering whether I can gather the energy for a session of planting spring bulbs. I had grand plans to plant hundreds and hundreds of spring bulbs but at this point in time, I’m not sure I can face the effort and so I still haven’t made my mind up about whether to save it for another year or just do a small part.

As the weather gets colder and the growing season comes to an end, the shorter days are beginning to trigger my “winter hibernation” mode where I essentially go dormant for a few months, hoping to awaken refreshed and rearing to go in late winter/early spring. Looking at how the garden has been transformed in just two seasons, I’d say the rest is well deserved.

12 Comments


  1. Job, well done, in fact it looks impressive. Feeling the need to constantly be working in the garden gets into a habit, Enjoy a break from it, well ! for a while anyway.

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    1. Hello Alistair, I definitely need to learn to try and enjoy the garden more rather than just slaving away in it during any free time. At the moment, I am enjoying looking out onto the garden and seeing the work we have achieved this year and how the plants have come on but the best bit is that I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty that I am not outside gardening. It’s a nice feeling.

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  2. Screw the bulbs and take a break!! You can put them in next year. It looks amazing. Now call in sick and go on a real vacation. 😉

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    1. Hello Tammy, I think that’s what I’m probably going to do. We’re well into bulb planting season but I think I will give i a miss for this year. I know we’ll lack early spring colour but the Camellias will come in early enough anyway and the break is well deserved. What I will be happy doing at my own pace over the winter is weeding out and clearing another whole new border that we will be digging next year.

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  3. find a cheap holiday deal and even if it’s only 4 days, just go!! the garden will wait, and so will the bulbs. After all, if you do it all this year, what are you going to do next? Looks good by the way!!

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    1. Hi Mrs Mac, we were so sparing with our holidays that I have over two weeks holiday left to take! I think the general consensus from everyone else is to leave the bulb planting for this year too and you know what? I think we will. We’ve done enough work for this year and it’s time to si t back and watch the garden slide into Autumn, without my meddling!

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  4. You’ve done a monumental job I think you really need to take it easy for a while. Can’t wait to see your garden growing in next year.

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    1. Hello Jason, “monumental” is an apt word for it. When walking along the full length of Fruit Avenue you really get a sense of, “gosh, that really is a very long border!”. I’m looking forward to the bare root trees arriving in winter. Meanwhile, there’s lots of other little (and not so little) jobs that i am doing at my own pace – for once.

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  5. Congratulations on getting Fruit Avenue finished. It was a big job, especially combined with all the other garden work you also accomplished. I’m impressed! Think how happy you’ll be next year when you don’t have this job facing you and can instead begin to enjoy the results. Regarding the bulbs: How disappointed will you be if you don’t have any of those bulbs coming up to bloom in the spring? If the answer is anything less than “bitterly disappointed,” I’d suggest leaving them for another year. You guys deserve a break.

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    1. Hello Jean, I will be disappointed that we won’t have spring colour next winter, but I wouldn’t say that I would be “bitterly” disappointed, so I think – along with everyone else’s thoughts – that I’ll leave the mass bulb planting for next season. I have far less ambitious plans for next year that should leave me with more energy and time to enjoy the developing and growing garden as well as energy next autumn to do the bulbs.

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  6. Woo hoo! You did it! And it looks fantastic! I’m sorry you’re so tired after all this effort though. Please don’t push yourselves too hard. It’s a garden – it can evolve slowly; it doesn’t all need doing at once.

    I often spend some of Christmas Eve planting bulbs. I know they’re supposed to be in by then, but I rarely get the chance any earlier. (Actually, I was still planting in January this year). Don’t bother if you don’t feel up to bulb planting. Pop a few in pots by the door you use the most – it won’t take you long and it will cheer you up in spring. If you don’t get the chance, pay a bit more and buy the flowering bulbs for pots next spring and pad them out with a few spring bedding plants. Whatever you do, please don’t forget to sit back and admire all your work. You’ve achieved a lot this year!

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    1. Hi Sarah, we’re so glad we did manage to finish Fruit Avenue as it would have felt quite a drain to go back to finish it as one of the first jobs for next year. Sometimes I feel that I want to get as much done now so I have more time to enjoy it later but of course, it doesn’t work like that. I’m not good when it comes to leaving jobs half-done and the garden is one very, very large job that will be part done for a long time. I need to learn that that is actually OK.

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