That last rose has now been pruned, another one has been hooked back on to the tree it is supposed to be clambering up, another border got edged and weeded, along with the short strip of hedge that we planted last year. Some of the remaining bamboo clumps were thinned out. In all, I am steadily ticking off the maintenance tasks on the list as Spring advances. I’ve also had a go at a few additions, such as sorting out the back steps of the patio (making them a teeny bit safer a look a lot nicer). Three other jobs I also managed are:
- Fluting the Landing Pad with cut branches
- Clearing the ivy and other debris from the bottom of the hedge
- Cleaning the very last section of the top patio that – for some reason – I’ve always previously neglected
Fluting the Landing Pad killed two birds with one stone. I had a lot of large branches from when I took out the lower branches of the goat willow last year, lifting the canopy off the cherry tree and letting more light to the area behind it. I needed to get rid of these branches. They would take too long to rot down, would not go in the compost bin and would be nuisance to burn. Instead, I chopped them up into sections and laid them – overlapping – around the rim of the Landing Pad.
This should also stop the birds and whatever other animal from flipping the bark chippings into the border in search of food, which is mischief they were up to since that border was made. There’s just the smallest chance for a stubbed toe, but in all, I think it looks like a very pretty way to get rid of some unwanted garden prunings.
Next, I gave the hedge some more attention. I had already managed to cut it and I made it narrower than it has been (I think it imperceptibly grows out over the years until it needs a sudden hack-back). I’m going to narrow the hedge just a little further next year but the majority of it came off in this winter’s cut. It exposed a strip of ground that was previously under the hedge and is now in the open. I spent some time scrabbling around the base, taking out debris and dead branches, leaves, stones and a lot of ivy that had repeatedly layered. I left the area right under the hedge as-is. The clean-up was only for the newly area exposed. After clearing the worst and using the lawn mover to vac up the rest, I’m left with a strip of bare ground that I’ll need to re-seed with grass when the weather improves.
The plan is to eventually have this strip crammed with bottom-of-the-hedge plants such as ferns, pulmonarias, perhaps some bulbs and so on (you can tell I need to do more research on the topic). I’m also planning to plant several honeysuckles in the hedge but I need to figure out if cuttings are better than growing from seed. Until all that is ready, grass will hopefully be a reasonable intermediate cover though I’ll probably end up with all weeds.
Finally, I got round to cleaning a small “L”-shaped area of the patio that – for some reason – I never cleaned when I did the rest of the patio, years ago. Every year I’ve studiously cleaned and sealed the patio, apart from this small section, it’s only 24 small concrete squares. This year was the year it finally got some attention. I had to begin with a round of pressure washing, then two rounds of acid-cleaning, then two rounds of bleach. As this was a small section, it didn’t take long to do. The only thing I probably won’t get round to doing is sealing it, that can wait for another year.
At the moment, I’m doing the border edges for Fruit Avenue, I’ve also got some Iris Sibirica to remove as well as some layered gooseberries to separate and grow on. The Blackberry needs it’s annual pruning of dead stems and tie-ing in of new ones, same for the Japanese Wineberry. The currant bushes also need a prune, to maximise fruit for the birds, of course.
Then there’s the front border to give some attention. By now we probably also have the worst verge on our estate.
Oddly, I don’t feel such a massive weight of tasks on me right now, perhaps it’s because I know that warmer weather is on the way and with the rate that I’m clearing the current list of jobs, the ones left to go don’t seem so intimidating anymore.