Courtyard wall now complete and materials for the paving now delivered. The garden will be on two levels with two beds and a border running next to the wall which will contain underplanting for the now green Hornbeams. Now all that I need to do is build another (small) retaining wall then run 8 tons of hardcore by wheelbarrow for the paving (did I say all!); my intention is to get all of the hardcore laid in one day which will start on Thursday at 7:00am sharp.
All of the gardens we look after are now renewing themselves which never ceases to amaze me; the power of nature to start afresh every year is truly remarkable and I only wish that I had the same powers of recuperation.
I have been trying to recruit another member of staff for many months and having had hardly any response decided to limit our workload rather than continue in what seems like an impossible task. It seems to me that people would prefer to work in the dim illumination of an office rather than carry out physical, hurting labour which I find difficult to understand; I am sure time spent outside in the natural world does ones sprit and body much more good than anytime spent inside.
Elsewhere the courtyard wall is progressing nicely and I have passed the five foot mark which is a massive milestone and was celebrated with (gasp) with a day spent relaxing with my family.
The courtyard wall has started to take shape by my own admission I am not the fastest of bricklayers and this is further complicated by the nature of the bricks which are irregular in just about every aspect imaginable. The lime mortar sets of the mellow reds of the bricks and looks right as the boundary of our ancient house. Work will slow in the courtyard as I am now on site 3 days a week helping our team with our workload which pushes all other aspects of running my business to evenings and weekends (not great for family life).
I do enjoy working in gardens and I find the differences between each of the sites we maintain interesting and nearly always a refection of their owners.
The courtyard is now full clear, and all of the excavation works are now completed which involved removing a massive 58 tons of waste materials. The footings are dug and the concrete lorry is booked for later in the week.
The weather is still awful and this has hampered work in the courtyard and my business in general; grass isn’t growing, plants aren’t growing and we are still able to plant bare roots plants, carry on winter pruning and lots of other work normally reserved for December and January. These are very strange times and I honestly can’t remember another spring like this one.
Global warming has made me overconfident about the British weather but as I write this I am wearing Thermals (top and bottoms), polo short, thick woolen socks, jumper and a thick pair of jeans. Having made plans for both my own garden and that of my clients this arctic blast has reminded me that I must never again take the weather for granted.
Today my staff are spending the day in a small copse pruning and chopping wood for a client while I have completed my firms VAT return (which I hate doing) and then started to dig out our courtyard; the amount of soil that it is required to remove in order to lay paving never ceases to amaze me, and it is with regret that I load our lovely clay/loam into the skip having not been able to find another way of using it better.
So far I have removed the awful concrete fencing, (a strange construction the like of which I have never seen before) demolished the wooden fencing, smashed up a rotten Wendy house and removed about 20 square meters of decking. All of the accumulated waste has filled a 16 yard skip and a 12 yard skip and I am now awaiting another skip which I very much hope will be the last. I have always been against land fill and in favour of recycling if possible, and the company we use for skip now recycles most of the waste it takes away which does easy my mind, although I still feel a little guilty about not being inventive enough to find a use for the rubbish.
I am truly exited about my new project but unless the weather improves drastically it could be a long time before its finished!
Just finished my breakfast and heard an 18 ton lorry pull up outside the house. At last my Pleached Hornbeam had arrived and I quickly got outside and greeted the driver. These trees are large with a 2.4m clear steam with huge heads and root balled (also huge), and to be honest hugely expensive; is it worth the cost I asked myself and the answer is yes as I haven’t got the next 15years to spend growing and pruning hornbeam myself. I have bought and planted many large tree and specimen shrubs for clients over the years but this is the very first time I have made such a purchase, a kind of present for almost killing myself last year with the pressures of work!
At last the first lawn was possible over the weekend and the process is always signifies the start of spring to me; a few runs with the mower and the garden begins to look better and in turn I feel my spirits lift. I didn’t stop there as the rest of the afternoon was spent weeding in the warm sunshine which is a process I enjoy; some of my staff hate weeding but I really can’t understand why…perhaps its a case a simple things pleasing simple minds!
Vey busy at work and yet another week has gone by without any gardening. Its not all bad news as I have had some valuable time off to spend with the Children during half term. However, I felt that I couldn’t live with the mess which was our long herbaceous bed and asked Adam and the team to set about weeding, removing the flopping brown and slimy growth from last year and pruning roses and alike. The results are fantastic but I couldn’t help feel down about missing out on what should my fun...as Adam always says its tough being the boss. Having read the last few blogs you may think me somewhat ungrateful for complaining about having a busy business so please rest assured that I am delighted that we are successful, I just feel a little incomplete when I go without gardening.
This week I will definitely find the time to at least start with our CourtYard and finish the much needed pruning.
This week I have done absolutely no gardening at all and feel terrible about it. There have been client meetings, administration tasks for the business and general sorting in both my personal and business life there leaving no time. As I gaze outside I can see my messy courtyard poised to be re-built and planted and walking through my garden briefly with my wife was despondent about the general mess of it all.
As a reward for hours and hours of admin I have promised myself that I will start work on the Courtyard in March; it will be our place for eating, relaxing and will be planted with some herbs, vegetables, general cottage garden herbaceous planting with a backdrop of a brick wall with lime mortar,Topiary and Pleached trees.....now I have made this promise I must keep it otherwise I fear a bout of lethargy will set in!
Around my garden at the weekend I have been pruning various pleached trees which is a job I love. Not only is this another sign of spring but the wood is resistant to my loppers and secateurs making the cuts clean and satisfying.
I bought some of these trees a few years ago and wanting to make a statement and add interest in our garden set to work creating a framework of bamboo and wood. The first prune was the hardest not only in terms of the amount of the plant I removed, but also in the faith I had to have in what at the time seemed like weedy shoots, this however paid off and now these trees are starting to create the desired effect. However, I am not sure if I have enough and not only have a order some ready pleached Hornbeam but I am considering buy some Limes to pleach and create an avenue leading up to our kitchen garden.....its hard to stop fiddling but I must carry on until things are right!