Archive for September, 2007

Anyone for Tennis?

I think the garden may have got its own back on me. I’m not sure, but I think I might have a bit of tennis elbow. LOL. Actually it’s not that funny. It’s quite painful. I assume it’s from gardening anyway. I can’t straighten the silly arm, and  it’s quite tiring keeping it slightly bent all the time.

I’ve been a-googling and tennis elbow seems to fit my ‘symptoms’ anyway: the not being able to straighten the arm without pain thing, and absolutely no ‘visual’ sign of anything useful like bruising or swelling thing for example. I’m also finding it weird that I can do some things as per normal sans any pain whatsoever, yet putting my arm through a sleeve makes me suck my breath in – even if the material barely touches it. Strange.

Although – having said that, there’s a chance it could be the lesser spotted ‘Golfer’s elbow’. If I’m understanding things right, the tennis version relates to the outside of your elbow, and the golfing one to the inside. However, I’m not entirely sure which is the ‘outside’. Depending on how I’m holding my arm, either could be the outside. And I don’t seem to be very good at working it out from all the ‘skeletal’ diagrams I’ve found.

At least it’s my left arm I suppose (I’m right handed).

I’m blaming it on the lump of rhubarb that didn’t want to come out of the ground and prompted some rather vicious (for me) hammering with the spade. Damn you pesky rhubarb you!

*shakes left fist angrily, remembers too late, yelps, and switches to right fist*

Now you see me, now you don’t, and now you do again.

Warning. Boring (but short) post alert! 

I had to have a new porch* roof. The other one had gradually taken on a rather manky demeanour, and closer inspection revealed it had gone completely rotten. The old one disappeared in a cloud of smoke yesterday, and the new one arrived today. It still needs a final lick of paint, but my little house looks loads smarter already. It doesn’t take much to make a difference sometimes.

porch

It’s the handiwork of the same guy that did the slabbing in my backgarden. He also put my kitchen in last year. I think he’s really good! 

* I’m not sure it really qualifies as a real porch, but it’s what I’ve always called it. 🙂

So how did I do?

Well…

  • Take out sweet peas – check
  • Move sink – nope – as expected it was far too heavy
  • Cut back rhubarb – check
  • Weed and dig over rhubarb area – check
  • Move rhubarb crowns – check
  • Chuck bark around – check
  • Stand back and admire handiwork – check
  • Have a lovely cuppa – check!

So, not bad really! And I had to have a break for about two hours in the middle because of some stray rain that dared make an appearance.   

Sadly the sweet peas had to go. I don’t know how it happens, but they always seem to be ticking along nicely, then I turn my back for a nano-second and, hey presto, they’ve gone manky. I expect I’ll have some more next year, but I think I’m just going to stick to one or two colours. They were a bit ‘blousy’ really.

Blog pic - before

So…. by the end of the day they were gone. Actually, they were gone before lunchtime. I’m no fool – I start off with the easy bits, so if I don’t finish the hard bit, it still looks like I’ve done something. *cheesy grin* I also moved the busy lizzies in front of them to new places as I think they still have a month or so left in them.

Blog pic - after

As for this lot, the plan was to move/get rid of some of the rhubarb because it was in the wrong place, generally finish off weeding/digging over the ground, and move the sink to where the sweet peas were. I have an idea for a ‘feature’ involving the sink – watch this space! (But you’ll probably have to keep watching until next year before it materialises!)

Blog pic - before

Well. I did most of it! I got rid of more rhubarb than originally intended, but I think it needed it. Most of it turned out to be one ginormous, old lump and there was much huffing and puffing and cursing under breath to make it come out. (Listening to The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded soundtracks helped – nothing like visualising a bit of kung-fu when you’re wrestling rhubarb.)

I managed to save a couple of baby crowns (well I hope I have) and re-sited them closer to the fence. Hopefully they’ll settle in but, if not I can always buy some new ones next year. It’s a sort of tradition to have rhubarb down at the bottom end of the garden – even though I don’t actually like it much myself!

Blog pic - after

I did also dig out all the weeds and made a bark path down to compost bin number two. The sink didn’t exactly make it to the sweet pea area. It weighed a ton. Never mind. It’ll get there eventually. Maybe the sink fairies will move it in the night.

I was lucky to move it as far as I did really. It ended up upside down (not quite sure how), and I noticed there was a date on the bottom of it: 30/05/22. I assume that’s a date anyway. If so, it’s older than I thought. The sink came from the school my mum taught at. She asked to have it when they were re-doing the kitchens or classrooms or something. But I’m pretty sure the school was only built in the 1960s or 70s so presumably it’s had a secret, previous life before. I doubt I’ll never know though.

To Do List

I just have one ‘bit behind the greenhouse’ to sort out and then basically I’ll have worked my way around the garden.  (Hurrah!) The ‘bit behind the greenhouse’ is where the rhubarb lives and I will of course be saving that although I need to try and move a couple of the crowns if possible because since my ‘reorganisation, they’re in the wrong place.

Weather permitting this is what I hope to do tomorrow:

  • take out sweet peas (which are basically all finished for the year)
  • attempt to move sink from greenhouse to place where sweet peas were (although I think it may be a bit too heavy for me
  • cut back rhubarb so I can see what I’m doing (and handout the spoils to friends for munching on)
  • Weed and dig over rhubarb area (no doubt finding more stones on the way)
  • Attempt to move relevant rhubarb crowns
  • Chuck bark around the place to act as weed suppressant, general mulch and attractive pathway to second compost bin
  • Stand back and admire handiwork
  • Go inside and have a lovely cuppa.

Well…that’s the plan anyway. We shall see what actually happens.

Dirt

I’ve been watching Dirt (the new series with Courteney Cox in) and I have to say I quite enjoy it. I don’t like the way paps operate at all – especially after following a short ‘documentary’ series about them. I never buy gossip mags or tabloids. Well…okay – I get seduced into buying one about 3 or 4 times a year, and then always I wish I hadn’t wasted my money.  I think this series is good in highlighting the sort of lowdown behaviour that goes on. (Hopefully it’s not quite that bad in real life, but part of me wouldn’t be suprised.) I’d like to think more people will think twice about wasting their money that way but – ooh look – there goes a flying pig. Right past that blue moon.

Anyway, this is only a very post to say I think Ian Hart who plays Don Konkey (or Conkey depending on which spelling you trust from IMDb) is fantastic. Plus he’s British. I always like it even more when they turn out to be British!

That’s all. 🙂

Minor Sunday Morning Garden Activity

Mr and Mrs Nice who live opposite me had invited me out to lunch today and I had accepted the invitation, but when I got up this morning and it was dry outside my gardening fingers got a bit ‘itchy’ and I really wanted to get out there and plant up the bit I did yesterday. After all, I’d bought the plants last weekend with the intention of both preparing the ground and planting them that same weekend, but was struck down by ‘distinctlackofenergyitis’. “Never mind,” I’d thought, “there’s always next weekend.”

If you read yesterday’s entry you’ll know that, although energy levels were much improved and plenty of digging was done, I still didn’t get to the fun part. It felt terribly unfair this morning, because I knew the ground was all lovely and fluffy and just crying out for nice plants instead of ‘Weed of the Year’. After checking the time, I decided there was plenty of time before I had to get ready and I deserved to do the ‘instant transformation’ bit. So I did.

Ta-dah!

From the left: (View at flickr for notes of what’s what.)

Blog pic

And the right: (View at flickr for notes of what’s what.)

Blog pic

And a special close up of Mr Fatsia just because I love his leaves:

Blog pic - Fatsia

And finally, since I go on about it so much, here’s a stone pile snippet.
Here it is way back in April – when it was mainly big lumps of rubble:

The spoils

And here it is today when it seems to have become stones of all sizes:

Blog pic - The Stone Pile

Incidentally lunch was lovely, and when I got back I had enough spring in my step to sprinkle some more bark around the morning’s planting. Even did a little bit more digging in a generally rhubarb oriented direction.

Right…I must stop. Michael Palin’s new travel series has just started and he’s my favourite Python, so I must divert my attentions to a generally televisual direction.

I can be a bit thick sometimes….

Over the last couple of weeks I have been noticing the bedding plants in my pots were gradually dying. I had put it down to the fact that we’ve not had the greatest of summers over here in the UK and that all the rain had perhaps made things not grow ‘quite right’ and start to die off a bit earlier than normal.

But today I did a ‘compare and contrast’ between plants in pots and plants in beds and the plants in the beds were noticably much, much happier. “Hmmm…” I thought to myself “it’s almost as if the ones in the beds are doing better because real ground retains water for longer”. That in turn suddenly made me wonder if the plants in the pots were not getting as much water for some reason.

Now my pots are connected to my automatic drip watering system, so a water shortage situation could happen for one of two reasons: fault/blockage in a pipe, or (maybe – just maybe) dead battery. Well… no obvious breaks/leaks etc, so I popped over to have a look at the battery.

Dead as an extremely deceased dodo.

So naturally I am very cross with myself. The poor things have prematurely wilted and withered away for no reason other than I didn’t notice the battery had keeled over and was lying with its legs in the air and tounge hanging out. Some of the geraniums are still okay and will probably revive happily for a while longer, but my previously lovely trailing lobelia has well and truly snuffed it. I am of course watering manually until I can get to the battery shop, but I’m kicking myself that it never occured to me that they were just thirsty.

Anyway – that’s by the by I suppose. We had a gorgeous warm and sunny September day today…

Blog pic

…so as I had more energy than last week, I took advantage of it and vetured back out to wage war on the far end of the garden. It was bloomin’ hard work I can tell you. As expected the ground was jammed full of stones and roots.

The roots were mainly from 2007’s “weed of the year” (see below). Each year I seem to have a particular weed that takes over – it’s a different one each time. This year’s weed has particularly strong roots (seemingly made from a combination of teflon and velcro)and this patch was the worst afflicted. I’ve done my best at getting them out, but they had an annoying tendancy to snap at the wrong moment so hopefully they’re not the sort that spring up new shoots from tiny remnants. Fingers crossed anyway.

Blog pic - Weed of the Year

And the stones. Well…you should see the size of the stone pile now (except you can’t since I neglected to take a photo of it) but trust me it’s large. It’s probably visible from space. Okay….so it’s not quite that large, but it’s big enough all the same. The following photo is intended to give an idea of how awful, dry and compacted the soil is before it’s dug over painstakingly by moi. The biggest lump of ‘something’ I heaved out of the ground today was as big as loaf of bread (but about a million times as heavy). I think it may have been coal again. (I’m not kidding!) I also dug up half a bone. (I’m presuming it’s not humanoid…)

Blog pic

The next photo shows how far as I got today. I’m disappointed I didn’t get as far as the Rhubarb because that means there are still more stones lurking beneath the surface. *has short temper tantrum because thought of more of the same is very depressing*

Blog pic

Please keep your fingers crossed that next Saturday is as nice and sunny! I do have a few new plants waiting to go in, so I might put some/all of them in tomorrow if I have time.