Saturday, 18 April 2015

Don't Put it Down, Put it Away . . . and gardening

This is a saying attributable to my Yorkshire friend Mary's late mother.  How true it is.  How I wish I could abide by it too, but life seems to get in the way, and recent weeks have been complete mayhem - I've hardly been at home it seems and it looks set to carry on this way too.  I offered to help my late friend Annie's daughter clear the house ready for selling, and last week I was there for two days, and there will be another two days next week, plus a trip to Hay-on-Wye with her (we have to have SOME treats).  She and her mother went there regularly, and I know she was feeling very emotional about returning there, so I suggested and we went together, and cried in corners together when we needed to, so that's what we have planned.

I have discovered by clearing at Annie's, that we hold on to too much "stuff" and some of us have a tendency to keep adding to it.  I am guilty too, though I think Annie's got a bit out of hand these past few years - it is easy to get emotionally attached to things which are linked so clearly to your mother or grandmother and one of the hardest things I had to do was to go through dad's clothing after he died.  Some things I associated so clearly with him that I could NOT get rid of them until years afterwards.  Anyway, we made good progress in the worst room this week, and I have come back determined to sort my Junk Room and the stables out.  The latter first, as I knew there was a lot of pure junk in the pony boxes (which used to be the calf boxes when we first got here).  So I set to straight after breakfast this morning, choosing the middle box (which was our Section A Merlin's stable) to make a start on.  I was horrified to find that there were umpteen plastic sacks in there, and even plastic wrappers from bales of shavings from when we had the horses - and they went 8 years ago now!  Oh dear, a job I have definitely delayed far too long.

I should have taken one before I started, but this is it almost emptied, and all the leaves swept out and put over the wall in the ditch.  The peculiar table legs are from a mahogany table that my OH wanted the top from, and has never got around to doing anything with the legs - partly because someone put a set of elephantine "boots" on the bottom in place of castors!  As they are solid mahogany, my husband is still averse to just burning them . . .

Just some of what came out - I chucked the useful bits of wood in Maggie's stable, which is now my OH's wood shed, though how he can find ANYTHING in there is beyond me!  And he will NOT tidy it up!  He says he works by stratigraphy (as in archaeology) and knows roughly where his individual bits of wood are.   Hmmm . . .

Quite . . .

As you can see, we have had beautiful weather again.  I was trying to get a photo of the blossom on the Damson tree before it totally went over, but you get the general idea.  The little cottagey bit you can see behind it was my mum's flat (it's where the bottom part of our house is built into the hillside slightly, so we are on 3 1/2 levels) and I have just cleared up the patio area there - which was also covered in mainly oak leaves from the winter winds, and rose prunings from last autumn.  Rain stopped play and the prunings over-wintered there . . . but no matter, as some decided to put out roots and I now have countless pots of baby roses (Banksia Rosa normalis) - which is the big bush you can see leaning towards the kitchen window.  I also dug over and planted up the cast iron pig trough with some Violas to keep the Primulas company.  I have been checking the progress of the trees in bud this last week, and it looks like the Ash and the Oak are neck and neck, so I wonder what sort of summer we shall have?  Hopefully not "Ash before Oak, you're in for a soak."  !!!

Yet to be planted are these lilac Gladiolis from Lidl.  I haven't quite decided where I will grow them yet.  They remind me of my mum, who always grew Gladiolis, Roses and Nasturtiums in her garden.

However, more Lidl special offers HAVE been started off.  Two each of these have gone in a big tub - the "Colour Spectacle" at the back, "Sylvia" in front, then (below) a White Phlox ("David") has been started separately in the polytunnel, and will go at the back between the cactus Dahlias, whilst these pretty little Begonias are front of house.  I got the idea for this planting from my gardening magazine this week.  If I had the money, there are plenty more ideas I'd like to emulate but the plants they require are NOT cheap, so I shall just have to try a couple of budget versions instead.  I was fortunate that although I missed the day that these tubers were put on sale (at £5 for 8 tubers), by the time I arrived there were exactly the colours I wanted still remaining.  Obviously no-one else wanted orange!

Finally, these Dahlia tubers (also Lidl) have all been started off in pots in the polytunnel.  I am hoping that the ones I grew last year and over-wintered will also start to put in an appearance soon.

I have umpteen packets of seeds (lots of them flowers) to get started off soon, and hopefully will make a start on that on Monday, along with potting on some baby Aquilegias which are rubbing shoulders with weeds in their nursery pots.  I have White Aquilegia seeds to sow too, saved and sent to me by my eldest daughter from her last garden.  I don't have many pure white ones here.

Well, that's the round-up, and I shall try and abide by Mary's Mother's house rule in future . . .


  1. A big task ahead by the looks of it, keep nibbling away you will get there, you have some lovely looking plants there and should make for a colorful summer :-)

  2. Damned if I will be tackling HIS woodpile though Dawn! He is always needing the "right" piece of wood for a job, which is why he has accumulated so much down the years. A fair amount even travelled here from Dorset with us!

    I have decided I want a cut flower area this year, hence clearing the old diseased Gooseberries and moving the Wineberries, so I have a nice sunny South-facing plot.

  3. Cleaning up is hard to do but so rewarding. I have been pretty good about not buying extra stuff and things. Two moves helped that. But it is all the special letters notes, art and homemade art my children made that is hard to part with. Plus I still have some boxes stored from each child. Every time they visit they throw stuff out. I don't look because I would save every scrap.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. Well done for all the clearing up. My hubby tends to keep things and now and again I have a sort out and get rid off. He does not even notice.

  5. Primroses Attic - I do that, put stuff in the dustbin, and find he has gone through the bag and taken stuff out again!

    parsnip - ah, the childrens' art work - I still have that and can't part with it, although I know I should really. Emotions are hard things to control . . .

  6. Interesting this business of hoarding stuff. On the farm of course we have generations of old tractor seats, old bits and pieces. But my personal hoarding is a different matter. Each time I have moved I have had a bit of a clear out. I am very conscious of the fact that some of my 'treasures' will be quite meaningless to any one after I have gone. One really should try to keep weeding out for the generation to come but by golly isn't it hard. Maybe you both got a alot of comfort from going through things - a kind of cleansing.

  7. I hope you discover a few treasures amongst all your stuff. We moved 5 times in 12 years and that seemed easy but after 23 years here we do seem to have acquired a lot of things. I'm sure people are right about the more space you have the more you keep.

  8. The wood shed made me laugh, if my hubby had a wood shed, that's exactly what it'd look are not alone! All I can think of is the amount of spiders that must live there....eeek.

  9. Well we came to terms with our spiders yesterday when the shed was tidied. There was an enormous one in the deckchairs. Paul's parents had owned, (off to the dump) along with other things. We have a 'rag and bone' man down here, comes along the road with his bell ringing, but he only takes scrap metal..