Thursday, 21st May, 2020

[Day 66]

Believe it or not, today has been an immensely ‘gardening’ type day – probably just as well before the weather breaks. On our way down the hill this morning, we had a long chat with two of our friends and were invited around the garden of one of them. We exchanged notes about what was what in the garden and indicated what plans we had – this is always the same with gardens and gardeners as one is always looking forward to what is to come and delighted by the unexpected successes as well as prepared for the inevitable failures. Once we actually made it into the park, it was not quite as busy as normal but there were lots of picnics in evidence – blankets spread out on the ground and comestibles being consumed. We had to hunt to find a seat, all our favourite ones being occupied. Once we eventually returned home, we had a salad type lunch based around a quiche – I am always amazed by what you can rustle up without the aid of lettuce or other salad-like greens.

On our way home, we passed the house of an acquaintance who I happened to know had a series of external wall tiles (there was a particular short-lived fashion from about 1965-1969 to build houses with a kind of external tile cladding on the upper storeys – we lived in a house like that in Thurnby in Leicestershire and it was built in 1968, as I remember) To cut a long story short, I asked our friend if he still had his wall-tiles as I had previously discussed him that I thought that they make an excellent edging to a lawn or a flower-bed – and whether he still had any to spare. Very generously, he offered me as many as I wanted and when I tentatively asked for half-a-dozen and tentatively upped it to a dozen, I went down in the car after lunch and picked up a consignment which turned out to be 20! And so to my latest construction. In the slope below the detente, I made a cut with an edging tool and then excavated an area about 18″ in width and I then lined the back of this area with my recently acquired, wall tiles. The idea was to put two large (40cm diameter) black plastic pots into position and fill them with some spare trees that I had growing adjacent to our communal grassed area. The first of these beech trees proved to be extremely problematic to extract as I suspect it had taken root by itself on the top of a buried pile of stones – consequently, every time I put in a spade to get it under the root-ball, I encountered stone after stone. Eventually, though, my efforts were crowned with success and I extracted the tree only to discover it was actually about six feet tall, However, in the plant tub it went with some previously excavated soil, some of my own compost, bone-meal fertiliser as a long-lasting fertiliser around the roots and blood, fish and bone as a top dressing. The second tree was almost the same height but a lot easier to extract. Since transplanting (at not the best time of year) they have both drooped a little but I am fairly confident that with some good compost, watering night and day and a little TLC, they will thrive – if not, I haven’t lost anything. I then finished off by transplanting a little oak tree in the middle (this was only about 8″ tall) and finally dressed the whole area with some large slate chippings that I happened to have spare. All in all, I am pleased with the overall result but the rest of my family have yet to see it an cast an opinion on it. To finish it all off, I have a packet of 150 California poppy seeds on order which I shall nurture and germinate and put in the few remaining triangles of the ‘slope’ remaining. I promise you not to bore you with any more gardening from now on!

We held our usual ‘Clap for Carers‘ tonight – don’t the weeks roll by! We are waiting with great anticipation to see what the Iceland delivery van brings us in the morning…