Sunday, 11 August 2013

Outdoor Restoration - Part 1

Where to start with outdoor work?  Obviously, especially in the cold weather, we needed to concentrate on work needed in the bungalow itself but, as the temperatures slowly began to rise, we decided to concentrate first of all on the garden and the top of the field.  Here is Val doing some major surgery to the front garden hedge.  You can see that we had just rough cut the 'hay meadow' that had once been a reasonable front lawn, and the stump of our old eucalyptus has some stones piled on it

We reduced our overgrown bay tree in the back garden by about 60%, and it has survived.  All the garden hedges needed urgent attention, and soon the pile of prunings was growing fast.

Early May, and the cherry trees we planted in 2004, next to the shed, greeted us with a lovely display of blossom.  Spring had been a long time coming and it was good to be back in Wilanson and enjoy watching the new season open out.

Another visit to Fingle Bridge, this time with Jeremy and Laura as well as Adam and Lottie again . . .

  . . . and then to RHS Rosemoor, near Torrington.  It was good to welcome Michael and Christine, old friends from Romford days, and, while Michael needed to be down in Cornwall for a few days, Christine had a few days break with us and a visit to Rosemoor was suggested.  Brilliant idea!

We'll spare you the depressing sight of our polytunnel with one of the most amazing crops of weeds we have ever seen.  Here it is after strimming, with good old heavy-duty black plastic in place to kill the weeds.

Meanwhile, Val's efforts in the front garden were really paying off.  The flower bed outside the living room window and the bed edging the front lawn were both bursting with colour.

The lawn was gradually improving and the hedge looked rather more under control.

Our fig tree (planted in 2004) had given us a few good figs before we 'set sail' in 2007 but had been allowed to fall right forwards towards the drive.  We pruned it as soon as the weather permitted, and gradually strained it back to the wall.

Fortunately, fig wood is pretty flexible, so there were no ill effects.  Some of the young figs were frost-damaged, but others survived and hopefully we shall have a reasonable harvest later on.

By late June, the season was catching up after the late Spring, and three young blue tits had discovered an easy way to get a feed.

Early July and the front garden was starting to look like its old self again.  (When we came back, the rockery and curvy 'dry brick wall' were completely invisible, covered by long grass and weeds tumbling off the lawn.)

Even the Kiwi Fruit vine had a few blossoms.  We had never seen these before, hidden away secretively with a mild sweet scent.  Perhaps the vine had been shocked by the drastic pruning we gave it some weeks earlier - it had clambered everywhere and was threatening to envelope the shed!

Our gloriously-scented honeysuckle has survived and Val has been weaving it into the wires of the boundary to the lane.  Not exactly a hedge, but a little more substantial than it was.

Many of our perennial crops (not just the asparagus) seem to have been neglected and/or abused, so it was a relief to find some Globe Artichokes (presumably ours?) tucked away in the forest of weeds down at the bottom of the field.  Very tasty, too!

The restoration process continues, and we are encouraged by the progress so far.  We hope to update you soon with developments in the back garden and field.

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