Turf Toe


Ducks away 001 Wm


Signs of the times


Metal pheasant 002 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=


All tucked up ready for winter




 It’s injury time again.

Extensive google research suggests that I might have sustained a metatarsophalangeal joint sprain. Turf Toe to you and me. I followed one of those diagnostic flowcharts that starts off with.. “have you had the disability since you were born?” proceeding through several alternative causal scenarios to “did you fall down some steps and stub your toe?” Sadly, yes. It’s so called because apparently footballers are prone to the same condition. Rugby and baseball players too as it happens. Beats housemaid’s knee eh. There is no mention of extreme gardeners but henceforth they really should be included, don’t you think? At the time all I thought I’d done was bruise a knee. The toe problem didn’t manifest itself for at least another hour. It’s a bummer because there’s an event at Rosemoor this weekend and I really want to go. At the moment, as it stands (or not), I can barely walk.

The solution, from above mentioned exhaustive research, is total rest and I have five days. This of course means that I’ll have to be waited on hand and foot (no pun) until healing takes place. Mike is slowly getting into the routine. He climbed the stairs with a medicinal Pinot twice last night and fully expects that the coffee rota will be all his now too. Nor will I be attempting the 84 steps to meet the grocery delivery man.




But we did achieve a lot yesterday until disaster struck.


Plant creche 001 Wm[2]


The days are getting shorter, temperatures have dropped, autumn rains have arrived and it’s unlikely the clay soil will dry out again until next Spring. The end of the season is fast approaching for any major advancements in garden redesign. So, having cleared the veggie raised beds, all my purchases still languishing in pots have gone in there. Hopefully they will be happier for it and it will save me hurtling round the garden plucking pots from far flung corners after each and every gale.


Alpine shelter 001 Wm[2]


Bulbs are all safely ensconced in the ground, buried in wire mesh cages in a bid to defeat the mice. It does seem to be working, at least until the new shoots poke up above the soil. The alpine trough covers are back in place. Assorted pots of tender perennials have booted the tomatoes out of the greenhouse.

It’s a good feeling to be ready for winter. If we do get balmy days and the ground dries out sufficiently there’s no shortage of weeding to keep me meaningfully employed. But, toe or no toe, nothing that can’t now wait until Spring.


Autumn leaves 013 Wm[1]


Autumn in the woodland


2017-10-24T19:32:43+00:00October 27th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Marian St.Clair October 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Hope your recovery is quick. Our colors are showing too. I’m hoping for a hike this weekend if the weather is tolerable.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      A hike sounds wonderful. It must be getting cooler there now?

  2. Pauline October 27, 2015 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    So sorry to hear about your poor toe! When gardening, we don’t think of it as a dangerous place to be, but unfortunately it is. I hope you are soon restored to good health.
    I too took pity on my many pots sitting outside the back door, plants that I had bought in a fit of enthusiasm, but hadn’t had time to plant. They went, like yours, into a vacant vegetable bed where they will be much happier over the winter.
    The colours in your woodland are so beautiful, what a lovely picture they make.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      My problem is I’d hoped that we would get a bit further on a couple of new areas in the garden and I’d bought the plants with that in mind. But putting them in the raised beds will provide an incentive in Spring. I’ll need to get them shifted to plant the veg!

  3. Denise October 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Awwww….your poor foot! A good excuse to spend time browsing the gardening catalogues, I reckon. Now, have you got a bell or a gong to summon Mike to tend your needs??

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      That’s a good idea. And a big stick to bash the floor with if all else fails.

  4. Virginia October 27, 2015 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Oh dear! What a nuisance – but since you are being sensible and giving it the rest it needs, you may be up to the Rosemarie trip – we’ll all have our fingers (and toes) crossed for you! Remember the painkillers – they help with the healing, as will the Pinot!

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      At rest I can’t even feel the problem, it’s totally painless. This is dangerous in itself. This evening I took off after an orange with a life of its own, only to remember after it was too late..

  5. leanne October 27, 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    I’ve missed visiting you here, and have just read back through ok posts of yours. My half term garden plans have been scuppered by rain. I have a lot to do. Lots and lots. I actually don’t know where to start. Sorry to hear about your toe. I must admit I quite like the idea of my husband bringing me a glass or two of Pinot in bed.
    Leanne xx

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      The rain was biblical here today and the garden has turned into a quagmire. The combination of clay and being on a steep hill makes gardening fairly impossible in winter.

  6. Sarah October 27, 2015 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    Oh dear, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that the next few days of rest will allow you to get to Rosemoor. We do have started sorting out the garden for winter, Sarah x

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      It’s a good feeling when it’s done. I don’t like winter, but this year I am ready for a rest!

  7. LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD October 27, 2015 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Bad enough to be sidelined from the garden but tough on the able-bodied partner when steps are involved. Hope you are able to enjoy some views from inside to your gorgeous fall foliage. Some pretty impressive examples of fall color.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      It’s getting more golden by the day. Having removed some of the trees close to the house we have a much longer vista now too.

  8. Anne Wheaton October 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    And there was me thinking gardening was good for keeping everybody fit and healthy. Gorgeous autumn colour, which contrasts particularly well with the dark green. Hope it won’t be long before you’re bounding up those steps to collect your groceries.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      I was in two minds about the conifers. Glad we left them in now, for just that reason. I like the tapestry of colour.

  9. Jacqueline October 27, 2015 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Firstly Jessica, so sorry to hear of your poor toe …… bit of a bummer ! As long as Mike keeps doing his nursey duties then hopefully you’ll be up and about in no time !! Very important to recovery to have a few Pinot’s delivered ….. I’ve heard that it’s a very well known cure for metatarsophalangeal joint sprain !!
    At least you had been putting the garden to bed before it all went pear-shaped !! It looks beautiful in it’s Autumnal colours. XXXX

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      It could have been worse couldn’t it. It could have happened in Spring. I kept going for a further three hours after falling by getting Mike to bring everything I needed to the spot I was standing in. I don’t think that’s helped recovery much.. the Pinot is definitely needed.

  10. Vera Coe October 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    I am so impressed with the way in which you, and other blogging friends, have ‘wrapped up’ their gardens for the winter. Us? Nope, nothing like that happening here, just letting everything get along as best it can. But, hey….what bad luck about your toe, and hope it heals soon.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      It very much depends on the conditions Vera. On a hill with clay soil it’s pretty much impossible to dig in winter. I’d end up at the bottom of the slope pretty quickly in a sludgy mess.

  11. snowbird October 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Ouch! Your poor toe! I do hope it gets better, with all that waiting-on, I’d be tempted to drag it out a bit! The woodland looks lovely!xxx

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      You can never hurry these things, can you 🙂

  12. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things October 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    That last picture is just gorgeous. You have had a very productive time of it. Too bad about the toe, but I’m sure you’ll soon be back at full strength. Meanwhile, sounds like a good time to get some reading done.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Indeed. And several other projects too. Could I be coming round to liking winter? Scary thought…

  13. Backlane Notebook October 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    So sorry to hear about the poorly toe but glad you are being looked after so well.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Making the most of it while it lasts.. thanks.

  14. FlowerAlley October 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    Tell me more about the trough covers. I have dozens of these troughs that I have made. I do not cover them. Remember, I do live in North Carolina. If it is about freezing and heaving it may not apply to me, but I will still find it interesting.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      It’s about rain. Alpines don’t mind the cold so much but they can’t stand getting wet especially if they then sit for long periods in cold waterlogged soil. We get a lot of rain in Devon. The covers, which Mike made from scrap wood and some perspex, keep off the worst of the moisture so they have a much better chance of surviving the winter. It worked brilliantly last year, I don’t think I lost one!

    • Diana Studer October 27, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      me too. Is it to keep off excessive rain?

      • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:53 pm - Reply

        Exactly Diana.

  15. Joanne October 27, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Oh no your poor foot, at least it has happened now & not during summer. I hope you are able to get lots of rest x

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Exactly Joanne, the timing could have been a lot worse.

  16. Freda October 27, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Five days is a long time! I might actually enjoy the rest for one or maybe two….Have you got some good reading Jessica? I hope it heals quickly. That tapestry is so beautiful!

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      I have a huge backlog of blogs to catch up on. And don’t let’s mention the piles of magazines! It’ll be fine..?

  17. Amy at love made my home October 27, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Ouch! Sounds very painful indeed. I hope that you will be OK again very soon. In the meantime, no walking! xx

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      It sounds more painful than it is… unless I walk!

  18. Jayne Hill October 27, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Ouch, hope you heal soon. Please don’t do my usual trick of trying to do much too soon – give it time to recover 🙂

    Congrats for being so far along in your pre-winter clear up.

    • Jessica October 27, 2015 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      The winter clean up is a case of needs must, but it’s unusual for me to be this far ahead. The difficult bit was deciding it’s time to call it a day for this year. It still might change if we can get the help we need to do some clearing and landscaping. But then it will be work by others!

  19. Linda aka Crafty Gardener October 27, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Oh no, being waiting on hand and foot, how awful for you. Hope you follow doctors orders and rest till it is better.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Following husband’s instructions is far more onerous! I’m allowed to get out of my chair for the loo and that’s it.

  20. Rosemary October 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Poor you, thank goodness you are so well organised in the garden and can afford the time to sit back and give your foot time to recover – Mike is a treasure.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      I didn’t realise how far ahead I was to be honest. The decision to put off any more permanent planting until next year has helped a lot. And as luck would have it the bulbs went in last week.

  21. susurrus October 27, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I hope your Pinot cure helps you recover in time. I’ve not seen anything like the alpine trough cover before. It it designed to keep off the rain?

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Susan, thanks and welcome! The alpine cover worked a treat last year, keeping the worst of the rain off as you say. Once the trough gets wet it tends to stay that way for the winter, even though it has drainage holes and a gritty mix. Not good.

  22. hb October 27, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Medicinal Pinot. Good one!

    Feel better.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      It’s working too.. thanks.

  23. Sam October 27, 2015 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Sorry you’re laid-up. Make sure that heals properly – fully functioning feet are pretty essential when you live on a slope. I’m glad it’s not painful so at least you’re not in any discomfort while you wait for your drinks! The garden is looking lovely.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sam. Feet are pretty crucial aren’t they. Making progress I think, but not moving round very much. And definitely steering clear of steps.

  24. Alison October 28, 2015 at 12:58 am - Reply

    I’m impressed all your bulbs are planted. I got a few in the ground, but lots still hanging around the porch in mesh bags. Sorry your foot is injured. I’ve been having back problems off and on since August, so I can understand the pain. It’s hard for me to stay still when I have so much to do.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      I don’t plant that many bulbs to be honest. It’s a waste of time and money given the mice. But it’s nice to have a few clumps here and there or the place would look dead in early Spring. Aches, pains and injuries do seem to come with the territory and it is hard. Especially as it’s been dry today and I could have been out there. But if we allow ourselves proper opportunity to heal it will give us more time in the long run.

  25. Kris P October 28, 2015 at 4:01 am - Reply

    I’m sorry to hear about the toe! It’s good that you have a supportive spouse, though. Congratulations on getting everything tucked away for the cold months! As much as I complain about our never-ending summer heat and our lack of rain, I do count myself lucky that I don’t have to haul plants under cover to protect them from Old Man Winter.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      And you don’t have Old Man Winter seeping into your bones as so many of us do! I wouldn’t mind the heat so much (says she not having to live with it), the lack of rain is another thing altogether.

  26. Brian Skeys October 28, 2015 at 8:10 am - Reply

    I hope you recover sufficient to go to Rosemoor, what is the event? Your garden shows how you have to work with the soil and situation to develop a garden, clay and a slope are two of the more difficult conditions.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      It’s an informal meet up of south west twitter buddies, great fun when we last did it. Organised through AllHorts on Facebook. Every year I have a list of things I think I’ll do over the winter and never get them done.. I step on the soil and sink a couple of inches. It just compresses it into a sticky mess. Plus it would be all too easy just to slide off the hill.

  27. Julie October 28, 2015 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Sorry to read your post, that must be so frustrating, I hope you manage to get to Rosemoor though, its one of my all time favourite gardens. The Pinot sounds just the job in the meantime!

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      It is a lovely garden and we’re lucky to have it relatively close by. They have similar conditions to us to, being in a valley, so there’s plenty of inspiration there.

  28. homeslip October 28, 2015 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Ouch Jessica. But gosh you’ve been working hard, the garden is looking lovely. Hope you’re OK for your trip to Rosemoor. Look out when mixing stairs, wine and painkillers, we do not want any more accidents!

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      Ha! I’ve managed without painkillers so far. Does that mean I can have more wine?

  29. sustainablemum October 28, 2015 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Ouch that does sound painful, enjoy being waited on! I do love blogs I had never heard of housemaids knee before this morning and now I have read about it twice!

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      Mike has had housemaid’s knee. And now I have something that is more commonly found in rugby players. Well I thought it was funny.

  30. croftgarden October 28, 2015 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Commiserations, one should never laugh at another’s misfortunates but your tale of woe made me smile. How do you manage to get prescribed treatment that involves rest and restorative glasses of pinot? My extreme gardening injuries seem to require either ice-baths or regular exercise and definitely no sympathy! Enjoy the rest and slave-like devotion.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      It was meant to raise a smile. If you didn’t laugh you’d have to cry. I was offered breakfast in bed this morning but that was a step too far.

  31. SeagullSuzie October 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Enjoy the rest, the coffee and the wine…what more can I say!

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      I’ll try. I’m taking on board all the advice that suggests recovery should not be rushed…

  32. Sigrun October 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Overgrown – tststs . You have a beautiful big garden! We also collect decorations in the garden for the winter – in the gardenhouse.


    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      The ducks have a rusty surface and I was worried that with moisture and frost getting in it might start to deteriorate. So they move inside as soon as it starts to get wet and cold!

  33. pbmgarden October 28, 2015 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Here’s wishing you a quick recovery so you can get back out into your beautiful garden.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Susie.

  34. thesalemgarden October 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Gosh, I hope you’re feeling better! Feet can be tough healers…

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      They can.. it’s almost impossible to keep off them that’s the trouble!

  35. Donna@Gardens Eye View October 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Jessica I am sorry to hear about your injury….mine is healed enough so I can quickly button up with very little maintenance done, no weeding and no redesigns. But giving our bodies time to heal is what we must do.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      You’re right. And with winter coming at least there will be plenty of opportunity for that. I hope by the time Spring comes around again you’ll be fighting fit and ready to go.

  36. Sue October 28, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    I have done exactly the same Turf Toe. I went to A@E they strapped it up and gave me pair of crutches and to leave the strapping on for 2 days. I hopped about with the crutches for a few days and then all was well. I did mine gardening on the slope which is our front garden!

    Good luck. Sue.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      That sounds very encouraging, thank you Sue. Slopes are dangerous, I always said it! You take care.

  37. AnnetteM October 28, 2015 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Sorry to hear about your toe. It can be so frustrating when you can’t get on with things, but at least you had finished a lot of garden jobs before it happened. I hope you can find enough things to do that don’t involve walking – writing letters, emails,making lists, those posts you never got round to writing/reading, online Christmas shopping – oh dear this could be expensive. Love your Autumn colours.

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      There are loads of things aren’t there, I won’t get bored and it could well get expensive. The worst bit is sitting still for so long at a time, I’m not used to it at all. Thanks Annette.

  38. frayed at the edge October 28, 2015 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Oh, poor you! I feel your pain – I cracked a bone in my foot when we lived in Indonesia – the same bone that David Beckham broke. Fortunately I had a maid to do all the housework and cooking (and we had a gardener) so I could sit with my foot up on a stool, when not hobbling about on my crutches!

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      I’m afraid housework has stopped here, apart from Mike doing a bit of hoovering today. But hopefully nothing is broken and normal service can soon be resumed. I’m struggling with the inactivity it has to be said! Hope you had a lovely holiday, welcome back!

  39. Anny October 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Ouch! Currently enduring an ingrowing toenail, with precious little sympathy from the OH – shall demand medicinals forthwith x

    • Jessica October 28, 2015 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Go for it! You deserve it. And it does help.

  40. Anna October 28, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Oh no your poor toe! Sorry to hear that you are suffering Jessica. Will keep fingers crossed that you are able to make the event of Rosemoor. Your pot purchases look most content tucked up in their winter bed. I’m considering a transfer here from cold frame to allotment for some of my babies.

    • Jessica October 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      It must be better for them than being cooped up in their pots. I regret to say some have been there quite a while, I could almost hear the sigh of relief (when I eventually managed to extract them!).

  41. Sheila October 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Ouch…that sounds painful! At least it is a quieter time of year as far as gardening goes.
    Keep taking the ‘medicine’ and hopefully your foot will soon heal.

    • Jessica October 30, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      If it had to happen the timing couldn’t have been better. Well, maybe a couple of hours later then I could have finished the planting job without being in pain!

  42. Beth @ PlantPostings October 29, 2015 at 3:06 am - Reply

    Oh, I’ve heard turf toe can be extremely painful! I hope the pino is helping. 😉 What a great idea for covering the tufa pot full of succulents. I brought mine into the sunroom, but I think my winters are a little colder than yours. One year I put them on the back porch and they survived the winter, but had trouble navigating the freeze/thaw and ice of early spring. Take care! I hope your injury heals quickly!

    • Jessica October 30, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      It’s annoying isn’t it, just when you think you’ve got them through they turn up their roots and die. I have been trying to cut down on things that are borderline hardy. It’s so much additional work.

  43. Sue Garrett October 29, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I had never heard of turf toe, I hope you are soon on the mend. No more scaling the precipitous bank for a while, it’s just about time for us gardeners to have a period of hibernation stop you have some beautiful autumn colours in the woodland

    • Jessica October 30, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      I hadn’t heard of it either, but apparently it’s a common injury. I was up on the bank yesterday and it was silly. Tackling slopes is for strong feet only.

  44. Cathy October 29, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    I don’t know Jessica – you are very adept at getting into situations that make for an interesting and amusing blog post…are you sure you don’t do it deliberately…? 😉 Seriously, although I enjoyed reading your post I do hope you get your grassy toe sorted soon and that you make the most of being waited on while you have the chance

    • Jessica October 30, 2015 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      When I started the blog I thought all the disasters would abruptly cease and I’d have nothing to write about. Seems not to be..

  45. germac4 October 30, 2015 at 1:40 am - Reply

    Sorry to hear about your turf toe, but your garden looks all tucked up and ready for winter. Enjoy those gorgeous autumn colours!

    • Jessica October 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gerrie. The pretty bit is so fleeting that’s the trouble. The leaves are all dropping now and I’m longing for Spring!

  46. Charlie@Seattle Trekker November 1, 2015 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    It takes a while for turf toe to heal. It is a lot like spraining your ankle. When you roll that same ankle again you start over with re-hab.

    • Jessica November 1, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      I’ve been garden visiting today and spent a lot of time walking.. feeling it now!

  47. Julieanne November 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    I’m rather late to this blog, so I’m hoping by now that your toe is all better and you are back on your feet ‘n toes. I’m very impressed with how much you have got done and have all the bulbs planted. I haven’t even started yet… Why do the ducks have to go inside for winter?

    • Jessica November 3, 2015 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      They probably don’t, but I want to keep them looking their best as long as possible. I was worried about the possibility of water, and then frost, getting between the rusty layers and bits dropping off!

  48. natalie November 3, 2015 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Heal up fast!! You have things to do! 🙂

    • Jessica November 3, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      I’m too impatient to get on and do all those things, that’s the trouble, and the poor toe is struggling!

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