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Still precious little happening on the gardening front. Progress on the part of the Gardener has been sporadic to say the least. It’s so frustrating. Between the showers: rain, hail, sleet, snow, you name it, the weather has actually been quite nice. And there’s so much planting to do. But I know when I’ve overdone it that’s for sure.

So it’s probably just as well that our builder has turned up. We’d just sat down for Sunday lunch when he rang to say he’d be with us the following morning. Such is the Devon way. Thoughts of an afternoon spent with a good book and a glass rapidly disappearing we set to work, relocating everything green within the line of fire. Mike did all the digging and replanting but even supervising can be tiring when you’re injured. All that walking up and down to keep the closest possible eye upon proceedings. And spare a thought for poor Hamamelis ‘Diane’. It’s the third time she’s been shifted in as many years. She looks happy enough in the veg garden for now but she’d better not get accustomed because all too soon she’ll be packing her bags for the return trip.

 
 

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Spot The Difference

 

In the course of opening up the garden over the years we’ve removed a hedge, a gate post and a gate. The remaining support for the gate consisted of a section of wall attached to the house that now looked somewhat incongruous. So with the builder returning to do some minor repairs to the gable wall, what better opportunity to have it knocked down?

 
 

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Now you see it..

 
 

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Now you don’t

Obviously in due course the render will be repaired and repainted but in the meantime it’s been interesting to look at the structure of the old house wall.

 
 

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In many Devon cottages the ground floor storey was constructed from rubble (rough stone). Note the gently rounding corner, so typical of buildings of this type. The first floor level consists of cob (mud and straw). You may recall we saw evidence of the cob from the inside while repairing the walls in the study last year (here).

 
 

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What I love most about working on an old house is peeling back the layers. Buildings evolve over time as fashions and the needs of the occupants change. If it was simpler or cheaper, former features were often just covered up rather than removed. Which makes for fascinating discoveries. The flowerbed predates the construction of the gate. Our builder found this original low curved wall hidden within the fabric of the newer, taller wall.  He painstakingly chipped away at it until all the attached render was removed. Hamamelis ‘Diane’, once she returns, will have a smart new home.

And talking of render.. not to mention a few breeze blocks..

 
 

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..the fourth driveway ‘heap’ in the space of a year.

Sigh.