Polar Expedition


The bank 061 Wm


early August


The bank 060 Wm


early July


More a case of “Dr Livingstone I presume” than Scott of the Antarctic but, notwithstanding, I made it to the pole. The telegraph pole. My target for the month. And, in keeping with any polar expedition worth its salt, not without challenges..


Danger of Death 002 Wm


The pole conquered and this particular adventurer safely returned to tell the tale I am nevertheless tardy with the end of month post. Again. Life’s like that at the moment. The plasterers are fitting our job into an already busy schedule, turning up whenever rain stops play on their outside work. For better or worse there’s been a lot of rain lately. Yesterday Mike decided to lift one of the floorboards in the bedroom and another chunk of wall came out with it. Isn’t it lucky there’s a stock of ready mixed haired mortar out on the drive. I wonder if the professionals will notice the homespun repair? A rethink of the design has come about with decisions that still have to be made becoming ever more urgent. Where are the electrical sockets going to go and the ‘tails’ for the radiators? And then there are requests from the builders. Could we just go out and source slate for the fireplace hearth and a nice bit of oak for a new mantel shelf?

I will get back to a more regular blogging schedule, eventually. Honest!


Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 004 Wm


Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’


I digress. Between the rain and perusal of plumbing suppliers’ websites I’ve cleared another strip of land about eight feet wide and, allowing for a dogleg created by the presence of a hydrangea bush, from the drive right down to the very precipice of the Precipitous Bank.


The bank 063 Wm


The hoses are part of the irrigation system. They’ll soon disappear when the area is planted.

The berberis in the foreground is the latest recipient of my now standard renovation prune hack back to within six inches of its life. It will resprout. They always do. And hopefully I can keep it within bounds this time. What I should have done though was to clear up all the prunings. That would have been the sensible thing now wouldn’t it? Certainly before going on to dig out a truly humongous fern?  The fern removal method of choice, especially if the Under Gardener is acting Under Plasterer and therefore temporarily unavailable, is leverage. With a garden fork strategically placed on the uphill side I can apply all of my weight to the handle and force the rootball downhill and out of the ground. It works exceptionally well until one of the tines hits a rock and the fork is jolted, unexpectedly, to one side. The gardener, with all of her weight resting on said fork, is hurled to the ground landing on her knees dead centre of all those berberis prunings she really, really should have moved. I am still extracting the thorns two weeks later.


The bank 064 Wm


It’s not much fun working on the precipitous edge either, especially when the earth is slippery after rain. But it does give a pleasant view back across this most recently developed bit of the garden.


Chaenomeles 005 Wm


Chaenomeles, variety unknown


Along the way a number of plants have been rescued from the forest of weeds now taller than me. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, two grasses and this ornamental quince, even producing an out of season bloom by way of thanks.


Hydrangea 025 Wm


The aforementioned hydrangea was moved from the terraces some three years ago. In those days it was bright pink. In its new location it seems to have decided that purple is the way to go.


Arrhenatherum bulbosum variegata 002 Wm


Arrhenatherum bulbosum variegatum

Described as a low growing grass, on the terraces it knew no bounds and shot up to a metre high in a single season. Perhaps unsurprisingly, relocated to a position where it really needs to be tall it has reached the lofty height of.. oh, all of a foot. Being nibbled to the ground by the rabbits in Spring may not have helped the cause.




So. How do you follow an expedition to the pole?


The bank 062 Wm


Why, a saunter into the bramble patch of course. Next target is half way to the tree.

Lovely. Not.


Linking with Helen’s End of Month View at The Patient Gardener. Click through to see what other gardeners are up to this month. With luck they won’t all be picking berberis out of their knees..