About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Gardening on the edge

Recently I've been working on the strip of garden at the edge of the top bit. The risk of falling off, or of destroying the retaining wall and causing a landslide, added a certain air of danger to the whole experience.

It was sunny when I started...

Halfway through 'The Edge' while the sun was still shining and I was still full of enthusiasm

I felt enthusiastic enough to tackle the big laburnam on the arch (second of three, for those who are counting):

Here, the beast is slightly disturbed. It took three of us to finally shift it, taking several of its roots with it. It is now settling in to next door's garden.

Flushed with the success of uprooting the laburnam, I proceeded to tackle the colony of crocosmia that were smothering a small rose bush. You can just about see them in the above photo - you see that patch of light brown, close to the house? That's crocosmia. Having removed a big heap of the stuff, I started replanting some of it on a bit of hillside the other side of the house, but it was getting dark and I was getting tired, so I didn't get very much done.

Liberated rose bush on the left, first patch of relocated crocosmia on the right... no, not the darker brown patch, that's bracken, the lighter brown in the foreground... yes, that's it... that's the crocosmia.

That was last Friday (a week ago). On Saturday I got up in the morning, looked at my gardening clothes, and just couldn't face putting them on. I wore smart clothes that day (for 'smart' read 'relatively mud-free jeans') and did indoor things.

When I dragged myself back to the task of replanting the crocosmia, on Sunday, I realised it wasn't the dirty clothes that I'd had enough of - my muscles were seriously complaining at the challenge of keeping me stuck to the hillside at the same time as digging holes and stuffing heavy bits of crocosmia into them. I should point out that this particular bit of hillside includes a retaining wall part way up. You can tell when you're digging in the wall because it has mortar between the stones. Otherwise, it's not much different from the rest of the hill. Never mind a nice terraced bit of flower bed - planting things on that hillside is extreme gardening, and it hurts.

Here's the crocosmia, replanted all over the hillside:

Look carefully, there are scrubby brown patches all over that bit of hill.

In case you're wondering why I bothered, this is what crocosmia looks like when it's in flower:

Picture of crocosmia courtesy of West Highland Flora

When I recovered from the crocosmia replanting challenge (and digging up a massive laburnam probably didn't help, either), I moved a small hazel tree to a different bit of hillside...

The replanting of the hazel tree. I had to show you the picture on the left so you could see the bucket of stones that came out of that small hole.

... I finished digging over the bed on the edge and moved some bluebells into it...

Finished this bit! Most of this needed digging twice to get all the weeds out, which was very demoralising. The green patch in the middle is the bluebells.

... to make way for new fruit trees...

Planting a cherry tree. Or possibly a plum tree. I've already forgotten which way round I planted them. I leave the labels on for a reason.

... and I received a surprise gift from my parents-in-law of a selection of fruit bushes (Thank you very much!) so I made a bed for them in a bit of hillside near the hazel:

This one's probably blackberry. I'm not entirely sure what I've got here because the labels were all in latin and I had to look them up. It turns out that rubus is not very specific.

Oh, and I've done some more digging in the bit behind the herb garden, too. Do you notice how many of the pictures on this page are either dark or flashlit? That's because I tend to keep gardening until it's too dark to continue. It's no wonder I'm feeling tired!

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