Thursday, 15 September 2016

Hoary handed man of the soil...

I seem to have become one of the above, since moving to the bungalow.  We have two largish lawns and borders.  The borders out front had been treated like most old persons' places with annual plants. Grown in a greenhouse and planted at great effort in Spring to flower all summer and start to die off about now, only to be removed and replaced by winter plants which will need replacing come spring!
What a preposterous waste of time and effort!  How do those flowers get on in the wild?  Serried ranks of old biddies with little else to do never kept them going. They somehow came to us down the millennia all on their own, unaided by generations of old farts with more money and energy than sense!

We have just dug up all the red and yellas in over 60 feet of borders as they were showing signs of impending death and have replaced them with 24 lavender bushes and today, a selection of shrubs. Yes, I have, this afternoon, planted "a Shwubberwy".  Well 7 shwubbs anyway, some of which looked a bit wan if I'm honest, but at 2 for 3 quid, worth a punt, eh?

Then, not wishing to spoil the mood of amateur horticulture, I took the sticks of the aluminium greenhouse wifey had collected for free early last year and separated them into logical piles. Naturally, for instance, an 8 x 6 greenhouse will have 5  8 foot structurals at least.  2 base lines, 2 gutters and a ridge and bugger me rigid if that ain't exactly what I found!  Then some 6 footers, some angle ended members and flat braces.  Heavens it's almost built!  A brisk scrub with a very stiff brush and a handful of new 6 mil gutter screws and nuts and we'll be growing toms like Percy Throwup.

Then there's the reshaping of the side border out back, the raised beds area on the base of the old greenhouse that the corporate vandals pulled down and sold off and the sitting area where the same vandals demolished a perfectly good shed.  We got a free 5 foot diameter smokey glass and bamboo table yesterday from a house down the road that simply put it outside with a cardboard "Free" notice attached.  The ex owner even persuaded his excellent neighbour to reattach the trailer to his car and load up said table and me to hold it and crawl back up the road with us AND help get it round the back.  That is village life as I recall it when I enjoyed same in the county of Devon in my late teens.
The table is now on the lawn, pending its final positioning and is a very useful shelf for sorting the components of the greenhouse.

What strikes me about this gardening lark is how long it all takes.  I haven't seen the inside of my shed in 2 days!  It takes 2 hours to mow the lawns.  Another to trim and clear up.  And as for digging out the 6 month biddy specials, I lost count!  Then the soil has to be rejuvenated by hoeing, then you have to sweep up AGAIN and throw stuff in the composter AGAIN.
But it is strangely compelling, as I always assumed it would be and I can now quite understand why old people do it. It's a very easy way to pass the time.  Once the greenhouse is built, the weather, even, becomes an irrelevance too. In fact a well sealed glasshouse with a comfy chair is a very welcoming bolthole.  Warmed by a sun that you can't feel outside in the breeze and comforted by that tomatoey odour, I can easily see why Gertie can almost lose Bertie for hours on end.  By the time everything has been "brought on", "pricked out" and "potted", it's time for tea and Only Connect, a TV quiz to keep the brain lively as a fly.  A doze before bed and off we go again the next day.

Ye Gods is this my future?  It actually could be worse.....

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