The portable garden this week: 14 April 2022
The weekend just gone was all about getting things ready. It’s a big, open, boring garden that’s covered with gravel and flanked by hedges. There’s a massive garage at one end, and the house at the other, both painted white.
The gravel was poorly applied before our time. There’s no liner underneath it to help prevent the weeds from coming through, and it’s really, really difficult to see properly to clean up after the dog, or even avoid walking in something. Also, it’s not very green.
We were going to have all of the gravel carted away and the garden turfed over, but the quote was way too high. If the poet had the time, it might even be cheaper to hire a mini-digger and do it all himself. But he doesn’t have the time. That’s when I wondered if we might just make it into a giant patio garden and put everything in pots that can at least come with us when we move house again.
There is a small flagged patio, up against the house. The sun starts to go off it from early afternoon onwards, but it’s still a nice place to sit out when it’s too stifling indoors. We’ve shoved a load of things up against the hedges, because the dog’s a burrower (badger, anyone?), and he kept on escaping.
The first thing we needed to do was get rid of two Christmas trees and an invasive shrub. For this the poet treated himself to a chainsaw. One of the trees, the one that’s still green, had already had the branches hacked off. The other one, the brown one, was still entire and simply refused to rot down.
The branches all went in the green wheelie bin and the trunks were chopped up into small logs that will fit in one or the other of our fires in the house. The invasive shrub was concealing the old cat kennel (which the cats have all used when they didn’t want to come in, and the dog has just for fun, and the chickens did), and a grapevine my dad bought for us.
Once he’d had a rest from all of that chopping and sawing, the poet dug a big hole and set a ground socket in some post mix. This is to replace the long washing line, which I love, for the rotary washing line, which at least does the job.
The long line pulls out and goes from the house to the garage. Every time I hang washing on it, I have to do a careful dog poo patrol. I do the dog poo patrol in any case, and so does the poet if he gets to it first. But I was always conscious of the possibility of treading in something whilst hanging out the washing.
I really do love a proper, long washing line as everything dries so quickly. However, rather than spend money on slabs or railway sleepers or something else, we decided to just put the rotary washing line up where I could reach it from the patio. We already had it, we just had to buy the ground socket.
We had to leave this for a day to set properly. Once he’s completely happy with this, we’ll cover it over with gravel again. With this job done, the next one was to go over the entire garden and apply weedkiller. We had to wait for it to dry before letting the animals out again. It didn’t take long.
Sunday was the test day for the ground socket and so far so good. Now it was time to concentrate on some projects.
First up was a bench that’s followed us for four houses. This gets a new coat of paint every so often as it’s very sturdy. At the moment it’s at the back of the house on the patio. Once we’ve got the new patio furniture, we’re moving it to the front of the house.
It will probably go beneath the trees at the front, on the grass – yes, we have lovely grass at the front of the house: a small lawn and a longer lawn. Another place it might work is beneath my office window next to the front door. In the summer, with my office window open, our elderly cat might still be able to get in and out if the bench is there to help her.
While he had the paint out, he thought he may as well give the shed and a small fence a quick coat too. The shed has followed us for three houses, and we’re not sure it will sustain another move. But it’s okay still, and less likely to blow down where we are at the moment. The poet still has the bird table to paint and a new gate and new fence panel that have recently been fitted.
As he finished the painting, I started to write up the project and planning lists, including how much we’re spending as we go along. When I’d done that, I ordered 9 plug tomato plants and a patio potato kit, each with 3 different varieties.
The tomatoes will go in 3 growbags along the back wall of the house. I’m going to sow some giant sunflowers in the growbags as well, but I’m not sure how it will all work. I’ve often planted marigolds with tomatoes in pots and baskets as the marigolds keep the flies off the tomatoes. I know that scarlet runner beans will climb up sunflower stems, I want to see if tomato vines can be fastened to them as well.
Since the weekend, I’ve not really done much pottering in the garden. I’m not sure where to start when I don’t have a proper potting shed or bench yet, or even anything to pot or sow. We’ll have to move the non-potting equipment out of the shed and into the garage, and then the poet will make me a new bench to fit my plastic potting bench top.
The weeds are dying now, or are already dead, so I could start to go around pulling those up. I also have several piles of pots to go through, to decide which ones we’ll use.
What’s going on in your garden this week?