There’s so much to do….

So, it’s February and I’m fed up. Just after Christmas, I decided to crack on with the pruning in the orchard – and my shoulder problem returned. It was so bad I took a day off work to rest it – and I’m not sure it helped much. Finally decided that this issue is due to pruning – not light snipping with the secateurs-type pruning but bow-saw pruning. So we had to finish the job with me telling Keith what to cut. Slow, slow, slow. But the good news is, the renovation pruning is finished. Yay. Now it just needs to be maintained. I’m about half way through the maintenance pruning from last year, so that should get finished by the end of March. Especially as I have a week booked off in 3 weeks for gardening – I’m hoping for lovely Spring weather.
But now, I have a cold – been carrying it all week and it’s making me so weary. I’m knackered. So I’m sitting indoors, by the window watching the birds feed and writing this.

Before I post my garden pics and a list of what needs doing, I’m going to tell you about a fantastic herbal remedy I’ve discovered. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Mercia Herb Group meeting at Sarah’s house – her blog is listed on the right there, Kitchen Herbwife. She made some fantastic tea from fresh grated ginger, dried sage and thyme, then added some lemon juice and honey to taste – it was gorgeous. And I’ve been drinking lots of it this past week to help shift my cold.
I’ve also been following Sarah’s advice in other ways – she recommends, if you want to learn about herbs, to pick just a few to really concentrate on each year. I’ve chosen sage, cloves and yarrow to start with. I’m more interested in the gardening/growing side of things than in herbal medicine, but I’m willing to dabble. Yarrow grows like a weed in my herb garden – well, it is a weed to some people, especially in lawns. I plan to make some oil with it, and also to grow some ornamental cultivars. I’ve had trouble getting sage to grow for me so I’m determined to find the right spot for it in this garden. I know I can’t grow cloves in the UK, but I can learn about them. I’m hoping they’ll be included in the new BBC2 series ‘Spice Trail’. When I have enough information, I’ll try and blog about what I’ve learned.

So, I’ve just been into the garden to take some early Spring pics – here they are:

Sweet pea seedlings

Comfrey shooting

Parsley under a cloche


Hellebore flowers

Snowdrops in the rain

Crocuses almost ready to open

First catkins on the new hazel hedge by the bees

Slowly, slowly things are waking up. And there’s so much to do.

The bed beneath the evergreen hedge needs weeding

This bed by the drive needs weeding and more planting

Things seem to have been abandoned everywhere I look

There's always something needs tidying

Then there’s the Catalpa bignoides to prune, the Cotoneaster to bring down to size, the veg patches to have their green manure rotovated in (spuds are chitting in readiness), the pergola needs more gravel adding, the eucalyptus needs coppicing, the hammock bed still needs planting (I plan to do that in that holiday week in March), the pampas grasses need tidying after being buffetted about by the wind, the naked garden needs weeding and all the herbaceous stuff chopping back. Then there’s new projects.

We are in the middle of erecting a new potting shed – the old one just wasn’t big enough:

Pots not fitting into the pot shed

What we need is more shed space

So far, Keith has laid the base:

Place new shed here

Something else I’d like to do in 2011 is to renovate the courtyard at the back of the house. It has some old wooden built-in seating that is rotting away, so I’d like to take it out and replace with beds for white flowered and evening scented plants. Then add some fairy lights to make an evening garden. I’d also like to decide what to do with the back garden – we’ve had a million ideas, none of them quite right. It’s a space we can see from the house, and that we walk through to get in and out. It’s also used for drying washing. But that’s about it. It’s on the north side of the house, a long way from the veg beds and other productive areas. Any ideas?

Right, time to end this extra long post. I feel quite over-whelmed by it now I’ve written it all down. But on the plus-side, I will feel better next week, and I get home just after 5pm, and every night is a little lighter than the one before. Maybe tomorrow we can get the shed walls up?

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