Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A working holiday...

Last week I went to my son's new house for a holiday and foolishly agreed to sort his garden out for him as he didn't have a clue what to do. His dream is to grow fruit & veg and have a small Asian 'jungle'. I didn't realise just how much work there was involved! As you can see by the first picture, it has been badly neglegted for some time and was well and truly overgrown.

I spent the first few days cutting everything down to the roots and pruning the few plants he wanted to keep. I must admit this was exhausting as I was doing it in about 30 - 35 degrees and had to keep stopping to cool down. Although doing all that hacking was great fun the plants decided to fight back and my arms and legs are covered in scratches, I look as if I have been whipped!!!

Once the hacking was done the digging had to begin. Well, that was a joke! First, I discovered that the ground was so hard through neglect that you either needed a pickaxe or a JCB to break into it. After soaking it well I managed to break into a small part of it but didn't make much impression so I left the digging for my son to do, after all. he has the muscles and the stamina needed (the roots were massive and I wasn't strong enough to dig them out). While he did the digging I managed to rescue a few plants for my garden and then planted his new ones which included a banana tree, talk about exotic! The picture below show the garden as I left it on Saturday, what a difference! The start of the Asian jungle is at the bottom where my son is standing.

My son knew that he had a frog living in the garden and I was lucky enough to meet him while I was working away. I quickly noticed that he hopped off to the bottom of the garden to sit under the ivy by the fence, this area was not cut down too much, after all he needed a home. Well, we decided to make him really happy and build him a 'palace' to live in. We started off by burying an old bucket and filling it with rocks and water. We even placed the irrigation hose over it so that the water would be topped up when the garden was watered. We gave him a lovely house by upturning a conveniently broken terracotta pot and to the left, a little 'summerhouse'. We surrounded the bucket with rocks complete with diving platform. We finished it by placing a stone frog at the entrance as a marker so it wasn't disturbed. With a few carefully placed ferns and palms it will be well sheltered. I think you will agree, a palace fit for a froggy prince! Well, suprise! suprise! Before the end of the week we found another TWO froggys, quite a colony. Naturally, we gave them names - Fred, Frogmella and Freda!

A job well done! The rest of my holiday was spent craft shopping (see earlier post) and going for long walks in the evenings. The only crafting I got done was colouring some stamped images when I was having a rest from the garden.
One of the walks we went on was to walk The Ridgeway in the Cotswolds. (My son does this on a regular basis as he is very much into different outdoor pursuits). Thankfully, he did not expect me to walk as far as he does, even so, we went a long way. There are wonderful views as the Ridgeway is quite high up, very enjoyable!
Another evening my son and his friend were going canoing on the canal so we had a race, with them in the canoes and the dog and I on the towpath. If I made it to the turning point before them I would get a drink at the pub when we got back to the launch site. Ha!ha! I won!!! There and back! It was a lovely walk, so quite and peaceful with just the sound of birds and the canoe paddles.
Altogether a lovely break from the boring life I usually lead, can't wait until my next visit. I must admit I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow...
Thanks for looking.

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