‘Are You Going To Do All That By Hand?’

Today was spent on garden maintenance, the vast majority of which was carried out by Jackie. She was engaged in planting, weeding, and moving of self-seeded treasures, such as the host of hellebores that crop up everywhere.Jackie carrying herbicideJackie applying herbicide

In preparation for Aaron’s laying of the gravel, she applied megadeath to the various patches of grass, brambles, and dandelions, and other weeds clinging to the back drive. This in the form of diluted DeadFast weedkiller concentrate.

Worm eaten fence post

Some of the fence posts miraculously being held up along this drive are very worm-eaten, giving them an appearance as sculptured as the bark of the birch tree, now in leaf. This particular bright magenta crop of honesty flowers will not appear again for another two years, as the plant is biennial, flowering one year and seeding the next.

Birch leaves and honesty

My major task was mowing the lawn. Well, not exactly mowing, and not exactly a lawn. We have an odd-shaped patch of grass, the main purpose prior to our arrival probably having been for canine convenience. It is a small area bounded by flower beds and paths, and bearing benches, a Victorian chimney plot planter encircled by pretty round stones, a couple of shrubs, and a small stump. A mower cannot reach everything without putting the blades at risk. We have long-handled shears for cutting the edges.Grass cuttingPieris

Now, in my previous life, I have been accustomed to heavy duty Honda petrol mowers that can produce stretches of nice straight lines in which one can take pride if one possesses a large enough lawn.

Last year we used a strimmer to shave this little patch, but that tended to become a little heavy, especially for Jackie, by the end of the job, so we bought a small electric mower more suitable for the task; and the pair of shears. I had not used the machine before today, so my first task was to turn it on. After several failed attempts I managed the synchronisation of button and lever which was required for successful operation. Having established that, I set about the numerous edges with the shears. By the time I was about three quarters of the way through this task I began to consider that I was doing this in the wrong order. I was probably shearing rather more than I needed, and it might be easier to mow first and clip afterwards.

For some reason best known to herself Jackie has the impression that I make life hard for myself by the methods I use to carry out tasks. This is on occasion mentioned when I fill my food plate from one of her casseroles. My plate stays at my place setting and I carry the food across the table from the dish. This requires some not always successful dexterity in ensuring that I do not spill any on the cloth. My lady thinks that it might be more straightforward to take the plate to the dish.

So, there I am, contemplating the grass-cutting, and along comes the head gardener. ‘Sweetheart,’ she trills, ‘are you going to do all that by hand?’. I explained my method, and that, of course, she was right.

The application of the mower went off rather smoothly, although I did occasionally have to extricate myself from the cable which seemed to persist in ensnaring my legs.

Onamental grass

We don’t cut all the grass in the garden, for we have a number of ornamental varieties that are small enough not to require it.

This evening we dined on chicken Kiev, cauliflower cheese, carrots, beans, and mashed potato; all to Jackie’s usual high standard. She drank Gallo Muscato. I didn’t.


  1. You’ll have to save some honesty seeds and sow for “the other year”. Honesty is a good thing to have at least once a year! Loved the round-about methodology references.

  2. “the host of hellebores that crop up everywhere” ? I am envious. I can’t make them grow for me. Yes, Derrick; I do think Jackie’s the wiser being 🙂 And I love the sound of her food; even at 7:25 a.m. I am hungry for cauliflower cheese.

    I had to laugh at your struggle with a small lawn. I had a tiny one when I moved in here; the first thing I did was to cover it with cardboard and killed it 🙂 I wasn’t going to get on my hands and knees and cut it with a pair of scissors.

  3. Nice post!!! We do need that advice. Of course, it makes us consider we are a short step from Depends. I hope you carried your plate to the food!!!

  4. These kinds of days, while filled with work, are also filled with a feeling of accomplishment. To finish with a lovely meal? Perfect!

  5. “For some reason best known to herself Jackie has the impression that I make life hard for myself by the methods I use to carry out tasks.”– I think my wife (and more and more my daughter) believe the same thing about me! And I couldn’t stop looking at the photo of the fence post. I kept seeing some complex cave dwelling from a wonderful fantasy novel!

  6. I love gardens like this… pretty surprises throughout, various shapes and colors. I’d like to sit in your garden with a glass of that Gallo Muscato…

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