A good part of the day, until I set the incinerator going at 4 p.m., was spent in selecting and printing the next section of the garden development album.
If there was any task more daunting than anything else in the Old Post House garden, it was the back drive.
This is what it looked like on 14th June 2014. An extremely careful examination of the picture will reveal Jackie at the far end embarking on spraying herbicide. After about a metre this was abandoned. The gate in the foreground didn’t fit and was roughly attached to a rickety makeshift fence.
Nine days later the main burning pile, which will be featured later, had encroached onto this area and the old wheelbarrow that was to hold the pyre, had been put in place. The barrow itself stands on a few inches of soil forming a shallow raised bed on which vegetables had been grown. A ring of granite sets held this in place. There were several such booby traps lying about. The panels leaning on the new fence are, we think, part of what was described in the inventory as ‘greenhouse, unassembled’. further down, the older fence has been pushed over by the neighbours’ firs.
By 21st July, further encroachment made combustion seem an impossible task.
By 19th September we had made some little headway on weeding, but were still burning branches, many of which, of course had come from other parts of the garden.
Two days later, felt we were getting somewhere. This was the scene at 10 a.m. when we began taking out the shrubbery and trees growing up the side of our neighbours’ house;
and this at 1.30 p.m.
Another four days and Jackie had made considerable progress in keeping the invasive firs in their rightful place;
and by 1st October we had begun defining the entrance, making yet more use of the excavated concrete slabs.
In the new year it became apparent to us that we were definitely in need of help. I reluctantly had to admit that there was a limit to what we could manage alone. By 21st February 2015 we had had the good fortune to engage Aaron of A.P. Maintenance. As I told him today he has had a far bigger impact on what we have achieved than by his work alone. Here he is digging out a clump of ornamental grass which I couldn’t lift. We now call this plant ‘the Phoenix’, because it resisted all attempts at destruction, including burning. It flourishes in Elizabeth’s Bed.
Aaron only visits on Sundays, but this is the progress he had made by 8th March, in levelling of the soil, much of which was transferred to the rose garden, and edging the right hand border with found bricks. Jackie and I had pruned the griselinia hedging which has been allowed to become an avenue of tall trees.
On 5th April, Jackie was able to use the strip for its intended purpose. On the left hand side, Aaron has used the granite sets for edging.
Three weeks later, he and Robin had covered the drive with most of the gravel.
This was completed on 10th May, after Aaron had cemented a retaining bar outside the entrance.
By 11th October the drive was in full use. Jackie has lined both sides with flower beds. No doubt I’ll have to tackle the fallen leaves soon.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, special fried rice, vegetable samosas, and onion bhajis. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank another glass of malbec.