Most times in my weekly routine of work home life I had to fit in gardening while working around the British weather. You would have to cut your grass on a day off, when it was dry, and as fast as you can so you didn’t get rained on half way through; lockdown changed all that.
When lockdown happened there was a frenzy of activity, doing DIY and all the odd jobs you were leaving until you had time and the garden seemed to be on this list. As we got further into the lockdown we realised that if we could not do the garden today due to rain you could do it tomorrow or the next day; it was very odd that we could do this as we were always scheduled in time for the grass cutting or weeding and if you couldn’t do it that day you would properly had to wait a week or so until you got the chance to do it again, so it could be up to two weeks or more for cutting the grass which made it a much harder task.
I love being outside in the fresh air so myself and my little sidekick Nev would go for a walk, have breakfast then off into the garden to weed, make a border or tidy the patio.
We even embarked on projects such as cutting a 20ft tree down that had taken over the corner of the garden, but also blocked the light for sunbathing lol.
It all started very innocently were I was was trimming the dead branches of the Fern Tree that I had planted about 15 years ago, this trimming was going so that well that I carried on going higher and higher until I needed the aid of a ladder to get to the higher branches, but all I had was an old hand saw and small hand axe. I did make good use of my ninja skills at one point as I was holding onto a branch with my left hand and chopping away with the other, unfortunately as the branch came away from the tree the weight of it tipped me over sending the branch crashing to the garden below the ladders gave way and fell over I tumbled to the grass below while doing a very graceful forward roll to break my fall while throwing my axe to safety (a You Tube moment if ever there was one).
After dusting myself off I chopped and cut at the tree until I had a huge pile of branches and trunk on the floor so I did what every allotment gardener would do and started a fire to get rid of it all! Unfortunately the ensuing smoke that could be seen from space and some annoyed neighbours,I put out the fire that dampened my spirits and the fire in one easy go. So the problem was, how do I get rid of the huge pile of trees in my garden, the council incinerator!
The problem was the incinerator had been closed due to lockdown but had reopened by appointment only, so Kerry booked 2 slots for the week later (due to the volume of people wanting to use the site). We had a plan to use two cars because the council had restricted visits to one registration per week but we didn’t know if we could fit the tree into one car!
I bundled and bagged the tree Donna and Jessica (our sister-in-law and niece) let me take the tree through their side gate rather than drag a whole tree through the house (Kerry would not be best pleased) . We managed to get the tree in my Jeep but kept the 2nd spot for Kerry’s car so we could take more rubbish that we had accumulated during lockdown . Kerry had to drive her car for the second trip so we would not arouse suspicion at the border crossing (I mean the tip) this was no mean feet as Kerry is a self confessed Incinerator snob, she hates going because she doesn’t like the smell and it is dirty …….(it does smell Kerry)
With the tree gone I got to work planting new plants in the space where the tree was and Erin and myself set about painting the brickwork that had been hidden for many years by the tree.
We also decided to get a cherry blossom tree for the centre of the garden and when it arrived we excitedly dug a hole and planted the tree. I moved my Buddha to sit under it so in a few years time it will shed cherry blossom petals like a Japanese Zen garden. Zen is a very good word for gardening during lock down it was given me something to enjoy and tired me out but also stimulated me mentally.
It has been lovely to see the change in the garden and also change things for the better, I will just have to keep it up when the world gets back to normal. I have loved weeding in the sun while Nev ‘helps’ me by digging a hole or running off with the weeds after having his head and paws in my rubber tub. I have also been very good for my patience taking the grass and weeds out of the block paving, each and every block, one at a time and then re-sanding them, then moving onto the front patio ; it is back breaking work but when it is all finished it looks lovely until about a month later when you have to do it all again.
Spending time outside has been lovely. I have grown plants, tended the grass, cut and trimmed things I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have fallen back in love with my garden and don’t see it as a chore I have to do ; It feels like a moving Zen exercise rather than a thing I must do in the list of chores! Also kerry bought me my very first hammock and on a lovely afternoon I would take my pillow, book and maybe a blanket, climb in and read, or until I fall asleep or that semi-sleep state were you can hear things but you are just enjoying resting your eyes with the sun on your face and the gentle rocking of the hammock; pure bliss. I am looking outside now and the sun is shining and my plants and grass need watering so that’s what I am going to do
As one of my favourite quotes says I would rather be a warrior in the garden
Then a gardener in a war!
Until next time
Big love from the AFC