Following our success with the veg patch a few weeks ago, we have been pressing on with developments in the garden. As those of you who follow my Facebook and Instagram pages will know, we spent last weekend barrowing gravel up the garden to form the paths between the raised beds. While not quite as hard work as filling the beds in the first place, it was still a fairly strenuous job. We laid a thick weed membrane to try and deter the dandelions and the bindweed which thrived up there last year, in spite of our best efforts to control it. Bindweed is an old enemy – I had lots of it at a previous house, and learned the hard way that the beautiful white flowers are not worth the pain. I spent the next few years waging a battle comparable only with my dandelion wars last summer and, purely by removing every leaf I could find, I did manage to weaken it in the end. I often wonder about that garden and if the new owners have managed to stop, if not the invasion, at least the total occupation that completely covered the rest of the plants in my first year there.
We made good progress with the gravel paths for most of the day until – crisis! We realised we didn’t have quite enough membrane or gravel to finish the job. Cue yet another emergency dash to B&Q for something which is similar enough that we reckon we won’t be able to tell the difference after a few rainfalls.
The result, as I hope you will agree, looks great and will be practical enough for us to navigate around the beds once they are planted. The cats are disgusted though. The Calamity Cat wouldn’t put her tender paws on the nasty sharp, stony stuff and the Princess made it clear that she was only doing so under sufferance. Who knows – maybe it will stop them digging up our precious vegetables. We can but hope …
Of course, they don’t really need to dig there anyway. We have been very kind and moved one of the old raised beds into the first, more decorative half of the garden. Last year, we grew tomatoes both outside and in our little plastic greenhouse and the outside plants were by far the more successful. As a result, this year we have created a more permanent structure – a raised bed and a very solid trellis (D never does anything by halves!) in front of the oil tank. The plan is to have tomatoes growing up the trellis and something decorative at the front of the bed. Once painted and planted, I think it will be a useful addition. In the meantime, the cats are delighted – they no longer have to trek all the way up to the veg patch for a nice patch of soft earth to dig in.
The big news though, was the delivery of the greenhouse. I was very excited when it was unloaded from the lorry and stacked in pieces on the drive. It doesn’t look like much at the moment, but we have high hopes! The landscape company laid the concrete base yesterday, battling through late snow showers to get the job done. And it was reassuring to see that even the professionals get it wrong sometimes – they, too, had make a quick run to the supplier to pick up more hard core when they ran out. One thing we are sure of – when it’s up, this is one greenhouse that won’t be blowing away!
Trying to keep the cats off the base while it dries, though, is proving to be a bit of a challenge. We let them out last night and, of course, they headed straight for it. We just managed to stop the Princess leaving little pawprints in the concrete. Not that I would mind that as a reminder of their presence in years to come, but I don’t fancy getting concrete off their paws.
So, new water butts are waiting in the garage, the greenhouse is being built next week and we have 2 other raised beds to lay at each end of it for soft fruit and asparagus. Then finally, everything will be in place and we will have a proper kitchen garden. All that will remain, of course, will be to start planting!