Way back in the mists of time – well early May I started tackling our gardens.
Although I have written about some of the work in the back garden the main focus all summer has been at the front of the house. It seemed only fair that we made sure our neighbours didn’t have an eye-sore to look at all summer. Even when we were both rushed of our feet with work husband and I always made some sort of effort to keep the front tidy and neat. In other words we cut the hedges back and weeded. This year we ended up doing a lot more.
The main job and one that I have been doing since late May has been named by my daughter pebbling.
In May I headed out with the intention of spending the morning removing the weeds from the decorative stones that cover the area immediately in front of the house.
Upon closer inspection it soon became apparent that this wasn’t going to be a quick job. The weeds were far worse than I thought and the hedge was taking over the front garden. After a short consultation with husband a plan of action was formed.
- We would get someone to cut the hedges in front of the windows back hard.
- Husband would replace the membrane that had been down for around 12 years and was now home to a lovely layer of mulch which was supplying a lovely home for the weeds to grow and multiply in.
- Husband would replace the wooden edging which was rotting away.
- I would remove all the stones from the membrane getting rid of the mulch, weeds, old leaves and twigs as I did it.
Once the hedge was cut back the pebbling got worse as now the leaves and twigs that hadn’t been removed on the back of the lorry were mingled in with the weeds and mulch. The only way to do the job was to place the stones onto a sieve/riddle and then shake it to remove the loose the soil and leaves. Then it was a case of picking out, by hand, the pebbles throwing them into one crate and the many twigs from the hedge into another.
In total I filled 20 of these bags full of pebbles, carrying them round from the front of the house to the back in a plastic crate and then shoveling them into the bags.
This weekend I finally finished what has been a marathon of a job that has taken up several hours of most days of the week, although I had a couple off weeks of in June. It has kept the neighbours highly amused with regular comments of ‘Still at it’ as they go by. Daughter has taken to asking if ‘I’m pebbling’ when she sees me sat there sorting through the stones and has even accused me of slacking when I take a day off.
I had been at it so long the local birds had worked out that despite the noise of the pebbles going into the plastic tub I was no threat to them, and so I was often sat with birds only a few feet away pecking their way through the soil hunting for worms. They were more than welcome to the worms, it was the one part of the job I hated, that and constantly getting pricked by the thorns from the fallen branches of the Pyracantha shrubs that form the hedges below our front windows.
The job is now almost complete as we have since added moving the light by the front door so I can get a bigger piece of trellis in. Two new clematis have been planted on the far ends of the house and once the trellis is up to the left of the door that will be planted up with either a rose or a winter flowering jasmine, I haven’t made my mind up yet.
It has taken me so long to finish both sides that the hedge is now ready for a good trim.
One plus as far as the wildlife is concerned is that the newly grown leaves are full of sap and the wasps are loving them, although I’m not loving the fact there are so many of them right below our living room window. I’ve checked and thankfully they aren’t forming a nest anywhere near us.
Fortunately I won’t have to repeat this job for another 10-12 years. In the meantime I need to head back to the gym as all this pebbling, sat on my backside, has resulted in a significant loss of leg muscle tone and an extra few pounds in weight.
Having been back to the gym since I started writing this post I can confirm that carrying crates of stones from the front of the house to the back has mean’t my arms haven’t suffered any loss of strength, my legs however are another matter altogether. It will be a while before I make any plans to head up a big hill or two.