A daunting number of jobs to do before March and we are a man down. Only me left.
ToDo list; Remove tonnes and tonnes of stone and paving slabs by hand from the garden. Plan and mark out some growing beds. Plan what to grow. Dig, manure, plan, dig, repair, make compost bins, dig. Manage weeds, begin to prune trees, prune currants, dig. Flowers? Repair greenhouse…
After a short break in Andalucia, we are back to autumn in Northumberland and clearing out the disused nets, broken canes and mouse eaten string from the ice house. a huge pile of non-biodegradables is piling up by the steps.
I can now walk around much of the garden without being stung with nettles, prickled by thistles or covered in soldiers buttons so out comes the Hasselblad again. The light is really flat and it hasn’t been sunny for weeks but I really want to document the progress in photographs.
At some point in my future, these happenings will be my distant past, and the photographs will be read and interpreted differently by each viewer. But only I was there.
We can now navigate our way around the edges of the garden and I have a clearer vision of how this is all going to take shape. I say clearer, not really clearer, just mixed thoughts about how to proceed not really considering the enormity of the work involved.
Having a helping hand from ‘The Complete Gardener’ by Monty Don, the enormity of the whole project hit me like a ton of bricks. I am so glad I didn’t think along these lines at the beginning or I might not have ever started this. But, if he can have a ‘Lime Walk’ at Longmeadow, I can have an ‘Apple Walk’ in my garden. And now I do.
We have begun to clear out the orchard uncovering the apple trees giving them some light and air. It is all so very wet but the trees are healthier than I had hoped for barring the extensive lichens on the smaller ones.
And the overworked garden tractor keeps going, leading out seemingly tonnes of garden waste.
Furtively seeking ways to be non destructive even with this extent of neglect, I naively started with the scythe but very soon went for the garden tractor and began cutting on the longest settings around the edges where I remembered the grass paths to be.
More than once, the cutter blades ground noisily on paving stones concealed by dense growth bringing my partner into the garden with an unhappy look on his face. Worried about the health of his poor machine, he stroked the engine lid with almost a tear in his eye and took over the driving for a while.