Yesterday was a busy but hugely enjoyable one. It is becoming a tradition for my friends Marie and Rose to come over for a day in January and help me in the garden with jobs that are daunting or just impossible for me on my own. Marie runs a guesthouse, Over the Rainbow, (find out more here) with a huge garden near Tanygroes and grows such heea lot of fruit and vegetables that she has a stall on the St Dogmael’s produce market to sell the surplus. Rose is my yoga teacher but also works as a counsellor and in theatre productions. So that I am utterly spoilt they bring something for lunch and as Marie is a very gifted cook that is a real treat!
Given that my broken wrist restricts me a lot they did most of the work whilst I tried not to get in the way too much. They finished clearing around the roses, a job I started ages ago (see Roses ) and even did the bank above them. Then moved on to clear the steep slope down from the south facing lean-to greenhouse. I am hoping to have a deck built out level with the greenhouse floor but there were some large shrubs on the bank. I had marked the ones I was hoping to move and these were cut back to reduce their bulk and height, then dug out and moved to spaces between the roses to take over if / when the roses die of old age. As the soil is shallow we mounded well rotted chipped wood around them then mulched with cardboard and more compost as I had done lower down the hill. In case they did not survive the move I used some of the stems we had cut off to take cuttings. If the originals grow AND the cuttings take I will have a lot to put on the share table at future permaculture gatherings!
Whilst we were indoors eating lunch I had a phone call from Ted and Sue who keep their bees in my garden. They wanted to come and treat for varroa mite. Although they know they are welcome anytime they always phone to ask if it is convenient and to check if I am planning to go out and need to avoid them blocking me in. It is always nice to see them and we usually have a quick chat at some point. The bees are no trouble to me and it is good to have their work as pollinators whilst for Ted and Sue it allows them to keep more hives and in a place where there is good foraging – win win.
The rest of the shrubs and the weeds on the big bank were cut back to ground level. There was some Welsh Box and Marie dug out some of the smaller pieces to take for her garden.
Ted and Sue had left and we were just about to start covering it with the carpet taken out when I had new flooring (read about it here Flooring by McHarg )when the order of compost arrived on a quite large lorry. It was too big to back into the drive so stopped on the lane and in no time at all there were 2 cars stuck ahead of it and one behind. This happens on these narrow lanes and almost everyone takes it in good part. By chance the first people to have to stop were my former neighbours Nick and Wendy who keep sheep a few miles away and make the most delicious cheese from their milk. (find them on facebook here )
So another chat whilst the pallet was unfasted from the sides of the lorry and readied for unloading. At one time Nick worked in the offices of the local haulage firm Mansel Davies so he knew how to help the driver control the dolly truck. Once it was safely off the lorry we loaded my share into Marie’s van and whilst the assorted vehicles sorted themselves out on the lane she drove it the few yards to the top of the drive where I had put a small pallet ready to stack the bags onto.
We managed to get the carpet moved and rolled out onto the bank before the light finally failed. It is a rather odd looking, untidy patchwork but it will suppress the weeds. We had earned the cups of tea and chocolate biscuits we had before they left! Rob came this morning and collected Jeni’s share of the compost in their trailer so now all I have to do is tidy the car port where the carpet and cardboard were stacked. But that is a job for another day.