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Progress, But Very Slow Progress, In My New Garden


As some of you know, I moved 8 weeks ago into a modern house with a fairly small garden. But, there is virtually nothing in it, so I am looking forward to planning and planting it.
But, there’s lots to do first.Not least, replace the shed which has one hole in the roof, one in the floor and is rotting away. Not to mention the fact it is in the sunniest spot of the garden….what a waste!!
So, I’ll introduce you to my new garden ;
it’s a fairly regular rectangle shape(just a couple notches out of that where the garden narrows off)
We moved in on 3rd December and this is what the garden looked like before I did anything

From near the back of the garden, towards the house

This is the delapidated shed which is currently crammed with boxes as well as loose items which were in my two sheds and garage at the other house.We did get rid of a few things and the bikes are in the shed but, I will have to have a further clearout. But, first i need to get a new dry shed where I can unpack and sort through everything.

And now the view from the house.Sorry about the blurryness….I think the lens must,ve got wet.

This area by the house is the site that we immediately identified as the perfect place for our new shed. It is the shadiest part of the garden so no good for growing much and it is right by the back door.

As you can see, there are two large Caenothus shrubs and one Choisya which, I assume were planted soon after the house was built in 2002.They gave a bit of cover, I suppose from the view of next door’s conservatory but, according to my neighbour, they also banged and scratched against it.So,Suzie, (neighbour) was very pleased, i’m told by her husband, when they learned I was to remove them.

So, on 5th January, I set about removing them.Don’t worry, there will be a lot more plants in my garden within a year or so.It’s just that these were, in my opinion, badly sited.
I was surprised that they didnt put up as much resistance as I expected although I’ve been grubbing roots out ever since.

Unfortunately, it all has to go somewhere, so a trip to the recycling centre followed a few days later.

Unfortunately, the Spotted laurel at the back of the garden also had to go to eventually make way, along with the shed,for a greenhouse,veg patch and compost heap.But, they are probably a year down the line.

The only real draw back that we could see with this house and garden was the fact that, being a town house, it has no rear or side access to the garden…everything has to go through the house.We did deliberate for some considerable time before making our decision to buy.

But, i didnt really want to carry all this lot through the house so we lifted it over the back wall and I parked my van in the road behind us and carried the rubbish through a green space which our garden backs onto.Not somethig I will make a habit of but, I wont be cutting anything else down as there isnt anything else.Well, one smaller Ceanothus which is in a suitable position and two or three clumps of perennials.

On Sunday 8th January, I started to mark out and dig out for the base for my shed. If only I knew what lay ahead.

Since then, I have had various delays, including an edpisode of back/hip trouble(nothing new there) rain and a couple days going to buy the materials.(Sub Base,slabs, Sand and cement)
After laying and compacting the sub base(by hand as no way of getting a compacter(wacker plate) through the house) I finally mixed and layed the dry sand/cement mix last Tuesday and commenced bedding the slabs into it. I didn’t think it shopuld take too long.It’s only 12 slabs as bought larger ones to save too mmuch fiddling around levelling up lots of small ones.Good idea, I hear you saying.Well, good idea until you are trying to cart them around , lift them up and down after having already mixed loads of sand and cement.
Yes, you’ve guessed it…I ended up laying on the floor in agony, unable to get up until Julie arrived home from shoppinmg and helped me. So, I had no choiuce but to leave it there.And, this is how it looks today after a lightish fall of snow last night.

Problem is, the sand and cement mix has now set hard with only 3 slabs laid.So, I’ll have to(when fit enough) lift them and work out what to do next.Lay another bed of dry sand/cement on top of the now set layer??? One step forward and two back, it would seem.
So, for now, all I can do is feed the birds and take photos of them!

This is one of a pair of Jays who regulalry visit the Oak in the green space behind our garden.I couldn’t get them both in the frame close up enough.

First there was one Wood Pigeon

THe there were two Wood Pigeons!

Wouldn’t you know it? Three Wood Pigeons(I put some food on the top of the wall as well as on the floor and feeding station.)

This Blackbird arrived before the snow started melting this morning!

Whoops, Mr robin is a bit blurry!

Sorry for the tale of woe, but, I’ll hopefully make progress soon…when the back and snow have cleared up!!!
Happy gardening and bird watching


More blog posts by paulspatch

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Oh dear Paul. Very sorry to hear about the back problems and the slabs. :((( On a more positive note, very pleased to see how much progress you've made. Those shrubs weren't well sited were they...although as you say...blocked out neighbour's conservatory wall. I'm intrigued by the walled area bottom left of the garden which juts in to your plot....was that the 'green space' you mentioned, only it looks like someone's garden in the bird pics at the end of the blog. I can't help wondering why it just in to your garden that way. Nice bit of wall though....for growing a climber up! I can imagine the Greenhouse and veg. plot already...looking forward to seeing them later. But take it easy for goodness' sake!

30 Jan, 2015


Yes that bit of wall is the corner of the green space (it's called Trafalger Green residents association green) Our roads are privately owned and we pay a maintenance fee for the green/verges etc to be looked after.The garden is only 21 feet at it's widest but for the back 11feet, that wall juts in approx 3feet.the rest of the back of our garden(where the fence is ) backs onto another garden.
I will probably have some shrubs at the back (maybe Pyracanthus or something similarly fierce)as, although no problems here(touch wood) it would be easy to get over from the green area.but, I will also fix some trellis to the front edge of that wall and grow a Clematis of some sort through the small Caenothus that is there and up the trellis!
I am starting to fear that I am gonna get laid up permanently by my back/pelvis/hips(always getting twisted ) as the episodes are getting so much closer to each other.I only just recovered from the previous spell, around new year.

30 Jan, 2015


Oh dear Paul...that sounds really painful. I think it's time to get some gardening gnomes! ;) seriously.....take care. I think you're wise to create a barrier to the communal area. In my experience (we had the same in our last home) they are gathering places for the local youth, not just the estate kids.

30 Jan, 2015


Paul I hope you recover soon so you can get back to your new garden..but to do that you need rest!!!

30 Jan, 2015


Thanks Karen and Sandra....yes, I need to recover but it's so frustrating that I can't get everything Done that I want to do.
Yes, Karen, I noted in the newsletter from the Residents association that this was brought up past meeting in the autumn about youngsters hanging around there last summer.hopefully, we'll collectively do something about it as it's private property!

30 Jan, 2015


I'm sure the shed will be much better in it's new position, but remember Rome wasn't built in a day. You need to take care of your health or that garden you plan will never materialise.

30 Jan, 2015


You must take care Paul......this sort of stuff can cause such serious back problems. Our friend moved a lot of soil and large boulders in his garden and he has had terrible back problems. He had to call off a trip to India for two months as he couldn't have sat in an aeroplane let alone walk about. We have started getting our sons to help with the big lifting jobs.

30 Jan, 2015


Sorry to read of your difficulties. My husband says it's strange how we all think we're still 25 and can move mountains. His solution would be to organise a shed building party, provide the beer and invite the local Rugby Club!

31 Jan, 2015


Hi Paul ..
Lots of work there ... not helped by your back problems and the snow ! Last year when I was working with old slabs, I actually smashed up most of the large ones because I couldn't lift them... I have no choice but to work with items small enough that I can lift them.... Good luck with your plans ... as the months go by, it will look fab. :o)

31 Jan, 2015


Sunshine sue....excellent idea! :))

31 Jan, 2015


It is going to be so interesting to watch your garden change as you work on it.

I wish you would wait until the weather improves so that it won't be so much of a struggle with the elements!

Aunty Wildrose has spoken so take care and just watch the birds for a bit instead!!!

31 Jan, 2015


Your garden will slowly take shape over the coming years Paul. There will always be setbacks but you'll overcome them :o)
I hope your back is getting better now, and that the snow didn't last very long.

31 Jan, 2015


Thanks for your comments everyone.....I consider myself reprimanded for perhaps trying to do too much but, I don't know any rugby teams...ha ha...and it's difficult to admit that perhaps things are getting a bit too much for us. But, I have so much to do.I have struggled with back problems for well over 30 years but, the episodes are becoming more frequent and my pelvis and hips are also affected now!
I bought the larger slabs as I thought it would be easier to get them level.but, lifting them from flat on the ground is a real effort.
More snow fall this afternoon(whilst I was at football) but, it didn't settle.and, all of yesterday's snow had gone by last night.

31 Jan, 2015


Lots of hard work ahead of you Paul, back and hips willing, but what a lovely space to have to fill with lovely plants, etc. Just take your time and enjoy it. Being short and getting on a bit I no longer lift slabs but 'walk' them - I find that works fine although it does take a bit of time :)
In the meantime enjoy your visiting wildlife.

31 Jan, 2015


Oh gosh!!
Paul what are you trying to do to yourself, I bet you got a telling off from your wife when she found you in that state, I can understand your eagerness and probably have no right to talk considering how I can get sometimes but you mustn't cripple yourself doing it.
I like the look of your garden and moving those shrubs has already made a big difference, actually you have made a fair amount of progress considering the time of year you moved in, it will be interesting to see it progress as the months go by, I was going to ask if it would be possible to put a gate in the wall until you said it was private property...
Nice to see you have plenty of feathered friends visiting and judging by the amount in your pics they are pleased you've sorted out the feeders and are going to appreciate whatever you put out for them.........

1 Feb, 2015


Thanks Lincslass, yes the birds are certainly liking the food. The first few days I was here, I didn't see a single bird in my garden. But we, now, regularly get Blue Tits, Robins(2 at a time usually) ,Starlings, Blackbirds,Collared Doves, Wood Pigeons and then there's the Jays in the tree behind.
No, unfortunately, no chance of having a gate into the garden.

1 Feb, 2015


Your amount of space seems to me about the same as
Hywel started off with Paul. Amazing what he has achieved. Just keep adding plants, thats the secret.

1 Feb, 2015


Oh Paul I wish I could wave a magic wand and give you the garden you can see in your mind but then that wouldn't be much fun but seriously we garden lovers really do think we're super heroes the times I have moved large pots and then can't move easily for days but can't show the family how I am suffering because of the ticking off I would get and the times we start projects and just can't seem to leave them working at them till the light as gone sound familiar !! so do take care .

1 Feb, 2015


I must admit, Gee....I am struggling to move these big slabs anyway.but once they are laying down, if they need to be lifted for adjustments, they are almost impossible for me to move.
Yes, lots of plants to be added Diane.
I don't feel very super or a hero at the moment...Kidsgran.
I can't wait till it's time to start planting, but, that will be ages yet.

1 Feb, 2015


I hope that your back problems get better with rest Paul. We have to be careful about what we do in the garden now, we aren't getting any younger, even though we still feel young in the head and want to get everything done just so. Take care of yourself and when you recover do a little at a time. You'll get it sorted.

2 Feb, 2015


finally finished it today.....hurt back a little but I can rest it again for a few days now.
my back felt a lot better this morning (maybe yesterday's swim helped a little) so, Julie and I got out there this morning and mixed some more sand and cement then laid the slabs.

SDo we can go and oreder our shed tomorrow morning.

3 Feb, 2015


Well done. A relaxing swim seems to have eased the pain away. Hope your shed buying goes well for you tomorrow.

3 Feb, 2015

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