Hyacinth, Delft Blue, April 2002

Above: Hyacinth "Delft Blue"

Garden diary: March

11 April 2009 - Make do and mend

I've at last clambered out of a pile of sawdust and wood offcuts and managed to locate the computer under the general 'in the middle of spring sorting out' mess around the place. The sawdust and bits of wood are a consequence of having to fix two garden benches and build a compost bin. Or rather, I didn't have to build the compost bin, but I did have to fix the benches, before someone sat on one and ended up on the floor. Both benches should have been repainted and checked for rotten bits last autumn, or at least have been brought in for the winter, but I didn't, and they weren't, and so two benches with severely rotten bits was the result.

I'm no carpenter, but studious analysis of how they were put together already, and copying the dimensions and drill holes of the bits that had collapsed, plus some clueless wandering around the timber section of a DIY shed, meant that eventually the benches were safe enough to sit on again.

And the compost bin - well, having only recently completed this unexpectedly long-winded project, I think I'd go on about it at even more tedious length than I just did about the benches, should I begin to attempt to describe. And perhaps I should wait to see first if it all falls to bits, before I start showing off about it. But it did start from the desire to reuse some abandoned wood, so I guess I can feel smug about recycling, at least.

I'm also in the process of trying to reuse an old plastic water tank - that for some time was used as a planter - as a water tank again. In this case to collect rainwater from the shed roof. It looked rubbish as a planter. It will still look rubbish as a tank collecting rainwater. But at least it's then performing a useful function, and I don't have to feel so guilty about not having a proper water butt. Of course, in order to try to make it a planter I had made a big hole in the bottom for drainage, which I've now had to fill in again, and am waiting to see if it sets into watertightness. Since it came out of the house when a new boiler was put in some years back I've felt this thing shouldn't just be dumped in landfill - so I hope this latest scheme works. If water holding is achieved, there's still the clueless wandering around the DIY shed's offerings of water diverters and drainpipe connectors.

All this activity is a result of realising how much stuff I've kept in the shed in the hope I could recycle it into something, while getting increasingly irritated at all the junk I kept having to move when I wanted to retrieve a paintbrush or a seed tray. That some of the miscellaneous timber has ended up in the garden bench and a new compost bin is very satisfying. The next challenge, having discovered the old submersible pump also kicking around the shed, is to try to make a water feature that isn't too noisy/too ugly/too contrived/too much sounding like a toilet cistern.

Thankfully I don't have a toilet to recycle. Though it might go nicely with the old bath and old sink already out there.

11 April 2009 - All is buzzing

Having just posted all about garden-related hardware etc (see above), I thought I should also mention all the green loveliness and the insect buzzy-ness. Bumble bees of various types are hovering about the place, bumbling into the kitchen and being rescued from the kitchen windowsill. Pairs of birds are all wing-trembling high-voiced excitement. Dunnocks, blackbirds and robins have all been seen collecting twigs and moss for nesting, for nests hidden deep in the ivy.

There are 'Red Emperor' tulips just finishing their flowering, and other tulips budding and colouring. The delicate epimedium is a mass of pale yellow flower and just-opened green leaf, soft at first, rippled by the spring breezes.

When the breezes subside, and the air is still, scents too, from dwarf narcissi and hyacinths.

Back to April highlights and diaries


Tulip Queen of the Night

Above: Tulip "Queen of the Night"

Garden diary: May