Sunday dawned cold, clear and beautiful.
We managed to spend most of the day out in the garden, tidying and processing what we could for re-use elsewhere. I filled bag after bag with old bits of plastic from the slowly dwindling heaps of building detritus and around the garden where it had crept, while King of the Hill lit a bonfire at the bottom of the garden on a dormant part of our vegetable beds, and fed it with all the wood and burnable matter that he could extricate from the wreckage that was unsuitable as fuel for our fires.
We then turned our attention to continuing to process the branches that we cut from three of our trees over the winter, and more of the bigger timber that King of the Hill brought home a few weeks ago. We kept the bonfire fed throughout the day with the scrappy branches that were too small or weak for kindling or pea-sticks.
Several times throughout the day, a buzzard wheeled overhead, tantalisingly close, giving its keening cry, “kewl kewl” , as it no doubt tracked some unsuspecting creature in the fields around us.
By the end of the afternoon, we had made good progress in reducing the heaps of rubble and wood, with a neat pile of birch branches reserved for pea-sticks, another wheelbarrow full of kindling, and the mass of branches to cut diminished satisfactorily. We could once again see the remains of grass in places that hadn’t seen daylight for some time! When we have finished filtering through the rubbish to leave just the rock/stone/brick detritus we can then use this as hardcore to build up a path around the house and a patio at the back. It’s a huge task, but little by little we are starting to win…
As I cut back the autumn raspberry canes to the ground, King of the Hill laid down some black plastic sheeting in the far corner of our vegetable patch, to start to warm the earth up there ready for planting, and suppress the weeds.
As we cleared more ground closer to the house, I uncovered another row of forgotten primroses in the shadow of an overgrown woody lonicera nitida hedge that is marked for removal imminently.
Beside them, I raked out a mass of decaying crocosmia leaves, to expose the new growth pushing tentatively up towards the light.
A not-yet-hanging basket of muscari and dwarf narcissi that stands by the greenhouse was full of vibrant new shoots.
And the cobnut and purple filbert that we planted a year ago as bare root plants both had wonderful fat buds forming.
We planted these to form part of the boundary hedge at the bottom of the garden. The cobnut stands in the very corner, while the purple filbert is a few feet away. Both are still very small – not helped by last summer’s cows leaning over from the adjacent field to nibble them both. The cows made short work of pulling out most of the native bare root hedging that we planted along the bottom and side boundary too, making our intended regeneration of the hedge rather hard work. The farmer kindly put up electric fences later in the summer, when the cows started reaching further in to some of our crops, but the damage was already done… We shall put more thought towards the situation this year.
All in all, it was another exhilarating day in the garden, starting to recapture some space. As we worked, we frequently came upon patches of ice that never thawed in the low temperatures, and I could barely feel my poor feet by the time we called it a day. (More socks, next time!) But it was so uplifting to feel the sun shining brightly overhead, and more and more plants responding to it with the start of their spring finery.