Weirdly enough, with the soft lockdown in place in the couple of weeks in The Netherlands, the weather has been pretty decent! Well... for Netherlands at least, meaning that it is nice and sunny if still quite cold... however, for my kids (who were born here) it is shorts and t-shirt time. BRRRRRR!
The enforced home stay has given us a bit of extra time to spend on the garden... and we took the opportunity to plant a few new things in the back garden and tidy up the winter craziness... overgrown plants, weeds, unwanted plants and non-survivors.
Meanwhile, the front garden is a disaster zone... we had a plan to renovate it with a half-underground bike shed and then plan a garden around that... however, the building application was rejected by the Town Hall. So, we are in a holding pattern and spending no effort there until we figure out something. However, I think that we will eventually just plant some temporary plants there so it doesn't look like our house is abandoned and derelict!
So, I will only talk about the back garden!
First chore was getting rid of new shoots of blackberries. A year ago, we had planted three blackberry bushes in this spot... and it turned out that at least one of them were of the invasive variety (why the hell do they sell that at the garden centre???...). Which meant that it is quite likely that we will be uprooting new shoots of blackberry every year. Even if it is about a few centimetres long, it seems to throw up a fresh new shoot which will spawn more. Kill the zombies!
Along the back, we will plant this tall Jasmine plant which we will eventually try to train along the wall... well, that is the plan. We will see if it survives both our lack of gardening experience and my wife's changing plans for the garden! She originally wanted to plant blueberries, but our soil is a touch alkaline and the berries would need a fairly acidic soil for ideal growth.
(Heh... we bought a soil tester... now I stick in everywhere to see what the acid/base reading is... It's more fun than a cake tester!)
Since the beginning of the Gardening Journals... we have had unplanted bulbs that sat in the shed. Last year, they were finally planted... and they have started popping up! Well, they started quite early... around the end of January, start of February.
The Cherry Tree is starting to show the new year shoots... hopefully we can keep the aphids at bay this year!
My wife ripped out the old Lavender bushes after they got really woody because we didn't prune them back. We've replaced them with new Lavender babies... and this time we will try to remember to prune them back (I bet we forget...). At least she ripped them out and didn't task me to do it!
We also slashed back the thyme that was starting to get really out of hand. It's left a bit of a dead patch on the grass area where it was blocking out the Sun. I actually wanted to do it last year... but my wife said that it wasn't necessary and that it looked good growing out over the grass. She hacked them back this year...
We ended up with lots of slashed thyme... which I have dried and put aside for cooking!
It seems like that our Rosemary didn't really do so well over the winter. We've gotten a new one that we hope will take root a bit better. It's strange... I thought that it was impossible to kill Rosemary!
Along the other side, we have this bush (I forget the name) flowering quite nicely. It should grow to about 1.5-2 metres over the next years, giving a bit of shade to the grassed area of the garden.
Meanwhile, the ground cover on this side is starting to spread out a bit. It looks a lot better and less sparse than it did last year (when we planted them)... looking forward to the moment when you can't see the soil (or the hidden snails...).
In what is starting to become a recurring theme... we forgot to trim back the grape vine at the end of last year. I did make some cosmetic snips this last week, but I don't hold that much hope for the grape harvest this year! The grapes come with seeds though... and thus, the kids (and me...) don't really eat them... so, I don't think this plant will survive the next planning storm. Likely, we will get something that climbs but flowers. Perhaps roses?
There was much nagging from the girls (of all ages...) for me to cut the grass in the backyard so that it could start being used for outside playing. It was roughly 3 months worth of growth over the winter... so a nice sort of coat to the ground!
All done... now, I wonder if I can cut my hair like this.. with the grass clippers. My wife is starting to get really annoyed that I didn't get my hair cut before the lockdown started...
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