Dr. Mark Gardener
Dr. Christine Gardener

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Here you can find our diary/blog entries for 2009.

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December 2009 - A light sprinkling

I seem to have neglected the diary for quite some while. Now the end of the year in is sight and it seems about time to write something. We went to a local Farmer's market at the Big Sheep to pick up a few bits and pieces. It started to snow and within a short while we had a decent white covering - all very seasonal. However, it fizzled out and did not amount to very much.

The garden is quiet at present and I have not got a lot of produce ready to eat. The parsnips are a notable exception; now the leafy growth has died down a bit (I trimmed off the major growth some days ago) and the first frosts have hit the ground they are coming into their own.

Not a lot to look at above ground but the parsnips are ready and waiting

I have moved a few things around in the garden and sorted out some of the soft fruit. Strawberries, blackcurrants, rhubarb and gooseberry are all ready for the coming season (I hope).

The strawberries are bunkered for the winter and ready for next season

The snow did not hang around for long.

The local lane after a light dusting of snow


April-May 2009 - Garden chores

Spring has been a time of activity in the garden. The weeds seem to be growing faster than my plants but at least something is growing. I am focussing on the back garden for a while and putting in a bit of 'hard landscaping'. I am waiting for a pergola kit to arrive and meanwhile I made a short path using paving blocks to join the patio to the pergola.

A path to nowhere - yet

Using the same sort of brick I also made a bit of space around the fruit trees; cutting away the turf and weeds and filling the gap with composted bark.

The fruit trees have now got a bit less competition

There is also plenty of weeding to be getting on with - not least in the herb garden I created last year. It is starting to mature nicely and I plan to expand it quite soon.

The herb garden is filling out well


March 2009 - The Guscott Chainsaw massacre

I finally got around to chopping up a pile of logs that I collected ages ago (before Christmas) with a neighbour. We'd agreed to share the logs. I made a fancy saw-horse and dusted off the chainsaw. It was hot work in all the safety gear and the bright sun but I got through it all fairly easily.

A nice pile of logs for next winter

With the start of the 'nice' weather I have been getting on with the garden and managed to clear most of the weeds before the seeds needed sowing. Now the first of the carrots and parsnips are in as well as a few early salad leaves.

The first few seeds sown in the veg. garden


Feb 17th 2009 - the first cut is... the longest

Today I cut the grass for the first time this year. Both gardens, who'd have thought it after having all the snow so recently. However, the grass was pretty dry this afternoon so I went for it. Obviously the first cut of the year has to be a long one as the grass is very tall.

First thing this morning the door bell rang and there was Jim (a neighbour) asking for help. He'd seen a sheep in distress from his window. Mike (the Farmer) was off somewhere and was unavailable so he thought we ought to investigate. Anyhow, after a short (but steep) walk across the valley we discovered the sheep attempting to get up. Sheep are obviously not one of nature's great thinkers - this one was trying to roll uphill to attain it's footing. A quick tug persuaded it to roll downhill and it was on it's feet in a trice. Good deed for the day number one (and only it turns out).


Feb 2008 - Snow joke

The snow fell thick and fast and we got effectively snowed in. However, the sun came out and it was a glorious day. We went for a nice walk. Even as we returned the snow had begun to melt and turn to slush. Fortunately it cleared enough not to form a sheet of ice overnight.

Our housein the snow
Snowed in - but not for long

I took a few photos and discovered that the sensor on my D-SLR was grubby. I haven't got the right stuff to clean it with and of course I wanted some photos. I tried to clean the sensor using things I had around and each time I seemed to make it worse! Thank goodness for computers; I transferred the images from iPhoto to Aperture and managed to clean up the unwanted blobs (a long job). Yesterday the roads were clear and I dashed out to get a proper piece of kit - it worked first time.

Snowy garden
The lower garden in the snow - not much chance of digging up a parsnip today



December 2008 - James and the Giant Pleach

Because of all the wet weather I haven't done much in the garden - the raised beds need tidying up and clearing ready for Spring but that is not now going to happen. However, I did mange to finish off the path down to the 2nd garden. The path is steep and gets very slippery in the wet. Last year I added a load of gravel to the steepest part but more was required. I finally got around to ordering a couple of tonnes of gravel (sculpins) from a local supplier and had them delivered to the courtyard. Then I scraped a shallow trench and packed the gravel in. It looks pretty good so far and should make it a lot safer/easier to get up and down the slope.

The new non-slip path

A near neighbour has been dealing with an overgrown Leylandii hedge. It doesn't actually lie in his garden but the occupiers of the two houses aren't doing anything about it so something had to be done. The hedge was about 12 feet tall (at least) and seriously in need of some trimming. Jim had done some hacking about by himself but I offered to help out (a bit) and the job is now done. One way or another the hedge has lost a couple of feet in height and the trimmings have been chopped and shredded up. Good riddance; although another installment will certainly be needed quite soon.


Autumn 2008 - What happened to Summer?

It has been a long time since the site was updated, sorry about that. Summer was a bit of a washout but we managed to get a reasonable crop from the vegetable garden. Over the winter the website will be re-organized a tiny bit and revised so look out for the changes.