This time last year we were still in France and had got as far as house hunting online for our move back to England. For various reasons, some related to Mr. Tialys’s work commitments which have only became apparent since, it appears we made the move at the right time.
So, Easter in England for the first time in sixteen years was a lovely warm and sunny surprise and I was sufficiently moved to leave my sewing room and go outside to help the gardener (aka Mr. Tialys) with some outside renovations.
You might remember me telling you that the previous owners, in a bid to outwit the ground elder, had buried untold quantities of black plastic – some ‘proper’ stuff, some pond liner and some old plastic compost sacks!! – all pinned down with hundreds of plastic pegs. For the most part, this was all covered with gravel and sometimes pieces of wood. In some places although, to be fair, mostly those places not planted up decoratively, there are old house bricks, spare ceramic tiles and paving slabs.
This, for instance, is part of the bank above the fish pond.
Mr. T. is on a mission to remove most of the plastic and gravel and says he’d rather deal with the weeds than see the earth being choked with the plastic, some of which is breaking up into the soil. Here he is revealing the soil on the bank. Ground elder roots – and there are plenty – are being drowned or burnt.
Just the start of the eventually huge pile of plastic and the wooden planks, etc. that were laid haphazardly on top, for some reason best known to the previous occupants.
Even this old sawhorse had been pressed into service, folded flat and laid on top of the bank – now rescued and ready to be used for its original purpose.
Perhaps they didn’t like going to the tip/dump.
Stan and Flo were helping by staring plaintively until one of us would relent and throw the frisbee for them.
(for Sandra – spot the old rusty plough we brought back from France with us)
As I was in the garden I was able to
nag advise on where to place the gargoyles which had been languishing and looking grumpy up by the garage since we arrived
Now this one already looks as if he’s been atop that wall for years.
This one has swapped the side of a swimming pool in S.W. France for a fish pond in S.W. England and, personally, I think he looks happier in a gargoylish sort of way, unlike Mr. T. who nearly did himself a damage by carrying it there from where the removal men had dumped him up the other end of the garden.
This area to the side of the driveway gates was also covered in plastic and gravel and is now cleared and ready to be planted up maybe with rose bushes.
The greenhouse is very much not my domain – I am only invited in at H.M. the Gardener’s pleasure to ooh and aah at the various things in pots that he’s sewn from seed.
I like nasturtiums. They remind me of a time long, long ago (or the Stone Age as one of my daughters calls it) at primary school when they used to give (sell?) us a little a packet of candytuft or nasturtium seeds to take home and plant in a pot and take it back to school at a set date where, if you had been successful, you would get a pretty coloured certificate. I never got one. We lived in a first floor flat in London and neither of my parents were gardeners of any description.
Just a little memory I thought I’d share with you there for no good reason.
Outside again – there’s a pretty flowering currant.
We’re not sure what fruit tree this is – any ideas?
So, today has clouded over a little. Maybe I’ll get my bathroom shelves put up but I’m not counting on it.
I might get the drill out, wave it about inexpertly and ask where the rawlplugs are – something that has worked a treat in the past 😉
#1 by Laurie Graves on April 5, 2021 - 14:15
The previous owners certainly came up with an ugly solution. Truthfully, I think weeds would look better. Mr. Tialys certainly had the right idea tearing away all that stuff used to cover up the ground. The gargoyles look perfect in their new places. As though they had been there all along.
#2 by tialys on April 5, 2021 - 19:12
Yes, the gargoyles have settled in just as well as we have.
#3 by claire93 on April 5, 2021 - 14:22
looks like Mr T has plenty of energy and motivation and you’re right, those gargoyle look as if they’re well-established creatures in your garden!
Funny to read your “excuse” for not enjoying gardening! I grew up in the countryside in Kent, parents had a very large garden and they used to drag me and my older sister around stately houses & gardens every Sunday during fine weather. I enjoyed the stately houses and the cream teas, but hated having to trail after them around the gardens. Those trips out inevitably ended with a quick stop off at local garden centre (which surprisingly was open on a Sunday way back in the 70s) where parents would load up trolley with yet more vegetation to plant in the garden when we got home.
That’s my excuse for not enjoying gardening lol, and why I’m more than happy to leave the husband out there on his own! If it’s going to grow something edible, I do show interest, but if it’s just there to look pretty, nah! don’t want to know.
#4 by tialys on April 5, 2021 - 19:19
I was a city girl through and through until my late 20s and Mr. Tialys was from a more rural background. I have learnt quite a bit about gardening now by osmosis but don’t tend to put it into practice partly because it’s not ‘my thing’ and, if I did, I would surely do something that didn’t meet with the Head Gardener’s approval.
We took our girls on lots of National Trust and garden visits when they were growing up but they did seem to enjoy them and, in anticipation of buying her own place that has a garden with her boyfriend, Megan has actually been showing some real interest in gardening matters so it obviously didn’t put her off.
#5 by claire93 on April 5, 2021 - 20:34
well I hope your Megan enjoys her garden, when she gets one, and Head Gardener can probably be relied upon to give lots of useful advice! Our Megan has a house & garden, as does Mr Viking, but they don’t do much more than mow the lawn. Mr Tattoo, sadly, doesn’t even have a balcony to his little flat.
#6 by tialys on April 9, 2021 - 10:27
That must have been difficult for Mr. Tattoo in full lockdown.
#7 by claire93 on April 9, 2021 - 12:17
yep, him and Mrs Tatto in barely 30m2 with 2 cats ^^ They both work though (and not from home) so they’re not stuck indoors all day.
#8 by Wild Daffodil on April 5, 2021 - 16:04
I had already zoomed in to have a closer look at your devinely rusty plough! and then I saw your comment! 🙂
HaHa! Made me chuckle.
My daughter says my Epitaph will read ‘Rust in Peace’!
I wholeheartedly approve.
Your gargoyles look very happy and perfectly placed.
You are making wonderful progress – so glad the timing of your move proved advantageous – how very satisfying!
#9 by tialys on April 5, 2021 - 19:22
I just love the ‘Rust in Peace’ epitaph 🤣
It would be a very ‘family’ thing wouldn’t it? Anyone not in the know would just think there’d been a spelling mistake.
#10 by Wild Daffodil on April 6, 2021 - 19:07
Yes – an in-joke would be perfect. 🙂
#11 by Wild Daffodil on April 5, 2021 - 16:10
The fruit tree could be a type of plum.
#12 by tialys on April 5, 2021 - 19:24
I hope not – we would be very embarrassed not to recognise it as we had so many plum trees in France we had to cut loads down as the dogs kept feasting on the fallen fruit every year and treating us to the after effects every evening.
#13 by nanacathy2 on April 5, 2021 - 16:37
I think the tree is plum too, pray there are no frosts. I love the gargoyles, I think I need one myself. Ground Elder is a problem, you may need some nasties. I dislike the idea of gardening, but once out I enjoy myself, the smell of the earth lifts my spirits.
#14 by tialys on April 5, 2021 - 19:26
I love those gargoyles too. We bought them in England years ago, dragged them over to France and then back again. They weigh a ton.
We (by which I really mean ‘he’) is leaning towards a pear or an apple tree but we’ll see.
#15 by Carol Archer on April 5, 2021 - 18:53
That certainly is a “Labour of Love,” and a lot of very hard work!!
#16 by Born To Organize on April 6, 2021 - 00:52
Oh my gosh, Lynn, I never leave here without smiling from ear to ear. You make me laugh. The garden looks like an enormous undertaking, but clearly, Mr. T is up for the task. I appreciate his efforts to remove all that plastic. Knowing nothing about ground elder, I can only imagine that it is horribly invasive. I enjoyed your story about nasturtium seeds. It’s a little window into the young girl that is now you. I’m enjoying your garden updates.
#17 by tialys on April 9, 2021 - 10:34
He loves nothing more than ‘sorting out’ the garden. I will have to put my foot down eventually – once all the outside hard work is over with for the year – as we also need to make the inside our own.
#18 by kathyreeves on April 6, 2021 - 03:05
Mr. T really has a lot accomplished already, though it sounds as if there’s a great deal still to deal with. The gargoyles look so smug in their new spots. Have you named them? The entire homestead looks idyllic!
#19 by tialys on April 9, 2021 - 10:26
I have’t named them yet – although I think they look like an Igor or a Hugo.
#20 by Evie Jones on April 6, 2021 - 13:47
I wish I loved gardening but I don’t. Neither does the husband. We do the bare minimum to stop it looking awful and a lovely man called Matt comes every couple of weeks during the summer to do the expert and heavy stuff. It’s money very well spent. I find waving tools around also works a treat. As is bribery with cake (not a euphemism 😉 )
#21 by tialys on April 9, 2021 - 10:23
I would do the same if I didn’t have a resident gardener type. My skills start and stop with a pair of secateurs snipping off dead ends. When he couldn’t keep up with the huge garden in France – partly due to not being there full-time because of commuting – I suggested getting our own ‘Matt’ to keep on top of the mowing etc. but he wouldn’t hear of it because he said they ‘wouldn’t do it how he likes it’. You just can’t help some people.
#22 by Evie Jones on April 15, 2021 - 08:34
Nope….he’s on his own 😉
#23 by katechiconi on April 7, 2021 - 01:46
Lovely spring sunshine! I’d love to be able to answer your “what tree is this?” question, but I’d need to see the shape and leaves, etc. I don’t think it’s a plum, maybe a cherry – the flowers look a bit like cherry blossoms. Mr. Tialys has lots of well-placed energy for restoring this garden, which will be lovely once the soil is enriched and allowed to breathe.
#24 by tialys on April 7, 2021 - 14:17
We don’t think it’s plum either. Hopefully the blossom won’t get frosted and we’ll get some fruit so we’ll know one way or another.
#25 by tinaor on April 8, 2021 - 15:56
You’ve been so busy! It looks like it was a fine day or two when you were working outside, how lovely. I hope your nasturtiums turn out well. We used to eat the flowers in salad when I was a little girl.
#26 by tialys on April 9, 2021 - 10:16
That would make a pretty salad and I am being
coercedencouraged to eat various greenery freely available in and around the garden so I’m pretty sure some will end up on my plate once they are flowering.
#27 by tinaor on April 9, 2021 - 15:29
You should try it! (Love the coercing/encouraging bit!)
#28 by The Snail of Happiness on April 8, 2021 - 17:01
I could do with some enthusiasm to do some work in the garden… I wonder where Mr Tialys finds his? Anyway, your plot is looking good – I especially like that gargoyle by the pond.
#29 by tialys on April 9, 2021 - 10:15
He has been an avid gardener since we met when he was in his early 20s so it’s a lifelong passion for him. Now that he doesn’t have to commute to work and there are more daylight hours, he can nip out there between meetings to ‘prick out seedlings’ (get me with my ‘borrowed’ gardening language), do some watering or digging and get stuff done before dinner too. Those things and the more manageable size have been a big boost to his enthusiasm because he knows he’ll be able to keep on top of it now.