Garden treasure hunting

It was another beautiful day here in Winwick yesterday, so I made the most of the afternoon and got outside to do some more work in the garden.

I did some tidying up with small daughter a few weeks ago, but she was too busy playing with a friend to want to help me yesterday – and perhaps just as well.  The next job on my garden to-do list is to re-build some rockery walls.  When I first put them up, I created lovely curves which mirrored other borders in the garden – but they’re a real nuisance to get the lawnmower around so I’ve decided to straighten the wall to make it easier to mow the grass, and I’ve got the added advantage of my borders gaining a bit of extra space.

There’s something very jigsaw-like about fitting the blocks together.  I know there’s dry-stone-walling rule that you should never take a stone that you’ve put onto a wall back off again to make it fit better, but I actually quite like doing that.  It probably means that it will take me ten times longer to finish my little bit of wall, but I don’t mind.

What did take me a long time (and the reason why there’s a hammer in the picture) is that as I cut back the turf to move the stones, I remembered why the wall was curved in the first place – previous occupants of our house had, for some reason, put huge chunks of pebbles-held-together-with-concrete under the grass and I hadn’t been able to dig them out.  Well, I bashed and I smashed and eventually the concrete split into smaller chunks that I was able to pull out (you can see them to the left of the hammer, those white pieces which now don’t look like they’d be any trouble at all).  It was very good for getting rid of any aggression I might have had, but it was quite tiring, and quite frustrating as some of it just wouldn’t shift at first.  Anyway, I was able to move the bits that I needed to so that I could get on with this bit of wall – fingers crossed there’s no more further down!

After all that bashing, I decided to have a rest and take a wander around the garden to see what had changed since I last looked.  I peeped into my worm compost bin to see if there was any life in there, and there was!

You can just about see one of the worms in the centre of the picture if you look closely, but there were also hundreds and hundreds of tiny baby white worms in there too, which is wonderful news for my compost!  Worm compost is fabulous for the garden.  You make it in a dustbin with a tight-fitting lid and because no vermin can get inside, you can put all of your kitchen waste including cooked food into it and the worms just eat it all up and turn it into the most wonderful compost.  It’s so wonderful, in fact, that it has to be “watered down” with ordinary compost as it’s so potent.  Incredible stuff – I love that something as small and apparently uncomplicated as a worm can produce something so enriching for my garden. Treasure indeed!

I found more jewels on my way around the garden.  These first, tiny Aubretia flowers …

Purple heads of Erysimum or everlasting wallflower, with the soft, furry cases of Magnolia buds behind …

Stunning red primulas nestled at the foot of my Helleborus angustifolia next to a tiny teasel plant which will need moving shortly as will grow too tall for the position it’s in at the front of the border.

And last, but by no means least, my favourite discovery of the day – amethyst crocuses.

Definitely a treasure to satisfy my inner pirate!  I love crocuses but no matter how many bulbs I plant, we never seem get very many because the field mice love them just as much as I do and eat them all up!  I wonder if this year’s bright display is down to the fact that one of our cats seemed to eat an extraordinary number of mice last year (leaving the bits she didn’t want on the step for the dog to hoover up if I didn’t get to them first – urgh!) so there weren’t as many around to eat the bulbs.  Whatever the reason, I’m very glad about it!

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