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Attila went to the shop for vegetables and yoghurt. He returned with all of the above, together with a piece of kit. His face alight with enthusiasm, he displayed a combined leaf blower and vacuum in a fairly small box. The equipment required an hour of web surfing for instructions and shed raiding for tools of assembly. When the job was done, the contraption looked terrifying. I think that you could fit a small car down the business end of the tube and the electric cable would stretch to the far end of the street. It came with a neck strap and wheels to bear the weight whilst in operation. I can’t imagine how all of that packed into a relatively modest container. I can safely say that it won’t go back in again.
Osteospermum (Cape daisy)
Osteospermum (Cape daisy)

I prefer a broom and dustpan for green waste collection but Techy Boy wouldn’t be gainsaid. He stalked around the lawn with a fearsome expression, Sasquatch with a sucker, loaded for bear. He had to make do with a few stray apple leaves, slurping the grass into a spiky punk hairdo. I was happy that he was content for the moment but fear what such a speed merchant would do with his plaything, come Dahlia de-bedding. I’ll have to keep a close watch, to ensure that my precious tender tubers don’t get evicted from the ground, to disappear down the machine’s gaping maw with a “llssufp” sound.
Autumn foliage around the pond
Autumn foliage around the pond

I hit the front borders with loppers, secateurs and scissors, to begin the autumn tidy. The Corylus avellana “Contorta” (twisted hazel) was sending out two fat suckers growing from the root stock which had to be removed, or the plant would put all of its energy into these, rather than the twirly grafted scion. I thrust myself into the thicket, intent on pruning. I could hear my husband’s progress behind the garage, with his new apparatus going at full belt. “Eeeeeeee”. I plunged into the heart of Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ (ninebark) to excise some reverted stems, to prevent the glorious burgundy foliage from being overtaken and back sliding to plain green. He busied himself and his tackle, cleaning vegetation from the drains. “Meeeaaah”.
Cotinus coggygria (smoke bush)
Cotinus coggygria (smoke bush)

I like to commune with the natural world while I’m working outdoors. The sweet, crisp scent of the air, the calling of the birds, industrious in the undergrowth. The otherwise silence of the weekday morning, while children are at school and less fortunate souls are sweating over paid employment. I chopped down the spent brown stalks of the lilies and the tattered stems of Achillea millefolium “Gigantea” (giant yarrow). The heavy spiked seed heads of Acanthus (bear’s breeches) were ousted and sent to the council to recycle, since I don’t want them germinating in my poorly cooked compost. I pulled out great handfuls of grass and weeds, dropping them on the path and scattering soil in my wake. I turned around to clear the mess and he was standing behind me, with his gardening gear clutched proudly to his chest. All of the debris was gone. Aaah.

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