By the time we’d driven down from Calais, after our week in England, picked up Jim from the cattery (which is an hour to the west of us) and returned home, it was quite late in the day.  We were exhausted!  My plans to get unpacked and out in the garden for the evening now seemed highly ambitious as we unpacked the plants from the boot and left all the cases in the kitchen before crawling into bed for an early night!!

Outdoor focus…

In the morning, I couldn’t wait to get outside and see what had been happening in the garden…. Initially, it was quite demoralising 🙁  Everything had grown, the grass, the plants in the borders and most of all the weeds!  The yard that Edward had painstakingly strimmed before Tim and Deb’s visit was green again.  The borders I’d planted up were brimming with weeds, even though I’d not long weeded them and the lawn was so long, when Edward cut it, he had to rake up all the mowings….

So, my idea of spending a day or so to straighten things up and plant out the new arrivals, before getting on inside the house, extended to a full week!

A walk in the meadow

However, it wasn’t long before my spirits lifted – I love being outside and while it can be a daunting task sometimes, just because of the size of the place, it’s so rewarding to see things coming together.  But first things first, there’s nothing so nice as walking through the meadow after Edward has mowed the grass – there are so many different species in there, which neither of us were expecting, it’s so pretty….

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Of course, it wouldn’t be the same without one of the cats coming with us – this time, Mouse did the honours, although she seemed fairly preoccupied with her favourite wild boar!!

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New plantings

I was so excited about the plants we brought back with us and the first things to go in were the climbing roses and one of the wisterias…

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I’d decided the climbing rose ‘Maid of Kent’, an early birthday present from Mum,  would be perfect trained around the doorway of the small barn.  I had to prepare the area first, but it was soon in place, with some Liatris spicata planted in front for some added interest…

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Another rose, this time the rambler ‘Seagull’ was planted against one of the apple trees – it will hopefully take the place of some of the mistletoe, which we shall have to cut out in the autumn.  Mum also gave us another climbing rose, with purple flowers, which is now growing at the side of the main entrance to the big barn, while the blue wisteria has been planted at the corner of the small barn and will be trained along the side wall above the box hedge, to join the Maid of Kent – in all, when they’re established, we should have a good show around the yard and garden!

In the meantime, after mowing the grass, Edward did a great job of preparing the vegetable patch and making the framework for the runner beans.  We were worried we’d left it too late to get them in, but it’s been an odd spring with most things taking a while to get going, so we thought we’d give it a go and see what happens.  So in went the beans, courgettes and tomatoes….

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Fingers crossed for a bumper crop!

Edward’s first shed…

In our garden in England, Edward built three smashing sheds!  One was his workshop-cum-storage shed, another was the summer house and the third was my studio…. Our new home already has two large barns, which you’d think would give us ample storage but as we’re out in the countryside, there are numerous ‘critters’ that would be more than happy to chew through anything that wasn’t protected.  So, last week, Edward set about making our first shed, to provide some much needed mouse-proof storage….

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An ugly façade will be transformed into useful storage….. 🙂

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Completion of the bank

While Edward continued with his new project, I returned to the bank, which was now ready to be planted up, at last!  It’s been a huge job to clear this area of weeds, seed it and plant it.  Over the last few weeks and months I’ve been tackling it in stages.  Sadly, the broadcast seeds, sown in the first part of the bank, don’t seem to have faired very well, probably due to the odd weather we’ve had this spring.  The mixed wild flowers seem to be masses of poppies over any other species and the harsh rains we had after I sowed the seed washed them all into a huge clump half-way down the bank!  So, one afternoon, I set out pots of plants that have been donated or bought along the remaining bank….

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In all, over 130 plants were planted here – I hope they will eventually make a lovely display and will help stabilise the bank…

Finishing off

As we worked into the week, there was a real push to get the outside straightened up before heading back inside the house to get on with the decorating and refurbishing the bathroom, before our next visitors arrive in July…..

At last, I finished preparing and planting the curved border at the back of the small barn…

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I smashed some more slates to complete the seating area…

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And trimmed the box hedge and edged the lawn in front of it….

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While Edward mowed the lawn again (yes, it was ready to be cut again within 5 days of the last time!), to finish the week’s work…

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Colin seemed very unimpressed!!

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But we were happy that we’d broken the back of the outside work and had made good progress.  The long break from DIY was making it difficult to get back into it, but the time had definitely come to resume work inside the house….♥