Celebrating the last day of summer

herb nettlesMid October and summer is about to be over. Tomorrow we are back to to proper autumn jumpers and woolly hats and I can’t wait. I get so discombobulated by this heat at the wrong time of year.

So to celebrate I’m having a gin and tonic. The last of the summer. This blog post might get a bit wonky.

Here are the before and after shots of a project that took all day. And I’m far from finished.

I was desperate to tick ‘Weed Herb Garden’ off my list. But no. Here was the last part of the herb garden which you see from the front. first wall excavated

To the left are the euphorbias which have self seeded everywhere. And to the right, a nettle forest. And nestled all throughout are the ornamental quince suckers.

I started to weed. And pull and dig. I can’t get the quince suckers out without doing serious damage to myself, so they are going to have to wait until Thursday when Manu the Muscles comes for a morning’s work.

But while I was digging out a wheelbarrow load of nettles and roots, I started to see a patten of rocks in among the weeds.

second wall excavatedWalls. There appeared to be walls under all this mess. So I stupidly started digging.

And digging and digging. Buckets of stuff. Luckily I could dump lots of the rather good soil onto the lavender bed I weeded earlier. And for once it was only a few paces away.

But it was a right mess.

I found the the first well wasn’t much, and the wall at the base of the whole area is decidedly wonky. (As wonky as my typing is after the gin.)

So there is a lot of creative wall building to do here. Thursday. creating low wall

I downed tools around 5pm and had one of those hovering moments. Do I stop for the day or keep on outside?

Hah. A no brainer. Before dusk, I created a brilliant little mini wall.  I know I’m boasting, but I have these little small walls sorted. All it takes are a few ingredients.

One log, long. Two metal stakes to hold the log in place. And festuca grasses flipped upside down and stamped into place.

Mighty grasses.  They grow wild all over this mountainside. So I just sneak up on them, put a huge fork underneath the base and heave them out of the soil.

festucaMy favourite looting spot is up on the upper terrace.  And for once they weren’t that far away from my project.

I am filling in the last of the gaps on our top road as one tires of flood water shooting down the mountain and ending up in our basement.

This is actually the top of the original road to our only neighbour’s house along the mountain. It used to go between our two houses and up the walnut path.  The road skirts all the way around the house now, so this path / road is redundant.  The owners of the farm in the 1970s put in the detour road to avoid having a van scream past their front door at all times of the day. finished low wall

But it took a bit of courage to finally decide that I needed to raise the height of path so water doesn’t shoot down. It’s a simple structure that can be disassembled if need be. But what a quick solution.

And it really is quick.

Once I grab a grass, I zip down to the log and flip them upside down. Stamp hard and you have an instant height of a wall. The roots of the grasses hold the soil together well. And if I’m really keen I can add an extra layer.

hedge octoberBut not today.  Actually one of the lovely things about being up on the upper terraces in this fantastic early evening light.

I have great difficulty photographing the hedge. The potting shed keeps getting in the way.

But I think I might have captured some of the complex shape and texture of this mix planting hedge.

The field maple, acer campestre, is fast becoming a favourite.  It is just starting to colour. And the pyracanth are putting on their display.  hedge october 1

But as soon as I go down and try a close up I fail to capture any of the magic.

Maybe I need to stand on a high ladder and try from high.

Or maybe I need to get the strimmer out and sort some of these weeds and rampant brambles here on the upper terraces.  Enough ogling the plants.