Skills COVID-19 taught me; Gardening

I’m the one who can kill most plants with no intention of doing harm. The only plants I can keep are those that thrive on neglect, I’m a bad plant parent…. so much so my god-daughter almost refused to give me a pumpkin because she knows it will most likely end up dead. I am now the carer of a pumpkin plant and if it does die I think she’ll never speak to me again!

So why am I blogging about gardening this week? Because, if you follow my Instagram you’ll know the journey I’ve had upgrading it. And if you’re a close friend you’ll know the shame I’ve experienced from being so awful at maintaining it!

To give you a decent understanding of the starting point you can check out my YouTube video from my ice bucket challenge or check out the pictures below.

So what did I want to achieve. My plan was to extend the gravel section due to the difficult drainage issues (caused by the intense hill). And create an area where I can chill in the garden, I also stalked Pinterest for inspiration and decided I wanted to create an outdoor cinema – which during an isolation period seems ridiculous, but when we’re released to socialise again it’ll prove to be a nice feature. And it’s an excuse to spend more time in the garden and therefore keep me motivated to manage it! My primary goal was to get regularly into, and hopefully more enthusiastic about actually mowing it, the hill breaks my soul every time!

So where did I start. Well mowing seemed as good a place as any to see what I was dealing with after 7 shameful years of ignoring it! I also set about tidying up the ‘dumping area’ that was now just a mess and needed a full clean down and general bit of TLC. It now is enclosed by weed sheeting and some poles to keep it all held up, and gradually over the coming weeks the soil and compost waste should hopefully find a new use when I turn it to fill in the little holes out the front and also to level off some of the uneven areas on the main lawn.

And setting regular calendar entries every week to keep on top of it!

Then I got to work with planning out the gravel section and digging it out – bear in mind I’m no expert, and I’m working from Internet and book advice on how to carry out the various projects 🙈

In total it took around a week (with weather causing intermittent pauses) to complete the dugout section. I’m still waiting on the gravel as I refuse to pay a higher price, and environmentally don’t like the idea of buying a large plastic bags of gravel over a dumpy bag, so I’m waiting till I can get a delivery.

Next up was the cinema fence painting to make it pretty and aesthetically pleasing even when the screen isn’t up 🙌🏼 I already had a nice sage green from my door repaint so used this as it gives a nice backdrop and adds a feature to the fence. The rest I painted rustic brown, and that took me weeks!

And I also had to ask my Dad to make me a step to stop me from nearly dying every time I painted the hill side fence panel. All in all I think I did a pretty good job. I used 15 litres of paint 👀 for the whole thing! And hopefully won’t need to touch it again for a while, or at least until I get over the trauma of this mission 🤣

Covered in paint but it’s done ✅

So next up is finishing off the gravel pit, and getting some plants into the ground to stabilise and reduce e amount of mowing needed on the hillside. I’d really like to terrace it but have decided to pause that plan until next year now, so I can really decide on what I want to do. I’ve also invested in some weed, feed and seed to sort out the very weed and moss filled lawn on the hill and the flat section. And I have my eye on some more pallets at work that I can use as ‘temporary decking’ and which I can hopefully create some planters out of for vertical gardening.

Overall I think I’m finally on top of it, and after the 2-3 hours it took for the first now of the year I’ve subsequently got the sessions down to 20-30 mins which is a revelation and is making me realise the error in my ways.

I’m also spending loads more time in the garden which is great and is giving me a greater appreciation of the space I do have, which many don’t have at this difficult time. I realise how privileged and lucky I am to have the space that I do. And here’s to a full year of keeping up with the garden maintenance and hopefully keeping my pumpkin alive for the autumn season harvest 🎃

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