Hedges and Wedding Parties.

As well as severely cutting back the escallonia hedge in our front garden I have massacred the four Leylandii shrubs, which for some years I have pretended to use as topiary (while actually just cutting them back as much as I could get away with). Eventually these plants will have to go, but I currently wait for instructions from the Chief. In the meantime an endearing and extremely industrious par of blue tits are using the nearest stump as a stop off and look point for the nest they have constructed in a nest box on the wall made by our daughters and I many years past.

Image result for blue tit nest box

Also, because I was having trouble getting out of my car door I have taken liberties with (a.k.a. butchered) the “twisted hazel” in the garden itself. Finely twisted shapes in autumn and winter, and elegant tassel-catkins in spring. But a significant portion of it is sliced out, stems with a diameter of two and a bit inches is serious trimming in my book.  Offered to a flower arranging club, we piled the contorted stems into the back of the Vectra and set off to deliver them. The Wesleyan Chapel on the Walsall Road? No, but the car park was crowded with people celebrating Maundy Thursday as part of Christian Easter. The actual flower club meets in Cheslyn Hay, so we duly went on our way. They were, of course, delighted. The armfuls of material had eyes popping and jaws dropping. We were glad to be rid of it – and that somebody could make use of it. However (sneaky note) I have saved enough to have a bash at making a walking stick (the bush is sometimes nicknamed Harry Lauder’s walking Stick after the Scots comedian).

Image result for contorted hazel

Good Friday we were lucky enough to have been invited to a wedding, held on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. A delightful civil ceremony attended by both families and numerous friends, and including banghra drumming,  a somewhat eccentric toastmaster, Indian menu, dry ice, fine speeches, humour and friends I have not bumped into for … well, shall we diplomatically say a couple of years ? A damp day fizzed into life with a splendid social occasion. Best wishes to the bride and groom for the future.

Back to the allotment and preparing the ground for potatoes, planting some early radish and lettuce under a cloche (which blew away during strong winds during the week) and clearing newly sprung weeds. Some work will be needed to repair the compost bins, but, originally made from the “upcycled” sawn-to- measure walls of a former shed, they have already lasted longer than I could have imagined.

There has been frogspawn in one of the two ponds up at the allotment for many weeks now. It was not until, quite literally today, that any appeared in the pond in our back garden. Aubretia, crocus, dandelions, ribes and daffodils offer nectar to early insects, but we have some spectacularly large bumble bees, active and flying even in the showers, visiting the stately pieris in our shrubbery. Now that we are past the equinox and have weathered some strong end-of-March winds it feels as if the earth is getting warmer. Primroses and cowslips crouch ready to burst out and our later flowering rhododendron has massive, promising flower buds.

DSC02835 DSC02836

Any ideas about how to turn “green wood” into a decent walking stick?

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