Monday, February 25, 2013

Better than St. Albans

The lure of a day out every Saturday is always there. From Monday to Friday I always look forward to the weekend when we'll get the chance to do lots of gardening (weather permitting). Somehow though when the weekend actually arrives, on Saturday especially, the urge to have a day out somewhere, anywhere is always there. 


Not that I don't want to garden on Saturday mornings, in fact its one of the best times especially if it's bright, sunny, and warm outside. But there also seems to be this subconscious want for a temporary change of scene that tries to pull you away as a part of you also wants to stay put and spend time at home and in the garden. Every weekend, decisions, decisions!

But this weekend, it was neither bright, sunny, nor warm. It was actually cold, with temps hovering just above freezing even during midday and little flecks of snow drizzled intermittently all throughout the weekend, not enough to settle to make the scenery white nor wet (thankfully) but just enough to reiterate that yes, it is still winter after all.

Little granules of ice scattered all over....
It was a cold weekend, what do we do now? Have a day out somewhere of course! We have a strong excuse, it was cold outside and it would be uncomfortable to spend the day gardening. And I also have a long shopping list of things to get for the garden in preparation for spring, so in a way having a day out visiting the shops will also be a way of preparing for the garden. So where can we go that's nearby and have most of the shops I needed to visit? Pretty little city of St. Albans came to mind which is only half an hour's drive from where we live. 

So St. Albans it was but as we prepared ourselves to go out for the day, we saw the large pile of trimmings dotted here and there from the view of our kitchen window. Perhaps we ought to take some of them to the tip first? And so we did.

Not just some of them, we ended up taking all of them! It was nice to see the garden clear again, making space for more spring trimmings in the following weeks to come. And thinking about trimmings, we decided that to tackle that large mass of ivy that had started to ruin some of the fences and was casting so much shadow on the side passage. So we started to hack it and we got carried away, thinking we might as well finish the job. And so we did. Finally we can see through the trellis again (there's a temporary lack of privacy now but that should fill up in the following months, knowing how vigorous established ivy can be).

Ivy be gone....most of it anyway
We can see through the trellis again!
By the time we finished that of course, it was too late to go out, oops! We might as well carry on being productive, so we bought some wooden posts and ship lap fencing panels and presto, the end screening of the new garden was made by early evening.

This went up much quicker than I thought it would!
Now this one I did not expect at all that we'd do so soon, and so quick! I thought we wouldn't be doing this untill next month or so. But there it is now, all done. This panel demarcates the area of the new garden, giving a visual end to when you look down the narrow garden as you enter it. It also screens the more functional working area beyond it, and the gap will serve as the entrance way to it.

It will be painted white like everything else
So no day out that day, we can go the next day, Sunday instead. 

And Sunday morning, whilst having breakfast we saw how grubby the decking was just outside the kitchen doors leading outside. We might as well give it a preliminary and quick scrub before we go out. And then we remembered we have a jet wash...

An algae and dirt laden deck
A jet wash that we haven't used for years and almost forgot about it until now. And it would be perfect to clean this mucky decking, with the old stain flaking away and algae covering large parts of it.

Layers of dirt removed in seconds

It was brilliant in removing years of dirt from the decking, and so much fun to use, so we jet washed the decking, the brick wall, the windows...

Ta-dah! Ready for restaining once warmer and drier weather returns
As Gaz took over the jet washing halfway through I got a bucket of a soapy water and stiff brush and started to brush the walls of all the raised beds and exterior pond wall in preparation to being painted a final coat of white paint, hopefully soon once the weather warms up...

And time flew by again, too late to go to St. Albans! But not too late for a quick trip to a couple of nearby garden centres to do some shopping and cap off the weekend.

It turned out that the lure of spending time in the garden despite the cold weather was much stronger, and we had so much fun! We managed to accomplish loads, without even planning for it nor expecting to do so. 

As I looked back in the garden and saw the things we have done by not going out I thought to myself, "This is better than St. Albans, much much better!".

Mark :-)

36 comments :

  1. I don't like housework, inside or out - but your jet thingy looks like fun.

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  2. All your projects looks good and well worth staying home for.

    St. Albans has been there for a while so it seems it should still be there when you do decide you need a day out.

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    1. True Shirley, it will always be there, looking pretty and waiting for us :) But garden first!

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  3. You guys are so productive! I wish I had more days like that where I get more done than originally planned.

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    1. Some days are like that, you get to do more than you anticipated. But some days tasks drag on longer than you've expected. I'm glad it was the former last weekend :)

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  4. You got so much done. I love days like that when you can look back and say "Wow, we did well" - and St Albans will still be there next weekend.

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    1. I'm pleased we ended up staying Missy :)

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  5. Good for you for workin in the garden instead of visiting St. Albans. There's always that pull in two directions on the weekends and sometimes I find myself wishing for foul weather so that I can rationalize ignoring the garden.

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    1. Your comment made me laugh Peter! We had so much bad weather last year that I daren't even think about having more now lol! Glad we ended up staying indeed :)

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  6. Haha! One thing does always lead to another. You got a lot accomplished on your days out (in the garden). St. Albans will be waiting. I always feel good to get things accomplished. The jet wash made a huge difference in the appearance of your deck!

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    1. Funny how one thing leads to another indeed Debs! The jet wash is a fab piece of kit, fun to use too! :)

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  7. Wow, you guys were productive! Congrats. And hopefuuly this means you can enjoy your eventual day away even more.

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    1. Indeed Renee :) A day out to St. Albans will eventually happen, it can wait for now...

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  8. We anglophiles are smitten with St towns : St Albans ! want to go there..St Ives..must have figured in at least one Daphne Du Maurier novel.What about St Just in Penwith ? However I can relate to the urgency of clean-up before spring. My garden is a mess.

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    1. You'll get stuck in your garden eventually ks :) Funny you mentioned about the St towns, how true! They tend to be very pretty ones too. We absolutely adore St. Ives in Cornwall, one of our favourite places!

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  9. You described that pull to the garden vs. pull to get out and go somewhere perfectly. I sometimes have trouble deciding which to do but try and imagine which would make me feel better at the end of the day. Hopefully you guys were feeling like your chices were the right ones (sure sounds like you were).

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    1. We made the right choice Loree :) Isn't it funny that the lure to go out is always there, but even if you stay you still end up having a nice time, if not nicer. Sometimes it's just a matter of self discipline to stay put, although it's also nice to go out....

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  10. I like the fencing. It will look good white, but I like it natural too, matches your deck. I like to put up things that don't require me to repaint. :) I really like how it enables things to work off it on into the gardens.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. We quite like it looking natural too Cher, tempting to leave it as it is :)

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  11. Quite a difference ! It looks like a new now. Good job !

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    1. It's nice to see the deck without the dirt and algae now :)

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  12. Id say that's quite a productive weekend! what a difference it has made to your garden as well :D ill have to be getting my power washer on out flags soon.

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    1. Thanks Joe, jet wash/power washer certainly lives up to its name! :)

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  13. Bravo! Working/playing in the garden is way more fun than a faraway outing. I'm pretty sure my garden is my absolute favorite place on the entire planet.

    You made great progress and spring is just around the corner. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks Grace :) gardeners do love their own space and spending time in it can be fun and relaxing too. Glad we stayed last weekend!

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  14. Aw, I love that last line! It's so true - once you start working in the garden, the time flies by and other plans are soon forgotten. How fun, though, that you had a bit of time left to go to a couple of garden centers! Amazing the difference in the deck!

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    1. So glad we stayed Holley, even if we did plan otherwise. Just shows how fun time spent in the garden could be :)

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  15. What but a garden could lure you into ignoring the sleet and cold and travel plans and leave you satiated at the end? Just be sure to take us along when you finally make that trip into St Albans.

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    1. Indeed ricki, the gardening is a form of escapism and time spent there, especially for both gardeners is worthwhile and most of time fun. When we actually make it to St. Albans, will definitely share photos of them :)

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  16. Physically stamina of your bodies are definitely stronger than mine, if i were the one to do that, i will have the next day plastered in bed! That was really a 'job well done', better than whatever you would have otherwise done. Last weekend i needed the whole Sunday to do some gardening because of the seeds and bulbs sent in by my blogger friend from Illinois. I left for the city on MOnday, so was absent from work.

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    1. Wow that sounds a lot of bulbs Andrea! I can imagine the time spent potting them all up was still time well spent :)

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  17. Mark and Gaz what is big leafy thing in your first fence picture? BTW Been enjoying all the Singapore pics.

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    1. Hi Catharine, the big leafed plant is Schefflera delavayi. Glad to hear you're enjoying the pics, there's more to come :)

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  18. That made me laugh, terrible isn't it, how just doing one small thing rapidly turns in to doing so much more when you spot a little job in the garden. Very satisfying though.

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    1. Terrible but very nice nevertheless Janet :) and yes, very satisfying!

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