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See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

May 2012

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Eye on the ball

Rachel Darlington found that one thing led to another

Do you ever find that gardening jobs take much longer than you expect? I am constantly amazed at how long it takes to do the simplest things. Back in March I decided to work on my beech hedge. It had plastic membrane around it since it had gone down a few years prior so it was time for it to come off. The only slight complication was that the Mypex membrane had been covered in bark chippings so I would need to move the bark to another area to cover membrane there.

I started badly. Fifteen minutes were wasted looking for the hammer to pull out the pegs. And I also had to empty the wheelbarrow so that there would be somewhere to put the bark. But, despite these minor drawbacks, the job was soon underway. Pegs were coming out, bark was going into the wheelbarrow and Mypex was being piled up at a great rate. My mistake was pausing to examine the bark. It was nicely decomposed and felt like lovely woodlandsy stuff. It was too nice to put down again on Mypex - thinking of all that wasted goodness. I decided that it would do much better as a mulch for my camellia hedge.

So I barrowed it over to the camellia hedge only to realise that the soil was quite dry so I would need to water before applying the mulch. Not a problem really - just a minor delay! Then I remembered that my camellia leaves were a little yellow. Wouldn't this be a great time to apply some iron? And, sure that I had seen iron somewhere, off I went to search under the kitchen sink and in the shed. Fifteen minutes later I'm back again but, finding no iron, I've settled for fish, blood and bone meal and apply it in handfuls around the base of the camellias. Then it's back up again to fetch the hose, only to find that it won't stretch that far because it is knotted. A quick wrestle later, I finally get to watering the hedge!

While the sprinkler waters, there is nothing for me to do. The wheelbarrow is full so I can't remove any more bark from the beech as I would have nowhere to put it. I wait. I pull a few weeds. But soon I am back on target, having mulched the camellias and emptied the wheelbarrow. Now what was I doing again? Oh, yes, removing Mypex from the beech hedge. So back I go and resume work. Next, I feel rain coming. It only rains when you don't need anything watered. I decide to persevere, ignoring the damp. But the rain picks up and then I notice the box of fish, blood and bone meal. Yes, a cardboard box. So if I don't do something I will be left with a gooey pile of fertiliser and damp paper on the grass. It's important to know when to admit defeat!


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