Monday, 30 July 2012

The Artistic Strimmer

Green waterproof leggings, splattered up the front with dry grass are stepped into. Comfy safety boots, similarly coated with a film of dark green crud are also pulled into place and laced up tight. As if preparing for battle, a matching jacket is zipped and velcro fastened right up to the neck. The preparations are not yet complete, for gloves, extra thick ‘anti-vibration’ ones at that are scooped up from the worktop before making for the machinery store.

A sleeping strimmer leans against the wall, its chunky engine anchoring the machine to one spot, while the business end, the spinning bit, leans securely against the corner of the shed; also covered in dry grass. In days of old it might have been the twisted shaft of a scythe, with glinting blade, eager to tear through the sward during a day’s honest toil. Today however, this fossil fuelled consumer of grass leads the way, and its scope for work knows no bounds, all it asks is a regular drink of oiled fuel; stinky, pink, oiled and smoke producing petroleum.

Its harness slips overhead, and with straps adjusted is now ready to support the weighty machine, but before heading out, a spare length of cord is tucked into the pocket, and the handy pen-knife touched for reassurance. One last thing; the orange helmet with grubby visor is lifted from its hook, and once more slots securely in place, sure to protect against sunshine and showers, along with bullet like particles of shredded grass, and slug.

Wrapped up and harnessed up, with strimmer hovering silently, I stomp out in search of the next patch of fresh and ‘untidy’ grass. Clicking my ear defenders into place, my worldly sounds become muffled, and my focus for a while is the audible thud and the bone jarring shock of my boots clumping on the drive. Pausing to set the machine on the ground, the choke is switched, the rubber bulb squished and, with a single pull of the starter cord, the machine rumbles into life – for just a second. With choke switched off, a second pull fires it up again. ‘We’ are now in business.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Wellesbourne Allotments - NGS Open Day 2012

An excuse to post a few happy pictures arose last weekend with a quick visit to Wellesbourne Allotments, which welcomed visitors in support of the National Garden Scheme. I've been intrigued by the allotments, having driven by for a couple of years or so, and this was a great opportunity to explore and have a look beyond the fence. Of course, it was also an excellent opportunity for my boy to explore too, I therefore played catch up for much of our visit, to ensure he didn't stomp across anyones finely prepared plot!
I must say, all visitors were made to feel very welcome, and it was a nice surprise to find a scarecrow competition staged, which offered something of interest for my little one, who otherwise would have ran the site in under twenty minutes! Therefore, following our search for a favourite scarecrow, I am able to bring you this rapid post with our top scarecrow choices...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Grounds Update July 11th 2012

This grounds update could easily have been titled 'Take Cover', which would mostly describe our attitude towards the weather during the run up to Flight weekend at Compton Verney; an opening event for the new exhibition called Flight and the Artistic Imagination. The rain has on the whole been kind to us, other locations in the country having more cause for serious complaint. The days of poor light and soggy ground are however, at least from a gardening perspective - starting to get quite depressing now. Boo-hoo I cry, but I shall leave my complaining there, for now!

This time last year, in the drought, we as a team strived to keep up with the watering of new plants. Tank after tank of water was ferried out to the park to keep trees alive. The ultra slow growing, if parched grass, did at least allow us irrigation time. This year however - total reversal. Irrigation is a distant memory, all new plants have established rapidly, and what of grass growth? Well, I've never known a year like it!

OK, the above photo isn't a normal patch of grass (we aren't that far behind with mowing!) In fact it's a section of the west lawn that we grow on for wildflowers. Some of this area was sacrificed in the run up to Flight weekend, with the aim of turning it into a model aircraft runway,
however, a dry weather quick flail and rake, turned into a wet weather slog fought, ultimately, over five days (with much other work thrown in to the mix of course.) The flail made a valiant effort,