Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Saturday 4 October 2008

In a hole

Filed under: Conifers,Progress — Helen @ 3:49 pm

I have lost count of how long I have spent digging this hole, but I have put in a stint every day that I haven’t been out doing my NHS job for the past two weeks, because it just hasn’t rained except when I have been working at the NHS. I think I have done about ten sessions. At 400 calories an hour, and about one and a half hours per session, that comes to about 6000 calories. The cake was 4000 calories, and I’ve eaten about 90% of it, so the project was funded by 2400 calories from my internal reserves. That equates to about 2/3 lb of fat. So here is a picture of me looking pleased about the hole, but not discernibly thinner.

Me in conifer hole

Me in conifer hole

My back started to give me a few twinges last night, but this morning was forecast to be fine, while tomorrow there is a weather warning for huge amounts of rain. So I took some ibuprofen and finished the job. Here is a picture of the hole without me in it. I hadn’t quite finished digging when I took the photograph – there were a few roots to be dug out at the far end – but I took the photograph because I needed a rest.

Hole dug for new conifers

Hole dug for new conifers

After that I tipped in one and a half bags of organic compost from The Compost Centre, tipped in some more soil, and put in another bag of compost. The compost is certainly organic. It was also very wet and slimy because I had left the bags outside for six months and they had ventilation holes punched in them so the water got in. I tipped in some more soil and decided that was enough for now. It is quite an easy job filling the hole in again, partly because I’m moving the soil downwards from the heap to the hole so am not working against gravity. However, I did find myself getting quite warm with the work, which is just as well because the temperature is getting very much more autumnal now.

In between all this manual labour, I have been doing some thinking about the hedge. My little thuja plants are about 3 ft tall, which is half the height of the fence. If they grow at a rate of 2 ft a year, which I think is a reasonable estimate, it will take them four and a half years to get to be 12 ft, and probably a few more years to get nice and bushy so they form a proper screen. If I replace the rest of the hedge in two phases, one part next autumn and the final part the autumn after, I will then be going for two to three years with hardly any screening from the hedge. But if I leave the Leylandii in place for longer than two years, the trees will grow that much bigger and may be too big for me to remove safely myself, and the thuja will be bigger and more difficult to plant too. I may compromise by removing the left-hand end of the hedge next autumn, but waiting a little longer before removing the middle.


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