Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Friday 10 April 2009

Fun with tree stumps

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 1:31 pm

Progress has slowed down now. This is partly because the run of good weather has stopped, and partly because I am now at the peak time for the tutoring business. Business has been quiet since September, probably because of the recession, but now there is a sudden increase in demand and I have to do my best to meet it until it all goes quiet again on 1st June (this is the date of the second GCSE maths paper). In an attempt to make up for the lack of demand for tuition in January, I have been working extra hours at the day job, and this also takes time away from the garden.

I have removed a good quantity of rubble, mainly breezeblocks, from the old pond area. I have also found a tree stump, which was under the pond shelf. I could leave the stump there, as it will be a few inches below the soil surface and I could work around it when it comes to planting the area, but I would rather do a proper job and get rid of it. The stump is well-rotted and has a black coal-like coating, as would be expected after twelve and a half years of it being squashed under a weight of water. However, it’s still quite a task to remove it. I started sawing bits off, but it was very hard to do this because the wood was soft and full of yukky rotten tree sap.

The tree stump before I started smashing it with a mattock

The tree stump before I started smashing it with a mattock

So I bought a mattock. It’s called a “grubbing mattock” and it looks like a pickaxe, except the blades are flat and wide instead of being pointy. Then I started bashing the tree stump. This was not a fast process either, partly because the tree stump is quite big, and probably partly because I am probably not very good at this (although I can say that I was pretty good at breaking up the path foundations with the pickaxe). Progress can be measured by the full blue box of tree stump splinters at the top of the photograph.

The tree stump after I started smashing it with a mattock

The tree stump after I started smashing it with a mattock

I have a few other things to report. While I was digging out the rubble a week or two ago, I found two grubs which looked like this.

White grub, probably nasty chafer grub

White grub, probably nasty chafer grub

At first I thought it was a horrible vine weevil maggot, but I realised it was far too big, and also it had legs, which I don’t think vine weevil maggots do. I decided it probably wasn’t anything I wanted, so I left it on the path for a bird to eat. Then I looked it up on the internet and found it was probably a chafer grub. These creatures are bad for lawns, but I don’t think getting eaten by chafer grubs is the worst problem my lawn is facing at the moment, so I am not worried. (My main lawn problem is too much moss, but I am not going to do anything about that because I am going to dig the whole thing up and start again with seed).

I am very pleased with the cherry tree in my front garden this year. I like to think that the improvement is due to my hard work two years ago, when I dug out a few hundredweight of rubble from under its roots. It’s just as likely that it has benefitted from two wet summers. Anyway, this is a vast improvement on this time two years ago.

Cheery cherry tree in April 2009

Cheery cherry tree in April 2009

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