Melanie’s May Moments

Welcome to our latest Melanie’s monthly blog news and this month is very well titled being Melanie’s May Moments, as we certainly have had a few moments this month. I have taken quite a bit of time off work as we have had lots of garden renovations to be done. I will start with the fencing news…Lily of course was very helpful!!

Melanie's May Moments

New Garden Fencing

During the winter we had three 15 foot larch trees come down in the storms, which were old and rotten and covered in huge amounts of ivy. They were so lovely and a good boundary divide. Harvey, my running buddy, kindly chain sawed them up in February and helped me take them to the bottom of the garden to dispose of. So this left one side of our garden very open, being able to see into our neighbours garden and back door!

So we booked the most amazing landscape gardener locally to us called Mark. Take a look at his Facebook page – ByMark Contractors. Mark took on the job of creating a new back gate and fencing all the way down the garden. The photo below shows one part of the new lattice fence. Mark has done an absolutely fantastic job, we are so pleased with how it turned out.

We planted some climbers and hope they grow quickly up the lattice. We have an evergreen Honeysuckle, an evergreen Clematis and an old Clematis which we replanted. I’m not sure if it will take root as it really died back in the heat last year, but we are giving it a go. I intend on sorting the large flower bed out next, it was quite an overgrown jungle so not a lot grew. I have a bit of a job on my hands now to make it a happy cottage flower bed.

Melanie’s May Moments – Fencing Down The Garden

On the very right of the photo above, is the start of our three woodsheds. Below the sheds our garden goes off to an angle down the garden. Next to us is a bit of scrubland, all a bit overgrown and unkept. So we thought it would be good to add lattice going down there to hide it a bit. We have only gone a quarter of the way, mainly as it would be quite expensive to lattice fence all the way down, but we decided to go just beyond the tree. Since doing so we can really celebrate the tree so much better, it feels part of our garden now rather than a random hedge boundary tree. It blocks some of the scrub behind it too. I have planted an evergreen Jasmine up one side of the Camelia and a Clematis on the other side.

Melanie's May Moments

Melanie’s May Moments – Top Cottage Garden

Moving to the top of the garden next Mark’s idea was to have add a short fence topped with lattice in front of our hedge as the hedge is very thread bare at the base. It was quite see through into next door. So it has added a lot more privacy to the area. In fact, as soon it was completed, it made the top garden feel bigger, quite the illusion!

It has actually come out far better than I had imagined as that side of the garden always felt dark, dank and unloved. Now it has refreshed it and with a couple of clematis there to climb and a variety of hardy geraniums, plus some pot plants, I am so pleased with how it’s looking. Lily adds to the scene beautifully too! So a huge thank you to Mark who really worked hard on the fencing, such a lovely kind chap too, I would wholeheartedly recommend him if you are in our area and you need garden renovations doing!

Cottage garden fencing

My mother-in-law gave me some Lupins last year and I have kept them in a pot and they are looking lovely. When I have tried to grow them before, they have always been eaten by slugs. Happily these are doing much better!

Lupins in the cottage garden

Melanie’s May Moments – The Studio and Chickens

Not much has changed with the view to the studio but it has been lovely to sit on the picnic table this month for our lunches. We finally have had some sunshine and warmth! We usually have about 5 good months where we can sit outside so we must make the most of it!

The Art Studio

The next area to sort out in the garden is where the chickens were over the winter. I aim to rake it and grass seed it. We also have to clad the wooden shed that you can see down there as it’s rotting. But that will be in another months news.

Bottom cottage garden in need of some care!

The chickens have been moved to the other side of the garden just below the lattice fence and are loving it. They have trees and bushes to hide under in the warm summer weather to help them keep cool. Dotty is front left and is a Leghorn. She is quite flighty but enjoys when I’m digging in the garden and comes for worms. Daisy front right, is a Cream Legbar who is not at all tame and very flighty. Finally my favourite is Snowy at the back, who is meant to be a Warren but turned out white! She is always happy to have a cuddle. I hatched them all myself and its amazing how breed plays a part in how tame they can be. I think the two front ones have been my most flighty birds ever. But they do lay good eggs!

The chickens

Finally the clematis is out in flower again… the bees are loving it!

Melanie's May Moments

Melanie’s May Moments – In a Pickle With Storms and Logs

This winter has been particularly hard for us with regards to storms and trees. As you have read above the three larch trees came down so we had to sort and dispose of those. At the same time the storm blew rooves off of two of our temporary bays where we were storing large rounds of logs. Not only those but a whole roof from a large log store with wood already split. We have been in quite a pickle and it hasn’t been easy.

To go back in time a bit, about 4 or 5 years ago when there was Ash tree die back, we had a tree surgeon in to cut down some dangerous and dying ash trees in our garden. This left us with a lot of wood to potentially store and stack. Unfortunately Covid hit and Nicholas became ill. So he as not been able to deal with the logs as he normally would. We haven’t really done any maintenance in the last 4 years, we have been taking things day by day. However of course we need to tackle it all this year.

The photo below shows the aftermath of a lost roof in the middle of the winter, which flipped over and landed on my chicken fencing. It was comprised of two large fence panels and very heavy rubber matting over the top all screwed down. The wind can be so forceful and strong and we couldn’t believe what had happened. It took Nicholas and myself a huge effort and a long time to sort it and of course dispose of it before we had room to start sorting out the logs. So this was the start of a lot of work….

Log Issues!

Melanie’s May Moments – Log Moving

So the first job was to consolidate logs in our wood sheds to make room for the split logs you see above. We needed to do this fairly quickly as the rain would eventually start to ruin the logs. I managed to fit two of the rows of logs in the sheds so it was good going.

The rounds that I had put in the shed from the collapsed bays in the middle of the winter, needed to be moved back down the bottom of the garden ready to be split. These particular rounds had now been moved around the garden 4 times. It was beginning to get a little tedious!

Melanie's May Moments

I moved them all as you can see in the photo below!! Now they were down here and the weather was getting nicer, we could start splitting and stacking. Taking them up to the empty shed.

Stack of logs to split

The photo below shows one of the days of log splitting. Nicholas taught me how to use the log splitter. I split the smaller rounds, and Nicholas helped with the larger ones. It took most of May to split and stack them all.

Melanie's May Moments

The shed is getting full as you can see below. We have one more bay of rounds to split.

Log Shed Stacking

We also have more of a tidy area at the bottom of the garden. If anyone would like any pallets….??!! My aim is to get the garden clear of logs and stored in the sheds. I have worked out we have enough wood to see us through 2027 winter and into the following spring.

Kind of tidy!

A 16 mile walk….

Yes, 16 miles! Actually it was 16.8 but who’s counting! Harvey and I did a 12 mile walk in April and this time decided we would go a bit further. We left at 7.30 in the morning and arrived at the Forest Arms pub just before they opened at 10am. Other than one long steep climb and a few ups and downs, it was mostly down hill all the way. Which you can see one of the slopes going down in the photo below. We knew the trip home would be mostly up hill….

Melanie's May Moments

Plus we saw some sheep and lambs along the way over the mountain.

16 mile walk with Harvey

We stopped at the Forest Arms for a well deserved bacon sandwich and cup of tea (and a comfort break). Once done, we headed back home up the hill….

Melanie and Harvey mid walk in the Forest Arms Brechfa

I can wholeheartedly recommend their bacon sandwich if you are passing… it was delicious!

Bacon Sandwich in the Forest Arms

The views from right up the top were amazing. As we did this at the start of May it wasn’t too warm, the rain held off even though it looked cloudy. The temperatures always drop quite a bit over the mountain. It was also very exciting to see a Hobby (bird of prey) fly up from the ground, I had never seen one before.

Melanie's May Moments

So our next walk will be slightly further. Harvey has it all planned and we should be good to go in June. I will follow his lead. This one might be a little more tricky. So I will tell you all about that in our next blog news!

And Finally…

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our Melanie’s May Moments. If you missed last months blog Melanie’s April Tales do take a look at that. We hope that you have all had a really lovely month of May… hopefully a little less busy that ours! We will see you next month!

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