What did you do in your garden today?


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Cold and grey, so I stayed in the greenhouse and went through my seed box planting old seeds, if they work I am a week ahead, if they don't I get some more and I'm not much behind. Seed trays all over the greenhouse and my bedroom windowsill, I'll probably get some failures, but some will work.
 
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I got into the rockery this afternoon and removed a lot of grass and moss amongst the phlox. It's a case of trying "not to throw the baby out with the bathwater." I then gave it a good sprinkling of compost and a watering with a bit of plant food.
Earlier I drove up to Bents Garden Centre and bought this white lilac. It'll give us an alternative to the sambucas in the circular bed in the middle of the garden. I've put it in a big pot with some fertilizer pellets. But not as big a pot as that of the sambucas. That's a real pain to lift and in and out of that bed, having to avoid the azaleas around it.

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This is the variety,

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a syringa-vulgaris
 
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My replacement water heater arrived this morning, so I was able to install it when I got home from golf this afternoon.

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Nothing's easy.
The support bracket was of a different type and needed fitting in a different place. But I expected that.
What I didn't expect, was that the cold water supply to the tap has a connection behind it, whereas, with the previous one, the supply entered from underneath the tap.
Luckily, I was able to find a 15mm. compression elbow amongst my spare plumbing stuff in the garage and some copper pipe.
But I think the cold water connection supplied for the tap was designed for "speed-fit" pipe, as it wouldn't grip on the two inches of copper, pipe. Fortunately, I had some.

Another complication, was that a couple of bolts that connect the garage panels were in the way, (there's one above the heater, that's not), so I had to hacksaw off the ends of the bolts and then mount the heater support bracket a "nut's width," off the wall to clear the garage bolt's nuts. I need to get some more pipe insulation.
The heater has to go to the left of the basin as I need to be able to swing the spout to the left for when I want to fill a bucket, placed on the floor.
I like the temperature control on the front. It heats up very quickly. I was able to give everything a wash down with hot soapy water once it was up and running.

I must remember to turn the water supply off if it looks like it might freeze later in the week.
 

Meadowlark

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Continuing to turn my compost piles scraped up from feeding livestock this winter.

I've got two piles now estimated at 500 cu. ft. each. At the current price of Black Cow and other soil additives that's about $70,000 worth of stuff.

They are composting at 180 deg F so all weed seeds and harmful bacteria will soon be gone. I mix in a little topsoil as I scrape this hay and cow excrement into the piles. That makes for an incredibly rich and safe soil amendment.


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At the current price of Black Cow and other soil additives that's about $70,000 worth of stuff.
That's deceptive, most of that cost will be processing, packing, transport and storage. You can often get it for free if you are willing to scrape it off the stable floor.
 
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Meadowlark

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I've actually been looking into getting a compost bagging machine and selling the stuff out of my front yard. I'm confident there is a viable market for it.... but don't think I'm up for all the hassles associated with dealing w/public. Besides it is more valuable to me anyway in what veggies, fruit, nuts, grapes, etc. it helps produce.

Maybe some young entrepreneur will come along to take advantage of this black gold.
 
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I got fed up waiting for our local garden centre to dig out the pots I wanted, so I phoned the one in a "posh" area of Wilmslow.
For our American readers, it's pronounced "Wimslow."
They phoned me back to say they had some, so I went over there this afternoon. It's only a 20 minute journey.
Wilmslow isn't all posh. On the high street, amongst many shops, there's a couple of charity shops, a Salvation Army shop, a few "designer brand" fashion shops and an Aston Martin showroom.

On the way back on the M60, they'd been spreading salt in the bright sunshine, so we can expect a freeze tonight.

Two pots in position at each end of the patio steps, we'll be able to ring the changes with other stuff in plastic pots.

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I dunno if this counts as a garden job, but I had to sneak the ladders out later, without my wife noticing, as she doesn't like me using them at my age. I needed to get at the box a couple of feet above the kitchen door.

This collects rainwater and moss down a pipe from the gutter, where it joins another pipe from the basin and shower cubicle in the bathroom, which collects water, soap products, shampoo and conditioner and whatever else and sends it down another pipe to the outside drain.
The problem is the pipe from the bathroom to this box runs for about eight feet in a horizontal direction under the floorboards, where this gunge can accumulate. So about every year, I have to stick a hosepipe up it and flush it out, when I notice, the shower water starts to get a bit slow, going away.
All done and she's none the wiser.
 
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My lovely wife and I trimmed some dead branches out of two of our Dogwood trees, trimmed a HUGE poison ivy vine out of another tree in our backyard that had grown up all throughout the tree, planted 15 raspberry bushes, put down weed killer and grass food in the front yard and part of the backyard, finished four doors for my chicken coop, raked out the flower garden, planted some pansies, and sprayed the awful Bermuda grass that is growing in and around a couple of my raised beds. Busy day.
 
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Nothing today, it was snowing a bit at 9.30am when I left to do the weekly shop and had turned to rain by the time I got home at mid-day.

We've been watching the three pairs of blackbirds that visit our garden, either the feeder on the bed under the azaleas are pottering around looking for worms on the lawn. There's one dominant male who we call "Bert." Who thinks he's in charge of the food tray and tries to guard it. He stands on the low wall under the azaleas. But he has little success. Whilst he's chasing one away, another will hop in and get some food. Of course, "Rocky" the robin takes no notice at all. He just dives in whenever he feels like it.
We were "threatened" with freezing temperatures tonight. But I've just looked at the "red button" forecast and the lowest temperature in the next 24 hours is likely to be +2.
But then when I look at the daily forecast, it says the lowest for Friday, could be -3.

There's the BBC for you.
 
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I pulled all of the dandelions I found in the yard. Thankfully, this year I have only found about a dozen. You may recall the thousands that I pulled up by hand with a digger last year. I think that monumental effort paid off for this year. Sadly, the crab grass is back, along with what look like wild onions, and also Creeping Charlie and Sorrel, or something of that sort. I also have violets appearing and another type of grass that I need to look up. Feels like I'm going backwards in trying to get my lawn beautiful. Such is life. :)
 
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Clear blue sky. +5c, even warmer in the sun.
As the roses are showing a bit of growth, I gave them a spray of Sulphur Rose. It's a bit early, but I need to get ahead of any black spot infestation, of which we had a lot last year.
That's about it for today. I'll likely do more at the week-end.
 
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It rained overnight, and so I'm very happy about that. I put down some weed killer and fertilizer the other day as a pre-emergent, and it needs rain to dissolve and activate. Lots of violets showing up in the backyard. They are pretty, but I would prefer to not have them in the grass. They take over quickly. Ridding them seems like no easy task either. I believe they spread through rhizomes, as well as by seed. Since they are already blooming, I may be stuck with them for another summer. I'll have to do some more research on that.
 
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Replaced all the pipe insulation of the new heater's pipe work. Where there's an in-line lever tap, you can cut a little hole in the insulation with a Stanley knife.


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I do tend to make my mind up quickly and act upon it.

We have these two weathered concrete planters at either end of the patio steps, we must have had them getting on for fifty years.
This is one of them.

I've found this photo from last year. There's both a climbing rose and a clematis in it.

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There's another planter at the other end of the steps. This one had a clematis in it, which never did much.

This morning I decided it was dead.
To be fair, the compost has only ever been topped up. So I thought I might as well get rid of the planter and the one in the photo at the same time.
I could use the larger size of the green Apta pots, like this one next to the front door.

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At lunchtime, I made a trip to our nearest garden centre at Flixton. This was the one that I'd hoped to get a couple more of the 34cm ones, but in the end I had to go to Wilmslow.
The Flixton one promised to have the pots out by this week-end. But they hadn't, they did have the plastic pots I intended to use as liners, so I bought them.
I slogged over to Wimslow (all of fifteen minutes, mostly motorway) and bought the larger pots there and some compost, but I didn't think much of their clematis selection, so I went back to Flixton!

I bought a Mayleen, of which we've three others elsewhere and a Blue Angel. They'll both go in the new planter and they can "fight it out."

To transplant the rose and clematis in the planter in the photo, I'll just smash the concrete with a lump hammer. I can tidy up the root balls and add some fresh compost at the same time.

I'm hoping being in a plastic inner pot they will be better insulated from the frost late in the year.

It's raining now, so I'll get it done tomorrow morning.
 
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Got what I wanted to do, done this morning.
As I often say, there are times when things are never easy.
To get a large plastic pot to in this planter, I had to remove a part of the rim. Other pots that would fit easily wouldn't have sufficient capacity.
You can't go at it with a power jig-saw, as it's cheap plastic and liable to split. So it's a case of slowly sawing with a hacksaw.
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I left the rims on the smaller plastic planters as the contents are likely to be changed once or twice a year.

I found the concrete planters too awkward and heavy to lift. I can still lift heavy weights, I lifted that 71kg fountain into position a few years ago, but at least I could get my arms under the bowl.
So as I wasn't going to use them again, they got the lump hammer treatment.

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All done and dusted, as it'd been raining last night, I had to wash down the patio when I'd finished.
I need to rub down and repaint the post of that hand-rail.

Actually, it's now redundant. We needed one after I built the steps decades ago as we had patio doors and my wife used it when going into the garden as the doors opened from that side. It was necessary because of her MS.
I made it from an "L" shaped angle iron part of a redundant check-out sweet stand. The top is a bit of solid mahogany, I "acquired" from surplus bits of wood from a re-fitted new escalator in a department store I was managing at the time.
Since then, we've had French windows fitted, so I give her a hand now any time she wants to go into the garden.

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I've still this lot to take down the tip.

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So, I renewed my community garden plots today....that's a start. Lol... This will be my 4th year, so with different things I've learned, I should have it perfected this year
It's always a learning process and so therapeutic...can't wait to get my hands in the dirt
 
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Freeze warnings again here for today and tomorrow. I live in the deep south of the U.S., and yet we still have freeze warnings. I just got my raspberry plants in the ground a few days ago. I am not sure how cold tolerant they are though.

I have the framework built for our chicken coop, and I have several other parts of it in my garage that are being assembled and fitted. It's not fun trying to do woodworking when the garage is 39 degrees (Fahrenheit), and so I haven't been doing a whole lot in the garage these last several days. Here is a photo of the framework thus far:

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