OCTOBER 2008 Back to September
Wednesday-Friday 1-3/10/08
The weather continues settled though not very warm and a cold wind has started blowing from the north. Signs of Winter coming? The ash trees certainly think so - a steady stream of green leaves has started to fall from both of them.

Continued to clear the bottom of the garden. It is a real mess, covered mainly in ivy which has formed a dense undergrowth across the ground as well as climbing up the surviving shrubs, most which I have now cut back almost completely. The only way to get rid of it is to cut below it with a sharp spade and then take it to the other end of the garden where the turf mound is; it is when you are doing these sorts of jobs you realise how big the garden is!! The good part is that mixed in with the ivy is about 15 years worth of leaf litter from the big oak tree which overshadows this part of the garden; in some places the leaf mould is more than 10cm deep. This should make the resulting loam from the turf mound especially good in a few years time.

The whole of this area is dark and damp most of the time and the main cause, apart from the oak tree, is the row of overgrown Leyland cypress along the road. Later in the winter I hope to cut these down and saw them into logs for the wood stove. Then early next spring if I have finished I will plant a new hedge of more manageable proportions using traditional hedging like blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel and briar.

Planted the tulip bulbs I dug up from one of the beds last spring into 10 7.5L pots. Should make a good show next spring.

Saturday - Sunday 4-5/10/08
The settled weather came to an end. Saturday was very cold and windy and it started to rain in the afternoon. This became heavier as the night progressed and Sunday started very wet. Later, however, the sun came out in the afternoon and we went for a walk in the warm sunshine. Got back around 4pm with enough time to pick some of the larger Bramley apples.

Monday-Friday 6-10/10/08
The weather continued to stay fine with sunny intervals but there was a cold wind until Friday when the wind direction changed and it felt quite warm again. I picked the rest of the apples I could reach and ended up with more than 4 crates full. Plenty for lots of baked apples, pies and crumbles and later on I will put one in my porridge every morning once the Russets are used up or start to go soft in later January.

Now that the undergrowth has been cleared away I made a start on cutting down the Leyland cypress hedge along the road. I need to be careful with the taller trees to make sure the don't fall into the road Some have grown quite tall, maybe 5 to 6 metres so it may be necessary to cut the tops out before felling them lower down.

Saturday 11/10/08
Not very well today with the usual asthma, dizziness and aching but it drizzled most of the day so I probably wouldn't have been able to do anything anyway. Pat made an apple crumble - the Bramleys are already quite sweet which is unusual this early in the winter.

Sunday 12/10/08
Started to feel better so we continued to cut down the hedge. I am leaving the stumps about 60cm high to act as some support for the new hedge.
Parts of the garden are starting to show autumn colour. Maybe later the week I might take some photographs

Monday-Thursday 13-16/10/08
Continued to cut the old hedge down in settled weather.

Friday 17/10/08
Another good day with sunny intervals and a light breeze. A good day for an afternoon trip to Colemere to see if the geese have started to turn up

Saturday 18/10/08
Now to make a start on the tall cypress branches leaning over the road. They are so tall I need to cut them half way up from a ladder. I need a lookout, Pat, to watch out for the cars and pull any stray branches onto the verge as quickly as possible.

Sunday 19/10/08
It is one thing cutting down the hedge. That is the easy part. Now comes the much longer task of cutting it up so it can be moved to the other end of the garden. There the thinner branches and foliage can ;later be shredded and the logs left to dry to be sawn up to burn in the log stove later in the winter.
But once it is moved it will be necessary to clear the ground ready for the new hedge. Once I am sure when it will be ready then I will order the new hedge. Still a lot of work ahead I am afraid.

Monday-Saturday 20-25/10/08

The weather continues to be wet, cold and windy. Very little done in the garden.

Sunday 26/10/08

Went to visit our children and grandchildren at Kirstin and Mark's house near Leamington-Spa. We all gather there three or four times a year - I can,t visit Sarah, Ian and our three grandsons because they live on a housing estate and the domestic chemicals from the other houses make me ill.
It was nice to see everyone again and see how much more the boys have grown, especially Euan the toddler. I wish we could see them more often. The next time will be early in the new year.

Monday-Friday 27-31/10/08

The weather does not get any better; if anything it is worse. On Tuesday it snowed for a short while; big flakes but they didn't settle. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday night there was a frost and this has killed off most of the summer bedding.
Time to start pullng them up for the compost heap and replacing with violas, pansies, wallflowers, sweet williams and primroses for next spring? Not while it continues so cold and damp; numb hands are not very useful for jobs like this.
The Jasmine has started to flower and will continue to do so all winter. A bit early but expected. What was not expected is that some of the early narcissus have started to come through. This doesn't usually happen until late February. I can only assume that the strange unseasonal weather from July onwards has totally confused them into thinking spring is on its way!!
Finally cut down the last tall cypress along the road. Next job is to clear the ground behind the stumps for the new hedge. This is taking a lot longer than I envisaged; the weather doesn't help.