Despite saying in my last blog that this week’s major task would be to start clearing the old car park to create the new petanque pitch, I haven’t yet made a start on it!
Having focussed previously on completing the wall alongside the man shed, this week meant that I had to focus on other areas of the garden that had continued to grow and needed a bit of TLC. It is no consequence that much of Finistère is very green but it does mean that everything grows quickly and constantly.
Many of these tasks, again, don’t make for great photos but really needed to be done. These included clearing around the base of Granary’s hedge where the couch grass had started to take control and choke a number of the smaller privet cuttings that we planted a couple of years ago.
Two of the most impactful changes took place on the north end of the garden. One was a start to try and control the huge amounts of Japanese knot weed we have on our boundary. We hadn’t known that Kergudon had Japanese knot weed when we bought as we had never seen it before so was unable to recognise it. We knew that in the UK it is a serious problem but it appears that the French have a different view as it is fairly widespread here.
Since moving in we have learnt that most of the garden on the north side of the buildings was a forest of knot weed. The previous owners managed to push this back to the boundary by creating a lawn and mowing regularly killing the weed in the centre. In the areas where we have tried to control it we have had some success but it takes time and needs consistent cutting out of any new growth and ideally the root.
We had never attacked the weed on the talus on the north boundary which had grown to an incredible size. This week we started by strimming this year’s growth – which is amazingly fast – and clearing the bank which has again gained us a few metres of garden. We have a plan to attack it properly in the next year or so by digging away at the talus and bank although this will be dependent on acquiring a new bit of kit (Paul Johnson, if you’re reading, we are still keen to collaborate!)
The second big task helped clear the strimmed weed as I had the big bonfire that was desperately needed. We hadn’t had a bonfire in over 2 years and we had continued to use what was the old chicken run (before our time) as a dumping ground for garden waste. In the last couple of years we have felled a number of trees – assisted too by Storm Zeus last year – and accumulated about 70 cubic metres of wood and branches.
This pile was never the most attractive outlook and, as we want to control the knot weed, we want to convert the area to lawn so that it too can be mown. Clearing the area meant a full day feeding the fire which was tiring and a little sad as the wood would have provided years and years of kindling for the fires but, even with our new garage, we couldn’t store that much! To give an impression of the volume this is the size of the ash pile at the end!
Having cleared the waste I can, eventually, start to clear the area completely and keep on top of it with mowing. Added to the list.
I also mentioned in last week’s blog that we had a final major addition to add to the games room but, as it wasn’t installed at this time last week, I kept it secret. Thankfully, yesterday, I have fully installed this new addition and we are really pleased with it – a projector and screen to create our own private cinema.
While we were building the games room, as it is such a good sized space David had the idea to create a cinema for guests to use. We tested it last night with our own screening of one our favourite films, the remake of the Thomas Crown Affair which, we know, has some fairly obvious flaws and clunky plot moves but it is good fun and had a great soundtrack to test the sound system. It is great and I hope something that our guests will enjoy too.
I will probably start clearing the petanque pitch in the coming week although the weather has, sadly, broken from the last 3 week’s amazing hot and dry spell – although the garden desperately needed the rain.