Thursday, 4 August 2016

sharp cuts and dry feet

I christened the refurbished secateurs today, tidying up a pair of hedges of Lonicera nitida 'Baggesen's Gold' that had grown so whiskery with the June rain that they practically met down the middle of the small flight of steps they are supposed to flank.  This shrubby honeysuckle makes a useful hedge in as far as it has small leaves, can be clipped to a neat finish, is long lived, quick growing and available in a jolly shade of yellowish green as well as conventional dark green.  Its main drawback is that it is quick growing.  To keep it tidy requires several cuts per year. and my little hedges are not tidy a lot of the time.  It becomes deeply unhappy on poor sand, and will let you know it by growing thin and gappy with dieback at the tips of its twigs.  Given a moister though not definitely not boggy spot it will make a dense, fat and healthy shrub.

The secateurs were wonderful to use, as I knew they would be.  New or newly reconditioned secateurs are one of life's transient pleasures, like new shoes or the distinctive smell of a new car. The utter newness is but a brief moment in the overall period of ownership of the secateurs, or the shoes, or the car, to be savoured.

Also new is the spray head and end connector on the hose in the back garden, meaning that I no longer have to hold the hose carefully in a certain way to avoid ending up with a fine jet of water soaking my trousers or running down inside my wellington boot.  It was a minor niggle, but made watering the container plants in the back into more of a hassle than it should have been.  If I cupped my fingers over the leak and tilted the old spray head the right way it was fine and I didn't get wet legs, but if I had to put the hose down to sort out a kink or snag I risked ending up with water all over my spectacles, or an unpleasantly damp leg that would take a couple of hours to dry unless the sun was very bright.

The new spray head was five pounds in B&Q.  They sell spray attachments of escalating complexity for anything up to fifteen pounds, but I wanted the budget one, and checked the stock code on the packaging against the label on the shelf to make sure that that was what I'd picked up out of the jumble of late season stock.  I've already got the five pound basic model on the hose in the front garden and it works perfectly well, so I cannot see any use for the additional features you get for the extra tenner.  In fact, the fewer bits to go wrong the better.  Supermarket spray heads will last from one year to the next, as long as you don't leave them attached to the hose and full of water outside in the frosts, but after a year or two they begin to dribble and leak (so do the metal professional ones used in plant nurseries.  The owner of the plant centre used to comment on my habit of wearing wellingtons throughout the summer, saying that they must be very hot, but it was practically impossible to do two or three hours worth of daily watering without the hose leaking on your feet, and I absolutely loathed spending the day in wet shoes.  When the hoses leaked badly enough the manager would eventually order new rubber seals for them, and the leaks would reduce for a time, but they always dripped).

For the autumn I might treat myself to a new pruning saw.

No comments:

Post a Comment