Friday, 14 April 2017

spring cleaning in the garden

I needed to water the drought stricken bog bed, and thought that once I'd dragged the hose down to the bottom of the garden I might as well take the pressure jet down there as well and wash the Systems Administrator's sitting-out deck, and then I thought that if I was pressure jetting I could go whole hog and clean the bench on the terrace (or patio) and the two dining chairs as well.  The dining chairs were not actually too grubby, having spent the winter in the garage partly to protect them from the weather and partly to stop them blowing through the conservatory windows if we got a particularly severe gale.

The bench was a fiddle.  I got on better once I'd worked out that I needed to stand on the seat to clean it, since holding the lance up to do it from floor level was giving me a crick in my shoulder.  I don't really like the pressure jet.  I like it better than scrubbing that amount of wood by hand, but that's not to say that I like it.  The thin hose to the jet and the electric cable keep getting wound round each other and round my legs, the vibrations make my hands ache after ten minutes, the compressor is noisy, and the feeling of the water supply to the jet vibrating when it accidentally touches my leg is just weird.  A great deal of green scuzz came off the bench in the end, leaving two strange patches of greyish green on the ground once the patio dried, but I expect they will wash through the gaps between the slabs if I sluice them down each time I water the pots.

The deck really did take ages.  The Systems Administrator's sitting-out deck is at the very back of the bog bed, shaded on three sides by the hedge, a large clump of yellow stemmed bamboo that is currently kept in check by a perimeter of galvanised lawn edging after it began to wander alarmingly and I had to dig a chunk of it out with the pick axe, and the Metasequoia glyptostroboides that I planted under the fond impression that it was a swamp cypress.  The SA built the deck to have somewhere to sit sheltered from the wind and the sun and listen to the cricket on the radio.  It works for that purpose very well, being very sheltered, and gives a pleasant view over the bog bed, when it is flowering, and out past the bamboo and across the bottom part of the garden.

There are only a couple of practical problems.  Decking that's in almost permanent shade does get particularly green and slimy, and birds do like to roost in trees, and when birds roost they squit.  So the narrow walkway to the deck, which has a Japanese inspired bend half way across to the deck to encourage visitors to slow down and pay attention, commands attention in an additional and less charming fashion by having a permanent white streak of guano across it.  The birds also crap on a large clump of the yellow flowered form of Iris foetidissima, which I am rather annoyed by, and a blameless Lamium orvala.  Still, that's the reality of wildlife.  Sometimes it's pretty and fluffy, fluttering, buzzing and singing in a delightful fashion, and sometimes it's munching through plants and crapping on the place.

There is a pair of reclining seats that live on the deck in the summer.  I don't sit on mine very often, but like the idea that it's there and I could if I wanted to.  When not in use they fold up and rest against the back wall of the sitting-out deck, but even offering minimal surface area to the birds they do suffer from the odd strike.  A lounger that's got bird droppings on it is no use to anyone, and I didn't enjoy washing them last autumn before putting them away, so I have been saying that I would make a cover for them for this year, something that would be easy to run under the tap if it did score a hit.  Then I thought I might be able to adapt a readymade storage bag or suit holder, to save the trouble of trying to sow a double layer of PVC coated fabric, which felt as though it was going to be hard work, but I couldn't find anything suitable online.  The only purpose made chair cover was so startlingly ugly and tacky that I wouldn't have it in the garden.  The Systems Administrator proposed a far easier solution: buy a PVC coated tablecloth of the right size and attach battens to the two long sides to weigh it down, then simply drape it over the chairs which are leaning up side by side against the back of the deck when not in use.  Simples, and certainly much easier than sewing anything.

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