The Systems Administrator cleared away the heap of juniper branches and roots, all except the stump which I helped lift into the trailer before the SA packed up for the afternoon and went to cook supper. I need to give the remains of the gravel a final tidying up, pulling out the last roots and treading it flat, and the SA has offered to sweep the newly accessible concrete parking area in the morning, and then it will only need a fresh coat of gravel and the juniper clearance project will be finished. When I added Sort out conifers by concrete to free up parking to the list of things to do (currently number 67) I imagined cutting them back without entirely butchering them, but the drive looks much better with them gone. It just goes to show that it is worth trying to look at a garden with a fresh eye. Once plants have been there for a long time it is easy to regard them as fixtures, but really anything can be up for grabs at any time, except for trees with Preservation Orders on them.
Meanwhile I am close to finishing weeding the mess just inside the entrance to the garden. I haven't managed to get every last bramble root out, and I expect they will shoot again in due course, but I shall be ready for them with glyphosate. I took the SA to see what I'd been doing after tea, and set out my requests for projects with which I should like help, which sounded rather long when presented as a list, even when hedged around with disclaimers about some of them not being urgent, and more something for the SA to ponder possible solutions in odd moments.
I should like a screen for the bins, so that the first thing one saw on entering the garden was not the dustbin and the brown garden waste recycling wheelie bin. I should also like a screen for the grass clippings the SA dumps into the odd corner of the next field which under the way the farm was carved up ended up as part of our garden. I should like to fix a reed screen up to head height, or perhaps split bamboo might be more durable, along the back of the newly weeded and cleared border at the top of the slope, so that when I replanted it with whatever shrubs I decide might cope with the wind and sand they would have a more attractive background than brambles, a pile of grass clippings, and any stuff the neighbours had left lying around their field at the time. Sometimes they have a portable miniature football goal, though that hasn't been in evidence recently. And I should like help installing (for which read like the SA to install) my new artwork. The artwork was more urgent, since I had already bought it, and in fact the screen along the back of the bed was quite urgent, since I should like to get on with planting up the border.
It sounded like a long list, and I felt rather mean, when garden artworks are part of my hobby and not really anything to do with the Systems Administrator. The SA drew a deep breath and explained that as this was an exceptionally windy corner, exposed to the full blast of the south westerlies, that movable screens for bins and lawn clippings would be quite difficult to design so that they did not fall to bits after a few months. Likewise there was the risk that a bamboo screen along the back of the border would blow apart. On the other hand, the SA could see my point that as the top corner of the slope was visible along both of the main paths through the back garden and along the drive from the house it would be better if it did not consist of some wire rabbit netting and a mound of brambles. The SA began to talk about battens and to warm to the theme, and we agreed that as a roll of split bamboo screen would not be vastly expensive that I would get one, the SA would fix it, and we would see how it worked out.
The artwork provoked similar anxiety about the wind, and we ended up with a compromise that it could be fixed at waist rather than head height. I have just bought a set of ten capital letters in an elegant serif font, stamped out of thin rusted metal sheet, and I want them fastened up by the entrance to the garden where they will spell out a line from Samuel Beckett which could be every gardener's motto (and is especially apt for this dry and windy corner where I have struggled for nearly a quarter of a century with a series of unsuccessful planting schemes). Instead of a view of dustbins as you arrive I want people to see the words: