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This site is protected by my "Tanwen", pronounced "TAHN-wen". From Welsh tan "fire" + gwen "shining, holy".

Welcome to Tanwen's Garden
Diary

Prolog
Coming Soon

31 July
With the garden now cleared of the old shed and patio and the arrival of the Garden Goddess, the building of Tanwen's garden could start in earnest. The morning started with he arrival of the Turf cutter **picture**. This clever little gadget will begin devouring the grass tomorrow (Hmm reminds me of one of Tanwen's relatives!). Also this morning the electrician arrived to complete the work started a few days ago, after the light episode! What does this have to do with the garden ? Well he has also fitted two external power outlets which will be used to power the fountain and possibly some tree lights (see design section for design updates).

The rest of the day was mainly spent, traveling round, locating plants, pondering patio ideas, picking up a lawnmower, and getting in supplies for the week. Finally at the end of today, Emma, managed to level the patio area and begin marking out the garden, while her eager little helper made "light" work of cutting the overgrown lawn, (Breaking a set of blades in the process). It was during this phase that Emma discovered several artifacts including what appeared to be, lumps of glass, pieces of metal, brick, chalk and part of a shirt ! These are intriguing discoveries, ones which we hope to pursue at a later date.

1 August
Phew! Another scorcher of a day. A trip to Tesco's provided fuel for our Turf Cutter, and a trip to B&Q yielded bamboo posts and canes for the new screen idea (See design).

To start with, Emma marked out the garden with a massive can of spray paint. It was great to actually see the design marked out in the garden **pictures**.

However today was Turf Cutter day, and what fun we had with this clever toy...at least after we had got used to how it worked. It was Emmas turn first, which resulted in much frustration and threats with heavy objects, when it refused to start after she had it on it's side (Don't ask!). Anyway Emma finally got the beast started, and off she went, merrily tearing up in the garden, to much whoops of joy!

Meanwhile, Mike was busy rolling up the turf, and dealing with the ants nests with lots of boiling water.

As the day wore on, it was Mike's turn to start tearing round the garden like a mad thing, while Emma started infilling part of the patio area to complete one of the grass paths.

By the end of the day, we had managed to get the Turf Cutter to turn on a penny, with some nifty right angle turns.

So, all in all, we managed to get all the grass up that we needed to, and even begun to lay the weed suppressor, and the project is still on schedule. Tomorrow is another busy day, with clearing the garden of concrete and grass, and ordering the aggregate, along with hopefully beginning the planting.

2 August
Well the day didn't start too well. We couldn't get a skip for today, so the major clearing will start tomorrow. A trip to Jewsons yielded a tonne of sharp sand for the patio, and some postfix for cementing the new bamboo trellising, but still no aggregate for the garden.

By the time Mike had got back from B&Q with 3 bags of manure and more weed suppressor, Emma had managed to get a fair bit of the edging done.

The rest of the day was spent laying more weed suppressing material, completing the edging and digging the holes for the bamboo trellising.

The good news was finding a supplier for the aggregate, which turned out to be just round the corner from the Rivendell Garden Centre in Widnes. So a short trip out to see them yielded 4 tonnes of Derbyshire Gold gravel, which will be delivered on Friday.

In the evening, Emma designed the patio and worked out the requirements, which Mike will get quoted in the morning from Lunts Heath (the suppliers of the gravel).

3 August
Well, the fantastic weather of the past few days came to a very wet end today. But unperturbed we carried on. While Mike went out to arrange the delivery of the patio slabs from Lunts Heath, Emma continued in the Garden, laying more weed suppressor.

Slight delays to the skip arriving and the delivery of the sharp sand and postfix, put us behind today, but we decided to bring forward our trip to Bridgemere Garden World to make up time.

As it turns out, we need another skip to remove the rest of the grass, which is arriving tomorrow.

The high point of today was a touch of retail therapy at Bridgemere (even if a violent Thunderstorm was occurring at the time), where nearly 230 was spent on plants. It was great fun choosing all the plants and finally putting faces to names (so to speak). The car looked like a scene from Jurassic Park, we had that many plants! But I learnt a lot from Emma, and I've grown quite attached to my little plants.

It was a very very long day today, finally downing tools at 9pm. Tomorrow should see the garden cleared of all debris, and the sorting out of all the plants.

Finally, injuries seem to have affected the dynamic gardeners. Mike is suffering from aches in his arm, after it went "click" on Sunday, and Emma is suffering from a bizarre pain in her toe, which seems to have no obvious cause.

4 August
Well, the storms of yesterday have left, leaving a grey day but dry day. While Mike went in search of topsoil, the Acer palmatum ("Crimson Queen"), Galanthus nivalis and Fritillaria meleagris bulbs, grass seed and rockery stone, Emma began work on the trellis and continued with planting.

B&Q provided the 26 rockery stones (Yorkshire Gold), Rivendell provided the Acer, and Wyevale, provided the Galanthus nivalis bulbs and grass seeds. Topsoil proved a problem, and resulted in a delay to the planting of the rockery. This leaves the Fritillaria meleagris bulbs to be mail ordered.

The debris of the old garden was finally cleared into the third skip, and the Bamboo cane posts for trellis were cemented into position.

The Water Feature proved a ponderous problem, as the weight of the monolith distorted the metal grid causing it to wobble. This is a problem that needs solving as it is currently unsafe.

So the end to another long day, with mixed fortunes.

5 August
Another dry but grey day, provided a slight distraction for our intrepid gardener. A baby sparrow paid the rockery a visit, but couldn't get back to the top of the fence, meaning Emma had to rescue our feathery friend.

Meanwhile, Mike had found that Homebase had a limited stock of topsoil, and rushed off to the store to get hold of it.

With the topsoil delivered the rockery could be completed. While Emma, continued work on the rockery and other planting, Mike went in search of tools to adapt the fountain. During the previous evening and the morning we had brainstormed various ideas, talked to several experts and finally Emma came up with a simple but ingenious solution. The lounge no longer has its metallic bin as this has now been pushed into service as the base that the monolith would stand on. The grill was adapted by sawing off the inner rings to allow the bin to stand in the centre. A hole was drilled in the top and side to allow the pipe to run up inside the monolith and the power cable to exit the side of the bin.

So, that completed the basic water feature, with only the cobbles to buy to hide the reservoir and the bin.

By the end of the day, a vast majority of the planting had been completed, the trellis was finished, and the water feature was working.

6 August
Phew! The hot weather returned today, just in time for the hardest work of the week. Again Mike was out and about, this time hunting out Cobbles for the water feature. Highland cobbles were finally chosen from Rivendell. Meanwhile the aggregate and Patio slabs arrived.

When Mike returned, the water feature was worked on again, to fine tune its output. This simple task proved time consuming, delaying other jobs, and the hot weather didn't help. The hard work of the week was taking its toll on Emma, has she retired hurt after putting her back out laying the aggregate. Mike continued into the evening ensuring the cobbles were laid around the monolith, the remaining weed suppressor was laid, all the plants were planted except the herbs, and the grass seed sown.

An early end to today, to allow for other work to be done in the evening.

7 August
Today was to prove the hottest day of the project. With Emma retired hurt, and the fact that the patio was not in her original project plan, she enlisted the help of her partner Matt to assist with the laying of the patio and other minor finishing touches to the garden.

Once again, Mike was out seeking things, this time more sand for the patio, a total of 18 extra bags. We always new the patio would be one of the toughest jobs, as the ground was so uneven, and more than a tonne of sand was used to level the ground.

By the end of today, the patio was laid, and the herbs placed ready for planting. With this, the official last day of the project, Mike was left to complete the remaining aggregate laying and the planting of the herbs.

The garden, though unfinished in a few places, looks superb. Emma has done a fantastic job, and although it was tiring, painful, and stressful, it's been worth it. Over the next few days and weeks, the garden will be completed, with the shed being built, the driveway cleared, the missing plants being bought and planted, hopefully a bench and a gazebo will be bought, and oil lanterns purchased to line the paths.

8 August
Still warm today, and with Emma returned home, Mike completed the planting and began to lay the last of the aggregate.

28 August
Well, not much has happened over the past 20 days, except for taking photographs of the garden to date. One of the two Anemone x. hybrida 'Honerine Jobert' has flowered (See below).

The grass is at a point where it can be mowed again, with the new grass having taken very well.

But the time has come to erect the shed. 360kg of sand arrived on Friday, along with 12 patio slabs from Lunts Heath, which will form the base for the shed, which we hope to put up over the next couple of days. I still need to finish the website, which hopefully will progress in the coming week.

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