17 March 2009
sunday workday - new bench plinth
Sunday Workday - Peter, Michael, Ollie, me (Alison, Dom, Emma, Jane)
The wide raised bed that was built five years ago, using poplar logs from a tree felled in St Giles churchyard, had been problematic from the first. It was far too wide to be worked easily and suffered from being a 'boundary bed'. It was nigh impossible to get at the stolen bags, party debris and 'sharps' thrown in without flattening everything growing there. Needing topsoil halfway through a previous workday had been the final impetus for a decision and the raised bed has now gone. The group moved the tons of topsoil to the new south end beds in early winter and dug the area over ready to put to grass. We had lovely new oak benches delivered months ago and they've been moving round the garden looking for a permanent home since their arrival. Two of them will find it here.
Of course it takes time to work out the exact positioning for any of the furniture in the garden. Peter and Michael patiently lugged benches backwards, forwards and up the garden path as they were tried for fit.
I dickered. We had tea.
It is an open secret, and sometime source of amusement for the group, that I am pig-headed in garden matters and so after some discussion my choice was finally mutual. The two small benches, on brick plinths to protect the grass (their temporary positions having been worn nude), will go here.
For the plinth a six inch deep rectangular pit was dug out and barrow of hardcore was dropped in. This was bashed into place with the rubber mallet and a good layer of sharp sand spread over that. The usual pigeon stepping, jump-up-and-downing and rake tamping got it firm and level before lunch.
After lunch we held a surprisingly unrewarding hunt for whole bricks. It took some ingenuity and ruthlessness to get the required number - there is one less micro-bed up the back. These were laid on the compacted sand and tamped into place. My usual desert and a half of sand was brushed into the cracks to firm it. Before tea I conceded it was probably a bit much again.
New volunteer Ollie joined us and happily got stuck into emptying one of the compost bins. Though most of the contents had almost completely rotted down it still has a lot of twiggy bits in it (I was obviously shredder shy when it was filled). No matter, it is just the business to improve the soil in the south end beds. Ollie barrowed it all to the beds ready for digging in this week.
As it was such a lovely day, sunny and warm, other volunteers turned up - to eat sandwiches. I suppose the 'garden closed' workday rule shouldn't apply to off-duty volunteers? Some of the looks I got when offering gardening jobs around were interesting to say the least.