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Jez's Notebook | December, 2016 Archive

Tales from the Farm – roses and the magically appearing telegraph pole

Almost an hour into project "dig up the dead bush" and we realise there's something inside...

Almost an hour into project “dig up the dead bush” and we realise there’s something inside…

“TV’s favourite gardener” inspired Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

I may – or may not – have recently abused the phrase: “that’s what friends are for” when my best friend came to stay for a relaxing and social weekend to catch up at the farm with her husband and I may – or may not – have roped him into cutting down a giant, dying bush.

The bush was gigantic; at least 7 feet in diameter and at least that tall, too. It looked unsightly and out of place in the orchard. The plan was simple: dig it up so that we can replace it with an apple tree. You might remember from previous blogs that I’m following along with Monty Don’s book The Complete Gardener and Monty has his garden planted in zones: he’s got a wet garden, a vegetable garden, an orchard etc, so that’s exactly what I’m trying to create here. Only we’ll have an orchard, a rose garden, a vegetable garden, a herb garden and a formal garden. I think. It’s a work in progress.

Anyway, Pete (my best friend’s husband) and I venture out into the garden early one Saturday morning and started to hack away at this giant, dead bush. We both half-jokingly suggested how useful a hedge trimmer or chainsaw would be to literally cut it into two and then dig up whatever was left. After 45 minutes of fairly back-breaking work, it transpired that a hedge trimmer would have been a really, really bad idea. In the centre of this giant bush

Tales From the Farm – “You Need To Get a Man”

Jim prepares to give our 100+ year old horse chestnut a hair cut.

Jim prepares to give our 100+ year old horse chestnut a hair cut.

“TV’s favourite gardener” inspired Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

 

Since I last wrote, there have been a lot of men coming and going in and out of my life. I blame my Mother. She kept telling me to “get a man in for that”. She was of course right because almost everything we’ve touched so far has either fallen apart or revealed that it is about to and way out of my league of basic DIY skills.

Are Supermarkets Brainwashing Us?

Lines on supermarkets floors help make us spend more

Lines on supermarkets floors help make us spend more

If you listen to BBC Radio 4, you might have heard me on the You and Yours programme this week discussing the recent research supermarkets have conducted into how to slow shoppers down.

By installing horizontal lines on the floor of certain aisles, researchers demonstrated that shoppers took longer to reach the end of the aisle, therefore increasing the chances that they

Tales From the Farm – Money Pit Farm

Generating my own heat, planting 19 laurel bushes!

Generating my own heat, planting 19 laurel bushes!

“TV’s favourite gardener” inspired Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

I won’t lie, it’s been hard. It feels great to finally be in and after the first 10 days or so of wondering whether we made the right decision, it feels as though we’re about to finally turn a corner. Progress and reflection are both wonderful feelings but both require concentration and effort and in the case of buying a run down farmhouse, a lot of hard work!

What hasn’t helped is that I was born with marginally more brains and significantly less brawn. I’m not your Diet Coke builder kind of husband – DIY and I just don’t get on. I’m a planner; a creative – research and writing, not building and rewiring. However, this move has been full of