This year the garden isn't looking its best. The damage from the high winds earlier in the year still hasn't been repaired, and it's also suffering from the lack of effort put in last autumn, a time when so much preparation is done for the following year, but when I was hit by a period of depression and hardly ventured outside.
So a double whammy of neglect has left the garden looking less than its best.
One of the things I need to do is to declutter and organise the shed, which has become a no-go zone. I can't even get into it anymore, it's so full of garden 'stuff'. But it also housed two bikes - mine and Tall Daughter's - and in order to use them we had to clamber over everything else to rescue them.
Fortunately, I received an offer of a bike store from from Asda in their sheds and storage section.. Let me tell you, I nearly bit their hand off.
Earlier this week it was delivered in flat packed and because my brother is away and I'm not safe with a drill, I paid a handyman to come and assemble it.
It's a sturdy enough bike store, with two doors that can be padlocked for safety. It'll certainly do the trick, but it's wider than it says in the specifications (190cm instead of 178cm) which means it won't fit into the space I had allocated. It's advertised as being big enough for 3 bikes, and although it'd be big enough for 3 children's bikes it's looking pretty full with our two adult sized bikes.
I'm going to have to do a big of rejigging to get the bike store to fit in a different space, and I also intend to stain it a pretty colour. Hopefully I'll be able to do an update next week.
One of the more interesting plants in this garden is a Japanese quince which has beautiful red flowers in the
spring and a small number of quince fruits in late summer.
It had become very overgrown, mainly because I wasn't sure how to prune it, so I decided to take it in hand. It had grown so big it was impossible to get down the path and was looked really messy.
The quince has really sharp thorns, so first things first - I got the thick gardening gloves out. I used secateurs and a long handled lopper which helped keep my hands and arms clear of the thorns. They're pretty lethal!
I had a quick read of a couple of pruning guides, and tried to keep some sort of shape to it. I'm not sure I did it very well, or even that it's the right time of year, but it's certainly easier to get up the path now.
This summer will be the first in 10 years that I haven't had the whole school summer break off work - I no longer work in a school, so it's just two weeks for me.
It's a little easier to manage because my girls are both teenagers now and there aren't any childcare issues, but even so, leaving two teenagers home alone during the week is far from ideal...
What are your summer plans? Are you doing any gardening, or just enjoying the sunshine? And isn't the weather gorgeous?
Disclosure: the bike store was offered to me free of charge for review purposes, but words and opinions are my own.