I thought it would be a little presumptuous to peer over the blogging garden wall and announce – “I’m back – remember me?”
particularly as I couldn’t invite you in for tea and cakes.
It is hard to believe that the Croft Garden blog has been left dormant and neglected for almost 18 months. Initally my muse was locked up in the wardrobe, then sent on a gap year, but recently the demands to be heard have become so irritating that I had to give in. The story of my lost year is predictably somewhat mundane and very Hebridean. Alas I have no thrilling traveller’s tales, no emotional account of being cast into the “outer darkness of despair” or melodrama involving villans, lost loves or buried treasure.
Last year (2019) we had decided to make some changes to the way we managed the croft, which required replacing almost all the old stock fencing, adding some new fences, gates and most importantly a cattle grid. The latter was an expensive option, but vital for my santity as I was becoming exponentally more irritated with having to get up on dark wet winter mornings to drive stray cattle off my fields, because someone had left the gate open. Believe me discovering 50 heiffers in the garden is not a pleasant experience.
As I did not want to look out of my window on a garden bounded by a stock fence, we decided to extended the garden area and our wooden boundary fence to include the side and front of the house that had been open to the headland field. The bonus to this plan was that it would make the garden rabbit proof. No more bunnies digging holes in my flower beds.
Alas it all went down hill from here. The air source heat pump, which provides the power for our boiler, went into terminal decline. In true Hebridean fashion, it took 6 weeks for the electrician and plumber to decide that it needed a new part, discover this model was now out of production and needed a new unit. It then took me 4 months to find a contractor to quote to install a new unit and inform me that we needed a new boiler. The good news – they could do the job in October and it would take 5 days. Fine, by mid-November the heating was working and we had not water. Bliss. The installation did take 5 days plus 3 weeks and a few days to sort out why that had ordered the wrong parts and forgotten about the room thermostats!
This minor domestic farce was enriched by the announcement that the new windows scheduled to be fitted in May would now not be installed until August, because there were so many tourists filling the hotels and B&Bs and blocking the ferry bookings, that then builders were unable to travel to the Uists. At this point, any notion of Hebridean Zen took off on the breeze. We decided that we would redecorate the house, replace all the things we hated (including the horrible square skirting board and internal doors), finally make a decision about new window blinds and other things which I have forgotten about. By March 2020 we are ready for our planned Spring holiday in wildest Argyll which coincided with lockdown!
This summer there has been more time to spend in the garden. not only to do a little more work in the garden around the house, but also to restore a semblance of order to my negelcted vegetable beds. Perhaps best of all, the movement restrictions have given me more time to enjoy the wild flowers that are the glory of this croft.
Ragged Robin, Amphibious Bistort, Common Spotted Orchid, Lady’s Bedstraw and Tufted Vetch,