GP, garden bits

Still having periods of tremors – especially after any kind of exertion, and brain doesn’t feel as though it’s firing on all cylinders. A visit to the GP this afternoon, who says it will probably gradually wear off over the next couple of weeks, but has ordered blood tests anyway. Next available slot for bloods isn’t for a fortnight!

Home for a stroll round the garden. The first flowers are opening on a pink foxglove in the wildflower bank, and in the old strawberry contained there’s the first (very small) flower on the cosmos plants (from home-saved seed, of course).

3D Strawberry tower

I’ve had a 3D printer for a few months now, but been too busy to really get into it. Now elections are over, I can start to get stuck in! 3D printing is pretty much where document printing was at in the mid-1980s – lots of incompatible control codes, different file formats, different consumables, different interfaces – even several different competing technologies -and not quite ready for domestic / SME use. The memory of tractor-fed multi-part continuous stationery and envelopes and RS232 vs Centronics fills me with horror!

Anyway, a fairly steep learning curve (which I’m still on) to get the best from the machine. And my limited 3D CAD design experience is 3 decades out of date (and incompatible with current programs…), so currently I’m working with other people’s projects they’ve shared, and modifying only slightly if needed.  This strawberry tower is the first serious big print I’ve done … at well over four hours for each of the five sections in a tower it’s taken a couple of days! And I’m going to need three towers – I thought I’d ordered a dozen, as 4 of each variety of strawberry, but seem to have received 6 each of 3 varieties (early / mid-season / late). So instead of one 3-module tower (discarding one plant of each variety) I’m now going for three two-module towers (ie 2x 3-slot modules, base, spacer, top for each tower).

The plants arrived today, in a package that Yodel had clearly been chucking about. The plants themselves were in pretty poor condition – very dried out – so they’ve been soaking in a big bowl of water. The tower of “early” is now planted out, and more modules are being printed.

Cost-wise, it’s going to come in at about a tenner a tower, so broadly compatible with buying ready-made ones. I’m printing in PLA (poly-lactic acid), which is a bio-polymer, biodegradable in commercial composting (and rather slowly in the environment), and pretty much safe … it’s used in medical implants and suchlike. Now I think I’m over the point in the learning curve where there’s lots of failed prints and general waste, I don’t feel that my Green credentials are unduly imperilled.

patio furniture

Having ordered patio furniture on Thursday for next-delivery, I went on the website on Friday to see if a rough delivery time was given. Although they hadn’t emailed me, and it showed they’d received the package, apparently due to unspecified problems it would now be delivered on Monday. This morning (Saturday) I got an email saying it was “out for delivery”, and indeed it turned up shortly after lunch. Hermes / Evri continue to surpass themselves in chaos!

However, although rather tough on my back, it was simple enough to assemble, and the smaller table does give more room on the patio.

garden bits

Opened this morning – the first of the irises.

Mine seem to be rather behind most people’s – but they’re not in a “full sun” position: being next to the fence they don’t get sun until midday.

The patio table and chairs due for delivery yesterday didn’t turn up. It’s now shown as being due for delivery today (the driver is currently on the far side of Worcester, according to tracking). I’ve deferred the rose arch project yet again, as I want to do the furniture as soon as it arrives.


Although supper on the patio last night was very pleasant, it was clear that work needed doing! The table was barely usable, so a replacement has been ordered and is due tomorrow. Which meant cutting back the encroaching forsythia and acanthus, and strimming down the winter weeds, to be in a fit and tidy state. The patio is only 8 foot diameter, so every few inches counts!I’ve left one of the decorative Welsh poppies, though – it will be under the table when that arrives, so not really in the way. Further up the garden, the purple alliums are starting to come out. As always, they attract a variety of insects.

garden bits

The first decently-sunny afternoon that I haven’t been up to my eyeballs in Green Party stuff, and the garden called. It has been looking rather too much like a failed experiment in accidental urban re-wilding !

Fortified with back brace (preventative), ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory) tramadol (opioid painkiller), also strimmer, lawnmower, 150 litres of shredded coir, and “shovels and rakes and implements of destruction” (see “Alice’s Restaurant”), out I went.

So, two of the 1-metre square raised veg beds weeded and coir compost dug in to relieve heaviness. Lawn and paths strimmed, mown and edged, grass on the patio dealt with … and reclining patio chair sat in!

Next week, hopefully I can re-do the rose arch, which collapsed in recent gales. 3X3 timber, post-mix etc ordered for delivery on Monday: though when I’ll get a chance to do the work I’m not sure.

garden bits

The camellia and the azalea share a large tub of (peat-free) acid compost. For the first time, the last blossom on the camellia is still going when the first blossoms on the azalea are opening. Not really one of the best colour combinations in my garden!

garden bits

I do love the smell of the tomato leaves as I brush against them when planting them out!

In an ideal world, I’d have put the plants out a week ago. Sadly, I was too busy, and the weather too inclement, so they’ve got rather leggy. Still, I expect they’ll recover.