There is more to life than buttons (shocking, but true!) and the other side of life is spent trying to make half an acre of brick rubble, mud and nettles actually grow something. Sometimes I win - sometimes I don't. Recently, the prizes have been going to the forces of chaos. Of course, the flood didn't help - hard to dig when under 9' of water - and the next year a very tiny Little Button didn't help much either. But this year, I'm determined to take gold!
This may be over-optimistic on my part. Certainly, it isn't looking promising! The main problem is that although we have a lovely amount of space here, the house itself was once part of the brickworks. Famous brickworks, historically important brickworks, but nevertheless, brickworks that dumped all the spoil and misfires all over the land that was one day to become my garden.
And so - where there should be earth, there is brick. What soil that is there is a deeply unpleasant mix of clay and brick chippings. And, at best guess, there is 60 tonnes of brick bits to move before I do more planting.
This patch is going to be an orchard. One day! I'm slowly digging out the bricks, pulling up the weeds and some day soon will cover the whole area with the contents of 5 compost heaps. We have saved some topsoil from other excavations and then the trees can go in. At present, they are down in the veggie plot, but it's too frosty, too damp and if they grow more than 6" they're going to shade out the neighbours greenhouse. I don't think I could live with myself if they did that!
I've already cut down the alder sprouts coming from the stump:
A lot of this will be saved for button making and toggle making. As they are quite young shoots, they have grown lovely and straight and really - there is nothing better than the colour of fresh-cut alder!