About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A rose, by any other name, is still a thorny bastard

Well, I finally tackled my first bird's nest! This thing (I'll try and find out what it's actually called - Latin/Linean, not common, I know it's a moss-rose!) has thorns on it as close together as the hairs on a Kiwi fruit, but much longer and much stiffer! I hardly ever wear gloves in the garden, I just can't be doing with them, I like to keep in touch with what I'm doing, even if it means I have to constantly super-glue the cracks in my right thumb and forefinger until they heal (Hey, try it - it works!), but for this I did wear gloves on and off, mostly the left hand to hold while I worked with the right, but it was three weeks ago and I'm still getting thorns out of both hands!!

The before photograph, the trick is to work very slowly, first take the whole thing apart, untie everything and pull out all the remains of the old frame (which was a couple of years old, this was given a half-a-job last year) and any fallen dead wood, at the same time cut-out any dead and weedy bits from this year.

Once it's all loose, divide it into four bunches and hold them out of the way with a bit of wood, then build the new frame. I used fresh-cut hazel and went for a basket of overlapping sticks, this left four arches that were in tension with each other and in compression with themselves (I knew that bridge-building project in First Year Architecture would come in useful one day!).

Then working round the bush, cut last years growth back to the longest of this years shoots, pull the shoot under the edge of the frame, then up-and-over and finally down across the basket and tie in. After you've had the best two or three from each of you four bundles, you'll realise you've still got far too much and you can start cutting some right out. Start with those that are silvery lower down, those that have short or weedy new shoots, and then those that won't bend over very gracefully or that will snap if they're bent that far, you'll be left with the rest of the good ones which you use to 'fill the gaps'.

It took about 4 hours. I'll post it again when it's in bloom.

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