It appears that the worst of winter is now over and we are starting to head into the Dutch spring. That does normally mean that there is going to be a busy season of work for musicians, however, I'm pretty wary about the concert calender this year. I'm not going to be too surprised (or depressed) if it is suddenly wiped out by another rise in cases. It does give me a bit of a cranky feeling knowing that our sector is the one of the ones that suffer the most from this pandemic, whilst a good chunk of the population couldn't care less. Sigh...
Now that the snow has melted away, we can see what is left after the winter. This is a time of getting the garden ready for spring... firstly, by removing and fixing some of the damage of the colder month. So, the orders have come in from House Central Command... and the Ground Ivy has now been deemed public enemy number one for this year. Last year (and previous years), the main public enemy was the escaping blackberry bushes... but they haven't shown any signs of appearing this year, so I'm hoping that they are done and dusted forever. More likely, they will pop up like a zombie later in the season, and I will have to uproot whatever I can again.
Anyway, the Ground Ivy has been growing steadily despite the snow and cold weather. It's started to make a break for the neighbour's garden and also towards the grassed area. Also, it's starting to get into the gate and climb steadily up the hedge as well.
Originally, it was all over the garden, but we had slashed it back to only where the hedge was. This was because the hedge had poor cover and growth along the ground, and so it was nice to have some green cover in those places. However, I think that the plan this year is to replace the Ivy with something else that doesn't grow quite so ravenously!
Today was the first day on attacking the Ivy. Most of the stuff needs to be untangled from the fence and hedge as well as attacking the roots that have entwined with the other plants. First pass on the Ivy will mean just getting rid of as much of the easily visible stuff first... just so that we can see where to uproot and untangle!
On the opposite side of the hedge (the public common green area), we also had the Ivy escaping... as well as an overgrowth of weeds and an incredible amount of dead leaves, pine needles and dirt. We probably should tidy this side of the hedge more often... however, we never come out this side, and so it isn't really in our minds. I hope the neighbours that surround us are forgiving about that!... or perhaps, it is a problem that they talk about amongst themselves... slowly resenting our untidy hedge and the impost onto the public area... and one day, we will see the hedge burnt to the ground!
Several hours of pulling and uprooting... sweeping and tidying... and the outside portion of the hedge is starting to look tidier. At least, less like an abandoned residence! However, there are still quite a bit of branches and shoots within the hedge that will need to be ferreted out and removed. I guess that will be a job for the coming days...
It's hard to believe that just last week, the back garden looked like this! Sub-zero temperatures (that's cold for Netherlands, perhaps not for other countries!).... and more snow than we have seen since we lived here. Now, this week, we have quite comfortable temperatures of around 15-20 degrees (Celsius, there is no other measure). Warm enough for the Dutch to strip off to t-shirts and shorts and head to the beach... we are not quite that naturalised, but our girls definitely are!
Any bout of work should be heartily rewarded... and this time, I found myself a very nice Dutch (actually, Den Haag) liqueur. This one is flavoured like the local lolly (snoepje), the Haagse Hopjse. This is a sort of nice coffee and caramel flavour that is sort of like a Tia Maria, but with more of a caramel taste to it. It's a perfect dessert liqueur, and I'm pretty happy that I saw it at the bottle shop! I can convince myself that I'm supporting local producers... and not just treating myself to something tasty!
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