Happy new year – and what a year 2020 was! It’s funny how quickly the human brain can adapt. Last year (so glad I can finally write that), everything was turned on its head. Cities went into lockdown, people lost their jobs and loved ones left us. What was once a distant idea became our day to day lives. We changed our habits and, in turn, the world changed too. Aside from the pandemic, I have also noted the speed at which I embraced my last two weeks off.
I was on annual leave for the last two weeks of the year and most of that time was spent in bed, or waiting to be in bed. I feel restored, rejuvenated and ready to take on everything it has to throw at me.
Today we worked on leaf clearing, as can be expected after a couple of weeks with limited staff during the festive season. We used backpack leaf blowers to clear some Salix babylonica leaves which had come down in Storm Bella. I can’t quite believe how far I have come using machinery. This time last year, I was dreading the use of two-stroke and four-stroke machinery. I had done a little too much research h and seen too many machinery related injuries. Now – with enough Health and Safety Legislation in my head to sink a ship – I know how to identify the hazards and risks and minimise them. Happy days!
January tends to be the time that I reflect on my progress over previous years and it has brought me some comfort to know that while the world stood still in 2020, so many of us took huge strides individually and came out of it slightly battered, but with more resilience than ever.
Fridays are always busy, even though I only work until 12:30pm. This is because on Friday I go to the launderette to do our washing and catch up with any work I’ve missed during the week.
Today we had a discussion about COVID concerns for the team in the morning and then Laurence and I went on our litter round. Since our litter round was shortened a few months ago, it usually only takes about half an hour to complete. As such, we treated ourselves to a coffee before our tea break and looked through some of our plant idents.
After tea, I worked with my supervisor on some of the raised lavender and Trachelospermum jasminoides beds. As we didn’t have much time, we worked on the lavender exclusively and will start cutting back the T. jasminoides next week.
When left unpruned, lavender becomes leggy and woody and eventually, very little of the stems bear flowers. Usually, lavender has a lifespan of four to five years. In order to encourage the lavender to produce some new growth and extend its life, we cut back all the diseased, damaged and dead before pruning back to any new growth at the base, keeping any remaining stems to 5-10cm. Hopefully in a few months, we will start to see some fresh, new growth and we can wait a few more years before having to replace the plants.
After I finished at work, I spent the afternoon wrapping up some of the assignments I didn’t have time to finish on Wednesday. This included my assignment on Health and Safety legislation and the costing of planting five different species of hedge. I particularly enjoyed working on the latter, as it was fun to work on a hypothetical gardening project.