The ‘Sunny’ Upper Patio

After days of rain showers and cooler weather since finishing the front path and drive, and getting on with painting exterior walls at the back of the house, if was time to turn our attention to the back garden, beginning with the Sunny Patio.

Monday 16 August – Preparation

Most of my plants in pots spend their time on here. The Jerusalem artichokes lived on the step until we had a bout of windy weather – which blew them over, necessitating a move to the Shady Patio where they were tied to the trellis. Yesterday, I chopped their heads off and am desperate to get them out of the shade and into the light.

So we’ve moved everything off the upper patio and the step. This is quite a large area, until the pots start to multiply. It’s the best place to dry the washing, though it is only this year that the washing lines went from their default position of strung across the patio between March and October (an eyesore), to just putting them out when required. Instead of one long one criss-crossing between Potting Shed and Brick Shed, I cut it into three and put carabiner clips on both ends of two. When no in use they each hang from a hook on the brick shed either side of the water feature.

It invovled a lot of juggling and planning. My husband ordered oil for the central heating. I had my bags of potatoes in front of the tank and they had to be shuffled along to allow access (and avoid spillage) and then back again.

My heritage tomato plants were moved to Raised Bed B (where, yet again, I have failed to grow beetroot, radish, rocket and spinach), while space was found in the Tiny Greenhouse for the Yellow Delight/Gardener’s Delight/Unidentified tomato plant – with its TWO fruit!

One thing we discovered was another ants nest – this time I think they’ve been nesting partly in my rosemary pot was well as under the patio. I thought all flying ant usually flew away in July, Husband hoped birds would come and eat them in the two hours he waited for it to stop raining so he could get the pressure washer out and make a start. They didn’t!

The raspberry, rosemary, hebe pots were temporarily grouped around the conservatory with the table and chairs (which I intend to paint this year). The decorative pots squeezed in front of the pizza oven, while herb troughs are on the bed in front of the clematis trellis and the cucamelons moved to the Shady patio.

Washed

And then rain stopped play

In order to seal a concrete path or patio, we need 3-5 dry and warm days (and nights) otherwise moisture will rise and do something horrible to the sealant (not sure what). AND it needs 24 hours drying time after. We were very lucky to wash and seal the front path and drive in July’s heatwave.

So with showers forecast on and off for at least the next week to 10 days, work has ceased. My husband can get on with pressure washing the lower and Shady Patio. but more re-shuffling is required. We’ve agreed that if we get a spate of dry weather at the end of August/early to mid-September, then we will seal the patio; if we don’t, it will have to wait for next year; but at least it will look clean.

So pots and plants have been re-shuffled once more; the table and chairs are back on the top patio, other plants in pots have gone to the Shady Patio, with a few more left to move. Meanwhile, we are trying to tread lightly on the patio and not traipse mud and soil all over it.

Finally, after several dull and cloudy mornings with no sign of sun until later in the day, and then only for a few hours, we decided that Thursday 26 August would be the day. Forecasters, both national and regional, were adamant that this weather would continue for another week as high pressure sits above Scotland but cooler air from Scandinavia would come in from Friday. Our window of opportunity was fast disappearing.

The moment a patch of blue sky appeared, my husband was outside with his brush and bucket of patio sealant. Would the weather hold long enough for it to dry? How far could he get before a) his energy gave out b) the tin of sealant ran out or c) he required a mug of tea?

Click onto Page 2 for the other half of the patio