The Body Aches in the Morning.

The body doesn’t lie – yes, I’m getting older (“older” is older than simply being old!). There are a few aches and pains this morning, just in case my poor memory has allowed yesterday’s activities to slip away into the mists of the past.

Gardening is a gentle activity, perhaps not in the young garden with young gardeners, but ours is now an older garden, (we came here in 1987) and the big work of laying out the garden has been done long ago. I don’t have to face into digging out beds and borders any longer and am most unlikely to head into any such work from now on. Nowadays, the work is routine maintenance: the cutting of grass and hedges, weeding, tidying up, planting new plants etc, nothing heavy at all – “just tipping around” as my father used call it.

Viburnum farreri (1)
Viburnum farreri – beautiful scented flowers in spring

Viburnum farreriViburnum farreri (2)

Occasionally, a job bigger and heavier comes along to remind the body of what it once could do with ease and one must find a new way of tackling such challenges. A shrub, Viburnum farreri, now about twenty years old, had become too big for its boots. It had grown far too big for its space, had become too tall, lanky, and was crowding out other plants which deserved to be seen. It had also the habit of suckering – sending new plants up from the roots at a distance from the parent plant – so that now it was not simply a single shrub but had become a thicket. This had the advantage that I could remove the main plant and yet have plants remaining, younger plants which can be left for another twenty years before they will need such attention.

Viburnum farrei removal (6)
The shrub was 3 metres high and I cut it to the ground before starting to dig it out.The plants in the background are suckers from the original plant so I will have plenty of flowers next spring and its removal will allow a better view to that holly which was semi-hidden for so long. 
Viburnum farrei removal (5)
Eventually, the rootball has been levered out of the ground
Viburnum farrei removal (4)
And moved to the wheelbarrow to be moved away

Knowing my physical limitations, I took my ease with the work. As there were many other plants around the base of the shrub, mainly snowdrops and wood anemones, I couldn’t simply lay into the work with the pickaxe and muscle the root ball into submission. This was a more careful approach – a trench around the root ball, cutting the roots with axe and secateurs as I proceeded, removing the soil to garden trugs so as not to swamp nearby plants. All went well, gently does it, and the root ball stood isolated from surrounding soil. Of course, nothing is quite so simple and there is always that root which grows from the very centre of the base of the plant and is able to tickle the roots of some relative in Australia. A long metal bar was called into operation and the use of body weight at the end of a long arm – bringing to mind school lessons from many years ago and “Prionsabal an Luamháin”, the principle of the lever and, of course, that particularly Irish principle – the principle of the wheelbarrow: the harder you push, the faster you go! With a little huffing and puffing, the stump was free, disposed of; the hole filled with compost and the soil returned. Job finished!

Viburnum farrei removal (3)
Cleared! The trugs are holding some of the soil removed during the job
Viburnum farrei removal (2)
And the ho,e filled in with compost and the original soil

This morning, there are a few aches – that wrist and that elbow which were hurt some years ago and which pain now and then to remind me of those past events and of yesterday’s efforts. Pain is not to be despised; it is simply a reminder of past days and past efforts and a caution to be careful.


6 thoughts on “The Body Aches in the Morning.

  1. This was very helpful although of course my young corpus does not ever feel the after effects of toil!but in the future I will know why my thighs ache and my back refuses to relax and cramps invade my lower limbs . So I am very grateful. Well done on a b…. of a job.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the feeling well. I am summoning up the energy to move sleepers and soil this afternoon to start the raised beds, anticipating the inevitable aches tomorrow. What are you going to put in the gap you have left?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The temptation to fill the gap is being resisted. There is no point in putting in another shrub as it would only lead to overcrowding again. It’s a nice spot for a clump of snowdrops, whenever I need to split a big clump. I have a wood anemone which might like it there too. No rush. And, by the way, you’re too young to be complaining about body aches! LOL


  3. That was a Trojan task! I’m afraid I also have that problem of recognising the limitations of a body not quite as young and supple as it used to be! But well done on the successful outcome! This Cocooning is also encouraging me to be a bit ruthless at this time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we have time to just go and do things these days; no reason to put it off saying we are busy. The gardens will improve as a result.


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