Pablo Cheesecake, Hedge Wizard?

The content of this post is probably not quite as exciting as the title would suggest. Today I want to talk a bit about the joys of gardening.


Astonished wizard unavailable for comment

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been looking for something that would help me decompress. Mentally, I’ve been up and down like a bloody yo-yo. I do read a fair bit but sometimes I’ve struggled with even that. I decided I needed something a bit more physically demanding than picking up my Kindle.

We’re incredibly lucky, our home has a good size back garden so trying to make something of that seemed like a good idea. Madnad has been growing veg for a few years now and the results have been pretty damn good. We have plenty of jars of homemade Marinara sauce and more jam than you can shake a big stick at. The raised beds take up a good chunk of the garden so it was really just the rest of the plot I am keen to do something with.

I’ll insert a disclaimer at this point – I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT GARDENING. At best, I am an enthusiastic idiot who is curious to see if he can grow stuff/bend nature to my will.  With a bit of trial and error, I’m hoping I can create a pleasant space and our garden will help me learn the odd manual skill or two.


The bit of the garden I have become mildly obsessed about is right down at the far end where only some trees currently grow. It’s too shaded for fruit and veg but I dont want to leave it unloved. The plan? a bit of suburban rewilding. Ideally, I want to let this patch of wasted ground do its own thing. Now you could argue I should just leave as is but I see it as a bit of an opportunity. Specifically the chance to grow some indigenous wildflowers to add a bit of colour to offset all the green we currently have. A couple of weeks ago I started off by turning over all the ground using a deadly looking bit of kit called a rotavator.


It’s like a lawnmower on steroids with a really bad attitude. Happily, I did not kill myself or anyone else so that was good.

This leads us nicely onto what I am calling experiment one.

Using Amazon Packaging As A Force For Good

To best prepare the ground for reseeding we figured it made sense to try and hold back the growth of any new weeds and grass. Our low-tech solution? Old Amazon delivery boxes. We removed any packing tape and flattened them all out.  Then we covered the ground with this cosy cardboard patchwork blankie. Another disclaimer here – I should stress that this is many months worth of boxes from all over the place. We’ve been saving them for a while. I won’t want you thinking this is just a weeks worth of deliveries.

Some cardboard yesterday (and you thought this post would be boring. Shame on you)

Hopefully, come Springtime, this ground will be ready for planting. We want to entice as many pollinators into the garden as we can! I would also really like to legitimately be able to use the phrase “a riot of colour” in some future blog post as well.

Right what next? ah yes…

The Great Mulch Experiment of 2021

As I mentioned we have three reasonable sized trees at the end of the garden*, you can see two of them in the photo above, and at this time of year they are shedding their leaves in abundance. That gave my partner in crime another idea for a second experiment. She suggested we have a bash at making our own leaf mulch. My first question was, unsurprisingly, what precisely is mulch?

Mulch (noun)  – material (such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost) spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil.

Ok, I think I can manage that.

Finally, a job I can excel at

Leaves get chucked into bin bags. Bags are poked with holes and contents liberally watered. Contents are left to rot. Simples.

Do I really need to describe this photo? Ok, ok. Some bags of leaves. There, happy now?

Well, that was easier than expected. (There are more bags than this I took this photo halfway through)

Wait, what do you mean “you have to wait a year until it has all successfully mulchified”. Feel free to swing back to the blog in Autumn 2022 for the second half of this experiment –  LeafMulch 2: Mulch-a-palozza.

Additionally, we’ve added leaves directly onto our existing raised beds as well. This will protect some onions and garlic that have already been planted. Keep them warm and snuggly over the Winter.

A raised bed. Crafted single-handedly by Madnad.


What Of The Future?

In 2022 we have a couple of new projects we’d like to kick off.

  • We have a small spot in the middle of the garden where we’d like to add a little paved area. We have bought the bricks so this is definitely going to happen.
  • A brick-built raised bed for strawberries. This will replace the existing buckets. (These first two projects will be fun, I’ve never built anything from bricks before in my puff. How the fuck does cement even work?)
  • Installing a small trellis to encourage our newly planted Virginia Creeper to grow up the side of our extension.
  • Refresh the pond to encourage frogs back into the garden.

Longer-term there are even greater plans afoot

  • A new garden building built from scratch (including solar panels)
  • A brick built BBQ

Will any of these grand schemes come to fruition? Only time will tell.

To round things off, here is a picture of an incredibly colourful leaf I spotted on a blueberry bush the other day. Isn’t nature grand.

Nature, innit

Will I successfully pass Herbology 101 in Professor Sprout’s class and take my first step on the road to Garden Magician? Do I have the capacity to develop green fingers? Will I kill every plant I touch? Just how dangerous are garden tools? Tune in next time to find out!!

Hmm, turns out a had quite a bit to talk about after all. Perhaps the Hedge Wizard should have his own YouTube channel?

*Magnolia, Apple and Pear for the curious amongst you that have made it this far. We have a Plum and Quince as well but they are pretty weedy, to be honest.

Where I’m At…

After a terribly long time, nearly a year and a half if you’re counting, I’ve decided to resurrect the old personal blog. I have no idea how frequent the posts will be and I can’t speak for the quality of content. All I can promise is it will be 100% me and nowt else. Who know what old piffle I’ll come up with. Lets start writing and see what happens.

The Reluctant Gardener

Mrs Cheesecake and I are incredibly fortunate, our little Hobbit hole has a pretty reasonable sized garden. For the last few years we have been concentrating on the inside of the house but as that is finally managing to take shape our focus is shifting from indoors to outdoors. There has been some hardcore diy. We built four raised beds from scratch and currently we are growing potatoes, onions, cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes and a selection of herbs.

Phase two of the great gardent expansion is going to be some fencing. At present we have hedges and to be honest they are a huge pain in the ass to maintain. I am in the process of cutting them all back to nothing and later in the year we hope to get them replaced.

There is a problem though. I turns out I am far too tasty. The local insect population find me irresistible. I spent a couple of hours in the garden earlier in the week and now I am covered in bites. The worst thing is that I appear to react quite badly to said bites.

I enjoy gardening, I really do, but it is hard work when you are a walking buffet.

What I’m Watching This Week…

First up, Chernobyl – This mini series was utterly enthralling. I have vague memories of the event at the time and I remember people being scared. I seem to recall we were told to avoid going outside if at all possibe. The dramatisation of the catastrophy was first rate drama. It was horrific, shocking and at times even inspirational.Well played Sky Atlantic and HBO.


Season one of Castle Rock, henceforth known as StephenKingTown in my head, was pretty well exectued. I had great fun King reference spotting and the plot was just bonkers enough to keep my attention for the entire run of ten episodes. The penultimate episode, where the revelations start coming at you thick and fast, is a particular headfuck.

Castle Rock

Season 3 of Designated Jack Bauer* appeared on Netflix last night. For reasons I am not 100% clear about swearing is suddenly a thing in this show. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t before but even Keifer said “bullshit” at one point. Do presidents swear? I suspect they do. Nice to see the clusterfuck that is Brexit got a mention.

Designated Survivor

Movie-wise Searching starring John Cho and Debra Messing has an interesting premise – an entire movie that plays out using social media. I rather liked it.


A Political Hiatus

I’ve shied away from all the political too-ing and fro-ing of late. Over the last few years it feels like I have been watching the UK slowly implode. Media commentary has appears to be driven entirely by agenda and it seems clear to me the country is treading a dangerous path. I’ve been given a few weeks off as the Tories disappear up their own arses but I can see the chaos starting to ramp up again in the coming weeks. Fuck knows when this nonsense will end. I am so tired of it all. I just hope we can save the NHS or the most vunerable are going to suffer. I’m sure our drug-addled overlords know exactly how to ensure the best for everyone.

Coming to America

Well, technically it is actually going to America but that title seemd appropriate. Later in the year I will be travelling to the US for the first time. We’ll be visiting the Boston and New England. I’m excited at the prospect. I just need to sort out my fear of flying and my various social anxieties and I’m sure it will all be fine.

Anyway, I think I’m done for now.

Till next I decide to spew my brain thoughts onto the internet be nice to people and perhaps they will be nice back.

*Ok, Designated Survivor.

Absence Makes The Cheesecake Stronger

Normal Service will now be resumed…. again…..probably….

I haven’t posted anything new for ages. I noticed earlier in the week that I had only written one post for the whole of June. I not sure what is going on.  Maybe my sub-conscious has actively taken a dislike to my blog? I’m not sure why. Perhaps I have just not felt the need to divulge any of my goings on? Weird non? I’m pretty sure that I did stuff during the month of June, Alt.Fiction springs to mind,  but I just didn’t feel the need to write about it here.

(For those new to my Mid-Life Crisis. This blog is my stream of consciousness where I will talk about everything, well everything except books 🙂  You can go to The Eloquent Page for that. Here you will find everything from drunken rants about Tesco carrier bags to the hunt for the perfect fish finger sandwich and not forgetting my epic quest for the world’s greatest condiment. Essentially it is a big old rambling cathartic mess. Anyway back to the action. Sorry about the interruption. You should probably note I can’t promise that it won’t happen again.)

Pablo Cheesecake – How does your garden grow?

That’s a bloody good question. The vegetable garden continues to provided mixed results. Admittedly the wildly erratic British weather has a lot to do with it. I have discovered that I like to potter around in the garden. Turns out that growing stuff is a rather marvelous thing. I’ve gotten into the habit of checking every day just to see what has changed. Recently, for example, the potatoes have taken over while the sweetcorn shows a certain degree of tenacity. The good news is that I can confirm there is garlic! In fairness the vast majority of the credit lies squarely on the shoulders of Mrs Cheesecake. She is the green fingered one. I just like to enjoy the various comings and goings as the seasons change.

Hugh Grant and Phone Hacking

I watched Question Time last on Thursday, that in itself is a bit of a rarity, and was as impressed by Hugh Grant as I was distressed by the politicians that where on the panel with him. Its not often that I get drawn into politics but the current situation that is occurring the in UK makes my blood boil. First that it took place at all and secondly that all the botched cover ups and so called investigations that have happened afterwards. That and the fact the the ring leaders appear to be getting away with it Scot free is a damned outrage. They are a shower of teflon coated oily fuckers, all of them.

Another Year Older

I’ll be thirty seven years old in a couple of weeks. Have I matured any in the last twelve months? Thinking about it the quick answer is probably not. I continue to wander through life in a slightly befuddled and bemused fashion. Perhaps one day I will figure it all out. No doubt to be hit by a bus shortly thereafter. On a positive note at least I have passed the half way stage on my sit up challenge. 10600 situps done so far this year. 9400 left to got. No applause necessary. Tis but a trifle.

Blessed are the Cheese-Straw Makers

Today, while I wax lyrical on the interweb, Mrs Cheesecake has got her baking head on. So far she has made cheese straws, mini rosemary focaccia and a tomato, onion and thyme tart. We are of to a BBQ later and all these goodies are going with us. Fortunately I have had the opportunity to sample everything first. It’s all good.

and finally…..There and Back again

I just watched the second video blog from the filming of The Hobbit. Again there was a spike in my excitement levels for this project. Everything just looks so right. The days really can’t pass quick enough.

Till next time I remember that I have a blog

Stay Golden

Senor Pablo Cheesecake


Gardening is the new Rock and Roll….no really

Our attempts to live ‘The Good Life’ took another step forward this morning with use finally completing the third raised bed. The potatoes, carrots and onions are doing quite well. The strawberries and rhubarb have exploded. I am still most excited about the sweetcorn and pumpkins. They are inside at the moment, but hopefully in a couple of weeks they can go outside as well.

Our garden this morning….fuck yeah!

If the sweetcorn works I am totally going to make my own popcorn from scratch.

Blogging in the great outdoors

Palace of Versaille - Lawn - Garden

Afternoon all. I have been very active this morning and mowed the lawn in my back garden. Its already that time of year that requires a commitment to green fingeredness that I am sadly lacking. Today, however, I have bit the bullet and I have to admit the garden looks better for it. As you can see from the attached photo (tee hee) I was kidding this isn’t my garden. What do you mean you guessed that!

Mrs Cheesecake has also been busy trimming her bush. Sorry couldn’t stop myself. I meant hedge. The garden is our own little escape from the outside world. I only wish it was a bit more secluded and quiet but who knows maybe one sunny day.

I had grand plans for writing a big old blog about stuff and nonsense but I now find myself filled with an ennui that forces me to stop straight away

Later loyal viewer

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