Dog-Path Garden and red flax
April is a month of contrasts. Some days feel like mid-summer, hot and long. Other days are chilly, and there's not enough time to be in the garden. When will the first frosts start?
Sunday 1st April
I finished the Dog-Path Garden. It's planted with the Colourbreak roses and a new rose called Geoff Hamilton (I know that he is/was an English gardener famous on English TV), with day lilies, red flaxes, patches of daffodils and a lone tussock. This garden will be perennial free. I have mulched with newspaper and lucerne hay, and will go get stones soon for its edges. Now the Dog-Path Garden and accompanying dog-path reach right along the water race to the Plank.
Cat on The Plank
I have been reading a British magazine called Gardens Illustrated and now know the secret to making a garden seem well designed. One simply gives each area a quaint name in CAPITAL LETTERS. So my Dog-Path Garden is at the cutting edge of descriptive garden design. I already have a Stumpery - and a Lost Paths Garden, a Plank, a Wattle Tree Garden and a Hump. The garden sounds great... Gardens Illustrated here I come!
I have so many things to do. What should I do first? Will go over the water race and do the lawn edges and rake up the grass mowings and enjoy the early April sun. Back soon.
I have worked so hard. One of the lost paths has been reclaimed, and the rose Leda has been chucked. I have done edges and major weeding. Large nicotianas have been cleared and the gardens over the water race look beautiful.
My next plan is to clear unwanteds out of the Hen-House Borders. Some of the early plantings near the Hen-house are really suffering from lack of water and have to go. This garden should be robustly self clearing and certain perennials are definitely out of place here. The Redcoat roses are annoying. They may have been free, but they are too big and too sprawly. I might redirect them to a fence-line way out the back. I will try to start the redevelopment this week.
Saturday 7th April
Just quietly - I am on holiday - two weeks of Schubert, Bach (piano), seeing my friends (probably just Astrid), spending time with cats and dog, and being in the garden. It's a great feeling.
Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff
I woke up today thinking about the changes that April brings. And about the dahlias I grow. Only one of the big white dahlias has beaten the lack of water and grown properly. I can see it from the upstairs windows looking rather like a blousey big-petalled rose growing through the back fence.
I'm glad that I bought a Bishop Llandaff Dahlia - it's a good red with beautifully strange dark foliage. I must divide this plant and display it better. I've collected some seedlings to see what they grow into.
I'm also thinking about the Hen-House Border. I may have to re-grass the driest part, or give it totally to tussocks and lavenders. The rugosa roses have to move - they are suffering, and are only knee high after two seasons. Funny how the weeds grow well in the garden here though!
variegated hebe foliage
Sunday 8th April
I spent most of yesterday reclaiming my paths and starting to remodel the Hen-House Border. The fabled 'Lost Paths of Mooseygan' can once more be walked on by dog and gardener! One path has been moved, and Renga Renga and tussocks are moving in today to fill the gaps. No looking back for the sad rugosas - they are in wet soil in buckets and are looking forward to their new homes.
Trouble is I'm not exactly sure where these new homes are! Ooops!
I am a legend. My remodelled Hen-House Border is starting to look much better. My policy of close planting of cheap plants requires some sensible shifting two seasons later, and I've done just that today. I've split up and planted 15 of the pot-bound Renga Renga plants and plan to continue there tomorrow. On my weary way back to the house I tied the Crepuscule canes into the new pergola. What beautifully fruity colours Crepuscule's flowers have.
Monday 9th April
The first real holiday day! I shall start by making a list.
- Continue planting pot bound Renga Renga
- Dig out squashed in plants from native border.
- Mulch over there
- Hey - life in the garden is too rich and chaotic to need a list!
I shall garden like a grasshopper, bouncing with joy from one border to the next (?). Then I will buy a new green gardening shirt as a reward, and go visit my friend Astrid. I will come back and write my diary later.
I actually did the things on the list without meaning to. Hmmm...
Tuesday 10th April
Today I worked hard again. First I cleared out the new rose garden and made a space for Prosperity and a Golden Celebration which were both sulking by the Hen-house. A Buff Beauty rose has come out and is going over the water race to sprawl in the fresh air. I've taken cuttings of the penstemons I like and am tempted to rip out the old plants. I've also ripped out the lamium I'm disappointed with - too much indeterminate green and not enough leaf markings or appropriate colour.
Then I went into the shade by Rooster Bridge as the hot winds continued to blow. I've planted the pot bound hostas and 5 little camellias in Rooster Bridge garden. I say 'little' and my secateurs mean 'little'!
I had the small hoses on all day, but the drought continues to affect things. Sometimes it seems worse when I try to make a small difference with my small hoses, and I get drought-disheartened. I can have the big irrigation on tomorrow night (the back paddock has taken precedence, and there's no point irrigating in the nor-west winds anyway).
I will not give up! The small hoses are going on again today. I will move them around and be patient. Yesterday I gardened for 3 hours, played Bach (piano) for 1 hour, and then went back outside. Today I want to do more! And play some Schubert! I will try making a list.
Garden Activities List
- Re-pot and water the rest of the pot-bounds (Agapanthus, camellias and Ajuga).
- Clear out the Cistus (Why do I plant Cistus? I always get cross with them).
- Find a fence-line for 2 Redcoats and a Dapple Dawn
- Find somewhere for 5 Roseraie de L'Hays - a rose hedge? Where?
- Clear all dog-path surfaces
- Stone the dog-path extension
- Plant the bluebells under the oaks
- Plant bulbs in new rose garden
- Sort out the rest of the native border
- Rake paths.
Wednesday 11th April
If I am going to make such a fuss about reclaiming lost paths I could have the decency to rake them. The plan is to now go outside and do stuff on the list. Back soon...
It's now late afternoon and the sun is just sinking into the trees. I've done a lot of the stuff on the list. I've also done Bach and Schubert for 2 hours. The wind has blown all day, and I can remember liking April because the days were so calm and still. Humph...
Thursday 12th April
I have to attack that nearly native border. Humph... where am I going to put all the shiftees? In pots for now. I'm allowed to plant the bluebells in there though (British heritage and all that) under the spreading oaks.