The month of hope...
August is the month of hope, as the days slowly lengthen. Early in the month, the shy blue crocuses are in flower and by the end, all the borders should come alive with yellow, white, and apricot pink daffodils.
the new tree
Friday 3rd August
Today I spent most of the morning in the garden clearing the side Pond Border. The original (invasive) lamium had spread to the front of the border, and the Salvia uliginosa and phloxes had taken over the middle, smothering some rather nice roses. I ripped out a Calamagrostis grass which was too near the surviving pink rhododendron, and will pot up the pieces for the future. The rose Clair Matin, planted 5 years ago to cover an old tree lucerne stump, got a much needed pruning.
I had an afternoon sleep (I am a bit sick), and then burnt all the clippings late in the day as it was getting dark. I thought about the new garden which will surround the new variegated elm, lying dormant on its side in the middle of the grass with its root ball covered in a blue tarpaulin. I will plant a variety of cast- offs in here at first, until my ideas take more shape. Some of the straggly Hybrid Musk roses in the side Pond Border might get shifted in, to enjoy more sun.
The brown tussock at the edge of the Apple Tree Border has seeded - there are 3 plants there now looking wonderful. Brown tussocks can look quite dead, but not these. Tomorrow I will start the great dig, and plant the tree. Hope it survives it's big shift. It is quite a big tree!
I notice already the angles of the sun have changed, and again the breakfast chairs are flooded with sun. This is a nice time of year to dream and plan. I am going to be a vigilant observer and write down all the new happenings. And take lots of photos. Until tomorrow.
the new tree is planted
Saturday 4th August
I've started to dig the new garden. Thought is needed, though, as to the perfect position of the tree - where are the irrigation pipes? I also have a new book called Gardening with Grasses written by very important people (Piet Oudolf for one). It has inspired me to plant all the Calamagrostis clumps in the new garden. Tomorrow I'll continue the digging, lay newspaper and pea straw mulch, then organise the tree.
Sunday 5th August
The man-power I need to organise the tree planting is being unco-operative (claiming sore legs from a day's skiing). My best course of action is to start noisily digging a large tree hole very near the irrigation pipes. Ha! I will return.
It worked, and I have returned, after helping to plant the tree. The border is about quarter dug and already planted with the grasses and two yellow wave flaxes. I've spread out the dwarf agapanthus along one edge, and behind them a couple of ailing roses have a new chance on life. The shape of the new border looks great - I've laid out stones to represent the curved edge and tested the different approaches. Walking through the Yellow Banksia rose arch towards the glass-house feels great, and the journey from the other lawns seems equally natural, sensible and interesting. I will take a triumphant photo.
Sifter Cat up another tree
Sunday 12th August
Not much gardening this weekend. It's been cold and raining, and I have been tramping the malls looking unsuccessfully for an important woman's jacket to buy for my new job. Would much rather be choosing a new gardening shirt! However, I have made a good start on the Elm Tree garden, and am already imagining the Calamagrostis grasses in full sway, and the bush roses (Reine des Violettes) breathing the warm summer air. A Mutabilis is going in there next weekend, and the rest of the old lawn will be dug up.
Saturday 18th August
We've had two heavy frosts again this week. The feathery shrubs which I call 'Breath of Heaven' are a beautiful soft golden straw colour, which on closer inspection might be dead foliage. Ooops! I am off with my first cup of coffee to shift the Mutabilis rose and plant a bagful of soft orange daylilies into the Elm Tree garden. Digging new borders is modular and possibly satisfying, in that it provides a contrast with the fast pace of modern life, but it is incredibly SLOW.
A gardening first at Moosey's incredibly scruffy Country Garden... Stephen has been tricked into digging the Elm Tree garden! The turf was scooped off in minutes, leaving the person in charge of the wheelbarrow (me) breathless.
The pergola and rose garden on the other side of the wood shed now seem better linked to the borders and plants in the Pond Paddock. The new garden under the elm (whose arrival started all this) is stacked with bush roses. The tree's ex-owner is coming out to visit next weekend for the officially launch. Wow! I need to organise a seat.
There are little bursts of colour in the different parts of the garden - I will make a list.
- The pink Camellia by the laundry has its first flowers.
- Hellebores by Rooster Bridge are flowering - one white, one wine red.
- Miniature daffodils are blooming by the side archway.
- Creeping violets are covered with tiny purple flowers.
- White, purple and lemon yellow polyanthus are also flowering.
first spring daffodils
Sunday 19th August
I am so tired - have been working for seven hours. This has been my first major gardening day for about two months. I have finished the new Elm Tree garden, and attacked the extremely nasty grass by the compost heap - 3 hours shovelling and digging it out. I refuse bravely to use chemicals (at this stage anyway).
I have pruned all the roses over the water race, and installed a bottom-sized tree stump for a seat under the new tree. I have weeded the pergola garden and the narrow border along the back fence. I am a legend. But I want to record at this date that bits of me (i.e. knees and legs) are definitely starting to wear out. I am stiffer and sorer after gardening than I used to be. Oh well.
Now I have a very sore elbow as well, from digging. Help! How can I keep gardening if even more bits of me are wearing out? I am off to do some gentle weeding in the sun with Sifter for compulsory cat company. Then I will prune the roses around the patio.
I don't want to be boring but my sore arm/elbow makes rose pruning pretty difficult. This morning I weeded down the driveway and then cleared four wheelbarrowfuls of prunings. Perhaps I am just getting too old...
Anyway, it rained on and off, and I didn't achieve much, but it was great to be outside getting back in touch with plants and weeds and dirt. Colours are fast appearing everywhere, and the Iris confusa which had been frost damaged is starting to look tidier.