April is zooming past - think of all the garden cleaning-up I still have to do! There are perennials to trim down, Pittosporums to 'prune' (well, that's what I call it), and dry grass to rake up. The list of possibles goes on, and on.
Burning - Aargh!
Thursday 6th April
Right. What shall I do first today? Write a list? Why not! Understand that this is a list of possible activities, in no particular order, and not all strictly gardening. Some might take hours, even days to complete, while others may be one-offs, accomplished in a few minutes.
- Bicycle with Rusty Dog.
- Finish clearing the Welcome Garden.
- Weed the Willow Tree Garden.
- Brahms piano practice.
- Walk through early Autumn Botanical Gardens.
- Get new library books (combine with garden walk).
Ha! A nice list, clean and concise, with no qualifying phrases (except I am tempted to buy a new bicycle - enough said!) and nothing too horrible (except the thought of another day spent burning)...
Three Hours Later...
It's lunchtime and - yes - I have been burning. The Welcome Garden is a huge area, and it will take more than a few more smoky days to clear it. My gardening morning is not all fire and destruction, though - I'm also spreading compost and chipper-mulch fresh from the hedge clippings. I am already visualising some lovely native plantings in here! Imagination rather more fertile than the soil, I'm afraid. And I must remember to chant the following mantra - No rhododendrons. No rhododendrons. No rhododendrons.
Even Later, Apres-Gardening
Hmm... In the new Welcome Garden I've been wheeling out barrowfuls of burnable rubbish and wheeling in barrowfuls of shredded chippings. The smoke from my fire has been wafting skywards. Rusty has been chewing on a ghastly blackened dog-bone which he bravely rescued from the ash heap earlier. Eek! Dog hygiene sucks - but it was, after all, his bone...
I've had a good, productive day. There's still a lot of clearing to finish, but there's always tomorrow! Nothing to panic about any more. And some exciting news - I am getting some coral coloured peony clumps this weekend from one of my new walking friends. And another new friend has some hostas she is dividing - would I like some? I felt greedy saying yes.
Friday 7th April
Oops. I haven't done much gardening today. I have been thinking about the Easter plant sales, and Autumn, and how the days are getting shorter. I've been thinking about getting a half-decent bicycle with fat tyres. I've been thinking about mowing my own lawns (they are too long), and burning all weekend. Aargh! I sound grumpy!
I have also been trying not to be scared of the Moosey Forum. Silly, really, to be shy of this. Lovely gardening friends like Liza must despair of me! And marvellous Dixie, who has just posted her hundredth post. And Jack whose South African garden, cottage, and lake look amazing. And Cottage Garden whose garden diary is full of much more interesting things than I ever write about. All these talented people, plus others not mentioned - my goodness, world gardeners are a wonderful lot! I think sometimes that I spend too much time talking to the dog and the cats.
Who is Voting For Taj-Dog?
And on the subject of dog and cats, I am most puzzled that Taj-Dog has suddenly leapt up to become top dog in the Most Valuable Pet Competition.
- Most Valuable Pet :
- As the owner of all the MVP contestants I have always been scrupulously honest. I allow myself only one vote per day.
I am trying to restore cat pride by voting for Tiger the Tabby-Tortoiseshell. I would never abuse my position by fiddling the books, so to speak. So would the group of fifty keen gardeners who all voted for Taj-Dog yesterday please own up!
Saturday 8th April
Yippee! It's the weekend. I can possibly get gardening help! First I am taking Rusty Dog down to get the Saturday morning paper, plus a Buy-Sell paper, to peer at recycled bicycles. I think I want a mountain bike, so I can ride on gravel roads without falling off, and bounce through rubble and over lumpy grass. My dog-bicycling circuits are about to get a whole lot bumpier.
You're Always Welcome!
Then I will continue the gentle clearing of the Welcome Garden. This will be most enjoyable, as it's too windy to burn today. Phew! Then off to get the new peonies. Then - who knows?
Welcome to the Welcome Garden
Right. It is mid-afternoon, and I have been quietly going about my garden business in the Welcome Garden. That is, I've been spreading a concoction of chippings and compost onto newspaper laid out over the patchy grass. The Welcome Garden area is starting to take shape. I have ascertained how wide the driveway at this point needs to be (in case the fire truck ever needs to drive in). I might shift in some Agapanthus clumps as an edging. They won't flower, but neither will their foliage get frosted - and any oversized mechanical things are welcome to squash them.
I'm going back out there just as soon as I've drunk my coffee. This is steady, non-spectacular gardening, but hugely enjoyable. It's the very first time I've tried the don't-weed-just-smother-method, too. Hope the grass understands how this is supposed to work!
All the chippings are spread. Now I need river stones for the edge, and tomorrow I'll shift in some dwarf Agapanthus clumps. When the big Easter nursery sale starts I'll make a bee-line for the Pittosporums. Some biennial Honesty would probably grow OK in here, too, between the shrubs. Oops - just in case I forget - no rhododendrons are allowed!
Sunday 9th April
First, check the mail. Some really useful gardening spam - now wouldn't that be nice to receive? I'd like to learn the secrets of attracting beautiful garden bugs - and a little organic pill for increasing garden stamina wouldn't go amiss, either! A garden-proof watch which ensures that time spent burning is non-linear... Attention, garden spammers! Feel free to mail me any time!
Kittens on the Pergola
Two gymnastic kittens are wandering nonchalantly around on top of the house pergola near the Compassion roses, practising their beam routines. In response to some sad squeaking I have already wobbled up onto the patio chair (almost tripping over long, powder blue dressing gown) and pulled down little Fluff-Fluff, while Beige Puss skidded down the roof towards me. Please, B-Puss, bad technique! Retract those claws! Saved by the Moosey gutters! Now Fluff-Fluff has scooted back up the pergola post, dodging the Wisteria, to rejoin his house-brother. I intend to ignore them both and concentrate on my first cup of tea.
What shall I do first in the garden today? Burn, burn, or burn? Could I do some combusting? Or some incendarising? How about a spot of carbonising? Hmm...
I have been clearing all day. It's been too windy to burn, so I have been scraping, raking, dragging, filling, wheeling and plodding - back and forth between the new garden and the rubbish dumping area. It seems that I have achieved very little.
- Autumn Colours :
- The Moosey garden has some wonderful flashes of autumn colour.
On my mid-day break, visiting the pond paddock, I was surprised by the sudden Autumn colours everywhere. Goodbye hostas. Hello messy pond paddock borders, desperately in need of trimming and cutting back, and mulching. Aargh!
Then, feeling slightly gloomy (but not negatively so, if this makes any sense), I though I might shift the Pittosporums and other natives out of the little garden by the Water Tank - replanting them in the Welcome Garden. I am concerned about the 'grooming' of the Hazelnut Orchard grass. This happens haphazardly, and for a lot of the time my little native Water Tank garden is surrounded by an awful, scruffy, long, dry, grassy mess.
All of which can cause minor gloominess (see above), and can make the weeding (and watering) of this garden seem rather unrewarding. And I am not happy being unrewarded! I'll leave the big green flaxes, shift my little plants, and get out of there. It's simply a question of what one can control, and what one cannot - nagging at non-gardening partners about the need to mow the Hazelnut Orchard weekly isn't really an option!