Where is my gardening optimism?
It's a beautiful fresh summer morning. So where is my gardening optimism? And where is my World Garden Touring optimism? I wish I was more consistent - like my Pittosporums, for example, who never change their attitude to life and the garden.
Saturday 21st January
It's the usual story. Cats and kittens are all fed. Rusty dog is ready for his bicycle ride. My first cup of tea tastes OK. I don't like this slowish mood I find myself in.
Rusty in the Tussock Grasses
Time to count some blessings - it's summer, I don't have to work, no bits of me are too sore to garden (don't believe my moanings about fingers and hands - just trying to get attention, I reckon). I am alert of mind, imaginative, and not afraid to attempt the ridiculous (for example, I've identified another rhododendron which could benefit from being shifted - in mid-summer). A list might do the trick - haven't had one of those for a while!
Things to Do
- Plant Hebes still stuck in pots. Where? Some in the Wattle Woods, some in the Willow Tree Garden.
- Get some stones, spread on Dog-path. Get it finished!
- Empty trailer, get a refill, and spread on Driveway Garden. Get it finished!
- Plant roses uprooted from Driveway. Where to plant them? Roses need sun. Right? Right!
- General Gardening
- The Willow Tree Garden extension. Investigate, evaluate.
I might start with this one. Hee hee - this is a brand new garden, where several rescued roses (like Claude Monet) live. Parts are shadier than I thought they'd be - that Willow Tree, its branches growing from a large stump, needs some tree trimming. The garden itself will be weeded, and its potential evaluated as a resting place for rogue rhododendrons. For example, in one specific positional change, the rose Picasso could be moved forwards out of the shade, and replaced with the rhododendron Whitney's Apricot.
Right. As long as I wear gardening gloves, keep reapplying sun screen, and take my water bottle, I should remain in good gardening spirits all day.
Much Much Later, Strengthened by the Power of Lists
Lists! I love lists! My gardening friend Liza has sent a list of possible gardens to visit in France and Belgium when I do my scary World Tour. Already I feel better about travelling - more capable, less apprehensive about the unknown! Sorry for getting travel-gloomy - there was no need, and I promise to stay positively positive. My real gardening day list worked well, too - I spent all day doing the last three things. No complaints, except that I have small dings and scratches all over my legs. Hmm... have no idea how these got there - perhaps I've been sleepwalking through the Berberis?
Willow Tree Garden Ramblings
That striped rose Picasso is so very small - he's definitely sulking. I've trimmed the red flowering Escallonia behind him to give more air. Claude Monet, on the other hand, is absolutely wonderful - big, blooming, and beautiful. I am impressed, Claude! The perfect spot for the mobile rhododendron has been found (moving in tomorrow, maybe), and I've started to prune the overhanging Willow tree branches.
There are heaps of fresh seedling Pyrethrum daisies in the path - such a pretty lime colour, and lovely ferny foliage. I might shift the path, rather than shift them sideways. I have some blue perennial Agastache seedlings collected from the Driveway - these could be planted in here, too - they'll flower next summer. Forward thinking!
It's a calm, warm evening for positive reflection. I am very satisfied with both my gardening and my travel-planning day - am about to investigate those French gardens! Ha! I can do this! The combined power of garden friends and garden lists! I will look at some maps and have some fun. Thanks Liza!
And some positively good news regarding Fred the pet lamb. Stephen has just checked the back paddock, and found Fred happily munching with the rest of the flock. No fuss, no bleating, when Stephen left. Perhaps, finally, Fred has come to terms with who he really is, and acquired sheep-esteem!
Sunday 22nd January
Ha! I am surrounded by five out of six felines - all fed, so they must just require my company (nice). Fluff-Fluff the Fearless Foot-Fighter is on the attack (ouch! - the scratches on my legs are explained), while Beige Puss the Brave watches, elegant, stretched out on a blue cushion. Old Mother Stumpy, on my lap, is serenely ignoring the carpet scampering. Tiger the big kitten is hiding underneath the rug by the decking doors (no, honestly, Tiger - we can't possibly see you under there!). Granny Mugs pretends she's supervising, like a sherry-sozzled old nanny. We love you, dear old disabled Mugsy!
- Pink Iceberg Rose :
- Pink Iceberg rose is a strong, coolish shade of pink.
I have three-quarters of a trailer of compost to shift. Hebes to be planted. Stones to get for the dog-path (the weed-mat needs to be fully covered from the sun, according to its label). Decking, patios and house lawns to sweep clear of gum tree debris. Roses to dead-head (Pink Iceberg is an easy, healthy grower - wasn't I going to get a Claret Iceberg?).
Now just a minute - what's that on the decking? Besides the strips of bark and gum leaves, that is. Spots of rain? Ha! There will be a short delay to the start of the day's proceedings. Time for a hot coffee and a little more travel contemplation, methinks...
I have worked really hard again, this time weeding on the water race side of the Willow Tree. The Plank, my wobbly heirloom 'bridge' across the water, seems to have stabilised, and I've cleaned up the Acorus grass at its end. Some harsh words for some of the roses here - Benjamin Britten, you look terrible! Geoff Hamilton ditto (sorry about the oversized Verbascum crowding out your sunshine - better luck now it's been removed). Listen, you two - grow properly, or else! Healthy leaves are compulsory. I can see Claude Monet and Sexy Rexy way down in the next garden blooming their hearts out - they are robustly green of leaf. The two English chaps look pale and weedy in comparison.
Dog on a Diet
Rusty on his dog-diet has lost about one and a half kilos. He's down to 25.5 kgs (which I believe is approximately the weight of a Bull Mastiff - eek!). He has been gardening with me all morning, hopping in and out of the water. Ah, Rusty, brown-eyed dog - two doting 'parents', too many in-between-meal snacks and treats, and you ended up shaped like a coffee table. Lying down on the kitchen floor and hugging your food bowl is not going to help!
Monday 23rd January
I think I have lots of things to do today. First we bike (dog and me). Then we change into serious gardening clothes and find some serious gardening to do. Details of which I can't quite come up with at the moment - oops! Or I could just spend the morning watching Tiger and the kittens tree-climbing in the Hump. It's like a competition - any tree you can climb, I can climb higher... I can climb any tree higher than you...
Another five-plus hours of gardening! I can't remember a January when I worked such long, happy hours in the garden! Today I have done some reshaping of curves in the back of the Dog-Path Garden (oops - it's a little bigger), before taking my hot self off to the semi-shade in the Hen House Gardens to weed. After lunch I sloshed up and down the water race scooping up more stones to cover the Dog-path weed-mat, then flashed like a gardening Mother of Zorro through Middle Garden's small path, chopping, clearing, and weeding - and checking on the Golden Hop. Nice work - so easy to get quick results. Perhaps, just perhaps, the hours of super-gardening are paying off, and my weeding programmes, though erratic, are working.
Today marks a rather dodgy personal anniversary. Put it this way, I am one of the lucky ones - I am still here! Being boring, moaning, writing lots about little, applying my anti-inflammatory cream to my sore fingers, worrying about getting lost in Frankfurt's train station, wondering if I should pay a relative to accompany me and carry the bags! I have printed out Liza's lists and some maps. I can do this! I do deserve this late-winter holiday I'm planning - which I am now calling the Scary Grand World Garden Tour.
Tuesday 24th January
Son is helping me get compost and dump wheelbarrowfuls onto the garden. Like yesterday - a typical gardening sequence. I make my approach to an area of new garden (for example, the Willow Tree Garden extension), noticing little loads of rich brown compost have been carefully dumped between the plants. I bend gently and rake for five minutes, and hey presto! It's done! Brilliant, painless - gardening with help is rather nice!
Unknown Rescued Rose
Today I have two rhododendrons to shift. One, a Whitney's Apricot, is suffering fierce summer sun in Middle Garden, in one of the driest, hottest garden areas. Already peonies have been moved out and some irises moved in. It's impossible to get water to plants in here, other than in buckets, carried by hand - my goodness, this is simply out of the question - and the Leyland windbreak is just too close for underground comfort. For some refreshing watery gardening I have Middle Garden's water race edge to weed. And numbers of foxglove seedlings block the path by the Golden Hop, and all Middle Garden's flaxes could do with a tidy up. Oops - I have slightly lost my puffy-grip secateurs - hang on a minute, how can one 'slightly' lose gardening tools?
These are some of my plans for another action-packed gardening. Back later.
I spent the morning sawing down some rather large Willow tree branches, and clearing up the mess (it took absolutely ages). I found my secateurs and shifted the sad rhododendron. Then the Manly Garden Helper arrived bearing Pittosporums and flaxes - in they've gone, into the so-called, optimistically named Pittosporum Forest. He then collected and spread another load of compost. My garden is alive with garden helpers, and compost!
Wednesday 25th January
Son helper and I have spread one more load of compost down the Driveway Garden. This time it is rather stinky - 'fresh' would be a more subtle adjective. I hope that Rusty dog doesn't notice this too much... That's all the gardening I've done today.