I can lose confidence so quickly in the garden. Like today. I decide to start clearing the house gardens. I am full of cheer. Aargh! It all looks too dreadful, the dahlias have given up and gone to seed, and there are weeds and gum leaves everywhere. I mean everywhere. Like I've been AWOL for six months.
So I get my hand tools and start scraping and nipping. I work for two hours, collecting mess. And still it all looks dreadful. Why? Because I am uncommitted, just scraping at the surface, and I don't even have my proper gardening clothes and shoes on.
What to do? Some watering might be appropriate, but I shouldn't have to do this in late April (mid-autumn in my garden). OK. How about a major shovel and fork session? Or a brand new look? Hmm... I get so cross with myself.
Friday 29th April
So here's the plan. I am regrouping, so to speak. A cup of tea, and then I change into my rough gear and make a proper new start. I stop thinking things like 'it's so unfair'. I put the hose on. I cut the dahlias right down - if they have decided to 'pull the plug' early, then so be it.
- Aconitum :
- A beautiful blue late flowering perennial, which seeds everywhere - and is supposed to be poisonous. Oops.
If I don't want all those Aconites everywhere, then I remove them. I think of each plant as an individual, with needs of its own. If I only half-like it, I dig it out and put it in a pot. If it's too old, I dig it out and take it to the bonfire. I toughen up. And I stop moaning in this gardening journal. I think of my readers, yawning, reaching for the computer mouse...
The Fairy Rose
Two Hours Later...
Ha! All that self-scolding has worked (it usually does). I've gardened properly, positively, in attack-mode. All the overgrown grasses in the patio garden have gone. I've replanted some fresh Lychnis plants, and the hose is on.
I've dug out two dead roses (their loss - they were recycled from another garden). And lots of weeds which were just starting to flower - phew! I've trimmed dead canes off The Fairies (they're pretty pink roses which bloom really late in the season).
Naughty little thing!
And I've trimmed the Erigeron. It's a naughty little self-seeder, but delightful to grow amongst paving stones, if you like messy, natural things. And it makes a beautiful backdrop for cat photographs. This is Tiger, my senior cat.
Tiger Cat by the Mexican Daisies
But the most important thing of all - I am happy again! I am back on my game (not 'the game', you understand).
Saturday 30th April
I am still happy! Today I've only worked for three hours, but I've done something rather nice - I've planted pieces of flax (the Phormium Yellow Wave) along the boundary. While in this location, I trimmed lots of Cotoneaster, added the branches to the bonfire, and burnt all those super-sized patio grasses.
Autumn Dogwood Leaves
Now I just have to shift the hoses, make sure the new plantings are happy and watered, take a few autumn leaf photographs, and then I'm off to madrigals. I feel pretty purposeful - that's the main thing.
Escher the Dog
Sunday 1st May
And yet another purposeful day - well, more like a late afternoon, but I've worked very hard. I've been cleaning up the plants on the curve of the driveway. The Anemanthele here need replacing - when uber-mature, these grasses are very scruffy, grey, over-sized, and dead-looking (images of a certain lady gardener spring to mind). The newer seedlings are a stunning mixture of vibrant green and sparkling orange. Say no more.
Maybe if I spent less time thinking (and monitoring my daily gardening moods) and more time doing things... I am reminded of a conversation I have, rather often, when I'm sitting on the couch with Escher the big brown dog. I could learn from him.
M : So, Escher - what do you think?
E : I'm a dog. I don't think. I do.
Says it all, really.