Shrub versus shrub
Shrubs jostling for space in the middle of the Dog-Path Garden - sounds rather jolly, don't you think? Like well-behaved matrons at a bring and buy stall? The reality is very different. It's shrub versus shrub - stranglers, smotherers, and bullies against the meek 'underdogs', poor things!
Thursday 10th May
My first task today is to further deal with the interior of the Dog-Path Garden, in which I've already made a serious start. Viburnum tinus shrub-trees are suckering, and this will not do. Choisya is straggling and this will also not do. The Berberis, self-sown and now firmly resident (without my permission) is doing rather too nicely, thankyou. And it's provided me with lots of offspring.
But at least the Oak Lead Hydrangea and the rhododendrons have more air space, and dollops of horse manure to enjoy. Now overhead trees need lower branches trimming, and all the random seedling Pittosporums and Pseudopanax need - ahem - rationalising. And I need a rather strong cup of early morning coffee. This might prove to be a rather aggressive day.
Four hours Later...
I am off for a swim and a contemplate, if there is such a noun. Oh, perhaps it should be a 'contemplation'? Not to worry. I have a dilemma. The interior of the Dog-Path Garden has become nature's nursery, stocked full of seedling Lemonwoods, Pseudopanax, species Cordylines, and coarse green Carexes. I cannot waste them, but I don't want them all growing in here. I want to control this shrubby garden, for the sake of my rhododendrons. So I've just ripped out all the Berberis and Prunus seedlings (I am not a total softie), and will return with potting mix and recycling intentions.
OK. I have three large bags of potting mix, and a squillion spare pots. As a reward (in advance) I allowed myself to buy a pretty new cordyline hybrid (called Electric Star) and forty yellow tulip bulbs. As one does!
Space for new Shrubs!
But I have something else to do today as well. I've just checked the river pump in the water race. And I noticed - aargh! Much mess! As one does. So I have made a list.
- Remove Kaffir lily bulbs. No sun = no flowering.
- Remove Arum lilies. Poot things, always getting trodden on.
- Trim Gunnera leaves.
- Barrow out gum leaves and bark.
Us Two? Stinky?
Done, and done quite well. I barrowed in six more bags of horse manure around the bases of the rhododendrons. I trimmed a bit more off the Viburnum. I started the nursery seedling potting. Then the autumn bonfire reignited in a blaze of flaming glory.
And so I smell like I've slept in an old-school bar-room. But nicer than my dogs, who have found something particularly stinky to roll in - possibly a dead hare or rabbit (a new strain of Calisi virus has just been introduced, and is interfering nicely with the hare and rabbit population). I pat a dog, then reach for the soap. Hugging is off limits.
Finally, I'd like to pay tribute to the late flowering roses. Their shrubs may be a little tatty, and indeed their petals are getting scruffy, but I think it's a jolly generous garden gesture, particularly this close to mid-winter. Brr...