Getting Organised

'Organise' vt. - to give definite structure, arrange, put into working order...

Humph. The word I use the most in my garden journals is the verb 'organise'. I am always needing to organise either myself, or the garden, or both. I am obsessed, obviously, in having an organised garden life - on all possible levels.

 Lists should help - right?
Organising the Head Gardener

Let's take the purely personal level. How many secateurs do I mulch per month? How many old, sad, rusting secateurs do I find in the ash of the burning pile, or underneath the Leyland hedge, the traditional dumping ground of non-burnable rubbish? How many lists do I write and then lose?

An organised gardener definitely arranges her (or his) up-close-and-personal effects, like gardening gloves, so they can easily be found - in a sensible place. There’s a special shelf in the potting shed, a labeled bucket in the corner of the garage, even a sneaky kitchen drawer. Gloves, diggers, even hand-cream should not need replacing every fortnight through misplacement or loss. Think of all this money redirected to buy new plants!

Getting the Glass-House Organised

And let's not start on the glass-house! The plaintive all-seasons cry - 'I must get the glass-house organised' - is written with monotonous regularity in the gardening journal. An organised glass-house doesn't have to be absolutely clean and tidy, but you'd think that some sort of operational system would be visible. Pots stacked in descending diameter sizes under here, seed trays over there, cuttings started off here where it's warmest - surely it should be easy to put a glass-house in working order...

 This happens every year. It never seems to improve...
Organising the Hen House Garden

The scariest part of the word organise, though, lies not in the sorting out and careful arranging of garden accessories, tools, and gumboots. It refers to the design structure inherently visible (or invisible) in the garden itself. The Moosey garden tries hard to have a subtle but definite structure.

So when, for example, you read in the journal that the Dog-Path Gardens need 'organising' you can bet on some or all of the following:

  1. The Dog-Path Garden path (naturally there is a path - at least the naming of the different Moosey gardens is organised!) is totally impassable, due to inappropriate planting of too many large plants far too close to the path edge.
  2. The Dog-Path trees have grown ridiculously far-and-wide, thus depriving assorted summer perennials and roses of any desire to produce flowers.
  3. The Rhododendrons are fighting with the Hebes for space and survival, and in the ensuing confusion the sneaky Pittosporums seem to be winning - when did they get so big and pushy?
  4. The available sun has halved (could the climate change be quite this severe?) and the prevailing winds have totally changed direction - again!
 Do not be fooled by the beautiful autumn colours - this path is definitely not organised!
Organising the Dog Path

'Organise' does have some non-dictionary meanings, though, particularly in winter. Organising the path edges means collecting all firewood edge-logs for burning in the house log-burner. Fair enough - the choice between a well-defined path edge and a warm house is an easy one.

Organising the seeds means hunting for all the badly labelled envelopes stuffed into drawers, shirt pockets, old bags and boxes - from which favourite tall white Cosmos and blue Nigella seeds might (hopefully) be extracted. Organising the roses means buying at least twelve new varieties (hee hee) which cannot technically be afforded. Oops...

 Like this favourite blue Nigella.
Organising the Summer Flowering Annuals

Hmmm.. I'd better organise some photographs for this article...