Writing impossible lists...
My work seems to encroach more and more on my attempts to be the world's greatest gardener. And I seem to be obsessively writing impossible lists.
Saturday 18th May
We had our first frost this week on Wednesday night - Thursday morning. It was oh so gentle - a mere one degree, according to the weather reporters. It seemed that only the tips of the grass blades were white. It reminds me to get prepared for winter - it is nearly time for the great migration of pelargonium and daisy pots into the glass-house.
I'm up quite early - it's still a bit dark and wet looking outside, and there's not a breath of wind. I can look out the windows here where I'm writing and see huge blossoms of late flowering pink and white roses, and a patch of pink toned astroemeria. When did I plant that?
The Toe Toe seed-heads in the ex-Island Border look immaculate - I think I last groomed them three years ago. Sometimes the results of one's labour suddenly become visible months if not years afterwards. Remember, though, that I'm not wearing my spectacles, for to do so would be to open my eyes to the cold winter scruff.
What should I do today? I feel quite mellow, so perhaps today should involve some choices.
- I could continue the journey into the Hump... but this will involve carting out and burning the rubbish....
- I could re-site the little path by the Cercis tree over the water race... but this would mean me getting rather wet...
- I could cut back dead perennials... but seed-heads and dead stalks are architectural artistic winter statements...
Hopeless! You can see the sort of mood I'm in.
I did work in the Hump, planting a large patch of spring bulbs and using up the last of the stones. Jerome likes the new path - she followed me back and forth, keeping on track, not cutting any corners. Cats are sensible with paths. I wonder how this journey will feel in spring with all the purple honesty flowering - it should be magical. I barrowed out two loads of burnable rubbish, burnt it, then retired inside for coffee and contemplation. I've had a dreamy sort of day, but am extremely happy with my garden. Tomorrow I will be a higher achiever.
Sunday 19th May
First, there's the heady energetic feeling - I'm up! It's early morning! Weekend! Garden! Nothing can stop me! Then a hint of caution - a few small slices of reality - I need warm clothes (it's a little chilly), and a cup of hot tea, a piece of toast... then, as mind and body warm up, some large slabs of reality present themselves for consumption - aaargh! - exam marking (4+ hours), register entering (10 minutes, but where oh where is my black pen), general school preparation (1 hour), photocopying work for the coming week (no I don't have a photocopier at home).
Result - a ghastly mind-numbing compromise, the wrecking of yet another weekend garden day. So will I spend 2 hours lengthening the Hump path, then mark the Trigonometry and Statistics questions? Or should I go into work now, print off all the resources I need for next week, then race back to lose myself in the planned improvements of the Dog-Path Garden? What is more important?
I think I need to be extremely well organised today, otherwise I will end up sad and sorry for myself. Gardeners need to be able to compromise, and to rise above such things. All things must take their place.
I have successfully done two hard gardening sessions, with the intervening hour spent proofing resources and photocopying. I've picked some chrysanthemums for the house. I've reached even further into the interior of the Hump, carting out six rubbish loads and planting more bags of bulbs. Stephen has been rather rude and risque concerning my gardener's posture in there ... the Rump in the Hump he calls it... I have reminded him that fat bottomed girls make the rocking world go round...
- John Clare Rose :
- John Clare always flowers really late for me - often right into winter.
I've burnt all the rubbish and ventured into the Dog-Path Garden where I've weeded and shifted the path, planting yet another defining row of Iris confusa along the new edge. There is now space for a small archway for the sprawling rose Golden Celebration to prop itself up on. John Clare further along has rather modest but well coloured hips and several daffodil patches are just starting to sprout. The new path direction looks good, as it breaks up the rather long narrow feel of this part of the Dog-Path Garden. Haven't yet tested the path on the dog in question, though - he decided to lie down next to the smouldering rubbish fire and ignore me. Now I am about to get out my marking and be really a really responsible teacher (i.e. get it finished).
Taj-dog at the river
Saturday 25th May
I am sick of being a responsible teacher! Where's my soul gone? Again, a Saturday morning, my beautiful garden out there waiting to be clipped and mulched and enjoyed in the true spirit of autumn, and my head is chock-full of work things. I can understand why some gardeners turn to drink. No-one but myself and my over-active analytical brain is to blame, though, so some inner discipline is required. Perhaps a list would help? I will try that - here goes.
A Blustery Autumn / Winter Gardening List :
- Go to river (Taj-dog's paradise) and get trailer load of stones.
- Continue the Hump path for an hour or so.
- Plant the new bronze flax (bought cheaply from the supermarket).
- Choose a garden bed. Take out new secateurs (again from the supermarket) and cut back old growth.
- Gather up all half-hardy pots and wheel them to the glass-house.
- Plant pots etc. with winter pansies and polianthus.
- Organise the mowing of the lawns before the weather changes.
- Do all the edges around the freshly mown lawns.
- Retire inside to read new garden book and wait for the RUGBY (Super 12 final - go the mighty Canterbury Crusaders!).
The weather turned nasty quite early, so as a consequence only the first two list items were able to be accomplished. Numbers three on will automatically roll over to tomorrow, weather permitting.
Sunday 26th May
It is almost time I took that magical first cup of Sunday coffee and wandered out on semi-frosty patio to peer at garden things. Like the holes in the patio garden dug by the dog, digging up things that cats dig holes in patio garden for (animals are pretty basic really) - and the brave pink Fairy roses flowering at this time of year (they even manage to die off colourfully, as if they were blushing or pink-faced with cold, sorry that they can't stay longer). I am feeling more poetic and spiritual today, and there are blue skies outside.
Morning tea time...
I have attacked the Golden Hop in Middle Border and cleared a lot of it from its surrounding garden bed. Of course, it has obligingly died off for winter, but those strong tendril roots are everywhere. Oooops! Am I a fan of rampant ground covers? The neighbouring pittosporums don't seem to mind their annual summer strangulation. After my break I will shift a rhododendron and remove a Hypericum which has outgrown its spot. The plain green flaxes in this border seem twice as large as last time I looked, too, and decisions will be made as to whether they stay or other shrubs around them move out. Knowing my luck they are probably destined to be three metres tall. Well, at least the Golden Hop can have fun climbing up the flax flower stems next summer. This border could easily turn into a thugs bed.
Hey, I had fun! (though I did rather zoom off on a gardening tangent, namely widening the water race to create a curved small lake-like feature below Duck Lawn). I did shift the rhododendron, and pulled out a green flax which was half grass. My hands are very sore from pulling out gorse seedlings and clumps of rush-like grass. I burnt the Golden Hop - all that effort growing all summer gone up in smoke. However, the ashes will be spread in the Hump. Thus the circle of life continues. Now it is raining, so I can attempt to do some school work without feeling too peeved. I am sick of being a teacher. Pity about the money!