This is the second week of my holiday. Wonder if I'll be able to keep up my energy levels? There is so much to do.
Sunday 20th April
This morning we are going to visit my gardening friend and have some pancakes. Overnight I've been thinking about ponds and how their shape is defined by the need for the water to be level. One could dig an impossible pond where all the water would run out one side before even touching the other. Hmm... This pond design could be harder than I thought. I could just run water into the middle of the Frisbee Lawn to flood it and see what shape pond eventuates - then the water might all run off and flood the driveway. Oops! Some surveying is I think required.
Autumn in the Garden
Monday 21st April
I did mundane gardening all yesterday afternoon (which was a pity since it was a clear sunny day). I should have sat on a sunny seat, warm and inspired. Instead I raked up leaves with my head down, got muddy knees planting another bucket of bulbs, and then poked at my rubbish fire for ages. All very necessary activities, however - but better done on a grey day?
Today I am up early and have been doing some gentle internet research of my fellow gardeners' experiences regarding new ponds. Every pond builder wishes that they'd built a bigger one. This seems rather odd to me.
I present a list of Pond Ideas :
- An upper pool?
- A pebble beach?
- A waterfall?
- A bog?
- A geotechnical survey of the silty alluvial sediments of the riverine floodplain?
Enough pond-dreaming. There is work to be done outside, and I promised myself I'd make every moment count. First I'll plant some more bulbs, then maybe some more rubbish clearing and burning. Then there are pots to organise before the first frost. Should keep me busy, if not satisfied. Back in a while.
Plants to Plant
I'm back after working very, very hard. I've cleared around the Oak Tree seat, laying the retaining stones properly, levelling the path by the water, planting (bulbs) and weeding. I've tried to make the flowery borders nearby simpler by pulling out stray aquilegia seedlings and a ghastly yellow dahlia. My purchases from the Easter sale sit in a heap, unplanted as yet (oops - there is almost no room in any of the gardens for them). Tomorrow I must attack the lilac phlox patch by the glass-house, properly this time. I do it every year on my knees with my hand digger. This is the year of the spade.
The grass strip which runs the length of the gardens over the water race is a healthy green, and the surrounding borders look really beautiful. Many of the tree colours are changing. The naughty Golden Hop in Middle Border has died off - that would make a good job for tomorrow. I only have six days of my holiday left - eek!
Tuesday 22nd April
It's 8.30am and I'm just waiting for the sun to get a bit warmer (there was almost a frost last night). I'll think I'll try and get rid of that dratted lilac phlox patch for starters. I'm not sure what else I'll do today - the little piles of bargain plants in pots are embarrassing, and I now remember that I have a rather large mail-order delivery to look forward to. Plus there are those rather large bags of bulbs slumping in the garage. Is it possible that I have actually run out of room? I noticed that my gardening friend has a lot of plant-filled pots positioned in gaps in her borders. I could try this, if desperate. I think I need to take a hot cup of coffee out there and just make a start. Shovelling out those phloxes will warm me up...
Well, I never quite made it to the phlox border. On my way, wheeling my barrow full of phlox-digging tools past the back house lawn garden, I decided to clear it. It wouldn't take too long. Then I decided to dig out a large flowery weed I grow (it may be called lovage, am not totally sure about this) which was crowding out the sides of the pergola.
- Mermaid Rose :
- What a thug! This rose is only to be approached with extreme caution, wearing protective clothing...
Then I continued my big dig along the other side of the fence - resulting in slightly less lawn to mow, and some space for the new plants. It's been a dirty knees, hands in the soil type of gardening day. A big gardening day. Lilac phlox free.
P.S. I wore my thick gardening gloves most of the time, as the rose Mermaid sprawls along the fence I was working by. Moosey the intrepid (and responsible) gardening legend.
Phormium and Asters
Wednesday 23rd April
Will today be another BIG GARDENING day? The challenge of lilac phloxes, bags of bulbs, clusters of nursery plants needing permanent homes... I will make a hot cup of coffee and sit on the Stables seat. This will be the viewing seat for the proposed new pond - for now it is the perfect sunny autumn/winter morning seat (the only seat which gets early sun). If I start the day pond-dreaming then chances are I will overcome all challenges by lunchtime. We'll see...
I have gone semi-apres-gardening. The phloxes are GONE, but I can remember doing exactly this last year - and the year before - and then when the little shoots come up in Spring I go all sentimental, remembering the phloxes came here from my last (and first) garden. Toughen up, I reckon!Have just sheepishly wandered out to gate to see if new mail order plants have arrived (no luck). Now I am off back outside to take some photographs and to spread some pea-straw on the newly cleared phlox-free garden by the glass-house - a nice late afternoon task.
Thursday 24th April
There is a southerly storm coming with hail and low temperatures - so why aren't I out there making every moment count? I've been garden touring on the internet, putting off first decisions. Foolish woman! There's still blue sky outside, and many things to do. I will get a cup of hot coffee and peer down the back paddock to check on the bad weather (it rolls in from the south, often you can see the bank of cloud as the cold front moves up the country). While I'm here I'll imagine the rows of hazelnut trees which will soon be planted in this paddock, and the centre grass driveway which is to be lined with posts covered in roses. There is also quite a lot of land around the edge of the orchard which I am allowed to use. Exciting stuff! I may put in some smaller ornamental trees which can get under-planted with rhododendrons. Hmm...
I have just wandered inside, followed almost immediately by the southerly rain. I've been digging, weeding, and reorganising the potager and pergola garden. I now have relaid the brick paths in gentle curves, and dug out the clumps of red dahlias. I've planted some hostas, plus about 50 daffodil bulbs, and I've covered everything with a blanket of peastraw. Interestingly, this garden houses my phlox collection - these are now crammed in together. Some of these have (from memory) very beautiful colours, but usually by midsummer are crowded out by pushy neighbours.
Even though the morning has been grey and rather cold, I'm impressed with the warmth of colour in the garden. I think that I am a very very lucky person. But I have to become a teacher again in four days - eek! Wonder if I have the courage to retire gracefully at the end of this year? Perhaps run a little garden-stay business? Set myself up as a country garden consultant? Become a venue for outdoor weddings? Trouble is that I hate the idea of trying to make money out of the garden.
Friday 25th April
My holiday is nearly over. My hands and fingernails are very grubby. My hair is in a tangle. It's almost time to hang up the gardening shirts and find my hairbrush. Today I will have to do some school work. My mail order plants haven't arrived yet. My bulbs aren't all planted. I'm not ready for this holiday to end.
My holiday ended with a small family wedding in the garden. The lawns were sweeping swathes of deep green (freshly mown) and all garden edges were trimmed. The signing of the register took place on the new patio table. The garden looked absolutely beautiful in its warm glowing Autumn colours.