Bitten on the behind?

Eek! May has crept up on an unsuspecting gardener and bitten her on the behind. That sounds indelicate - perhaps it tapped her on the shoulder as she gently raked up the autumn leaves?

Monday 1st May

This is serious. I have FIFTEEN DAYS (a May holiday looms) to prove that I can maintain a large, sprawling country garden, and prepare all the garden beds for winter - put the beds to bed, so to speak. I'm talking pea-straw - after weeding. I'm talking plants - shifting the asters, dividing other over-large perennial clumps (hello, hostas), and planting the pots of Alchemilla Mollis and blue Scabious. I'm talking cutting down all the old dahlias - before the first frost.

 Some are still bravely bloomng.
Red Dahlias

Two Wheelbarrows

I'm also talking about clearing and raking. This leads on to burning and composting. Ha! I have a new mistress plan for separating the dry from the wet, compostable rubbish - two wheelbarrows!

Why didn't I think of this before? No time for twittering in my gardening journal. Serious action starts now - a dog-bicycle ride around the biggest country block, then a scouting mission to find the leaf rake (which will probably take me the same amount of time - blast!)


May I be permitted to boast a bit? I have kicked some garden-butt today. The oak leaves are off the Pond Paddock lawn and in bags. The pink asters under the variegated Elm tree are now all in one (large) clump, and this garden is almost ready for mulch.

I've prepared the fence-line garden for the Alchemilla Mollis, digging out (with some difficulty) solid root clumps of Shasta daisies and networks of Iris confusa. My two-wheelbarrow separation of garden rubbish method really works, too - why has it taken me over eleven years to work this out? Aargh! I finished the day in the gathering gloom burning the rubbish. Legend!

Rusty the Dog :
Dear Rusty. What would I do without him to keep me safe in the garden?

All day long Rusty Dog was in a super-dog-vigilante mood. He barked at overhead planes and chased them out of Moosey airspace. He barked at the pigeons, at next-door's tractor, at the fantails, at the compost, at the rubbish fire smoke - anything that remotely happened, or was merely there, he barked at. Oh joy! Dog guardian guarding the garden...

Tuesday 2nd May

Today I shifted some dwarf agapanthus (white flowering - that is if they ever flower for me) into the Welcome Garden, and planted a few more tough plants from the Easter sale (a Phormium and a colourful Coprosma). It's the time of year when I scour my assorted pot collection - anything which has outgrown its pot tends to get plonked in the current garden-under-construction. I spread some more mulch.

If this area was irrigated I could have a Camellia hedge, lovely little deciduous trees and rhododendrons. Blast! The reality is scruffy, drought-tolerant toughies, and no vegetation which will overhang the driveway and block the fire truck. Succulents? What about some large Agaves? Hmm... Maybe - I'm sure there would be frost shelter. Or a mass planting of Cordylines? They could have mass leaf-dropping sessions. Lavenders? Not enough sun. Lavenders like and need sun, I'm sure!

 Some of the colours of Autumn.
Crab Apples and Euphorbia

Thursday 4th May

Right. A serious outdoors-all-day day. I now have TWELVE days to sort out my garden before my holiday. I'm only going away for two weeks, but I feel like a parent leaving the weeds home-alone. Party time! Aargh!

Go West, Old Woman...

Rusty Dog and I are about to bike off down the road. Armed with a map of Canterbury (scary stuff!) we are looking at a new, longer route - last seen, dishevelled head-gardener with sprightly beige dog, pedalling west... When we return I am going to weed and mulch another garden. Right. There is much to do!


Excellent idea to take the map (had to check it once) and a thermos of tea (stopped by the old church) and Rusty's lead (had to walk slowly through two hundred sheep grazing on the road-side). Memo to self - am not necessarily cycling superwoman. Next time I head seriously west, have a risk management plan for coping with puncture two cycling-hours from home. A packed lunch would have been nice...

 For the log-burner.

Now I'm off to stack firewood. Rusty Dog is asleep. Then I'll get some pea-straw and start covering the house gardens (but only if I've weeded them). Will my legs still work? Eek!