I need to be outside...
It's March. Oh dear. I've got no time to write anything - I need to be outside in the garden. There's mulching, weeding, raking, and watering to do - and later this month some upcoming plant sales to look forward to.
Looking Towards the Willow Tree Garden
Thursday 1st March
I have a carful of old bags of newspapers. The hoses are on. My dog is bored with being inside - the sun is shining, there's no wind. Out, out, March Gardener! There's no time even to make a list.
Hmm... I've laid out all the newspaper, yet still my big mulching mission in the Welcome Garden isn't quite finished. The Hebes in there seem very happy, with lots of fresh green growth at the tips of their stems. I'm not sure what else to do today - it's still a bit hot. I might grab my book and sit by the water race.
My New Blue Garden Seats Are Finished!
Under the Willow tree in one of my beautiful blue garden seats would be nice! I've probably spent twenty minutes sitting in them since they were painted - that's terrible! Important advice to self - spend time being lazy in the garden, as well as zooming around weeding and mulching.
Some Exciting Historical News
Non-Gardening partner found some old photograph negatives, and kindly had them printed. They show the Moosey house and garden just a couple of months after we moved in. It's amazing - the driveway has absolutely no garden at all! The house patio gardens are almost bare, and the trees are so small. I am inspired to organise some Before and After photographs - yes, I'll do it!
Friday 2nd March - A Grumpy Day
Oh dear. I got into the garden in the late afternoon after buzzing around on buses (dentist - aargh!). I thought it might be nice to walk through the old fashioned rose arches and see if any canes needed tying in. Oops. Oh dear. There was a really big mess, the ground was weedy, and some of the roses desperately in need of serious maintenance.
Disgraceful - Gloire de Dijon
Now the man in the specialist rose nursery 'helped' me choose, and sold me these roses as being suitable for archways. But now I wonder if Eastlea's Golden Rambler, for example, wouldn't be better rambling over a large hay barn. It's a vicious rose to tie in, it seems to have thorns on its leaves, and it is already far too rampant. Some of the other runty roses like Gloire de Dijon could take the hint, though.
Phyllis Bide Roses
So I weeded and pruned and got thoroughly disheartened - I just don't think I got these roses right. They were all called fragrant in the rose catalogue - I collected a little posy of rose blooms from five or six archways, and tested it with my nose. Nothing! Rusty the Dog enjoyed himself, though - charging around seeing flocks of passing birds and aeroplanes off the property.
And the weeds. Hmm... I thought they were being 'taken care of' discretely by the Hazelnut Orchardist. Well, they're not! And one of the Lady Hillingdons is dead. But the real worry is that golden rambler. Some quick research is needed - if I discover pictures of it covering and smothering huge buildings, whatever am I going to do with it? Blast. I'm grumpy now.
Oops. Spelling Mistake!
Hmm... The name is spelt wrong - it should be Easlea's Golden Rambler. It's an aristocrat, outstanding, strong and reliable and has exceptionally long stems. Sounds like a sentence to pop into my What Plant Am I? Quiz!
- Easleas Golden Rambler :
- I regret that two Easlea's Golden Ramblers growing each side of a moderately normal sized archway are just not suitable.
The man who 'helped' me choose this rose for an archway needs his dimensions checking! And what have I leaned? Never trust a man in a specialist rose nursery? Seems a bit harsh! Mind you, it's a most beautiful rose when flowering. But it has vigorous growth up to 5 meters - that's over 16 feet. Oops.
Saturday 3rd March - Solutions!
Ha! I have had serious consultations with the Moosey Farm Manager - a simple question, really - 'Can I grow rambling roses over the roof of the hay barn?' And I can! So my lovely golden ramblers will be removed - I'll prune them back today, and then when the weather is a little cooler they'll shift out. My research keeps saying they are considered climbers - I reckon this is because their flowers are large, whereas ramblers are associated with smaller blooms.
Mow That Grass!
More Rose Googling
There are two more archways with 'rambler' roses planted each side. Aargh! What will my research throw up? Ten foot long rambling rose canes again? Oops. Chevy Chase is a dense growing, vigorous plant - between 3 and 4 meters in 'length'. It is resistant to blackspot and mildew. It is apparently perfect for a Cottage Garden look, and there's a picture of it growing up a tripod. This gives me hope!
Enough twittering and googling. I have a rose avenue to tidy up. And swimming and a choir concert tomorrow to practice for. I am too busy to cry over misplaced rampant rambling roses.
It took me two hours to weed and tie in canes. That's not bad at all! I also did some dead-heading, and pruned off any rose stems pointing totally the wrong way. I had Fluff-Fluff for cat company, lolling in the shade of the wheelbarrow. He loves being out in the Hazelnut Orchard.
Then I weeded frantically in Duck Lawn, expecting every minute to be rushed at by my fierce and fickle rooster. No sign of him! I ended my gardening day by gathering two barrowfuls of gum tree rubbish. Then I made plum jam and cooked a roast chicken while the house lawns were being mowed. A nice finish - and I'm not grumpy any more! That's a relief!
Monday 5th March
It's too hot to garden properly. I've been watering and sort of poking around doing boring gardening things, weeding without vigour, bending over so I don't get my jeans dirty. After two hours weeding and laying mulch in the Pittosporum garden - why does it take me so long? - I gave up. I retired to the Moosey office to play the What Plant Am I? quiz. I ended up being a beautiful Hollyhock!
Hollyhock in the Rain
Then I started thinking about rose gardens and how scruffy my roses look in late summer. Then I felt guilty and wandered back outside.
Autumn is Coming
All the animals have stayed inside flopped sideways on the cool kitchen floor - there's no room for me! They're too hot! Oh well - at least the big irrigation has been running for the last two nights. And there is a different feel to the light. The sun is lower in the sky, the shadows are longer, and we are getting our very best warm weather! It's time to cut back the catmint, and almost time to stop dead-heading the roses.
A Begonia Called Martin Johnson
Back to What Plant Am I? quiz - I've ended up twice being a begonia called Martin Johnson. Now he's a rugby player, the captain of the English team who won the last world cup, a large rugged chap, probably with cauliflower ears... I liked it better when I ended up being the Rhapsody in Blue rose! Such is the fragile ego of the older lady gardener!
Right. Off to choir practice. Yesterday I only managed two gardening hours because we were singing in a concert. Tomorrow I promise I will be better. And I won't sulk if I end up being a boysie begonia, or a bearded iris.