I am a very messy gardener...

 My hydrangeas which live by the side of the house.
Late Summer Colour

Oh dear - I am having a mild gardener's crisis. I am a very messy gardener. This is because I am a messy person. My car, my house, my kitchen drawers are all messy. Even my hair is messy.

Who was I kidding, thinking I could ever do my hair like Martha Stewart! The only way to improve is self discipline, timetables, and proper checklists. Not rambling wordy lists full of good intentions. Short, concise paper lists that fit in my pocket (or stay in my head) - simple words, bullet-points, with tick boxes.

By allowing myself to work in a modular fashion I actually never get anything finished. And after a few weeks I happily forget about the tasks that I've left incomplete. Thus I am a totally messy gardener. My garden lies messy at the moment - half-mulched, half-weeded, half my paths half-raked, half the edges done, while I lurch around wheeling two or three barrowfuls of something-or-other, then have to have a wee rest.

Well, today just has to be the exception. I have to start something, finish it, and clean up afterwards - then I can start something else. The vegetable garden gets to go first.

Interim Report One - Lunchtime...

The vegetable garden is done, tomatoes properly tied in, purple potatoes harvested, old lettuces removed and given to my chooks. All the flowering calendulas are pulled out. All the large Nicotiana sylvestris plants are out. Several little brown tussock grass seedlings are in pots. The dahlias in my vegetable garden are blooming ,though!

 A beautifully formed flower.
Red Dahlia

So what's my next job? I think the Wattle Woods paths need clearing. No - let's be much more decisive. The Wattle Woods paths will be cleared and all useful mountain grass seedlings will be placed in pots. Weeding of the edges of borders will also occur, as will the doing of the edges of the Wattle Woods Gardens. I will organise some cat company, and take my radio. There is no place for boredom or feeling lonely. By the close of today the garden should be less messy. And if I search for and find my hairbrush, then so should be me!

Interim Report Two - Afternoon Tea...

Yes. The Wattle Woods paths are done, the grasses in a little pot all ready to plant somewhere else. So far, so good. So I've actually finished two tasks - two of the hundred or more gardening tasks that are overdue. Aargh!

'Be Less Messy.'
-My March Gardening Motto.

How long can I keep up this tough attitude? Probably until I lose my hand digger (a close call earlier, as it was thrown in the hedge to join my take-ten-years compost pile). Anyway, I have made a reasonable start with my new March Motto.

Friday 9th March

Right. Let's see if we can have two consecutive days of sensible toil. Today I'll complete two smallish areas - the garden by the rose pergola, and the Elm Tree Garden. It will be general maintenance, weeding, trimming, and edges. I walk past these gardens every day when I go to feed my hens, so having less mess in them will be a psychological boost. Then I will report back, and decide on my next task.

Martin Johnson Begonia :
Isn't he the cutest plant? You'll meet more like him, and even cuter, in my silly What Plant Am I? Quiz. Check it out if you think you deserve a break from the garden!

I just have time to drink my morning coffee and play the What Plant Am I? Quiz a few times. It's not self-indulgence, rather the need to discover spelling mistakes, and see if I end up being a plant I don't like much (like the Martin Johnson Begonia).

Or, worse, seeing if any of the little plant-character descriptions, written by me, actually annoy, hurt or offend me. Hmm... The taking-oneself-far-too-seriously syndrome?

Aargh! The Dentist!

Later this afternoon I have to bike to the dentist. Aargh! They are wonderful professionals, but visits to them are never welcome. It will take me ages, too, but as a successful triathlete it should feel like a walk in the park! Hmm... That would be nicer... Enough! My dog is groaning (he's bored) and I am resolved to work properly in my garden again.

 These plants grow along the fence line at the back of the house.
Mermaid Rose and Shasta Daisy

Interim Report One - Lunchtime

All finished. Some Shasta daisies trimmed back, suckers from variegated Elm tree cut out, edges done - and lots more little ornamental grass seedlings plonked in pots. Lunch - a nice BLT, home grown L and T. Patch of unwanted lilac phlox - yet again dealt to. Now - a quick break, then back. Aargh! My dentist has just rung me. He wants me to go in earlier. However, I still have time for a good hour's work. What shall I do? Quickly?

Saturday 10th March

My gardening week will continue as it began. Firstly today we are taking Rusty the dog to the vet for his annual vaccination. Then I will sort out some more mess. Perhaps a short list - these tasks pop up all over the garden.

Short List

Trim the Shasta daisies.
The cutting-back season lurches towards autumn, and it is the time of the was-white now-floppy-brown daisy.
Tie in Mermaid and Cecile Brunner canes.
Both roses were seriously cut back six months ago. There is much new growth - how tough roses are!
Plant pots of ornamental grasses.
Get them into the ground ASAP - in the Hump Garden, or the Welcome Garden opposite.
Dig out species daylilies.
Sorry, you rusty coloured lot, but your time is up.

Then, if I have time, there is more mulching - I can use up the latest newspapers when planting the grasses. There is a fire ban, so I must not disgrace the Moosey household by burning the gum rubbish and having the fire engine drive in to put it out. How embarrassing that would be - non-gardening partner is a rural fireman. Oops!

Right. Off to the vet. I love our vet! Vets are so much nicer to visit than dentists. Sorry, dentists - it's nothing personal!

 What a beautiful colour combination!
A Brown and Yellow Perennial


I have done what I can, with severe limitations, namely that I have lost both my spades AND my only secateurs. What a nuisance. And I have had the smallest peep at the local nursery's March sale. Hmm... 30% off rhododendrons and I think I have the perfect spot for just a few more! OK. One last session, digging up the daylilies. I think I know where my scoopy shaped shovel is. Then I reckon I might sit in a blue chair in the shade, by the burbling water, and read. Life requires balance.

Sunday March 11th

Today, so far, I have been exceedingly sensible. First I dug up another patch of species daylilies. Then my Gardening Help turned up, as arranged, and chain-sawed down a Pittosporum which was crowding out a Dogwood. Three quarters of an hour later my piles of branches were ready for The New Shredder, which was duly wheeled over the bridge. Munch, munch. The chippings were placed on the nearby daylilyless garden. This is good use of time and resources...

So now I'm allowed to have a short break, then I have to decide on the next job. I've had three focused days in a row - that's got to be good for my garden! Just spotted - the cutest sight - my rooster (who has moulted all his tail feathers and looks like a fat-bottomed hen with a beard), with one dusty brown hen, both lying on their sides, reclining in the sun by the edge of the water race. My hens are all-blacks, but this one has completely dusted herself down with dirt. Peaceful poultry! So sweet...