The waterwheel is working...
Blue Pansy Flowers
I now have a huge ongoing gardening responsibility, one which will test my intelligence and analytical skills. The waterwheel is working fully, and water now flows into the top of my wriggling stream - and down, down, down through the Wattle Woods. And I am in charge - I decide the direction of the wriggles.
Sunday 27th January
By late yesterday I had a rough route channelled, and had quickly enlarged the destination pond, to counteract a little spot of flooding. Today the serious fun starts! Actually, it's already started, and has absolutely nothing to do with blue pansy flowers! But there can be no proper stream photographs just yet...
My Snoozing List
Snoozing in bed I thought and thought about the rationale behind a proper stream. To minimise bumbling, I must set out my ideas in writing - a list, I'm afraid, will be needed. One cannot just plant the stream edges and fill the bottom with stones. And I should also think what nature would do. Flood? Hmm...
- Streams do not exist in isolation - they burble through gardens.
- Ponds at the bottom of streams have physical requirements.
- Paths need to work together with streams.
- And seats go with streams.
At the moment, parts of the stream skitter alongside my summer rubbish piles by the fence line. There's a fire ban, and the dry gum bark and leaves cannot be disposed of until at least March. Two things - I want my stream surroundings to be both ornamental and beautiful. But country gardens have to have accessible rubbish piles.
Bog Plants and Marginals
I'm happy with the end pond - its place and shape is sensibly dictated by the land contours, and so far there's been no flooding. But there will be seepage - ha! I'm thinking bog plants, marginals - this is very exciting! Maybe I could round up all my Ligularias and plant them by the water.
I'm off now to clear the ground around the little pond, shift some flaxes, and start thinking about viewing spots and seats. I'm beginning at the end, so to speak. Nice!
I've spent four hours pottering by the stream. I'm happy with its new channel, and I've changed the entrance to the pond. At one stage I had four cats sitting staring at the water flowing by. I've planted a few patches of Iris confusa and Renga Renga. Now I just have to wait and see how the stream bottom settles. Nothing in a hurry. There are huge composting piles of rubbish to shift, though - I haven't quite decided how much of the fence-line I want cleaned up. It's hot, dusty work, and I'm not ready yet to take photographs.
The Glasshouse Garden
Now I'm off to finish the new path. NGP (Non-Gardening Partner and the Designer of Garden Accessories) has been busy making 'new bridge' jokes. 'Why not build one massive bridge over the whole complete water race?' he asks cynically. So younger son and I have had the most brilliant idea (only an idea) - to erect a bridge-gazebo over the water. Somewhere to sit, eat, and rest - while the water races underneath. With a pointy roof, and trellis, and with steps either side leading from the house back lawn to the new path. Now that's an idea! I've had a look at some kitsets, plans, and prices. NGP may yet regret not going for the Monet Bridge, hee hee.
Even Later, Apres-Gardening...
Before I collapse happily in front of TV (the cricket) I must thank many of my flowers for being so colourful. And suddenly some of my larger daylilies are catching my eye - I've been rather rudely dismissive about you. Sincere apologies to these big-hearted plants - I promise to have a dividing plan for you before next summer.
I've done two more hours work - I am a gardening legend. But the waterwheel has consumed me. A distant neighbour arrived this afternoon looking for her dog and I almost couldn't help myself - I so wanted to show her, almost a stranger, my new waterwheel. Word will get out - avoid calling at 'that' house, or you'll be dragged through paths under Wattle trees to see a cable drum rotating slowly and water pouring out of plastic milk containers...
I can't be the only proud new waterwheel owner who has felt like this. It's as bad as boring random people with pictures of ones freshly married daughter or new grandchild...
Monday 28th January
The sun is shining, the water in my stream is flowing, and the flies are buzzing around twelve smouldering bags of horse manure. It's obvious what I should be doing first.
A Gazebo Over the Water?
Today while gymming and swimming I thought long and hard about a bridge with a gazebo in the middle. I can't quite imagine how it will look - silly, or cute, or absolutely fabulous. I've looked at pictures of gazebos again, mainly traditional hexagonal and octagonal rustics which have been plonked on the edge of a lawn. My gazebo will have to grow naturally out of its bridge platform.
Water Race - Site of New Gazebo?
And what would it be for? As well as a thoroughfare over the water, it needs to have seats around the side, a movable table (for elegant dining), open windows to look up and down the water, and a roof to shade the summer sun and the winter rain. It should fit five or six friendly people. There!
Alas - it's much more spiritually creative thinking about this than wheeling horse manure around in the blazing afternoon sun. OK. Here I go.
Tuesday 29th January
I am back from an unsatisfactory bicycle ride with Rusty the slow dog. Having finally graduated to the lifting of the dog-leg when off property, he wanted to stop at every fence post to show off. And yesterday afternoon several large dog-sized holes were discovered in the chicken netting - guess who is still supposed to be on a dog-diet? The hens' mouldy bread was just too tempting...
Ha! My red dahlias haven't flopped over yet, and each garden seems to have been colonised by some of these brightly coloured residents. Red flowers look good in a large country garden, and staying upright without staking is a definite bonus.
The waterwheel stream looks lovely, but the wheel itself has lost a bit of power and the buckets are starting to split. My resident engineer has been made aware of these very minor problems.
The end of January has sneaked up on me. Today I am home all day, and plan to enjoy my garden. The word for the day is 'pottering'. I have no alarming plans for major earthworks or half-day digging sessions (that happened yesterday). I could dead-head a bit, then read a bit, then weed a bit - wheel a bit of mulch around, water the orchard roses - nice! I will keep my greedy dog close by.
Cat and Dog Friends
Aargh! Weeding in the orchard with cat, dog, and chook company was interesting. The hens were really funny, and lovely, and of course very nosy, but I just couldn't relax and trust rooster to behave. In the middle of balancing to tie in a thorny rose cane I'd be looking back over my shoulder to see where he'd got to. So instead of him pecking the back of my knees I'd get spiked by rose thorns. Ouch!
Fluff Fluff the caramel-ginger cat kept rolled in the dirt and squeaking at me - guess I supposed to watch and pat his scruffy cat-tummy. Rusty escorted several planes and one low helicopter out of Moosey airspace.
Summer Wine Rose
One of my replacement orchard climbers has the name 'Summer Wine', and it's absolutely gorgeous, partnering an arch with the equally beautiful single rose Meg. I am not impressed with one of the Caroline Testouts - what a pity that a rose with so much early promise looks deadly by mid-season.
And those ramblers which the rose nursery sold to naive little me are throwing out canes right left and centre. So far I've left them in and simply pruned off anything which annoys me. But I know, deep down, that I was sold roses unsuitable for archways. I'm talking about Easlea's Golden Rambler in particular.
Summer Wine Rose
Wednesday 30th January
Oh no! The waterwheel has ground to a halt, but NGP (Non-Gardening Partner) knows exactly why, and what needs adjusting. And my gardening has ground to a halt too. It's drizzling - the rain, even if it's light, does help the garden and the surrounding paddocks. And I have been at work. Ouch! Just three mornings of this week only, and I'm allowed to spend all the money I earn on plants.
Thursday 31st January
Aargh! The month is ending in a pot pourri of delightful country fragrances - cat pee again in Rusty's food bowl, raw fish scraps for cat and dog breakfasts, and ten bags of glowing horse manure waiting just outside the door. I am escaping, off to work, and will deal to the organic matter later this afternoon. Goodbye January! I've really enjoyed your summer sunshine.