The start of a new gardening month always feels different to me, though my garden doesn't know that anything's changed. I've read too many calendars and diaries with that ominous phrase 'Things to do in February'... Aargh!
Gum Tree Mess
Friday 1st February
Then again, depending on where in the world February is, a gardener might not even notice a new page on the calendar! We southern hemisphere temperates know that our summer has a bit more stretching and flexing to do, but all the time those days are getting shorter. Aargh! Yesterday I saw my first advertisement for buying tulip and daffodil bulbs - this seems indecently soon after their flowering season!
Today I have loose plans, which involve a spot of paid work, lunch with my broken-armed friend, and then, if I have energy left, some soil enrichment. My ten bags of fragrant horse manure cannot stay any longer by the back door - family members have complained. The house lawns are littered with gum tree bark, the house decking and patio likewise. My house dahlias would love to be dead-headed, and the Driveway Garden would love a bit of sneaky watering.
See - there's lots to do already. Garden - please be patient, and grow slowly until my return.
Oops. I'm back, and I've run totally out of energy. I have done a bit of watering, but this is not a good way to start a new month. Tomorrow I promise to be better.
Saturday 2nd February
Well... Hmm... I Know I shouldn't feel despondent, or down-hearted, or gloomy, or... But I just don't think it's fair that, having been absent for only four or five days from my garden, I discover so much mess, so many things to do, so much that is just substandard. And it's only lunchtime, and I've only been clearing up the house gardens! Let's just say that I am not happy, I am sick of picking up pieces of gum tree (bark, leaves and branches), and I'm horribly annoyed to find so many lurking weeds.
So before I drop into the depths of gardening depression I need to write a bright, positive, good-things list. And then I just go back out there and fix things! Here goes.
My Good-Things List
- 1. The Canna Tropicannas are gorgeous.
- The red dahlias work so beautifully with this tropical striped canna lily.
- 2. The Hydrangeas are lovely.
- Mind you, I have been watering them. But their shades of deep blue and purple are beautiful.
- 3. The big Nicotiana sylvestris plants are delightful.
- My favourite February plant!
- 4. The frilly petunias are lots of fun.
- Grown from seedlings.
The things I need to immediately fix are obvious. All the house gardens need weeding, all the lawn edges need trimming, all the catmint needs to be cut back, all the roses and the dahlias need dead-heading, and I need to rake all the gum tree mess off the lawn. Then and only then can I transform back into that happy, enthusiastic, cheery Moosey Head Gardener who usually writes in this journal. Ha!
Canna with Red Dahlias
I'm halfway there, after five hours of garden work - a semi-happy quasi-cheery, partly-enthusiastic gardener again, with my hair smelling of catmint. I'm tired, but all is well - the house gardens have definitely improved. Histeria the tabby cat has been following me around, followed by Fluff-Fluff and Percy, the two ginger gardening boys. It's impossible to sulk when Histeria is nearby - she's such a bright, bouncy, happy cat.
NGP (Non-Gardening-Partner) has greased the waterwheel, so it's going round and round again. He's looking at purchasing some stainless steel buckets - the plastic is too easily cracked and torn. And great gazebo news - he has suggesting I look through the pages of that very fine magazine called Fine Woodworking, as they have really good designs. Hee hee! Has he taken the first small step?
Tomorrow I will continue my big clean-up and move into the pond paddock. There are Lychnis plants to pull out, and the lawn edges are a disgrace. Golden marjoram is spilling into the grass, and I found a colony of waist-high weeds under the apple tree. I'm sorry for sulking.
Sunday 3rd February
Today - the extreme summer sacrifice. I have given up going to a cricket one-day match in order to get my house gardens in order. I am feeling furiously good about this. I'm not going to make a list - my eyes can see what needs doing. I will be multi-tasking, naturally, and multi-tasking lists are far too complicated. For example:
Item One: While walking to pump house to put hoses on, trim Senecio shrub, dead-head Paddy Stephens rose, and pick up fallen cordyline leaves - dump in burning pile next to home-made compost, with which refill wheelbarrow before checking that nearby hose is watering the right things, after tipping and spreading compost thereon. And don't lose any tools!
Paddy Stephens Rose
I could attempt to organise NGP to operate the wheelbarrow. There a lots of other interesting tasks he could do, too. I'll bet he could dig a new garden in half an hour!
So far so good. I've cleared three barrowfuls from the pond paddock gardens. It's the season for wattle seeds dropping, so I've cleared the stream bed in the Wattle Woods. I've rescued one shrieking fledgling blackbird from the young cats. The cricket is on my cricket radio (naturally), and so far NGP has been left in peace to 'free range with total freedom' - to use a hen term.
Ah - that reminds me. I'm having trouble with my black hens. They've decided to start laying by the water tank, where I've discovered their secret cache, a dozen eggs in the sweetest little hollow, baking in the mid-day sun. Aargh! These dubious eggs are now in my fridge, and any cook brave enough to use them should probably crack each separately into a bowl first!+5
Ouch! Good afternoon to Stumpy the cat - my oldest, greyest girl. She's completely lost her back-leg bounce, and has to pull herself up the journal-writer's legs to reach the lap. Ouch again.
- 'Sometimes the most successful gardening is completely cosmetic...'
- -Moosey Words of Wisdom.
I feel so much better than yesterday. I forget that sometimes the most successful gardening is completely cosmetic. Memo to self: Stop the gardening sulks! Banish the gardening blues! Try a quick pick-me-up of gum tree mess from the lawn, and a quick nip-me-up of the lawn edges. Off I go for my second session. Good luck to meeeeee!
After two more sessions I've finished the pond paddock gardens, and I've started on the perennials and roses by the pergola. It's been an excellent day, and I deserve a major reward. A gazebo over the water would be nice...
Perennials under the Pergola