Pot in Sea of Lavender
Garden inspiration is a funny thing. It pops up uninvited from the oddest sources. When one goes on a deliberate search, nothing happens! While looking at pictures of other people's gardens, a studied nonchalance often does the trick. I'm reading a glossy book about the gardens of Wales at the moment. I'm shrugging my tired shoulders, deliberately not expecting anything...
Wednesday 9th July
Aha! It worked! Today's gardening was sparked by a flash of book-induced inspiration - a picture of some purple lavenders. I've made an inspired decision. This spring I am allowed to buy lots (and lots) of moderately expensive, ready-to-flower lavenders from the nursery. Yippee!
So I fearlessly chopped the old woody Lavender shrubs at the corner of the house down to their ankles. One thing led to another and I dug out some nearby Oxalis weeds. They're confined to one little spot, having arrived years ago with some friend's Agapanthus plants. Then I raked up the surrounding garden. I sawed down a self-sown Ake Ake which was in the wrong place - a weed tree, if you like. I pruned some roses. I collected a barrowful of gum branches from the back of the Shrubbery.
I lit my bonfire, and thought of Brazil. Poor, poor things, their World Cup dream gone up in smoke. Germany beat them 7-1 in the football.
Poking at the flames I remembered the Wattle Woods Camellias. Would these pretty shrubs be flowering yet? Yes! Then I got excited visualising the new Lavenders. Funny how one modest purple summer picture had inspired my whole day. Pretty silly, really!
More little smiley things at the end of the day. My dog Rusty has been in the compost again. How do I know this? He has carrot peelings stuck to his nose. I've just been outside to rescue my gardening Ipod. Oops. Inadvertently I have been blasting the sleeping grandbaby with a Bartok string quartet. Not the most soothing of baby-sleep music, and it gets my birds going. So there was much squeaking of violins etc. and tooting and bird-calling back and forth in the trees, while the grandbaby slept on.
Thursday 10th July
Right. I am expecting an Under-Gardener to arrive any minute. Younger Son is helping me finish sorting out the logs and the tree branches in the back of the Shrubbery. I love having some so-called 'manly help'. Blokes are much stronger than me and things get done so much faster. Non-Gardening Partner - hint?
Leonardo da Vinci Roses
It's like this. The Under-Gardener and I worked for two and a half hours, equivalent to six hours of just me! The garden (it's a huge area) is now cleared and ready for fussy raking and possible plantings. Having someone to talk to while gardening that isn't furry is rather nice, hee hee. I went back outside for one more load for my end-of-the-day burn-up.
As usual, Lilli-Puss turned up by Middle Bridge, and I gave a sneaky food treat. Love you, Lilli.
There's now a much smaller heap of branches still to trim and get to the bonfire, and all the big stuff is done, done, done. Yippee. OK - I'm off to do some TV couch-cycling. I have finally made it to France (zooming fast-forward from Cambridge to London while keeping an eye on the football). I thought about London, and wondered if I would ever want to live there. The answer was an emphatic no.
Friday 11th July
After two hours clearing in the back of the Shrubbery (what else is there to do?) I'm having a quick morning tea break, while I do more pondering about the nature of garden inspiration. Further reading of my Gardens of Wales book hasn't enlightened me. Apart from that garden with over five hundred beautifully tended roses - this has created envy and greed, but nothing that could be called genuine inspiration.
Inspired by Wisley
Another gardener, inspired by Wisley, wanted to create something similar but smaller. Hmm... I reckon that when gardeners are interviewed for glossy magazines (or books) they make up something really serious (like Wisley or Versailles) for their inspiration. This gives them high coffee-table status. I've never read about anybody owning up to being inspired by TV couch-cycling through Switzerland, for example.
Back to the Moosey Garden while I catch my breath. My Shrubbery clean-up proceeds at a old-woman snail's pace today. I've limbed up a big Pittosporum, under which the garden bench now nestles. The path leading over to the ram paddock is reinstalled with fresh edging logs.
Me in the Shrubbery
Aha! A network of paths which entice and invite. Does that include inviting the rake and enticing the wheelbarrow?
I've had a big, big day. I've worked outside for seven hours. Wow. Seven wonderful hours. Seven repetitive, trudging hours? No, no, seven wonderful hours. The bonfire took the last two of them. But my bonfires are never simple. I have all my piles of stuff, but then I wander off to get some more loads from the nearby hedge. Tonight I found a huge pile of dried Gunnera leaves. Then I decided to prune some of the nearest roses. Whoosh went everything, up in flames and smoke. A dramatic, hot, red-faced way to end a self-inspired gardening day.