A good list...

May I present a list of gardening things I promise to do today. After no gardening yesterday it is pertinent - nay, vital - that my garden's immediate needs, both superficial and deeply-rooted, be itemised immediately. Before I forget anything. How very satisfying it is to write a good gardening list. It implies the writer is terribly well organised, can think garden-globally, and is not a time-waster. He/she knows exactly what needs doing, and has robust intentions of doing it all.

 I need at least two rose pictures on this page...
Munstead Wood Rose

Objet D'Art?

But a good list is also an objet d'art, with freshness, flair, perspective, and focal points that must inspire rather than daunt the lazy gardener. It cannot be simply a progression of mundane tasks - weed this, rake that, tidy up this other. The best lists contain exciting, evocative phrases : 'the rustic courtyard', 'the secret little pond', and its verbs are delightfully vague ('fix up, 'do something with').

And a camera taking before and after shots is useful for exerting a bit of gentle quality control. As long as said camera is not abandoned in the back of a border to enjoy the overnight rain, or mulched...

One final thing. There must be a time limit to the writing of the list, and I'd like to suggest Bach's double violin concerto in D minor. This seems to be the perfect length (not that I've timed it), and the music is purposeful, cheery, and lightly scurrying. Any list created whilst it tootles in the background should be imbued with these very fine characteristics.

My List

  1. Do something with the secret little pond.
  2. Fix up the rustic courtyard.
  3. Organise three different, random things. My choice.
 A golden variety.
Brugmansia Flowers

And a few domestic details : explain to Rusty the dog that he will be gardening ALL DAY, put dog biscuit in pocket as incentive. Put on sunscreen before going outside, put gloves in wheelbarrow, along with ABSOLUTELY ALL gardening tools. And the camera. And remember to enjoy the day!

Six Triumphant Hours Later...

An amazing day, and a truly inspiring list! Working backwards, my three random things were as follows : I collected all the remaining pine cones from the Welcome Garden. I carted three barrow loads of dry firewood over to the house - in case it gets cold this weekend. And I pulled out and divided a green Phormium near the back door which had fallen completely flat.

During my lunch break I had an exciting, unplanned trip to a nursery (without my wallet), accompanying my plant collector friend. He came away with a gorgeous golden Brugmansia. This will go in one of his glasshouses with the other pink and white ones. I remember seeing a whole border of these poisonous lovelies in the Sydney Botanic Gardens.

The Rustic Courtyard

I've 'fixed up' the rustic courtyard, plus its surrounding gardens (the Shrubbery) and the nearby wiggly path. Periwinkle (far-reaching, without my permission) is now only allowed on the far side of the old sheep fence. I have painstakingly dug out all trespassing pieces (I hope).

 After three hard-working hours of tidy-up.
Me Relaxing in the Rustic Courtyard

I've trimmed Pittosporums which have sprouted from a stump, uprooted a couple of head-high tree Lucernes, and trimmed dead leaves off Phormiums. I've cleared the path, and banned the Periwinkle from crossing over it. So will the periwinkle listen to me? Hmm...

Mme Leonie de Viennot :
Souvenir de Madame Leonie Viennot is a rudely healthy country rose.

Now I must find a way of securing the rose arch that Souvenir de Madame Leonie Viennot is charging up and over. I have thoughtfully provided her with an old sheep fence as well, but all she wants to do is spread all over the Corokias and boss the Hypericums and Escallonias... My goodness, she is a pushy rose.

Three old-fashioned roses behind the courtyard are moving out soon - one even has a label (Hansa). Two others, according to my records, are Gallicas, so I looked at a list of Gallica roses to see if any of the names leapt off the page. No luck. But then a quick peep through a list of climbers gave me Maigold. Maigold! Could my unknown amber-golden rose which has been growing in the Stables Border for years and years be Maigold?

Maigold Rose - Welcome to my Garden

The flowers look right, and the description fits. It's even got the pointy buds. And it's thorny. And 'produces one good crop of blooms early in the season, followed by occasional flowers later on' (thanks to David Austin's website). That does it. Yes! Yippee! Maigold! Welcome to my garden.

 So secret that it is completely invisible! Oops!
The Secret Little Pond

Saturday 15th March

Today my list was formally completed. I 'did something', very energetically, with the secret little pond behind the cottage. It's another special feature of my garden, something lovely to look at when in good shape. But it was hidden by greenery (Non-Gardening Partner claimed he didn't know there was a pond in there). Have a look at this 'before' camera shot and see if you can see anything!

First I cleaned leaves and mess out the pond itself. Then I did some major trimming of the overhanging Phormiums, dug out some green Carexes, re-laid a few of the edging stones, raked up loads of leaves, trimmed overgrown Hebes, and voila!

A visible little pond, still relatively secret, with room for more Leopard plants (that groovy spotty Ligularia), and possibly something small and flowery. There were only two casualties - I trod on a small Agapanthus clump, and mislaid (i.e. lost) my red secateurs.

+10Young Minimus the cottage cat came to investigate. This is her garden, after all, and she likes to check out things. But she decided that snoozing in the sun on one of 'her' cane chairs was more enjoyable and safer than getting in my way.

 With her ornamental wooden chook friend.
Young Minimus the Cottage Cat

Yes - I've had a brilliant two days in the garden, thanks to my lovely list. And what a delightfully creative, well-crafted, and highly successful list it has been! I must write another one, but not just yet. Best not to over-do things...