Strictly for the Plants

Autumn garden maintenance is temporarily banned. The next few days are strictly for the plants. I am dividing them, potting them up, shifting them, planting them, and storing them for winter.

Thursday 15th May

It's too easy to become completely smothered in gardening verbs - weed, rake, trim, clean up, shovel, prune, and so on - and forget all about the plants.

 All different colours.
Polyanthus Flowers

Autumn leaves are fun, but they keep on trickling down. And so the Pond Paddock, which I raked and cleared just two weeks ago, is now ready for more leaf-bagging. I never know how much of the leaf-fall to leave on the gardens, either. And autumn weeding seems such a waste of time. Lots of the weeds are tiny, insignificant green things anyway. Trouble is there are few flowers to lead the eye away.

OK. First, a list.

And there was a frost last night, the first 'proper' one, just minus one degree. This morning is bright and sunny and rather fresh!

 Regrowing on the house patio.
Nearly Winter Wisteria

Four Hours later...

Oh well. I tried. I did divide and pot up all the Bergenias. But without thinking I found myself raking up mess off the Willow Tree Garden path, further trimming the big Gunnera, and dragging this and that off to appropriate heaps underneath the hedge. Burn me! Compost me!

Then I noticed an Escallonia which was super-huge, and two awfully tall broom 'trees'. When I say tall I mean twice as tall as me. When I say 'broom' I mean weed - a broom seedling which has missed the weeding muster by at least seven years. Oops. Naturally I pruned the shrub and cut down the interlopers.

Sunday 18th May

Aha! The whole weekend has been garden-maintenance free. We've been away at Hanmer, where Non-Gardening Partner and I climbed Mount Isobel. The 'atmosphere' (don't know what else to call it) on the last ridge along to the trig summit was magical. We went on a bit further and looked down on yet another track leading to the next pass. On a mild, clear day I could point to a ridge-line 'way over there', plot a route, and just head off, free as the breeze.


The reality is rather more careful. Wind? Hours of daylight? Visibility? Oh, and better factor in the dodgy knees, which don't enjoy too much down-hill impact. What if they reached their limit and refused to go on? Hmm....

 Heading back to the trig. Looks exciting?
Top Spur, Mount Isobel

+10Ooh, I am so proud of myself! I just loved the trip. Now I'm back home. I've raked up some leaves from the Pond Paddock, tickled young Minimus under her furry chin, said hello to the house cats, and taken Rusty, still Mister Limpy, down the road for a gentle dog-walk. Life is good. Being away from the garden is good for me, too. I love coming back down the driveway and seeing all those lovely trees.

 Spot the blue-shirted gardener!
Small Me in the Mountains

Monday 19th May

I've sorted out more of my plants. The polyanthus and tulips are in pots ready to be enjoyed over winter. I've shifted Pelargoniums and daisies into the glass-house. I've repotted some little Phormiums and dug out (oops - a gardening verb just sneaked in) grasses which were hanging around the pink Grotendoorst roses. The nearby path was covered in violets and creeping Charlie, to which I did unmentionable things.

The Big Outdoors...

I'm still thinking about that groovy trip in the mountains. I love being in the mountains. I'm really happy and comfortable feeling 'small', pottering away in the 'big' outdoors.

And a little gardener-maintenance is a good thing. My plants can wait until tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. Or...