Garden maintenance

Spring is supposed to bring out the fluffy gardening romantic. Alas, this weekend the gritty GM (garden maintenance) person has taken over. GM - a pair of dirty initials. I am watering, nursery-womaning, planting, clearing and burning all the gum and cordyline leaves.

 My lovely black and white Border Collie.
Winnie in the Potatoes

Saturday 24th October

And continuing the weeding and the spraying of roses. I've already put the hoses on in the Allotment Garden. Roses, peonies, assorted perennials - and a modest patch of potatoes - are benefiting. The Irises are just starting to flower - all my rejects are in this garden, and they love the dry open spaces and the sunshine.


Nothing like a bottle of fruity cider to finish a busy garden day in style. I've done dome good work in the glass-house today - taking cuttings of sage, pricking out violas, cosmos, and orlaya, planting up the lettuce and spinach seedlings in big pots for the patio... I've watered the strawberries and the bright, voluptuous pansies in their pots.

Sunday 25th October

This morning there's no wind, so I'm going to light the bonfire. It will be a continuous one, to clear the mess up, and lessen my fire risk this coming summer. Sounds terribly responsible, doesn't it? Does it? But it's sort of true. I don't like bonfiring. But first - the dog park! Priorities, priorities...

Much, Much Later...

Welcome to the social woof-world of the dog park. We are all invited to a Dogs' Halloween Party, at 9am next Saturday, a most sensible dog-party time. I have to buy some skull and cross bones bandanas. Theme parties for dogs - I never realised. But of course this happens. Apparently, at Christmas we all dress up as reindeer, and for New Years' we all wear bow ties and cocktail frocks. I'm talking about the dogs here.

Cone of Ash :
Like a little volcano in the middle of the back lawn.

OK. An all-day burn-up, kilometers of trudging with the wheel barrow, finished off with Non-Gardening Partner's man-muscle and a trailer filled with dry stuff. A very hot, modest bonfire with almost no smoke - a reminder of how dry things can quickly get - and a good reason not to pile up mess and leave it underneath hedges and trees. OK. Point taken - by me. I've been blocking off the neighbours with my fence-line rubbish piles, in lieu of a fence repair.

Monday 26th October

The big bearded irises in the Allotment Garden look beautiful. And they like it so much here. I have trouble growing happy Irises. Those in other garden areas get sun-blocked, or dumped on by organic matter, or dogs charge through and knock them over.

I have made an executive decision regarding vegetable growing. Oddly, since I have such a lot of potential gardenable area, I intend to use lots of patio pots. They are brilliant for lettuce, rocket, and spinach, and the picking thereof for meals, and I can supervise their watering needs from the kitchen. Whenever the jug is boiling for a cup of tea of coffee, the watering cans are filled and tipped on. However I will grow beans, carrots, and peas in the Herb Spiral. And spuds in the Allotment Garden, in between the flowers. I have five different varieties of beans. Oops. Do I really like eating beans that much?


Oops for a different reason. My bonfire ash heap, a large smouldering cone, was getting too big to be safe. I burnt for three hours, then had to stop. There are probably two trailerfuls of rubbish to go, and then the fence will be clear. I moved onto hand-watering in the Welcome Garden, where the screening shrubs (mainly Viburnums) are bushing out and up rather nicely. On the slope five or six Locust trees - seedlings, now waist high - are happily established. Since this area was one giant hole a year ago, I am very grateful.

 Which I call Uncle Bert, after a gentleman of that name.
Purple Rhododendron

Back in the Allotment Garden my rugosa hedge (Roseraie de l'Hay) is leafy and happily flowering. I notice the flowering rhododendrons in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden are fatter, too. These shrubs led a sheltered life for years, shaded by next-door's pine plantation, until two years ago when all the trees crashed down in a wind storm and squashed them. I cried a lot when seeing the mess. So sad! But it's amazing how quickly a trashed garden can recover, and how one person (me) can eventually clean up everything after such a big storm. With a little help from NGP, of course.

 Escher is the big brown dog.
Escher and Rusty in the Pond

Tuesday 27th October

Today I should dump the ash from the bonfire (making sure it's damp). Knowing this will take me about two hours, I am finding all sorts of other things to do. I've already been to the dog park, and thrown sticks into the pond for the dogs. Now I'm off to play Brahms. Have even thought of housework. Hmm... This will not do. 'Tis the perfect day for some serious trudging. And maybe a little more light burning, when the ash has been removed.

Two Hours Later...

My idea didn't work - the ash was still too hot. So I put the hoses on the Welcome Garden and did quite a bit of weeding. My heart was not in it, and my hands got really sore. And now my knee is aching in sympathy. And the new Brahms was awful - I mean the sight-reading of it. And brown Escher sneaked next-door to the neighbour's offal pit, and so had to be put under canine house arrest. He just will NOT learn. Perhaps a modest little 'humph' would be permissible, sotto voce...