Winter is sneaking around the house and garden, nipping at my nose - a reality check for late May. Time for some new rules : be winter-thrifty! Light the wood-burner first thing in the morning. Wash woolly socks in proper stuff, by hand. Embrace and enjoy winter.
Winter gardening is easy. One dresses appropriately, and then goes outside. Simple. But one makes sure that indoors will be welcoming warm. More rules : Use up the old, scruffy wood in the woodshed first. Make sure there is always kindling and firewood stacked outside the back door.
Saturday 21st May
A mixed blessing - my mountain of horse manure next door (it really was mine) has disappeared, spread out flat onto the paddock soil by some man on a grader. I knew this would happen : I've been barrowing it madly over to my garden for two weeks now, doing little else. But wait! Now I can do some real gardening.
So I've just finished a couple of hours serious weeding, slicing and scraping out clover and marjoram from the Dog-path Garden. Winnie has been a nuisance, pinching weeds out of the barrow and tossing them in the air. Fluff-Fluff has also been annoying, getting underneath my hands. But I love them both dearly, and so that's that. Several things occur to me.
- Humph. I've done this before. Several times.
- Humph. All the clover arrived in a top-soil/compost mix, spread by me, out of the kindness of my heart.
- Humph. It's the perfect place for some horse manure. Blast!
But two positive thoughts :
- I could plant my spare Bergenias and green Mondo grass here.
- I'm getting a donation of miniature roses. They might like it here too.
I can always get more horse manure. People leave bags outside their gates, easy to handle, and so on. Cost? Four bags might be the same as a cafe coffee. Enough said.
Oops. I have procured more Agapanthus clumps. I have also arranged for Non-Gardening Partner (who is busy at the moment shifting the sheep) to take the trailer and dig them out. So this is how it works, right?
Wow! First of all, a trailer full of healthy green Agapanthus clumps, with another load to collect next weekend, plus five red flower carpet roses, two pink ones, and a blue and black checked woollen swandrii thrown in for nothing. The garden owner was doing a complete make-over, and just wanted everything gone. He'd even dug the bigger clumps out for us.
When I got home I was terribly excited. But, liking to stretch such feelings out a bit, I didn't start planting the Agapanthus - I went back to my Dog-Path Garden clearing. So easy to see things wrong with this garden - large self-sown ferns were blocking and smothering perennial penstemons, irises, and roses, and healthy broom seedlings were happily entwined with a thorny single red rose. The confused iris (Chengdu) was more confused than it needed to be, and the dahlias obviously needed chopping down.
+10+10With Winnie grabbing pieces of fern from the barrow, and big Fluff-Fluff close-purring, trying to lick my nose, I dug and scratched and trimmed, and pulled out weeds. The monster red rose has been thrown for now underneath the hedge. A lot of weedy grass has gone, and the big Gunnera leaves which block the path have been cut down. They, too, are under the hedge in a large, scratchy pile, needing to dry out before being burnt.
I've planted a little curve of Agapanthus to guide a garden walker off Willow Bridge and around the path. I have sooooo many to choose from - the modest, neat, smaller clumps, I think. Now here's a thought. Some modest clumps could encircle the spiral brick courtyard, thus giving a well-defined, evergreen edge to this circular feature. The overhead trees would shelter the Agapanthus from frost, and these plants will not flop over, be messy, and run everywhere like the Iris confusa used to. Ooooo... I think this may be a jolly good idea. I'll do it tomorrow!
Now it is tomorrow. I've been to the dog park, I've been to a music rehearsal with my double bass player, and I'm ready for Agapanthus action. The wood-burner is lit, so the house will be warm when I return. But first I have to find Escher's dog-pyjamas suit, which he managed to lose last night, on the dogs' bedtime walk. Under the Leyland hedge? Or in the Wattle Woods? This will be interesting, knowing the unsubtle way he crashes and bashes through the garden greenery.
Agapanthus by the Courtyard
Phew! It's the end of the day, and the suit was easily located, right in the middle of the back lawn. I've planted Agapanthus by Willow Bridge and around some edges of the spiral courtyard. I had to shift the rose John Clare a little bit closer to the water, and dig out an over-sized and ill-placed Phormium.
Tuesday 24th May
I've done more work around the spiral courtyard. I've shifted Aquilegias and replanted them, and introduced another edge feature of smaller Agapanthus clumps. Now only the monsters are left, and they will require big-muscle heaving and deft slicing. I can do that, and that!
Winter Garden Courtyard
Welcome to winter, by the way, and totally some authentic winter photographs. Brr... I'm organised and inspired. I love the log burner, and I love my garden ideas.