Balance in the garden means more than staying on the bridge, not wobbling off to land in the water, or (worse) the spiky Gunnera. One needs to balance one's gardening speed. One day, work ferociously fast. Then stand for half an hour and do some hand-held watering of the roses - gardening in the slow-lane!
Other concepts of balance are rather contrived. Like today I lost my kitchen scissors, but I didn't lose my hand digger. Balance? Hmm... More like carelessness.
I've been trimming things. Yeay! Trimming! Lychnis, Clary Sage, Watsonias (the remains of which go completely brown), Agastache (whose seed-heads I chop up to encourage new plants), even Shasta daisies. The wind has stirred up the daisies somewhat, and some have become disorderly.
+5My house vases could be full of the tall-stemmed white daisy flowers, but Shastas are just too smelly. I'm thinking of Tiger (lazy cat) and my gardening cap, occasionally (foolishly) left on the kitchen table. Could anything be ruder than peeing on your mother's gardening cap? So far this year, touch wood, Tiger has behaved herself, helped by the gentlest of slow-motion foot-scoops out the door after morning meals, hee hee. Which reminds me - Tiger? Where are you?
Tiger the Cat
Now I'm thinking about balance in life. I'm thinking solitude - even loneliness - contrasted with cats, friends, music, and the dogs. All brilliant personal time and space fillers, providing me with great gardening company. Oh yes - friends (big and small) turn up now and then to help with the weeding, and the cats are always delightfully at ease in the garden greenery, hiding, snoozing, hunting - AKA sleep, shelter, and food.
But those dogs! They do get a bit bored with the garden, and are always waiting for something else to happen. C'mon - let's dooooooooo something doggish! Throw the ball! Go to the dog park! OK, dogs, we will do just that. We try and go every morning, remember?
And the music just keeps playing, all by itself, in my head. At the moment I am arranging a new song for my jazz choir - it's about Sister Sadie, who runs into Alphonso Brown, with disastrous consequences. Oops. 'Another Somebody done somebody wrong song', with which the jazz repetoire is littered. It's groovy.
Ferns and Hydrangeas
Friday 10th February
I've been trimming. Yet again, more trimming! I have bought some new scissors (prefer these to secateurs). I've decided to dig out older clumps of the purple weedy Astilbe (must get a positive ID for this weed). It's such a pest, but then I find the flowers covered in buzzing bees, so I relent. As one does, and should do. A garden needs happy, healthy, busy bees.
And now I need to shift the hoses. The Welcome Garden is very dry, and I've promised the shrubs (mainly Viburnums and Pittosporums) that I will get water onto them. They're thirsty, poor things.
Sunday 12th February
I want the wind to stop blowing. I've been trying to weed in the Allotment Garden, and trim more Lychnis. I want to continue some serious watering, but today the wind is just awful. Swirls of dust are blowing over me from next-door. I want things to be gentler, smoother, quieter... And then my weed pile on the wheelbarrow will stop blowing away, all over the driveway, and I can continue the great, sensible soak of shrubs and roses. No space for music in my head today - just the roaring of wind-noise.
Thought - the big pink dahlias along the driveway need shifting. This spot is far too dry, and I can't get enough water on them often enough. They've not been happy this summer, that's for sure - very few flowers (if any) and stunted growth. So here's an idea.
Floppy Pink Dahlia
I go back outside and dig the whole of the top bed over. I do something totally aggressive, to fit the mood of the wind. It can whoosh and crash around over my head. I get dusty, and grubby, and sweaty. I'll do it! I'll turn a bad wind day into a good one.
Much, Much Later...
Well, the wind buffeted (ha! A new wind word!) but I worked on. The dahlias, poor stunted things, are out and trimmed. They will do no more work this summer, and I think I'll plant them over by the washing line (in the irrigation zone, hee hee). The biggest ones are all beautiful pinks. The shrubs are watered, a timely soaking. Several of the Pittosporums had some top leaves with brown edges. Sunburn!
Watering the Front Garden Shrubs
So here's another lesson in balance. It's so easy to do good gardening in good weather. Potter, drift and dream, keep cool (but not too cool), and communicate with the garden. On these horrible wind-days the garden closes itself off. Gardening is actually quite lonely and unpleasant, but - hey! Just get out there and do something.
And, since photographs of trimmings are boring, and the wind refuses to pose for my camera, please enjoy these assorted pictures of bits and pieces.