Rewind, fast forward...
leonardo da Vinci
Rewind the gardening clock a few months, to early spring in the Pond Paddock. The border underneath the blossoming Prunus nigra looks wonderful. Leonardo da Vinci, the beautiful pink New Zealand rose of that name, is snuggling in his bed of Centranthus, edged with irises.
Ooh, I love this rose! I must remember to take lots of photographs of him this year. And I am so looking forward to the irises. I love the iris colours - they're mainly purples. So pretty. Such the perfect location, along the edge of the garden, where I can see them from the cottage...
Fast forward to mid-summer. Blast! Not one iris has bothered to bloom. Aargh! Leonardo has the grumps, with only two flowers. Isn't he supposed to be flamboyant, uber-stylish, a bit of a show-off? And isn't there supposed to be a lady companion rose, discretely spaced along from him - I seem to remember planting Kathryn Morley. Where's Kathryn gone?
Checklist. Water? Hmm. So-so, garden not desperately dry. Soil? Hmm. Could use some compost and horse manure. Sun? Sun? Sun? Oops. There is no sun. No summer sun at all. The Pond Paddock trees have grown huge and leafy, as trees do, and are providing lots of wonderful summer shade. When did that happen?
Pond Paddock Trees
And this is why, one week from mid-summer, I am going to dig Leonardo out, slop him into a bucket as quick as a flash, and hope he doesn't feel a thing. I've already removed all the irises. The plan is to spread bags of horse manure and organic matter on the border, water everything madly, and plant - shrubs! Native shrubs. Shrubs with strong hearts and simple needs, who will sit there, and produce their pretty foliage, without complaint.
I'm going to wander around 'raiding' and liberating some of my plants in pots. I'm thinking Corokias, Phormiums, Coprosmas, Rock lilies, even some stripey Cordylines. I grow a lot of natives in pots, and some of these (the Astelias, for example) would prefer a shaded garden spot any day to their hot, dry confinement.
Who in their right mind...
So who in their right mind digs things out of a garden in mid-summer and expects them to live? ME!!!!! That same gardener who didn't realise that trees grow, and roses like sunshine. And who in their right mind plants thing in mid-summer? ME again!! RIP Kathryn Morley, by the way. I've found a forlorn rose stump. I'm watering Leonardo madly, to trick him into not noticing being squashed into a bucket.
Roger Hall Camellia
Update : all done. A successful bucket scoop for the great man, and a border groaning (happily) underneath leaf mould, horse manure, and rotted wood chips. An ex-pot Camellia (Roger Hall), a pretty lime green variegated Coprosma, and a silver-green Astelia are sighing with relief. Now let the summer watering begin in earnest!