Saturday, 23 August 2014

Discovering myself in the garden


Today has been a second day of Operation Garden Blitz.  During our recent absence the vegetation appears to have under gone a growth spurt. Much weeding and trimming has been required.  I estimate we have removed sufficient vegetation to fill a small skip! For some reason alpine strawberries love my garden, they smoother the borders and establish outposts in the lawns…Bindweed seems to be at its worst at this time of year - the 'pole dancer' of the horticultural world, wrapping itself intimately around anything stationary and vertical...  The presence of a cherry tree in the adjacent garden ensures a steady supply of saplings that need removing. In contrast the 30 metre oak, which resides 2 doors down, only managed to produce one weedy infiltrator - proving that bird shit is more of a threat to my horticultural ambitions, than the hoarding instincts of the local squirrel population.

Yesterday we attacked the front garden, and I felt dissatisfied with my lack of achievement.  Why?  Because I kept getting distracted by things that needed doing elsewhere. I would spot a weed that MUST be removed, cross the garden to pull it up, before noticing the inroads the aquilegia was making into the gravel, and then encounter a bramble that required urgent removal. Each time I moved on I would leave tools behind and then forget where I had left them, and then find myself unable to proceed, because I had no idea where I had abandoned the tools I now required, and would waste time hunting for them. At one point the secateurs were lost. Totally lost.  Both of us were searching the small front garden for them.  Finally I found them at the back of one of the borders, next to the fence.

Today I was far more focused.  No matter how green the weeds appeared elsewhere, I stayed working on the middle border. In between the showers, I plodded on, resisting the temptations and distractions offered by other parts of the garden. I did manage to complete one border, with the added bonus of not losing anything - a small, if insignificant victory! However, at this rate, by the time I finish weeding the whole garden, I will need to start again! 

When we moved in, most of the flower beds were full of a pink daisy.  To its credit, it was both hardy and low maintenance.  However, it harboured a huge number of snails, which my daughter was very fond of putting in her mouth! Looking at the size of our garden, I can see why they went down that route.  That first year we watched with interest to discover what was in the garden. Imagine our dismay when we realised that 90% of the plants had pink flowers!  I love colour, but I prefer a variety, so gradually the pink daisy was replaced with plants of differing hues.  However, many of our plants have peaked by mid august - the alpines, alliums, perennial wallflowers and lavender have all had their moment of glory. Some autumn colour would be very welcome.  Meanwhile, in order to restore order to my flowerbeds, I am having to reduce the size of some of the plants, which goes against my natural inclination. My husband has no such qualms with his demolition approach to gardening, which is great for ripping out ivy and disposing of shrubs. He is not so hot on plant identification.  While I was removing errant strawberry plants and couch grass from a hydrangea, instead of removing the blue geranium which has spread across the pathway, he attacked both the honeysuckle and blue clematis.  Hopefully they will forgive him and reappear next year.

Inside the house is just as chaotic as the garden, but I am determined to keep focused, and keep sorting and disposing.  Little by little things are getting tidier, inside and out and I continue to discover more about myself in the process.