The days of aphids and roses...

These are the days of aphids and roses - I try to have freshly picked roses (aphid free) for the house, bringing the fragrances and colours of the garden into each room.

 Egg yolk yellow flowers.
Graham Thomas in bloom

Sunday 11th November

Somehow at the end of today I have to know that my garden is in order (like my house should be, but isn't). Yesterday I walked around with a friend, who asked, rather sharply, where the potager had got to, and made no other comment... hmmm... I saw lots of plastic pots left lying around, old tools abandoned and piles of weeds waiting to be picked up. This is not good enough. Every view should be as perfect as a picture, with nothing spoiling the green growth and textures of the plants or the colours of the flowers. I had left a trail of garden accessories behind in my frantic efforts to get the ambience and the 'look' right for my friend's visit. Imagine if I ever had real visitors! Eek! (I love my internet friends, safely distant from the disorder, giving me encouragement. They don't mind that I have sneakily transposed half the 'potager' into a rose garden). I am off to do a rubbish tour, then I will shift the bright pink rhododendron (another bargain bin beauty, but this one is later flowering, and will look great by the drive).

It's lunchtime and I have worked very hard and got far too hot. I have a barrowful of plastic debris to stash in the glass-house. The bright pink rhododendron is newly placed, and I am building up one of the water race dog-path walls with more stones and assorted rubble. The yellow rose Graham Thomas is flowering (and falling down, oops...). On days like this I take much more notice of the water race - it's refreshing to be near, with the gentle whooshing and burbling sounds of the running water. I'm very very lucky.

I am learning to enjoy growing peonies. They seem to like the conditions in my garden.

The dark red peonies in Middle Border are huge, blazing with colour, and there is a new inky indigo iris flowering near the apricot rose Crepuscule on the pergola. All the Iris confusa clumps have shiny green leaves again, contrasting with their vivid white flowers. These are the delights that I need to focus on.

It's night time and I still feel that I have so much unfinished business in the garden. There are seedling plants to plant out, and aphids to spray. The new driveway border is still not completely finished, and the dog-paths by the water race are very very weedy. I also have an idea for a totally new border over the water race, and this will require hours and hours of digging. I could use up a few trailer loads of soil or compost to help the edges of the Dog-Path Garden. And some of my tussocks have grass growing inside them (which is impossible to pull out).

 When the red cordyline gets too big it goes into a border somewhere and I start all over again.
Patio style

Friday 16th November

Things are changing very fast now in the garden, and I'm trying to catch up. There are roses everywhere. Today I have to go in to work (it is actually a holiday day) and consequently am feeling very sorry for myself - the sun is shining, the grass is growing, and there are new plants flowering in all the borders. I will make up for my absence later this afternoon, and TOMORROW will be an ALL-DAY GARDEN ATTACK day.

Saturday 17th November

Some people are never satisfied. Last night I zoomed around the gardens at the back of the house, taking photos and dead-heading roses. There seemed to be far too many plants in the borders, all desperately seeking sunlight. And I wanted to be completely irresponsible and reach for the most toxic rose spray imaginable (aphids, mainly, feasting on everything). I won't. Today in order to counteract the apparent overcrowding I am going to pull out any purple honesty, and possibly any forget-me-nots that I'm bored with. Nothing major.

The lawns need mowing AGAIN and that means DOING EDGES again... humph. When I return I will be triumphant (somehow!).


No way... There are far too many aphids eating my roses. I have poked at the soil and done very little of substance. Never mind.

Sunday 18th November

This is a terrible weekend! I have to go in to work later this morning, and I am so peeved that I don't even want to start anything. Hopeless. I will go and put on hoses (things are starting to need extra water) and make myself do something. Humph.

Saturday 24th November

It's been gently raining all week. There are flowers flopping over everywhere with the added weight. Gardeners are seldom satisfied, are they? Last week I was grumping about putting on the hoses. I wonder though - will the aphids all have been washed off the roses? That would be a nice reward. Today I plan to unwind out there by first extracting more forget-me-nots and honesty from the house borders. In order to impose some needed self discipline, I will clear TWO barrowfuls, then return for a cup of coffee. This will be a short term goal, easily achieved by me. I have a lot of work commitments today as well. Hmm...

 Trying to hide in the grass.
Mugsy the cat

Later, Apres Gardening...

I have cleared most of the beds near the house, and Mugsy the cat has been following me around. Today has not been very productive, though the lawns have all been mowed. Tomorrow I must plant lots of annuals into the border spaces I have created today.

Sunday 25th November

Just finishing off my first cup of tea. Then I'm off to continue the great honesty pull-out. I will stash all the white variegated plants in the glass-house and collect their seeds. The variegated purple honesty needs to be completely ripped out, saved for seed, and eventually relocated where the neighbourhood colour is more sympathetic. Like yesterday, I will have quite a few interruptions later today, but this should be the last of my crazy work weekends. I have to be philosophical - the garden will still be out there, surviving without me. And what can happen in just one day? Lovely Stephen cheers me up - he says that the garden has just the right mix of enclosures and long sweeping vistas. He is my hero (he is out buying me a knapsack sprayer for my rose versus aphid battles).

It's lunchtime and I've been picking roses for the house. It's easy to zoom around, secateurs in hand, timetable in head, and forget to enjoy things - like the smells, the leaf colours, and small things like the seedpods of the peonies and the carpets of blue pansies. Then there are the roses, happy in the fresh air, with water and warmth (and resident aphids, but we won't go there).