Easter Weekend

The Easter weekend hasn't quite finished, and I haven't quite finished the Birthday Garden. It's dug and mulched, but needs just a few more roses to fill in the gaps. I wonder if the rose sale is still on...

Monday 28th March

Eek! This morning is noticeably chillier, the sun is lower in the sky, the light (ahem - this is definitely of interest to a budding photographer with a lovely new camera) is different. I woke up to a delightful rural soundscape. Rooster was crowing outside one window. The ginger kitten was squeaking (he doesn't miaow) outside the opposite window. I'd already listened to some nearby stags roaring quite melodiously during the night - I was having a short warm and cosy pre-dawn garden planning session (as one does).

The Ginko Tree in Early Autumn

A Gardening Panic Attack?

Today, today, today - can I finish the digging? There are moments of semi-panic. While I concentrate desperately on finishing the new garden area, elsewhere there is garden chaos - long untrimmed grass edges, colonies of happy weeds, seeds waiting to be sown, a thoroughly disreputable glasshouse to be cleaned, potted irises to plant, ditto plants for the rockery, New Zealand natives for the Hump garden... Then these is garden housework - patios and house paths to sweep, the remains of large flaxes to get out with the axe, firewood to collect and stack, and rubbish, rubbish, rubbish to burn all day...

Coffee or Tea? :
You'll always find old coffee and tea cups in my garden. Oops.

The above list leaves me feeling thoroughly overwhelmed - I think I need a second cup of hot tea. Or some strong coffee. And I need two of me - no, I need lots of me! I need diggers and planters, and carters and burners of garden rubbish! I need GARDEN HELP!

But since there is only one of me (perceptive, that!) I need to be rational and calm. I think I'll start the gardening day with a visit to the nursery sale - and visit the rose sale on the way home. The adjective 'bloody-minded' seems appropriate. And after I've spent money on more plants (hee hee) I might just take a few photographs with my new camera, play with the puppy, drink beer for lunch, listen to some cricket, then fall asleep on the garden bench with my latest detective novel. Ha!

 Some of the hostas which already live in the quiet shade of the Willow tree.
Hostas in the Willow Tree Garden

Afternoon Tea...

I am very pleased to report that I have done none of the above! I have dug, and planted, and burnt. I took a short break and weeded the Dog Kennel Garden and the rockery (which is looking more like a grassery - oops). Stephen has been busy filling the trailer with rubbish for the fire, and helping a little with the burning. This is a good thing (my serious early morning semi-sulking has obviously paid off). I feel less overwhelmed than I did. But I do have one slight gardening problem, which I will explain below.

A Hosta Dilemma

My slight gardening problem involves the large bags of new hostas, given to me by my friend. Where should I plant them? The new gardens I'm digging are pretty much in full sun - not suitable. The Dog Kennel garden (where I thought they could go) is full to bursting with 'little' seedling grasses (oops). I think they need to go over the water in the Willow Tree Garden - possibly in the extension, which I haven't dug yet - aargh! Haven't dug! Haven't dug! I am sick of digging!

Add to this that my friend has rung me - she has yet more bags of hostas, and would I like to visit her tomorrow to collect them? Of course I would! Now I know that I have technically got all winter to plant them, but my natural gardening instincts are never quite as rational as this.

 Dig, dig, dig...
Puppy and the Stables Garden Extension

Right. This has been a pleasant little afternoon break - twittering away in my diary and listening to Corelli, while huge swirls of smoke zoom around the windows outside. But I haven't finished yet. Just imagine - the next time I write, the Stables Garden extension could be completely dug, and all the plants destined to be planted in it could be just that - planted! Actually, I'll make that a promise - I won't write anything more until that digging is done.

Ha! I am back! I have finished the digging. I am very tired, but triumphant. I'm off to bed to plan the new hosta garden. Goodnight.

Tuesday 29th March

Right. Just how tough (mentally and garden-wise) am I? Can I back up after an extremely hard digging day by working for a couple of hours in the cold rain? I have plans which involve a gentle shuffling (in other words, shifting) of a rhododendron from underneath the Willow tree. It will be planted at the back of the Stables, just in the far corner of the garden extension which I valiantly dug to quasi-completion yesterday. Then the bags of hostas can be dug in over the water race by the Willow tree. Their position is shady, but not too shady - sheltered, and quite moist. It's all extremely sensible.

Weeping Red Flax

Plants to Shift

Other plants are going to be shifted into the new gardens. A variegated Hebe will move in - there are two in the narrow bed which stretches along from the Willow tree, and one was planted extremely close to the grass edge. Foolish gardener! And if I last long enough in the cold rain (and mud!) I can plant the new Toe Toe plants in the Hump. Think of it this way - I should be using the rain to welcome my Easter sale plants, planted properly in my garden, to their new life. This will be very interesting.

Planting problems are so easily solved lying warm and cosy in bed at 6 am, while listening to rooster crowing. And talking of rooster - he seems to have got louder (that is, closer). Does this mean he has moved back in, like a twenty-something child who's run out of money? Hmm... Off I go, brightly striped in thermal underwear (an interesting sight), to be a super-gardener in the rain.

One and a Half Wet Hours later...

I've done heaps! All the hostas are planted, over the water race by the Willow tree, and the rhododendron is shifted and planted. I've also shifted in a red flax - I hope for its sake it retains a weeping form! Humph... My accomplishments look meagre - but everything has been done properly. I even managed a bit more digging - a slight re-alignment of the back end of the Stables Garden extension.

2003 Garden Journal :
I have journals for all the gardening years since 1997. Oh boy! That's a lot of weeks worth to read!

Now I have changed into warm dry clean clothes, and plan to stay inside for the rest of the morning. If I get bored watching us struggling against the mighty Australians (the cricket is a disaster), I might read my old gardening diaries. It is too wet to go and get the remaining hostas from my friend. Moosey the gardening legend can just have a gentle, well-deserved break from the Easter garden! Good idea.

Even Later...

I've been back outside again in the drizzle, planted some tussock grasses, and done an hour's mud-weeding. The cricket is still stuttering along (a bit like my gardening day). Later this afternoon I will commit to one last set of thermals getting damp and muddy, and I'll do some burning (if the rain lightens). There is so much to do!