I'm clearing down to the Leyland shelter belt.
Site of the New Garden

OK. I've got the hoses on. My short work commitment is finished. I'm totally back, and I've been thinking. Am I silly to be clearing the new garden area at the very back of the Shrubbery?

Monday 22nd February

Answer - not way! I've just gone down there for a wander with the dog and the camera, and I think it's going to look gorgeous. Parts of it already do. Some of the trees are huge, and the smaller shrubby Pittosporums and Olearias have beautifully textured leaves. My new plantings are looking fine (if small), and I like the secret woodland feeling. As long as I promise to balance my gardening work by dead-heading a barrowful of roses and dahlias each day...

Keep the Mulching Faith...

All weekend I've been clearing the ground. As long as I keep the mulching faith (damp newspaper and rotting hay), do a little work each day, and burn my rubbish sensibly, it should be finished by the end of February. The paths into the area are gorgeous (yippee for my paths) - as are several existing shrubs. Wisely I planted some spring flowering Genistas, a beautiful Viburnum with red berries, and some Olearias with tooth-shaped leaves about two years ago, before any thought of serious gardening.

 I think this is a Viburnum.
Red Berries on Viburnum

Another thought - this is the perfect place for Agapanthus plantings. One can never have too many Agapanthuses when expanding a large, random, country garden. They would very nicely define the edge of the path, creating the illusion of stability. Hmm...

Tuesday 23rd February

Hmm... What should I do today in the garden? First things first - two clumps of raspberry daylilies which used to flower on the side of the Septic Tank Border have been green and bloomless this year. I know daylilies can be planted almost anywhere, but they like sun. Yet again it's my fault - nearby ferns have taken over, causing too much shade.

Raspberry Daylily :
This daylily is such a sweet colour, and I wish it would flower again.

I've just looked at a superbly flowery photograph from the summer of 2004 - not fair! The septic tank garden looked great that year! Just another dent in my gardening ego...

I am not a very good plantswoman - otherwise I'd look after my plants before they became squashed and underperforming, wouldn't I! Ha! A self-proclaimed gardening legend is brought down to size by a raspberry daylily. Blast. No, wait! Eight months ago in last winter's journal I divided these daylilies. I even mention redividing them. So I have done the right thing...

Garden Bloggers - Take Heart!

Garden bloggers - read carefully over old entries in your journals, and take heart! Record every planting detail! And just for the record - but wait, there's more... New daylilies which I planted last year in the dry, open, hot, sunny, well-drained spaces of the Frisbee Lawn garden HAVEN"T FLOWERED EITHER (upper case letters - the writer is now shouting triumphantly). So I'm alright!

 In the afternoon sun.
Rusty the Dog

Right. Sorry about that loopy little journey. As soon as I've had my coffee I'm off into the back of the Shrubbery with Rusty the dog - he will cheer me up. But before I go, I've had another thought about garden timing, and the chilling concept that things only look really beautiful when they're about to end. Take bearded irises, and that special summer when the iris flowers are magnificent. This means, I'm afraid, that the clump needs pulling apart and dividing two months later. Put this off (like I do) at your peril!

 A nest on one of my Euphorbias.

Later, After Lunchtime...

I've been working hard clearing and dumping grass mess underneath the Leylands. It's a really nice garden area - secluded, leafy, and has a gentle slope (most of my garden is dead flat). I've seen lots of spiders carrying huge eggs away from the gardener-danger (me). I admire these critters - perhaps in a reincarnated life I could be a garden spider...

Anyway, my next job is to spread lots of newspaper and mulch. I remind myself there is no point in clearing and then walking away - I've just given those weeds and grasses room to breathe and grow. And pretty soon I need to lay down some paths. How will I wander through this garden - and where will I be wanting to go? And where will I be wanting to stop? Ha - I'm thinking a garden seat or bench!

Wednesday 24th February

Good morning world! Good morning garden. Good morning cats, and Rusty the dog. Yesterday evening I took NGP to see my latest garden clearing efforts. Some good news - I can saw down any self-sown pine trees, and it will benefit the Leylands if I throw the grass rubbish underneath (I've been throwing all the snails I find under there). This area already has irrigation - stakes are spaced out evenly along the slope - no wonder the grass grows so well. It follows that the shrubs I eventually plant in here will do likewise.

 A rather dark late season flower...
Westerland Rose

Hot, Hot, Hot...

The last two days have been hot, hot, hot - thirty-one degrees Celsius, two days running! It's been far too hot to safely have a bonfire. Yesterday the fire siren (mounted on a pole at the corner of my road) went off twice - some hay had self-combusted in a nearby barn, and later a harvester caught fire in a field. Thankfully no dry nor-west winds have been blowing. Right. I wonder how much more of the new garden I can clear today?

Later, Lunchtime...

I have worked so hard! And now I'm back into the garden to do more. It's fiercely hot, so I'm glad to be working in the leafy shade. I've marked out one path with small stones, and started doing the great cover-up (i.e. mulch). Renga Renga (rock lilies) would do really well in here - in winter I'll be spared the sight of them succumbing to the frost. Good thinking! I also need to scatter some Honesty seeds. Busy me, busy as a bumble bee - a gardener's work is never done.

Actually (said a little sheepishly) I might draw a bit of a plan on paper - just to get the most out of the irrigation.