A GAP fortnight?

Ha! Forget the idea of a 'Gap' year. I'm having a GAP fortnight - a Grand Autumn Project. Autumn has finally arrived properly in my garden, and I am going to remodel the Hump, a rough humpy bit of land covered in trees and scruffy shrubs. I am going to rationalise, minimalise, and re-route the paths. I want to design a decent dog circuit over which Winnie my younger dog can race around and stretch her furry legs.

 The Winnie dog-path is over to the left.
The Middle of the Hump

There is much cosmetic work to do. I need to rake out all the rubbish, burn it, and trim dead branches off the overhead trees, before I even start to think about new plants. Dry shade and pine trees don't allow any romantic planting notions, anyway. It's safe and sheltered in here, so I won't be alarmed by the cats wandering too near to the road or next-door's driveway. It's the perfect place for a seeker of privacy, too. No-one human will be able to see me or find me. Ha! I can behave disgracefully...


Day One of my Great Autumn Project has just been an afternoon, but I've made a start. I've pulled out some sad Phormiums (they're now in pieces ready to be planted out in the open), and shifted a green Astelia to make room for a wider path. I've raked and burnt four large barrowfuls of mess. The logs which formed the path edges have all rotted, so I'm replacing them. The young cats Buster and Tiddles have been with me, as have the two dogs. We've all enjoyed ourselves...

 She loves climbing trees.
Tiddles the Tabby

Now the dogs have an early bedtime and I'm off to a music rehearsal. My friends and I are doing an Andrews Sisters medley at an Anzac Concert. Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but meeeeeee.... Busy, busy.

 By the bonfire.
Autumn Cornus (Dogwood)

Friday 24th April

First, the dog park, because I can't start the bonfire and go out leaving it burning. And I must try to manage Winnie the dog's tennis ball obsession. Her latest dog-park habit is to follow anyone holding one of those scoopy tennis ball throwers. Being ball-less (I only do tennis balls at home) I am boring and she's not interested in me. Hmm...

Speaking of puppy-dog behaviour, chewing books is 'so last week' (phew). Now we chew pens, biros, pencils, etc. Unfortunate garden gnomes made of plastic (!) are carted into the middle of the Frisbee Lawn for tenderising at leisure. Aargh! Dogs have such random habits.

Much Later...

Things are going so well in my grand project. I now have lots of new path edging, I've removed a lot of old dry rubbish, and I've found logs to edge the main path underneath the row of pine trees. The bonfire has been smouldering (and flaming, luckily) for most of the day. I've been clumping around in my heavy duty boots, so the gardening feet are feeling somewhat worn. Time to put them up, I think.

Saturday 25th April

It's been too windy to burn today, but I did do some more path edging. I have also pulled out and dumped the patio tomatoes, which have been disappointing. Any promising fruits have been lined up to ripen on the outdoors table.

 Mine! Mine!
Whose Tennis Ball?

Winnie has now moved on from pens and pencils to chewing pine cones, which I prefer - they're much more natural dog-teeth exercising devices. But (oh dear) I've found half a plastic gnome in her kennel. Oops. Such is the lot of the younger dog - Rusty keeps on pinching her tennis balls.

Sunday 26th April

On with the gardening boots and out I go to further work on my project. I love my new gardening boots. I also love, make that 'LOVE", my new expensive prescription sunnies. The landscape looks so beautifully clear and sharp now. Oops. Better not wear them in the garden, in case of loss or damage.

 A toadstool on the back lawn.
Autumn Red

Later, Lunchtime...

I need to collect my thoughts and commit them rationally in writing. The question is : how much clearing do I do in the Hump? Time to 'draw a line in the sand', I think. The Hump is an old river sand-bank, anyway.

I remind myself that the focus of my GAP is Winnie's dog-path. For the human (me) the entry and exit ways must be visible, pleasant, and free from overhanging greenery. The through-route will stretch in a straight line along the pine trees in the Hump. It is a Moosey path, therefore needs an edge of logs or stones. The downwards slope from the path is designated an Area of General Messiness (AGM). Up towards the lawns and the house gardens the ground is an Area of Quasi-Tidyness (AQT). Nothing of value will grow here, but the ground covering Lamium and the self-sown Pittosporums are doing OK.

I also have an Assorted Wood Policy (AWP). All firewood logs slowly rotting away in the Hump will now be dealt to. Burnable? Barrow them over to the house wood-pile. Splittable? Dump them on the wood-splitting pile. Too rotten? Heave them back onto the ground to decompose. Don't forget to look up. Dead branches? Saw them off, remove to bonfire.

 With a green Phormium.
Variegated Cornus Tree

Ha! A sensible AWP! And a POA for the AGM and AQT in my GAP. (POA = Plan Of Action, hee hee). Actually, A POA so obvious that one hardly needed to write it down. But if it makes the gardener feel better...