Feeling small...

It's OK to feel a bit small as a gardener. There's just me, and the garden is big. Small is comfortable, even if it takes me far too long to half-finish anything. But just occasionally (like today) I seem smaller than ever, as if I'm shrinking away. Then I start feeling small-ineffectual and small-sad. This will not do! I need to toughen up. I love being in my garden, and that's all that matters.

Saturday 1st August

The 'too small' mood has a lot to do with winter garden maintenance, of which a lot is required, very obvious and horribly visible. There are few pretty flowers (and definitely no dripping roses) to distract. Even the beautiful green ferns have all gone brown and need to be trimmed. Aargh! Often a winter gardening day is full of small, disconnected tasks, with no sweeping sense of satisfaction afterwards.

 Buy maybe not to be trusted with the sheep...
Escher is a Country Dog...

One thing I can do is to ask Non-Gardening Partner to help me. He did this today, sawing down a dead Banksia tree, a dead Pittosporum, and the big lilac rhododendron in Middle Garden (which has been slowly dying for some months). Another cheerful thing is to list (mentally) all the little accomplishments of the day. Even planting three little pots of herbs (golden sage and lemon thyme) deserves mention. And I pruned the Fairy roses by the house, reaching in carefully to get the dead canes out.

 Photograph taken last summer.
The Fairy Rose

Of course there's the bonfire. To get the rose prunings to burn I also had to scoop up and add dry leaves from the driveway, plus some pieces of gum bark from behind the pond. I also went scavenging for Cordyline leaves in Middle Garden, and pulled out about forty broom and gorse seedlings. My bonfires always take ages, anyway. And now it's dark, and I'm about to soak in the bath. And guess what? My friend told me that colouring-in books for adults (not rude ones) are the latest craze. So I've bought one with swirly pictures of the animal kingdom. It's for therapy, hee hee...

 Early jonquils.
Small Treasures

Sunday 2nd August

This morning I can think of heaps of reasons why feeling small in one's garden is a good thing. It means one can take pleasure in tiny spring things - like the early yellow jonquils and cool white snowdrops. And the first Trillium shoot (which I nearly trod on and squashed yesterday).

I am going to celebrate feeling small all day, with tricks and treats. I've made a nice start with a little pot of tea - Twinings Irish Breakfast, which claims to be 'brisk and lively', and hopefully will make me so. The plan is to go into the middle of the Wattle Woods, to clean and re-organise the little wriggling stream. I even have a bottle of 'liquid energy' (AKA rubbish sugary drink) on standby. And today I have an under-gardener helping me. This is soooooooooo groovy! One never feels too small when one has an under-gardener...

Much, Much Later...

I've had a wonderful day. Wow. So wonderful. First I barrowed in topsoil to the back of the Shrubbery and barrowed out all the firewood logs. Then my under-gardener planted the two Cordylines and the two Pseudopanax shrubs. This area is now nearly finished - I just need to clear a bit more grass from around the miniature Agapanthus clumps, and buy one more Hebe to plant near the new flowering cherry.

 High in the Wattle Woods.
Big Wattle Trees in Flower

Then we went into the Wattle Woods. The wriggling stream now has a couple of new seriously wriggly curves. My under-gardener scooped out the stones, helping me plan the new route. I had to dug out half a large green Astelia (I'll pot up the rooted pieces) and some Agapanthus which were in the way. It tool a couple of hours to clean up the Phormiums and the messy gum tree leaves. I'm very happy with the results, and the tidied-up greenery alongside the stream looks gorgeous.

 Getting a new black plastic liner.
The Little Pond is Bigger

Mid-afternoon the bonfire re-ignited, so everything obviously wanted to be burnt.

Monday 3rd August

Aha! Today I should 'finish' (unrealistic and over-used word, that) the Wattle Woods stream and pond. Escher the big brown dog slept outside in his kennel last night, for the very first time. He wore his dog-suit. Well done, Escher! You are turning into a real country dog.

Ouch, ouch, ouch. After a routine visit to the dog park and the doctor my face and hands hurt (the blessed liquid nitrogen treatment). I've poked around a bit in the Wattle Woods. I've improved the shape of the little pond - in my head, that is. I'd like it to look its best from my most favoured vantage point, which is just by the back of Pond Cottage.

But, to be honest, I've come inside to consider whether I want to do this today or not, understanding that my face and hands are somewhat tender, and it involves digging. I could just have a cup of tea and watch some TV. OK, dogs, what do you think? Should we 'doooooo' something outside? Tails wagging 'yes'. Blast. I shouldn't have asked them.

OK. I can do this. Feel small, but think big. It is August, after all. I'm off to dig the new pond shape, mark the edges with stones, and take a photograph. Half an hour's desultory digging is better than none. The little pond would like to get ready for the next stage.

Feel small, but think big.-Moosey words of wisdom.