Doing silly things...

Sometimes I do really sensible things (like planting rhododendrons in the right place). And sometimes I do silly things (like planting ground cover Hypericum, and a Golden Hop without providing any sort of climbing frame). Hmm. And then I have the nerve to talk about 'plants behaving badly'...

Tuesday 20th September

Yesterday, gardening late in the day, with full momentum, I discovered something silly. Noticing a mistake late in the day is really unfair on the morale. One tends to instantly droop and plod inside, feeling hopeless.

 But the bees love the blue Salvia.
Three Nuisance Plants

The Salvia uligosa in the Allotment Garden has spread like a mint. And spread, and spread, and then spread some more. Did I know it would do this? It is completely out of control, and is totally choking my iris patch. And I never saw this coming. What to do? Well, I'd rather do nothing, and after the irises have flowered (if indeed they can, given the strength of their competition) lift them out lovingly and find a place with space for them. This Salvia, which I love, and the bees love, is a monster in disguise. Why didn't anyone tell me? I wouldn't have listened anyway...

 This photograph was taken over 12 years ago.
The Dry Stream Bed

Design Mistake

Now a design mistake, which occurred many, many years ago. I went all fanciful (reading too many glossy gardening magazines) and created my version of a dry stream bed - a wide river of stones flowing out from the old dog kennel. What a lovely idea! Right. So where exactly are these stones today? Buried deeply under layers of debris, dandelions, assorted other weeds, leaves, and mess. Terribly sorry, Acorus, forcing you to put up with such a nonsense.

So three wheelbarrowfuls of specially hand-picked stones have been collected and tipped onto the dog-path by the water's edge, opposite. Obviously I had to clean up the little path first - weeding it, trimming ferns, Phormiums, raking up wadges of Copper Beech leaves, and pulling out yet more scruffy iris confusa. I've built up the dog-path's little stone retaining wall and it's ready to tip in some top-soil and compost mix. And I've burnt all the rubbish. So there.

Wednesday 21st September

I followed through! Between writing music and rehearsing music I emptied the top-soil compost mix and spread it out. I also did some weeding. It's the parachute weed season, the season when walking anywhere involves much stooping and bending.

Thursday 22nd September

I keep seeing luxuriant groves of parachute weeds (shepherd's needles?) as I wander around the garden. I should be out there now weeding. I have a slim window of opportunity before I need to help with the sheep (we are shearing tomorrow). Coming home form the dog park I gave myself the choice. An hour's weeding, or an hour's vacuuming. I thought that would do the trick. Hee hee. I have been saved! My friend rang to ask if I was free for an early lunch. Yum! Oh yes, yes, I'm on my way...

 In front of the garden mural.
Camellias Behind the Stables

And so the dog hair, cat hair, bird feathers (oops), and general dirt and dust throughout the house all remain in situ. The parachute weeds giggle with delight. But I'll be back. Then I might vacuum the garden...


I've done a couple of hours speed weeding by the curve in the driveway. At dusk I went into the Shrubbery to check out the double Kerria. Oops. Medium-sized mistake! No, the Kerria wasn't quite in flower, but the whole garden around the little courtyard was awash with weeds. And, just quietly, the Kerria is happily sprouting its way through the ram paddock...

My spring days are forever expanding with priorities. And I need a whole day to keep up with my seedling production in the glass-house. What to do? Drive with Non-Gardening Partner to the pub for a pensioner's roast and half a glass of mind-soothing red wine, that's what.

Friday 23rd September

First the dog park. Then some weeding and clearing by the driveway - it must be years since I last trinmmed, pruned and rationalised this area. Lots of iris confusa - pulled out. Why have I allowed these silly plants to take over? Lots of dead rose canes pruned, Pittosporums trimmed and a sprouting Feijoa tree cut down at the ankles. I don't eat the fruit, and I don't want the shrubby tree.

Berberis :
Such a pretty shrub when in flower (eek!) and later in autumn.

The roses (climbing Icebergs and Easlea's Golden Rambler) now have more light, so they will perform better (Easleas Golden Rambler has stunning blooms). And the hugest of mistakes - spotted just in time, and dealt to. I've pulled out maybe fifty of the sturdiest little Berberis shrublets. Berberis isn't on the 'banned' list here, but I now notice its overwhelming tendency to survive. Another lesson learnt?

 The ewe is off to the shearing sheds. Lamb has to come too.
Ewe and Lamb

Shearing Time...

I helped with shearing (three more of the ewes were confirmed as being pregnant, and just one lamb born so far). I rather enjoyed the repetitive rhythms of the shearing shed, with just enough time for the tasks that I was assigned to. The fleeces are just gorgeous - fine (with respect to microns), long, creamy white, and one beautifully crimped.

Back home, hands super-smooth with lanolin, I had time to burn all my rubbish before dusk. And I found yet another patch of scruffy iris confusa smothering some hostas, which I remember being variegated and extremely pretty. This will not do! Out they came and up they went in smoke. I didn't have time to start the Shrubbery courtyard weeding. Right. I'm off to bed to read my book 'Stranger on a Train' which I am enjoying very much.

Just before I forget. Another possible mistake - some orange Alstroemeria is seedling madly in the Island Bed. A small piece arrived with a recycled rose, and I thought it was so pretty. The first flowering season I vigilantly chopped off all the flower-heads, to discourage any uncontrolled seeding. But last year - ahem. I forgot.

Just a gardener being silly?

And what about my Golden Hop? And the sweet little Euphorbia given to me by a so-called friend, and the Ginger mint which almost took over the Herb Spiral? Not plants behaving badly, just a gardener being silly. Not listening. Not heeding advice. Not doing her homework. Thinking she can outwit nature. That sort of thing.