Gardeny Sunday Wozzit
0 comment Sunday, May 11, 2014 |
Right, well, since I've returned from a needed hiatus, let's talk gardening!
I am afraid I have to make the confession that gardening is starting to become a backbreaking enterprise for me. I am having to try and think of more and more creative ways to tackle it. Bending down to weed is now impossible - though I seem to forget this on a regular basis and force myself to do it anyway. I'm looking into alternatives when I have a bit of cash to spare at some point. I am also discovering that I am having to partake in "haiku gardening" sessions of about a half hour and no more. Otherwise I run the risk of not being able to move at all; it's not dignified to struggle with 15kilos of topsoil but after wrestling the bag around to the amusement of neighbours (and probably curtain twitchers wanting to know how I could garden if I'm not having a real job, damn scrounger, etc etc *ahem*) I had to pack it in a lot sooner than I would have liked. I'm allowing for that - mostly due to the fact I have little choice, I HAVE to stop if I want to cope with the rest of the day. Also, honestly, it's a real dumb idea for me to stay out in the sun, no matter how weak it may be, for longer than a half hour stretch unless I put sunblock on as well.
So this means my gardening sessions are quite abbreviated compared to last year. The perk to this, however, is I can do it more often. I just break up tasks so they become a daily potter rather than a huge epic gardening day that cripples me for three days afterwards. So far, it's working, but it took me a while to accept that I was doing any work at all in such small sessions.
I do intend on taking some photos in a bit so check back to this and you'll see some actual images. I apologise as they are not the best; one realises at a rather late stage that in order to take photos of ground plants one needs to get on or near the ground to do so. Not possible. Therefore, slightly "can you see the plant in all this dirt?" photos ensue.
First off, I decided to work on the front garden, which is starting to show signs of spring-ness. And what pleased me most this year is that the transplanted peony rhizome my friend gifted to me last year is starting to send forth shoots and buds. YAY (they're tiny and slightly reddish in here, but there were about eight of them when I counted before brushing a bit of manure over them)! I am so incredibly chuffed. I know that peonies apparently sulk and won't flower for a few years but I've been informed by a specialised peony grower this is mostly due to people planting peonies much too deep. They are very shallow plants, and since my soil is so heavy I only just covered the thing last year. The rhizome was huge as well which apparently is another positive. Last year I gave it some good blood, bone and fish meal around July-August, and cut the growth down in Feb. Now it has a topdress of rotted manure and we'll await results.
The rose bushes outside have also been cleared of weeds and have had their topdress of manure - one rose is looking quite good, but the second has developed black spot and it's starting to kill the rosebush. Woe :/ Not sure I can save it but I'll certainly try. I've cut the infected stalks well back and raked all the leaves and dead stuff away from the main plant. We'll see if it manages to recover somewhat. The rosebush near the window - not sure what it is, but it's a floribunda type - is buried in a huge patch of cleavers and grape hyacinth. Now I'm not keen on either, but cleavers less than hyacinth (thought the patches of cleavers in the back garden are going to be harvested this week, more on that later). I ripped out as much as I could of the former and made a bit of a start on the latter but I'm well aware unless you eradicate them both, it just comes back. Heigh ho. In any event it was enough for me to get to the roots and base of the rosebush to apply some topdress. It's always been a bit of a weedy plant (is it a climber? I admit I don't know) so hoping it will beef up a bit and thrive.
The beds which hold my gladioli are filled with rather insidious weeds and these are hard to eradicate. Ivy and all sorts of creeping stuff all over is getting cleared but I know it will all creep back in a few months. It's sort of a pattern; I attack it all with enthusiasm which slowly wanes by about July, then I give up. This however is, again, mostly due to being unable to bend down to deal with the stuff. A new method will have to be embarked upon if I want to deal with the border-beds.
Transplanted bluebells and outdoor hyacinths are coming up now and I am well chuffed. I found them beneath even more ivy and cleavers - I had actually forgotten about them so I was very pleased to note they were growing away! I've cleared up round them and may give them a bit of a manure topdress this week. Last year, as an experiment I put the hyacinth bulbs I had been gifted from a friend into the ground to see if they'd grow. Sure enough, they did! So now I purchase some hyacinths to force indoors and when they're done growing, I put them out into the garden for the following year. The amazingly fragrant ones in my bedroom right now are destined to be transplanted soon, but for now I enjoy just hobbling up the stairs and taking in a deep breath of their scent and smiling.
The clematis which I planted in the pots in my much-battered bench planter is sending forth some new sprigs on its vine. This is a WOOT as I actually thought it wasn't going to make it last year. But finding a very tiny growing leafbud on the vine has changed my view More soil and manure went in these mounted pots and I assessed the damage to the bench as well. It is definitely going to need to be resealed with wood treatment this year, and for as long as I can - may as well re-surface the rear table while I'm at it too. I'm not sure what I'm going to plant in the pots to offset the clematis but it will probably be something simple. The osteospermums I grew last year were absolutely lovely, and while I've managed to propagate two cuttings off last years' plants on my windowsill, I know doubt it would really be enough to do that kind of intensive landscaping. Still, I was shocked at how fast and well they grew in pots, so who knows?
There's not much growing out in the front garden, to be truthful so it was actually somewhat easy to deal with the whole thing. The biggest issue with the front garden is dealing with the hedge and all the rubbish the kids lodge into the branches (there's a rubbish bin just down the way. No I don't get it either *sigh*). But the front garden doesn't really feel like MY space, and so it gives me a bit of trepidation to work on; there's nothing private about working on the front garden - every time I turned round my son was saying 'look mum, there's someone watching!' Something about tending a front garden feels like you're gardening more for what other people will say to you about it than for your own sense of enjoyment - it doesn't give me the measured peace and chill-time that working in the back garden does. Bit weird, I know, and I'm not sure why that happens, but go figure.
Anyway, it got done in the end and I'm looking out my window now, noting all the new shoots and red-turning to green, and smiling about what the summer will bring.

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