Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Quiet Weekend in the Garden



Yesterday afternoon the patch of backyard next to my vegie garden looked like this. It was annoying me no end. I had spent all morning buying lovely Christmas things at the Christmas market at a big old hall with lots of wood panelling and twinkly Christmas lights and then I spent all afternoon in bed reading Snuff by Terry Pratchett for about the fifth time because it is a truly excellent book, and eating the chocolate I bought to put in the Advent calendar, and then I went outside before dinner, and this.. it really didn't fit into my lovely day at all.


Mmm, no better from this angle. You can see the tiny spot I cleared last week to put in a teepee of beans. I had to bring down the hideous plastic chair that I found in the garden when I bought the house because the radio only works in the back garden at waist height. And here is one of the beautiful wooden day beds that The Man made for me as a parting gift before we broke up the partnership. He really is lovely. But sadly, it is about to be eaten up by the garden triffids. Which is a pity because the girls come outside to read their books and sun themselves and I don't want them to be eaten up by the garden either.


Sometimes I can come up with good excuses to get back into bed with another good book, and sometimes I can put on my Ignoring Hat, which is often quite effective, but sometimes I just have to get the shovel out of the shed and put my back into it. Which is exactly what I did, while The Girl and Posy made dinner (The Girl is home from uni for the summer. Happiness and general extra-person-to-make-dinner-joy). The horrible and vile triffid-like weed plague which I imagined would take about three weeks of full-time hard graft to quell looked like this after an hour:


Clearly I seem to have a very unrealistic view of the efficacy of hard work. This is because I spend so much time in bed reading instead of actually doing any. This morning I got up at dawn (aka 8.30am) to do some digging while this space was in shade. My main job was to make the space level enough to fit both day beds, which kind of worked out although my spirit level says, "Not quite there yet," in its most pernickety voice. This job means I win a 'get out of gym free pass' for the next week. I currently cannot move any of my limbs. In the process of moving lots of dirt I also dug up approximately one hundred and twenty thousand jonquil bulbs, each of them wrapped lovingly around with yards and yards of twitch grass (substitute the name of the worst invasive grass from your area with mile-long rhizomes and no redeeming features and you will know just how much fun I was having). Disentangling them was quite jolly, and now I think it is time for a little lie down.


Possibly next time I get tired of reading on the weekend (ho ho) I will get some decomposed granite delivered for a nice hard surface under the daybeds. Hopefully that will happen before all the weed seeds germinate (too late, they are probably doing that right now).

I have managed to carve out a little extra vegie patch. I think this will be the corn and bean patch.


Gratuitous photos of my vegie garden:


We are eating rhubarb, lettuce, spinach, rocket (arugula) and various herbs (plus one strawberry) and have peas, beetroot, capsicum, chillies, celery, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and squash coming along.


Here is the crazy enthusiastic potato patch.


And the tomato plantation.


And a baby cucumber in the tiny teepee I made to protect it from being kicked over by the hooligan blackbirds.


That is my weekend in the garden. Sometimes I get a little tired of my garden. It can be so needy..

7 comments:

Treaders said...

I so love your garden - that soil looks beautiful. I'm sitting here reading too (an avid reader) but since I get about 90 minutes a day reading done on my bus trip to work I don't mind some downtime reading blogs on the computer. Still, as soon as I get off here I'm out in the garden picking up leaves to dump in the compost before the snow comes. I love days like this - it's weird though seeing your garden at the other end of the seasonal spectrum when I have snow in the field behind me (and encroaching fast). Anna

Hazel Marchant said...

You have been working hard - your veggie patch looks amazing, and the "lounge area" is a wonderful idea. I hope your girls appreciate your efforts on their behalf! I really envy you that soil, like most of Canberra, my garden is almost entirely clay. I try not to dig if I can help it, but sometimes a mattock and ten bags of manure are the only answer!

lucindasans said...

It's so restful looking at your garden. I can see myself joining you on a sunlounge reading. I don't believe you ignore your garden much and say in bed and read. Oh only because you love your garden but because the evidence of all the changes you have wrought point to working in the garden.

BTW. No photo of your garden is gratuitous. They make me feel so calm.

fran7narf said...

OH how I wish our garden was a nice large city block around about now! We have just spent the last month working non stop to bring our fridge wicking empire into reality. 20 fridge wickers are placed, most of them are filled and we have 4 to think about where to put. Everything that we have planted in them is growing like crazy but in the meantime, I didn't want to turn Sanctuary into a fallow dry desert so we decided to drip irrigate the whole area and turn it into an espalier fruit, nut and edibles area (as you do...) We live in possum heaven out here so in order to stop the possums from scarfing our hard earned veg in the wicking beds, we have had to come up with a cheap (penniless students ahoy!) way to cover them which would allow us in with a wheelbarrow. We formulated a plan to head down and cut down some of the spindly tea trees in the front acre and stripped them of their bark and will be constructing a series of rectangles that will be cobbled together with ex fish farm netting and anything else we can get our hands on to cover the beds in a sort of rectangular hoop tunnel idea. Next we have to drip irrigate the existing orchard. I gave away most of my chestnut trees as who has room for 20 chestnut trees?! I could't protect them from the voracious possums outside the house fence but I did manage to plant 2 of them out whilst pretending that they only grow to tiny trees in the process. We managed to plant out our carob trees. We grew 3 of them from seed that we bought on Ebay about 7 years ago and they have been languishing in pots ever since. You need male and female to get the pods so fingers crossed at least 2 of them are different sexes. I think I have managed to bypass the gym for the next year with all of the work we have been doing and I am dead tired at the end of the day. This hard work lark really does make you feel contented though when you finish. Sort of like stopping banging your head on a brick wall ;). Lovely shots of your gorgeous garden. We have twitch out here as well. Some numpty planted it as a "lawn"! Your veggies are way ahead of mine but the lettuces that I planted out in some of the fridge wickers have grown incredibly fast and we will at least have some home grown lettuce on our Christmas plates. Another excellent post and that day bed is wonderful :)

GretchenJoanna said...

Wow!! Your garden is so lush - yes, even the weeds, but you changed that - and productive.... How I would love to walk around in it not just via photographs, but with my own two feet.

I had a bad dream, really a nightmare, about my procrastination, which doesn't seem nightmarish when I am doing it; rather, it seems reasonable to put off getting started on jobs. Maybe I am in a bit of a Christmas slump, too, just not as bad as my first Christmas as a widow.

But anyway, today I had the time pressure of rain coming in, so there were several things I HAD to do in the garden and with the firewood stacks, and I did accomplish them before it rained! So I was fully able to guiltlessly enjoy reading about your own hard work. Thank you, as always, for the inspiration!

Jo said...

Anna, yes, I lucked out on the soil in this garden - it is brilliant! I love a commute when you can't do anything except read - I just can't understand why people would choose to spend an hour and a half driving instead - insane.

I imagine the snow has arrived for you now - hope you are enjoying it from a cozy fireside..

Hazel, I am hearing you - my last garden, only one kilometre over the hill from this one, was pure clay as well. And yes, a mattock was an essential part of gardening kit there, and building the soil upwards in raised gardens.. I am very lucky here.

Lucinda, well, I do get quite a bit of reading in. I do wonder sometimes what extraordinary things I might accomplish if I didn't always have my head in a book. And yes, my garden is very soothing to me too. I often just go down and sit on the retaining wall in the sun and breathe in deep breaths of garden happiness:)

Fran, it is amazing what are doing on your very challenging site. I left a long comment on your last post, but beastly wordpress ate it, so if you don't see this, I will email you..keep up the good work with wheelbarrow and wellies xx

Gretchen Joanna, I would so love to show you around my garden and make you a cup of tea.. do pop in any time!! Christmas must be a hard time for you to keep up your spirits.. I am thinking of you. And procrastination can be awfully useful, just think, it stops us from rushing in where angels may fear to tread. A little procrastination could do wonders for the world at large - remember my theory that naps are good for the environment? Well, on the same principle, doing nothing instead of something is probably saving resources from being squandered:)

GretchenJoanna said...

Ha! You are very kind to find a potential good use for my procrastination. But you are right, of course. It probably keeps me out of a lot of trouble.

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