I’m receiving complaints about not blogging often enough – sorry, I haven’t been out and about much on sunny days lately. Seeing as it’s spring let’s go gardening. Warning: lots of pics!
I moved in 18 months ago and it was a horror. What little was planted was overgrown and revolting, including a tree that hadn’t seen a saw in years and the neighbour’s unruly climbers. The previous owner and her tenants were happy with their low maintenance garden – stones and aloes are very undemanding.
The first thing I did was find Richard. Richard is a gem and an expert gardener, as he repeatedly told me. Keen as mustard, he wanted to be here at the crack of dawn or earlier if possible but we negotiated the more civilised time of 8am. He took one look at the place and tutted “Lots of work here”. Then he scornfully threw down my tools, “I’ll bring my own next time” and asked for tea. He understood what was needed and, after tea and a little chat, he got stuck in. Within a few hours he had removed all the revolting overgrown rubbish, keeping exactly ONE aloe, a very large one.
In the process he found a large quantity of different types of stones and paving slabs. The large section of garden that was not planted up but instead was full of small gravel-type stuff and used as parking was dug over and the gravel was added to the driveway gravel. A path was laid from the stoep to the car, and leaving me with instructions and a shopping list, Richard had finished day one.
Then we built a raised bed (which I insisted on painting myself because Richard’s daily rate doubles as soon as he touches a paintbrush).
Richard, bless his soul, is extremely bossy and high maintenance, mainly because he drinks a lot of tea, needs a lot of praise, and has only 2 teeth. In winter soup was easy but as the weather warmed up I found it difficult to come up with things to feed him.
Richard was eager for me to go shopping for plants but I was forced by a sudden tightening of budget to leave things as they were for a while. I would sit at my desk and stare out at that empty garden every day until I wanted to cry. Eventually Caroline took pity on me and so began the great plant donation drive. I planted.
Richard was called to action one more time and helped me make full use of each and every single stone and paver we had found. He also helped prepare a vegetable garden, which has yet to be planted – I gave it a full season’s fallow break in the hope that all the weeds would stop growing and all the stones in it would disappear. The weeds are mainly gone but Vida keeps burying bones in it. Well, it’s the same bone, over and over.
I have also received some lovely plants from Pauline and divine clivias from Devos – I was thrilled when he said to leave them in their pots for a few seasons.
I’ve spent the last 4 months stepping over and around massive weeds and I can’t see half the middle path so when I wanted to braai the other evening I started preparing early in the day. First task was to dig out the wheelbarrow which serves as a braai (Weber got stolen, as yet unreplaced) and cut back the daisies that were taking over the ‘braai area’. By the time the wheelie bin was full of weeds and daisy branches it was time to braai. In other words, I was at it all day.
Well into the gardening spirit, I continued the next day and dug up a further few tonnes of weed. Sadly the job is not over yet, but it does look a lot neater and some flowers can actually be seen. It was so good to be gardening again – the aching muscles and the sun on my body, bliss!
No garden is complete without a few ornaments. Here are some of my favourites.
A couple of flowers …
And finally, Richard.