It took a few days, but the bed is done now, and I am quite happy with the result.
Finished at last.
One thing that did happen when the carport went up, was that the bed became a lot drier than before, because it was now in rain shadow, which meant I had to rethink the planting, hence the pelargoniums. When the carport first went up I thought, great, afternoon shade in summer, I’ll plant vegies in it, but the lack of rain outweighed the shade provided. A good thing about drought has been the opportunity to completely rework existing beds if enough plants have died. I know of a lady who simply bulldozes and starts again each drought.
All I need now is a row of Bluebush along the top of the bed and it will look great.
It is funny that while some garden projects take months and years to complete, often due to a long gestational period – “I’m going to put a stone wall there when I get to it” etc, others have a gestational period of minutes of hours.
I love the second variety, where as soon as the idea comes you’ve started it, because you can see the finished product in your mind and it has to be done NOW.
This happened to me a couple of days ago. On Sunday I organised a few pelargoniums to plant on Monday, the anniversary of my husband’s death, but not one has gone in yet. While I was thinking about how lovely the little bed would be, it went from not quite right to completely wrong.
How the herb bed was from Aug 2009 until Dec 2011.
I was looking at the herb bed on the far side of the carport, which I laid out two years before the carport went up because I simply couldn’t wait to get the herbs in. It ended up a little further away than it needed to be, but I was so glad to have a carport that I did not worry about the bed. I put stones along the top edge and left it like that.
The herb bed after the carport was erected.
Until yesterday. Suddenly I saw how stupid it looked from front on, and started moving the stones towards the carport posts. Then I saw it would too wide, so out came more stones, and then it was time to get shoveling and take the excess dirt away in the wheelbarrow. And while I didn’t have time to finish, I can’t wait to continue.
How it looks at the moment.
After the author Derek Tangye lost his wife, he wrote that the bereaved person had two lives, a forgetting life and a remembering one. My two lives seem to follow a seasonal pattern, and my remembering time starts at the end of March, each year, when blood lilies make their appearance in gardens around the place.
Blood Lily or Ox Tongue Lily (Haemanthus coccineus)
It was a dear friend Quentin who showed me blood lilies at his place, when I’d gone there for counsel in March 2009. Both my daughters’ birthdays were approaching but my husband was also in hospital dying, and I was pretty stressed out. His birthday was the day before my girls’ birthdays, and his death day as it later transpired, was the same day as my husband’s, but a year later. Anyway I simply had to have a blood lily for my garden after that, and each year when it appears I think of Quentin.
Remembering time lasts from late March to early September, and during these months there are a number of anniversaries and family birthdays, and all of them challenging. Each year the emotional mud I wade through gets lighter, and I would have thought this year I’d be okay, given that we have been given a new trauma to adjust to since last December. But the new trauma seems to have added to the general mud, as well as extending the whole yearly anniversary season. It makes you wonder if by the end of your life that you will have accumulated painful memories for all year round! Surely some must ease with time.
But I also kind of like remembering time, it makes me feel closer to my late husband again, because for the rest of the year I am busy with the concerns of the present. And if I have a tough day I can always do what Kate Llewellyn likes to do, and that is plant things. And fortunately remembering time coincides with planting season here!
Life’s been kind of tough lately, the kind of tough that makes you rail a little bit at God and why He’s dumped a whole pile of shit on you. Sharon’s answer is that good gardeners put more manure on certain plants so that they bear more fruit!
However it has also come to mind that perhaps I do better under adverse conditions.
I have always loved cacti, ever since I was a kid, maybe even starting with the day I fell in some in my grandma’s garden. I certainly took notice of them after that! But I have always related to their prickliness, I’ve never been able to do “nice”! And then there is that other question, what the hell am I doing here, trying to garden in this most difficult place? Perhaps I do prefer life to be challenging.
Last year I noticed that the grief monster, as my fellow widsters refer to him, was not really hanging around much any more. Now what? I started to think. I then wrote in my journal that this wasn’t an invitation for more crap, but too bad, it came anyway.
So what kind of flower are you? Are you a rose, someone who pretends to be delicate, but underneath is as tough as they come? Or are you an Andamooka lily, hiding safely underground but popping up as soon as sweet summer rain falls? I would be curious to know what other flowers are out there.
The weather this past week has been of unbelievable heat and humidity that we should not be getting this far into March, but I suppose it is to make up for the lovely mild two weeks we had in late January. And good heat usually means good winter rains to come.
The plants in the garden seem to run off their own calendar, so even it it doesn’t feel like Autumn, the signs are there.
This is what said good morning to me last week:
Then I saw a few yellowing leaves on the Golden Rain Tree. Hurray!
Golden Rain Tree – Pride of China
There were also blackberries to be found hiding underneath the foliage of the thornless blackberry bush. And the apples are still on the Granny Smith in the orchard over the septic overflow (last year they were knocked off on a windy day).
I am also greeted by a happy display of flowers in my plants house. These are all waiting to be planted out, but look so pretty there I’ve held off!
Waiting for their turn
For years I could not make up my mind what my favourite thing about autumn was, couldn’t decide if it were the crocuses or the autumn leaves. Then last year I finally realized that was the light; the gentle autumn light on the ranges.
Very thankful to have received an inch of rain at long last, just when the tanks were so low I was thinking about water night and day.
The rain was a lovely slow and steady one, and the land greedily slurped it up. The garden, or what is left of it after many deaths over the months, is already looking refreshed. And just as planting season has arrived (hooray!) Over the summer I have had a joy in my heart about the plants I would put in to replace the ones that did not stand up to that very dry year. It almost feels like the dawn of a new era in the garden.
The land sighs with relief.
Of course for us to get good rain, further south must cop it. When we get really good rain it usually means that Melbourne is under water!
We have not heard from our frogs for a very long time. I wonder if they will wake up now.