What makes gardening so enthralling is you can become the Queen of your own private Kingdom. You can create your own particular dream, working within the parameters of what you have, you can grow exactly what you desire. Even with mistakes and failures, gardening is satisfying and enchanting. The rewards are never-ending and break all boundaries of class, race, gender and age into a unifying common goal – to grow things…
Pottering in the garden suggests it is all play but in reality gardening is, although invigorating and rewarding hard back breaking work. And with the constant ravage from the weather means that gardening is not for the faint- hearted. On the other hand, any pastime that suspends time as much as gardening does, where you can lose yourself for hours, is both therapeutic and delightful. One step into the garden for a quick task and one can find hours have passed, chores inside abandoned to return later fortified, enlivened and at the same time ready to drop.
My other posts have told a story of my garden that some may call ‘in the middle of nowhere’. It is rustic, yet charming and a bit wild some may say.
The garden began when I realised it was far warmer and more pleasant to be outside in the sun during winter than trying to keep warm inside. Winter days here are cold and frosty to start and sunny with clear skies most days. As my rose garden expanded the pattern I’ve enjoyed is, to get out in the garden as soon as the weather will permit, after the morning frost has melted. In Summer, the early morning light radiates across the garden and I can be outside early until the heat drives me back to the cooling comfort of air conditioning or a fan. Between these extremes of winter and summer are the glorious seasons of Autumn and Spring. These are the productive months when gardening can be done all day in relative comfort. This weather allows more time to focus on the larger design and landscape decisions and ample time to implement the planning.
Everyone loves Spring. It is the season of new growth with the promise of buds, blooms and perfume. A season of excitement in any garden where bare root roses, blossoms, bulbs, shrubs and perennials come to life and one can finally enjoy the reward of all the autumn and winter labour.
“More grows in the garden than the gardener sows”.
Designing a rose garden on a rural property is not without certain obstacles. I’ve mentioned the ever present wallabies and kangaroos but also foxes, wild cats, snakes, countless insects and masses of birdlife. All willing in their own particular way to make it difficult and at times dangerous.
Then the dry clay soil, weeds, wind and extremes in temperature make rose growing a constant challenge. Rural living provides no concept of kerb appeal and the entire garden needs to be fenced off quite high to restrict mobs of kangaroos trampling your efforts. Nonetheless, contrary to my family and friends repeated cry of ‘its the middle of nowhere’ I am still determined to have a go and to expand the garden further. To Grasp a Nettle- to tackle a with bravery
Gardens are a sanctuary whether to sit with a solitary cup of tea and a book or a lovely place to entertain. We grow them for ourselves or for family and friends to enjoy. The garden may at times appear wild and unkempt especially at the height of summer when all the perennials bloom and seem to take over the order we attempted to impose.
My garden like most, is a constant source of unfinished tasks and unfulfilled dreams or work in progress. It is what it is, a rural garden and will never be perfect. I am proud of the successes I’ve seen so far and I’m the only one that knows for every flourishing plant, there are many that did not make it or I planted in the wrong place and require attention in some way.
At the time of writing my roses are under heat stress, our temperatures today in the low 40’s with high winds. Not much can survive in such harsh conditions for too long. So, like a doting parent I do all I can to keep the water up and provide care and attention, telling myself the burnt leaves will regrow and all will be right in the garden if they can survive until Autumn. As Robert Brault commented
“If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden”-
We will never predict or control weather patterns or know when the drought or flood will end, there will always be another plague of pests to attack the plants and make it onerous, but we can choose how we deal and react to challenges and disasters. Start with what you have and work with it because as the Spanish Proverb so aptly describes
More grows in the garden than the gardener sows
Words and Images by Di Baker 2019