Well the new Yellow Book has finally arrived...for people not up on their coloured books or new to the blog this is my ticket to open again for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). This is year 2, and I must say that emotionally I’m probably on the same level as I was last year in terms of a winding stress and worry about getting everything right.....it is not getting much easier! With a new plant catalogue through my door almost every week I’m seeing images of perfect gardens and very aware how time is ticking quickly and my window of opportunity is narrowing
Gardening is also a funny creative business and although you can tinker through the year or have radical makeovers (if you have the budget), the main time to do stuff is now until about April/May by which time everything needs to be planted out. Time is therefore running out!
I think gardeners are notoriously critical of their own creations as when someone says, ooh that looks nice, you think yes...but that needs deadheading and that X is clearly in the wrong place. Some of this is the planning as I think you are always thinking about what needs to change and what needs to be moved so a current garden is just a transition point to the perfect garden.
I have been having an eek moment of gosh there is a lot to do and will it be good enough, and it was good fate that at the same time I’ve just been having emails with Wayne who has similar jitters about the first time opening of his garden in Clapham. I have realised that I should heed my own advice that it is only for half a day a year, and if its good enough for the NGS inspectors then its good enough for the public! Other people can also see things that you can’t , and after seeing pictures of Wayne’s garden he has nothing to worry about as it is fabulous tropical fiesta. I’m sure the same is true of my own garden where I do of course only see the faults/problem areas...however if Carol can say nice things then perhaps I should listen to them.
|Waynes 'Clapham meets Jamaica' garden. Dont you think it looks fabulous?|
I’ve also realised how I’m not quite as organised in the garden as I am at work where I’m very good at diarising and to do lists which I find a very good tool for calmness and planning, so to catch up I thought I would share:
So my big to do, and also figure out what I’m doing list at the moment is:
Shed/Summerhouse: We need some type of formal base to sit and ponder life from, we know what shed we want and have pondered the merits of concrete bases vs breeze blocks and sleepers for its base so now just need to do the base and get it assembled. I also think getting it in will be key as something like this radically changes the outlook of your space and denotes new views and vistas and as such the creative process will flow more once it is in.
The overlooked problem: the site is so overlooked, and the current construction of a new 3 floor house 2 doors down will only make it worse, as will the planned house at the bottom of the new land. I hate being overlooked and it really feels like you are on display at the moment wherever you are in the garden. I know this is compounded by the lack of leaves but I need to create lots of private areas and close vistas.....shed will help with this, as will lots of trellis and my slow growing bamboos but they need to grow quicker! Last year I found wigwams were helpful, and this year there will be lots along with some metal reinforcing things and wire mesh...
Digging and clearing: I am on the home stretch with this as only about 8-12 square metres of key 2012 garden space remains to be dug (along with a wooded bit where I have a digitalis dream) so I should relax about it! the problem of not really knowing what I will put there is a different issue!
Seeds and starting stuff off: I have planted the amazing total of 0 seeds so far, and in fact only dried off and stored the Kangaroo apple seeds last week. This is my priority over the next couple of weeks along with starting off the Eddoes and Coco Yams which took forever last year to get going (I don’t have the wonders of reptile mats or heated propagators that more professional folk have)
Bees: the bees have an amazing platform to live on, but in order to fulfil my honey drenched dreams I should really buy the 2 hives and some bees!
Mastering the concreting fear: I’m not great with concreting stuff as this involves buying the concrete and then doing permanent stuff. The shed base will need some concrete as will my artificial mound.
What plants where? The big dilemma, especially as I’m growing a good amount of stuff this year that I haven’t grown before, but hey that’s the joy of gardening! I also find it far easier to physically arrange stuff when planting. Last year it also all went ok the only mistakes being red zinnias (they weren’t big and wild enough) and orange cosmos sulphurous (bit small and weedy, also a bit suburban front garden. I need faith!
Anyway, things are happening and doing this list was cathartic in it’s self! I have a gardening day planned for the 10th and 3rd and have big piles of soil, bulbs , plants, pond liners and bee hives on order which will make me feel better about progress. As spring is approaching I also feel more and more positive every time a daffodil opens or new sycamore seed starts to grow!