I am most definitely a beginner when it comes to gardening. I’d like to say it’s because I’m not used to having a garden, but that would be a lie. I’ve had gardens for years, I’ve just never really known what to do with them. As a lover of brightly glazed pots I’d usually fill my spaces with these, and then hope for the best for the rest.
Of course I’d weed. I’m a good weeder. A great weeder in fact, but when it comes to taking care of the plants, never mind adding news ones, I’m a bit all at sea. So this year I decided to tackle the task head on, and even planted my first tree - a beautiful Acer I was given for my birthday that seems to be doing very well in the sunny little spot I chose for him (yep - all my plants appear to be ‘hims’. I’ve no idea why).
Bit by bit I trimmed and pruned what was already there with loving care remembering a tip from years ago to cut to the nearest bud rather than mid-branch. (This was actually a tip about pruning roses but it seemed logical to apply it to the other plants). I cut stray leaves from palm trees giving those on top a better chance. I regularly gave the wisteria a hair cut which seems to have worked as finally it has a shape rather than a mass of unruly tentacles. I dramatically pruned a climbing rose that seemed to be climbing itself and is now gleefully scooting up a telegraph pole.
Living in a sheltered valley that most definitely has its own micro-climate means weed growing here is prolific. I’m talking weeds with trunks like trees. Filling five plus garden bags of weeds has occurred on several occasions this summer. Just when I get around to it all, so prolific is their growth they’ve already sprouted back in the spot where I started. Like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s a job that never ends. I realise I’m making it sound like I have a big garden here, I don’t, but it has a few borders. A friend once said a weed is just a plant in the wrong place, so I decided to leave a few of them to do their thing, and that seemed to work too. And of course it's GREAT for the bees, butterflies and bats, and we are all about that!
So, as we near Autumn and Winter isn’t far away, I thought I’d look up what to do to help the garden prepare. As I’ve discovered over the Summer, most of what I used to find daunting about gardening is actually quite logical, and preparing a garden for Autumn is just that. Logical. It’s all about cutting off and clearing all the dead stuff and giving the lawn one last mow so it grows better when it comes to life again in the spring. Another lovely idea is to allocate an area (preferably undercover) to pile up any fallen leaves. It will make a great hiding place for any little critters looking for a cosy spot to hide when the weather turns.
The one thing I didn’t get round to doing this year was growing any vegetables, but if I had I’d be getting the herbs indoors as they’re not fans of the cold either.
So - there you have it. Gardening really isn’t that bad after all, and as I look out now and see the fruits of my labour in the form of happier looking plants, I feel proud of my efforts and next year, I’ll be all over it!
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