The calendar is full. It’s been hard to squeeze everything in this year. Work is fabulously busy, everything in the garden is growing beautifully and all the minutes snatched to quickly weed, edge or prune over the last few months have paid off. Having a large garden like this means it’s constant. About an acre in garden and an acre in production. There is not much rest time, tho now we have it looking good I’m really going to try and keep it up to date. It needs around an hour a day. Miss a day and you have two hours to catch up. Miss a week and you have a whole day. No shortcuts. You can pretend things will look after themselves, but in the end it just needs doing. When Ana first asked to have a wedding picnic here I was rapt. There is no better motivator than a date to work to and the offer of working bees is the best present I could ever wish for.
The first working Bee was to put some structures in place I had been dreaming about for years along with lots of pruning and clearing. Everything had got away on me. This working bee was the icing. Twenty two cubic metres of mulch was layered onto the bare patches. Edges tidied and it looks amazing. It’s quite cool to have a group of non Gardeners stand back and survey their ‘hard work’ and see REAL results. Also to see how good what they did last time looks.
I was a little shy to ask the wedding party to do things that didn’t seem to be related to their wedding, even tho my work in the wedding area made me neglect the production part of the garden. So Tara suggested her and Sifa do those jobs which was a great idea. Tara did things like turning the compost, cleaning out the pond and helped Sifa with planting in a few more fruit trees, 2 fig and another feijoa to be exact. Also planting 2 nikaus at the edge of the subtropical orchard that had been relocated from work, happy to get their feet in the ground I’m sure.
I also had something reinforced. In the majority of the garden I have used either bark or wood shavings, while in the cottage garden I have consistently used living earth mulch which is a mix of mulch and compost. My reasoning was that it feeds the soil, so perfect for the granny bonnets and foxgloves etc to reseed in. As Anne and I weeded this area she was amazed at how rich, dark and friable the earth was. I agreed, but today I noticed something else. I planted some years ago two Dublin bay roses. Both cuttings from the same plant from Mum. They sit in the same sunny position just metres from each other but one is in the cottage garden and one isn’t. The cottage garden one is thick with flowers and glossy healthy leaves while the other is as opposite as it could be. Just a few flowers which are small and the leaves sickly looking. When Anne looked at it, she suggested I pull it out. Already knew to feed the soil but it was particularly highlighted here. Need more compost!
The weather was fantastic and while the children ran around or clambered onto the tractor or trailer, the babies ate dirt or chewed on bark. Everyone was working hard and the results being instant, it was great. At one point I spied the bucket rim that the fish were relocated to some months ago and had forgotten about. The bucket was full of mulch. OH MY GOD! The fish! I grabbed another bucket and quickly filled it with the shitty water in the pond and then dumped the mulch filled bucket onto the ground. Tara watched on and at first we saw no movement till there was a faint flap. Carefully pushing the wet soaked mulch aside I scooped up fish one and fish two and dumped them in the other bucket. That was lucky. Hope their delicate skin isn’t too damaged. Checked them a few hours later and all seems well. Gee they are super hardy!
Sat after with cold beers and wines, chips, crackers, cheese and Anne’s delicious mud cake. Relaxed, laughing and talking under the grapevine shaded deck as we surveyed the hard work. Fan bloody tastic everyone. Just a few more little jobs and we are done.
Next appointment on the calendar…toe’s operation and two weeks of feet up! Now that’s going to be hard….