4 Oct 2015

garden ramble: on soil and working in the garden

I’m so enjoying the time I spend in my garden right now — so I thought you might too. Here’s another ramble around my garden, with some photos taken after a lovely couple of days of good rain. Everything looks so fresh.
Last weekend, I was in the garden all day, both days. Saturday was vegie/backyard day, and Sunday was front garden day. Splitting the work and weekend this way helps me focus and achieve the tasks for each garden most effectively, and enjoyably. Lately, my life is all about lists, so why should the garden be any different? I had one for each day, each garden, and it was immensely satisfying to keep them near my thermos of tea, to consult and cross off with each reviving cuppa.
To be thoroughly engaged and absorbed in garden work is very calming. At first, I’m ruminating over work and the week gone by, or the TV show mum and I are addicted to, or a book or magazine I’ve been reading. My brain is still a bit hyper from the stimulation and go-go-go of the work week, so I’m churning things around in my brain; around, and around and around.

But soon I need to get practical and I focus solely on the machinations of the task in front of me. How many rows of peas can I really fit into this bed? I know, I’ll get some tomato stakes and dowel to lay on the ground to work it out. What do I have in the garage to beef up this poor dry soil? Half — no, a whole! — bag of mushroom compost, a bag and a half of vegie mix; anything else? Should I buy more sheep poo? Is that now good enough to plant in?

I stand up and stretch out my back after this digging and planting of new phlox seedlings, and I think: I like doing this. I like thinking about this, and I like doing this.
Except of course, it’s not always easy. I had to ask my (male) neighbour to start my mower, because I couldn’t get it going without wrenching my shoulder. Last summer’s tomato bed was so compacted I could barely get the tines of my garden fork in — no matter how much I stood my whole weight on the fork and bounced up and down. Sometimes it’s the garden that is hard; sometimes it’s my own physical limitations that frustrate me.

I’m obsessing about the quality of my soil right now. I think I have the vegie garden sorted, but I need to take action in my front garden. I read how a gardener dumps a thick layer of organic matter over his garden every autumn and spring, and how that has gradually improved the soil quality. So, with my meagre resources, I’m top dressing and enriching my dry, poorly front garden; it will be an ongoing goal (obsession).
Mum and I are huge fans of British magazines (I’m a fan of magazines, fullstop). I spied this one on the newsagent shelves recently, and was seduced by the images of conservatories, rambling roses and high summer colour. A beautiful escape as we desperately claw towards the warmer weather down here. Oh, you lucky English gardeners!


  1. Your garden is really beautiful e, lovely photos. I love a magazine too, this particular one looks like a good one. Happy Sunday!

    1. happy sunday (and Monday) to you too jane! each day brings colourful new surprises in the garden, so it's lovely to capture some them. especially the rain!

  2. Always love seeing your garden! I'm also at that time of year when I'm working on the soil again. All feels a bit hard when work is so busy, can really relate with you there and...thank god for lists...and G&Ts!

    1. ah jem, it's nice to hear Someone who thinks and gets by the same way I do! :-) :-)


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