about this blog



This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics.
Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.

Friday, 4 November 2011

the fourth dimension

There usually seem to be gaps in the garden - holes or spaces in the overall four dimensional picture. Some of these gaps are positive, a transitional space. Other gaps are unwanted and unattractive, although probably necessary as learning experiences.  The way I tell the difference between the gaps is by feeling more than by seeing - a powerful visceral response. This feeling is what guides me: cut that back, get rid of this completely, move this there, move that here ...

It has only been 2 weeks since the open garden weekend. By the time one week had passed, I had already reclaimed the garden by making changes.  In the lead up to the public opening, well meaning friends and relatives advised me to stop cutting things, stop moving things, because the garden looked so nice. And it did, but it changes rapidly and by denying the effect of time, I fell into the trap of trying to preserve something that is inherently shifting and fluid. In other words, trying to do the impossible.

So ...  within the last 2 weeks, among other things,  I have ...

- cut the dead wood out of the Derwentia perfoliata shrubs, and shaped them a bit,


- dug up the two Grevillea Moonlight plants near the fence where the cubby was. This left the three Grevillea shiressii plants to grow to cover the fence and in time enclose the circular paving where the seat is. I moved one of them so they were all spaced evenly,



- dug up two artichoke plants to give to H who is making a new garden,


- moved the pink flowered Alyogyne - that was near the bare fence where the cubby was -  to the back near the other pink flowered Alyogyne in between the still smallish Eucalypts. When they grow together they'll form a background of grey and pink that I think humans and wildlife will appreciate,


- pulled out nearly all the self seeded crimson and white lychnis and put them in the compost. They'll be back ...
before
before 
after
- cut the three Adenanthos plants back very hard and moved the small one so the three are ranged evenly around the spot where the path widens into a circle.

before
after
- moved 3 Dianella 'Cassa Blue'  plants from where they were less needed to fill in spaces around the suddenly small Adenanthos,


I reluctantly decided to spray the Acanthus molli with glysophate but when I started, a small beetle and a spider moved from the back of a leaf and looked at me reproachfully. I stopped, and vow NEVER to use that poison again. I will cut A. mollis back, dig it up, control it as much as I can, but accept it is here to stay in the garden. And it's not all bad. It has great shaped leaves that the Romans used to decorate their Corinthian columns.


I feel and think that the overall effect of these changes are increased lightness, peace and harmony in the garden. 

19 comments:

  1. Great journal post - gardening is all about change - like life really.

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  2. Hi Catmint,
    a garden is a gift, really, and as you suggest, an ongoing work-in-progress that keeps you interacting. You made me think that however small a space a person has to deal with, it is going to be evolving endlessly, as much as that person will.
    A very engaging process.
    I really like that you haven't 'frozen' your garden, and that it is providing you with a wakefulness.
    A garden is a friend.

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  3. Gardens are always evolving, they are never perfect, even though we strive for perfection, the plants are always in charge. When the time comes to curb some plants enthusiasm, other plants breathe a sigh of relief, we are just the referee in the middle. You have certainly been busy since your opening, I'm sure your plants are a lot better for your intervention Catmint.

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  4. It's great you reclaimed the garden for you. I bet that is a relief and a joy at the same time. It's looking great though I loved all those lychnis in bloom.

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  5. I wish that you'd come have a go at my garden. I've been rather negligent for months now and things have grown rather willy-nilly. We've had such a warm October that we still have all sorts of blooming things: roses, fuschia and raspberries!

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  6. You have really been busy since the Garden Show. I occasionaly have to give a frog a bath when spraying bug spray on our front porch. I dont spray the plants but rather the house to keep spiders off the ceiling corners. A frog may be hiding and when hit with the spray, pops up and is noticed by me. That is when I catch them and bring them inside for a bath. I would not want to harm one of my little hopping buddys...

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  7. Well, there is not much of 'the fourth dimension' in my small garden. But I really like the idea of refreshing the garden every now and then. Otherwise, sooner or later the plants will look overgrown and out of shape. Btw, I am sure your garden was at its best during the open garden ;-) The blue bench is a good choice/addition. Enjoy the weekend!

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  8. Sidetracked by your - wipe for wildlife - badge.

    Yes it is a gut feeling that says, today I cut back ... you have tangled in my hair, poked me in the eye, snared my ankle, for the last time. Till next time. Our garden seems to have grown 20 cm in the last few days!!

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  9. Hi Catmint
    It must keep you fit, if nothing else, all that cutting, digging and moving.
    I am sure you have never tried moving an Acanthus plant, though. They have huge root systems - thick roots like long fingers.
    Will take a bit of moving.
    But don't fret, you will be unable to kill it.
    Denis

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  10. Dear Hermes, gardening is like life - it is life!

    Dear Faisal, beautifully put - as usual.

    Dear Pauline, sometimes i'm just a referee, but sometimes i can get quite bossy in the garden - if the plants let me.

    Dear Tina, those lychnis can look after themselves, they're already back.

    Dear Bee, I'm feeling quite tired after these efforts. I think now i'm going to sit back for a few months and let mine get all willy nilly too.

    Hi Skeeter, it's funny how we make friends with frogs more often than spiders. I used to be scared of spiders but now I have learned to love them too, and regard them as friends - not for hugging or cuddling though.

    Hi Steph, thx for visit and comment.

    Hi Diana, sounds like you have some quite aggressive plants in your garden. Or maybe just clear communicators ...

    Dear Denis, I don't worry about the acanthus, I know I'll never be able to kill it, it's the much more fragile numerous tiny insects and spiders I worry about. I feel really good deciding not to use that spray any more. Or any other spray. Recently I had aphids and I sprayed with some diluted washing up liquid. That did the trick and hopefully was not too toxic for other living things.

    cheers, catmint

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  11. No matter how good the garden may be looking it would get very boring if we did not make changes. Others may comment on how good the garden may look and most likely they will be correct. However don't you think that the more experienced you get you just know when these changes have to take place. alistair

    I have something to ask and I hope you don't think me presumptuous. I had a couple of folk who said that they had difficulty in adding my blog to their blogroll. I had been wondering if it was because my blog is in fact a website with the www. If by any chance you had been trying to add my blog without success would you let me know. By the way there is no reason to think you should have added it. Oh, I had better stop as I am digging a deeper and deeper hole. deleting this part would stop me looking a right twat.

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  12. I know that somewhere 2 rose geranium are felling some of those gaps;).

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  13. Whew ... you have been busy! But I know that zone, the guided feeling. The garden and gardener grow together. It's magic.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. I just discovered your blog and enjoy reading about gardening in your part of the world. Thanks!

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  16. Hi Alastair,yes experience has changed me - I used to wildly try out things, now it's all much more purposeful, but there's still the unexpected random factor that stops it getting boring. I do hope you've sorted out your blog feeds.

    dear Diana, yes the rose geraniums are very happy, thank you.

    Hi TVF, it is a kind of magic, but now I must admit I'm tired ...

    dear rainyleaf, I'm so pleased you like my blog, it's great to have a new cyberfriend.

    cheers, catmint

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  17. I always think of winter as the main cutting-back time, but then we get to November and I remember - nope, it's now! If I wasn't madly cutting back and moving things, none of my poor plants would be able to breath. Everything is growing so fast at the moment - it always takes me by surprise. Except my Acanthus, which grows only slowly and reluctantly for some reason.

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  18. Hi Lyn, you're lucky about the acanthus, it can really take over and is impossible to get rid of. everything is gowing and happy in my garden because of this extraordinary weather, raining , raining, raining.
    cheers, catmint

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  19. Your plant palette is so different from mine that it's a treat to come and see your photos. I'm glad you survived the open garden! What a fun memory now. Acanthus really is a gorgeous plant, even if it is a big thug.

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I love to get feedback and comments, and getting to know other bloggers. I also appreciate corrections if you detect an error, because I'm not an expert, but a self taught enthusiastic amateur on a steep learning curve.

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