about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Friday, 26 June 2009

prioritizing garden activities


I think probably lots (if not all) of my fellow gardeners also strongly feel the pull of the garden versus the push towards other imperatives such as family, friends and work.

There is clearly a logical order in doing garden tasks. For example, it is sensible to weed before mulching. The mulch hides the weeds, and provides them with a cosy cover so they can thrive.

This is a no win situation. I simply don’t have enough time to thoroughly weed before mulching. If I did I wouldn’t get around to mulching, and the weeds would grow back in the absence of mulch.

That’s why they’re weeds. WEEDS – standing for Wily Everywhere Excellent Determined Survivors.

We just have to learn to co-exist.

I guess weeding and mulching, although generally enjoyable, are much like housework. Necessary maintenance. Sometimes relaxing, always good exercise, satisfying when finished, but often either not done or done in a rushed, pragmatic way.

The real pull of gardening is in the re-arranging - the neverending thrilling search for elusive patterns of perfect plant combinations.

The other day, staring at the front garden I suddenly realized that I needed to move one of the salvias to the spot where the African daisy is. Then there will be a soothing repetitive pattern of salvia without rigid unsubtle symmetry. Similarly with a wallflower and a wormwood which look a bit random and uninspiring in their present positions. Swapping places will make all the difference.

I’m not sure where the African daisy should go. But I’ll put it somewhere, and suddenly, one day, I will just know where it should go. And then it will need to be done with extreme urgency, no matter what the state of weeds or mulch.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for teaching me a new acronym!! Your weeding/mulch dilemma is much like the chicken and egg paradox, eh. Cheers!

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  2. A timely post for me as I've decided to rip out a long border in the hopes of finding those perfect plant combinations. Not until the fall though. Gardening never ends. Sigh.

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  3. The real pull is rearranging - hear, hear! My poor plants would be so much bigger if I would stop ripping them out to move them somewhere better. And gardening is such a pleasant way to procrastinate household cleaning or other tedious work.

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  4. Hi Catmint~~ I spent a good deal of today in the garden. I have a mantra: Any time I'm doing something I don't enjoy, I take a break and do something I DO enjoy--which is moving plants around. Never a dull moment in the garden.

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  5. Nice wormwood photo.

    It's so true, the arranging and rearranging - in my imagination or in the flesh - it's a strong fascination in gardening. And while sometimes it drives me nuts, gardening would be so much less interesting without that tantalizing pull of realizing the next dream...

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  6. Yes! Weeding can be tedious but you notice so much more when you get down there and do it!

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  7. The trick is actually moving the plant - instead of making a mental note and then forgetting to do so. Unfortunately I tend towards the forgetting!

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  8. Yes, the re-arranging! (And the plant buying . . . my personal favorite.)

    I've always looking for balance, that perfect mix, the repetition of themes, the sudden surprise. And it never stands still! Always evolving . . .

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  9. Avis, well put - it is like chicken and egg- there is no answer.

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  10. Tina, thanks for the comment. i look forward to seeing and hearing about your new border.

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  11. VW, Our poor plants should form a self help group called Transplanted Anonymous!

    Grace, life is too short to ever do anything we don't enjoy. (if we can help it)

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  12. Pomona, thanks for the comment - and the photo compliment. I'm trying hard to be more adventurous in exploring my camera, but it's hard work.

    Peony - yes - I'd never thought of it like that - weeding forces you to get up really close and personal.

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  13. Easy, maybe forgetting is a good thing - because then the plants grow and it may be OK after all.

    Bee, beautifully put - and plant buying is very exciting, both planned and spontaneous.

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  14. Well said, I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.

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  15. thanks for your comment Dawn, it's wonderful to be in touch with others with similar views and feelings.

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  16. Catmint, I am glad to see there is someone like me concerning moving plants! Sometimes you get a plant and you really dont know where it should go.Sometimes the plants tell you if they grow well or not. I always tell my nursery friends my plants should all have wheels on them because I move them around.Thats half the fun of gardening to me!

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