Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Wilful Younger Child!

I look upon my garden areas rather like a parent looks upon their children.

First, there's the older kids ... the adult children who've left home and you have almost no control over their lives any more.  While you drop in to visit every now and then, you really can't do much other than watch over them as they mature ... that's my outdoor garden beds which include the Front Garden Beds,

the Driveway Garden Beds,

 the Pergola Garden Area,
the Back of the Courtyard Garden Area,

and the Hill Garden Area.
These are well-established beds that don't need me any more ... well, maybe only for an occasional watering or general tidy-up.

Then there are the young teenagers ... the ones that are trying to find their own identity but still rely on you for the essentials like food, shelter, money for clothes and you still have a say in who they can play with!  That's my Shadehouse/Greenhouse garden ...
and my Courtyard Garden.
I work almost daily keeping them watered, fed, free from pests and just generally behaving!  They each have their own character ... which I have a hand in forming.  So I can do things like change the colour scheme of the plants out there and choose new plants to add to the collections.  These are the places where I spend most of my time gardening.

Finally, there's that rather obnoxious, wilful and prone-to-temper-tantrums toddler.  You really love them, but they just won't do what they're supposed to ... and it's exhausting!!!  Well, that's my new outdoor garden bed.

The relationship started off really well when it was a baby ... hubbie built these new garden beds in a spot that was ugly and unsightly.
I was so excited and planned out just what these beds would look like ... I chose a different colour for each section.  I was looking forward to seeing my 'rainbow' garden develop ... and for a while, things were just great!

I spent money and filled it with lots of lovely plants ... Scaevola, Pelargonium, Gazanias, Bracteantha, Daisies ... the list goes on and on!   Mmmm ... well ...  'rainbow garden' has turned out to be more like a wilful toddler who's screaming for attention and all you want to do is ... give it to someone else until it's grown!!!

The long 'wet' season wreaked havoc with lots of my carefully chosen plants and there's no resurrecting them ... just like a toddler that won't wear something because it's yellow!!!!   It's just not going to happen!

All I can do now is look lovingly over the photos and reminisce about how this darling used to be!!

So, I've been very busy lately ... hence the relatively few blog posts.  After spending a couple of weeks getting my favourites into shape ... the Shadehouse/Greenhouse Garden and Courtyard Garden ... I just couldn't keep on avoiding the new garden bed anymore.

I've now removed all the dead plants with tears in my eyes ... the lovely Calibrachoas, Buddleia, Celosia spicata, Gomphrena leontopodioides and Kalanchoe pumila.  Why, oh why???

I've checked over the critically ill ...and trimmed them (hoping they come back) .... the Osteospurmums, Plectranthus and Saliva farinacea.  I'm keeping fingers crossed and hoping I'll see the return of the Sprekelia formosissima and the Gladiolus callianthus too.

I've removed all the invaders ... that Giant Sword Fern has a lot to answer for!!! I've added fertiliser and compost to the soil.  I've tried digging over all sections  ... but parts are now totally root-bound from something and I haven't quite figured out what it is yet!

Finally, today, I did a stocktake.  The Daylilies survived ... the Poinsettias survived ... the Angelonias survived ... the Gerberas still there ... the Turnea Ulmifolia is still thriving ... and the Mesembryanthemum 'Pig face' is still hanging in there!

So, while there's some good out of all this, I'm now left with the next job ... trying to decide on what I should try now!!!  This bed is proving to be the proverbial pain in the ####!!!!  Now that the day is drawing to an end, this is how the toddler looks ... rather grotty, with a grumpy look on its face and looking decidedly unloved!  Mum needs a sleep!


  1. Love the post Bernie, I can certainly relate to your decription of the gardens. Maybe after a sleep, you will look at the grumpy toddler with new eyes. Happy gardening and take care.

  2. I know just how you feel about your 'toddlers'. They are the enfant terribles of the garden! I have many of them too, but I love them all.
    Your 'teenagers' garden is very beautiful. your lovely trees give a sense of harmony.
    Have a good week!

  3. Hi Bernie,
    Hope your feeling better after your sleep! A fantastic analogy, you are so right gardening is like looking after children …why do we do it. We must be crazy. You will tame that toddler of yours. You will mould it to your way of thinking and it will be wonderful. I've had a great day in the garden, been lovely sunny day and some jobs done.

  4. Thanks Garden of Threads, Lotusleaf and Sue for your lovely understanding comments.

    Well it's a brand new day ... I've been out to check on my toddler and I've decided to come in and have another cuppa!!!! It's going to be a slow process getting this area into shape ... there will be the need for lots of caffeine I think!!

  5. Hi Bernie, Your first seven photos blow me away! What a wonderful garden you have and I love the look of your home... you verandah is so inviting ... everything is lush and beautiful. I cannot believe you are having more children at your age and with so many already!!! How do you do it!! What a plantsman you are! ;>)

  6. You've managed to describe exactly how I feel about some of my garden areas! Great post. I was surprised this year to find that an area that had irritated me no end has suddenly matured into a nice looking lush section of garden with great combos. It grew up, to use your wonderful analogy.

  7. Carol ... love your comments! Lol ... I've just come in from that dreadful toddler ... and you've produced a smile on my dial!!!!!!

    The other children do look lovely and lush ... we're approaching the 'dry' season so that will change a little!

    I do so love my verandah ... it's my haven and my heaven! Do drop in whenever you're over here!!! I've got a rocking chair with your name on it.

  8. Laurrie ... I'm so glad to hear that I'm not alone in struggling with these wayward children! I can't wait for this young one to mature ... I want to be surprised, just like you!

  9. What a besutiful garden you have. Wow.

  10. Bernie that was so good - never thought of the plants being like children but its so true. Your gardens looks so lush and fabulous even though you've had many casualties. We'd get bored if everything grew nicely in the garden - its good to have a challenge though when those casulaties cost alot of money its quite hard to accept at first. I hope you enjoy deciding what you're going to grow next.

  11. Riet ... thank you for your lovely comment.

    Rosie ... thanks for visiting and offering your words of support. It is unfortunate that I've wasted quite a bit of money on this new garden area ... but, as you say, gardening is never boring, so it's onto the next stage!

  12. Beautiful. Looks more like a botanical garden than a home garden!

  13. Bernie, your garden is an amazing tropical paradise. Looks like you have bamboo growing in your pergola garden area. I'm very fond of bamboo as it is native to the island of Taiwan, where I was born & raised. It was not only an important motif in Chinese art, but also a coveted garden ornamental, and a staple in the local cuisine (in the form of fresh bamboo shoots). Great photos!

  14. Hello Bernie. I really enjoyed your post :-) I have to admit I have never thought of my garden as a child, that's a new one for me. I would be a very tough mother indeed ha! I rather think of it as another room to be decorated and kept tidy. Hope you don't have too many sleepless nights :-)

  15. Bernie I am so amazed at your beautiful garden. Everything must grow there. You have a real gift for combining such beautiful plants and flowers together. thanks for such a lovely tour of your garden.

  16. Aerie-el ... you're just too kind! I'm happy you liked my garden ... but it's nowhere near as lovely as a Botanic Garden. There's such a lot I would change ... and I would love to be able to create many more garden spaces, but unfortunately the solid rock and little soil makes that difficult!

  17. Camissonia ... I think what you thought was bamboo was in fact the canes of the Golden Cane Palm. They do look similar. I don't have any bamboo growing here ... but I do have a Bamboo Palm which is also in the Pergola area.

  18. Hi Chris ... it's strange the way I think of this garden compared to my last garden. I did indeed think of my last garden as 'rooms' ... but this one evokes quite different feelings (as you can tell!)

    Lol ... I don't have too many sleepless nights! I'm too exhausted battling the obnoxious toddler as the moment!!!

  19. Oh my goodness! How big is this garden of yours? It looks hudge and so full of plants, you must be run off your feet! This would drive me crazy, all this work to are very fortunate to have all this private space in the world to call your own.
    I just read your comment on my blog about you paying for the students to go on excursions. That is so sweet of you to do that. A true act of kindness.

  20. Bernie, I feel for you. Toddlers will suck the life right out of you, then throw a tantrum for more! You'll feel better after your nap, and perhaps a little nourishment. Then take a deep breath...! Remember, they all grow up before you know it! And you're doing a wonderful job!!! Your children are beautiful!


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