7/14: a little overgrown

Although the house and cat-sitters did a great job with the watering and looking after Shadow and Zorro while we were away on a cruise, chronicled in travels with princess and quiquinou, weeding was not part of the expectation.

We have been back for six days before yet another cruise tomorrow – crazy, but somebody has to do it, and luckily for us, we are those (larger) bodies.

Dutchy found time between us attending a wedding on the weekend and repacking to repair our sprinkler system that has lain idle for years, due to the drought of 2009 with its severe water restrictions. I have managed to spend time out in the garden also, finishing off today with pruning and weeding an overgrown area in the middle tier before we set off tomorrow. Au revoir!

a little overgrowna path is discovered

255/366: how my garden equates with eating an elephant

Let me start by saying I would never actually eat an elephant, nor would I wish to. It is merely a metaphor.

How would you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

This is how I approach my garden. Though it is only a suburban garden, and not acreage, it is nevertheless quite sizeable, especially now, in days when blocks are getting smaller and smaller. Ours is just under one third of an acre, or 1284 square metres.

Over the twenty-seven years we have lived here, starting with a shell on a paddock we have extended and expanded, landscaped and concreted, to achieve a rather lovely environment, even if I do say so myself.

It seems to be a neverending task, or labour of love as I think of it. There is still so much scope for more landscaping ideas, creating interesting corners in the garden, which are always so much easier in my head than actually doing them.

But there is always maintenance, even in areas that are considered “finished”. Is anything ever really finished in a garden? The way I tackle it is in stages. I get overwhelmed if I just look at everything at once, to the point that it immobilises me.

By compartmentalising my garden, I avoid that immobilisation, by dividing it into different areas, particularly for maintenance tasks such as pruning and weeding. By cutting it up into bite-size pieces, it is an achievable challenge, just as you might do if you did attempt to eat an elephant.

10/366: no four-leafed clovers

Another project, or fixation I have, is the nature strip. There may be another name for this in other countries, but I am referring to the strip of grass in front of the house on the other side of the footpath (pavement in England, sidewalk in USA). Australia and both those countries all purportedly speak English, and yet we have different names for the same thing, not to mentiion varied accents. I told you not to mention that!

Weeds on this patch of grass I do not like, and am attempting to eradicate. When we arrived here the nature strip was basically awful paspalum, which I managed to eventually get rid of, and we replaced it with kikuyu, which is extremely drought resistant, something we have to contend with every few years in our country, even down south in Melbourne.

A patch of clover sprung up, which I started weeding, but then after we did our ten-week around the world trip in August 2011, which is covered in my first blog travelswithprincessandquiquinou.wordpress.com. Unfortunately all my weeding was somewhat wasted as it took hold again. On our return I had many other pressing chores in the garden to attend to rather than weeding this strip of grass.

Now I’m back with a mission, and it’s amazing how people stop to have a chat, sometimes offering advice, such as “Have you tried Weed’n’Feed?” to which I reply “I’m trying to be environmentally conscious. Besides, it’s quite therapeutic sitting here listening to my music and letting my thoughts drift.” Others are amazed that in this day and age anyone would bother. However, one guy was inspired to tackle his paspalum after our talk.

I used to laugh at my mother when she went out to weed a patch of garden, and now here I am, doing the same thing. Isn’t it funny how it all comes full circle and we turn into our parents? And not only that, discover that it’s not actually such a bad thing.