The dry garden anniversary

I am writing this to you the day before. If you are up super early on a Sunday morning then I won’t be here tapping on the laptop. I’ll be looting at the municipal depot instead.

All being well.

I have flowers to deliver and hopefully a catch up with pals at the cafe at 8am.  And then I will beetle over to the secret pile, Ikea sacks flapping in the breeze of the all windows-down-cooling car. Actually it’s blissful weather at the moment. I love it when September comes and the heat relents.

It will be my last mulchy foray for a month or so, and I’m getting mulch looter’s knee from all the kneeling on the hard concrete and shovelling into my sacks.

The pile diminishes.  My garden soil improves. I’m not complaining.

Over two weekends I have managed to mulch the entire new dry garden area.  That’s about 38 sacks hauled about.

Sometimes I think I take my sciatica up to the depot with me.

And while it is still rich and fresh and actually contrasting with the plants I thought I had best capture the moment.

I am so pleased with this new garden area.

A bit of a change from this a year ago:

Hand dug with a mattock, and then planted up.

What a fiend of industry. That was damn hard work. I can’t believe I had to break up the soil with a heavy mattock as the ground was rock hard.

And there were so many rocks and stones I had enough to make a path.

And here it is today.

The plants are happy. I am happy.

The only pesky thing is it doesn’t photograph well. It looks so meagre when you look in.

I am trying to decide if my life of garden crime can stretch to the abandoned barrel in the forest below our farm. It is holed and useless as a vessel for irrigation, but I am itching to liberate it from the trees and maybe place it somewhere along this long skinny terrace.  I have driven past it for almost four years now and am still getting the nerve to loot.

No one has claimed it. It is on forest land owned by an elderly couple who only come up every few years to cut wood. And I suspect it was actually abandoned by someone else and just left behind.

I came close last week, hacking my way up through the brambles and saplings to push it upright and have a look. I realized that it probably won’t fit in the boot of my station wagon as it is such a big barrel. I would look like an idiot trying to roll it 500 metres up the hill to the terrace.

Crime ought to be a discrete affair.

So for now I will have to tempt you with close-ups of some star plants.

Only when you walk along the path can you see just how many hundreds of shrubs and plants are here.

I have a new passion for one particular plant. The ballota hirsuta. Gorgeous beasties.

And the achillea coarcta is still flowering. Long may it invade. I am deciding whether to transplant it elsewhere, knowing it has a voracious habit of colonizing land.

The euphorbia rigida is supposed to self seed like mad. It hasn’t yet, but I look forward to more. It’s a handsome one, and new to me. One can have a surfeit of euphorbia x wulfennii. And I love the bleached grey of this one. It looks a bit prehistoric.

I am also enjoying the vivid blue of the perovskia Blue Spire. But my, it is floppy.

I have seen a wonderful design of box balls interplanted with perovskia and some stipa tenuissima. And I can see why. The perovskia would do well being propped by something else. The bupleurum next to it is not going to do the business. So that is my one design error.  I’ll have to come up with something once I’ve built up the edge of the bed near the fence.

I did an image search and found this.

Ein schönes Schattenspiel ergibt sich bei dieser ...

So you get the picture.

I don’t dare lift them as I have spent a whole year deeply watering once a fortnight to get those roots deep, deep, deep.

And of course I wouldn’t countenance planting box. The pyrelle moths are lurking about. I have kept my box balls alive in the east garden but I would be a glutton for punishment offering more tasty morsels for the invading moths. I am leaning towards Cape myrtle instead (myrsine africana). But I’m not ready to go shopping just yet.

I’m too busy taking cuttings and trying to increase my stock.

I know I want more colour next year. The little dianthus was a treat.

And I might see if I can get more rudbeckia sown and planted up.

It’s all ahead of me. If the badgers and boar and hares stay out.

Typical gardener: don’t dare boast or get complacent for fear of jinxing it.