The Good Life by Ami Hillege Spring 2017
Which is our busiest season? It has to be spring. We’re spinning our wheels to get on top of the chores that need doing. Coming off a cold wet winter, there are mini jungles growing in our what should be neat garden beds.
Right now we’re in damage control. Who said life would be all honey and roses on the land?! We planted a few thousand cloves of garlic (by hand!) in June. Life got busy and we got side tracked by the arrival of our first grandchild. It was and still is an amazing thing! Anyway, back to the garlic. We didn’t net it properly. We mulched the long rows with pea straw and hoped that would keep the pesky birds off the newly planted beds. Usually the cockatoos give the new buds a good going over if left exposed. So instead of erecting our usual net structure, we threw the nets loosely on top of the mulch.
Then we took off to a warm sunny place for a couple of weeks and came home to find that the black swamp hens have been feasting on the soft delicate garlic shoots. What a waste of time and effort! What do we do now? After close inspection, we have found that not all is lost. So our first job is to lift the nets again and give the garlic a chance to grow. Who knows, this early little ‘pruning’ may be good. We will wait and see.
In our hurry to get our crop into the ground, we left a fair bit of seed unplanted. I did a quick stock take in the garlic shed and have found that most of the garlic hanging there has started sprouting. The crop in the paddock that may not be sufficient for our summer needs, so I’m going to plant some more sprouted seeds into my vegetable garden which is permanently netted. It is too late to plant garlic seed. Who knows if this will be a waste of time or not. But we will give it a try.
We’re coming into Spring this year on the back foot. I look about the garden and feel overwhelmed at the volume of work waiting for us. The garden beds are being choked by grass. The good thing is that pulling out weeds will be easy as the ground is soft and wet. I might forego pruning the roses this year. They’ll bloom anyway.
A few hard frosts have done quick work with all the potted succulents. They were looking really good. Oh well… I’ll just have to replace them with flowering annuals. The geraniums around the garden took a hammering. They’ll need pruning right back and hopefully they’ll recover.
The yard needs mowing. Desperately. However, it’s too wet still. The best we can do is to neaten the grassy edges of the garden and wait. Wait for a few more sunny days so the grass can dry off a little.
I’ve realised that the image in my head of having a pristine country garden that is manicured to within an inch of its life is unrealistic. Instead of focusing on what I feel is a calamity at my feet when I step into the garden, I need to lift my head and enjoy the big picture. I can see the borage flowers attracting the bees. The camellia bushes are bursting with colour. The lemon tree is groaning with fruit and the fragrance when I run my hand over the mint in the mint bed is refreshing and uplifting.
Caring for our small piece of land comes at a cost. Mostly time and physical energy. Two things that are sometimes in short supply. The rewards are wonderful though. This is indeed a good life.