It's amazing what can happen while you are momentarily distracted. You think you're noticing what's going on, suddenly your attention is drawn elsewhere, then when you focus back on the job at hand everything has changed. Well, in my case my little moment of distraction actually lasted a fortnight, and in that brief interlude I barely had time to do anything out in my garden other than sprinkle water around to keep things going. And while I wasn't playing close attention (or blogging, for that matter) all sorts of delightful, and not so delightful, things happened out in Amateur Land.
Crassula 'Campfire' decided to blush red and green at the same time. Lovely succulent, this.
The first of the calendulas, employed as casual colour for just the next few months, until I can get my hands on some new, tiny Tibouchinas which will eventually fill the same space with purple power every autumn.
Standing back for a moment and looking down the left side of Amateur Land, it looks as if it's spring has well and truly begun. It has been unseasonably warm here lately, and virtually no-one in Sydney has complained!
The right side is much the same. Down in the foreground, lined up behind Ingrid, my pie, flan and quiche specialist, the little parsley border is doing well, with not a single casualty so far. A flat-leafed miracle!
In the vegie patch, a second miracle. Peas. Not many, and it's all my fault anyway. I misjudged how much sun its spot would get after a tree was pruned, and the poor plants spent most of their July days in shade. Now that Sol is smiling on the little blighters, they're playing catch-up, no thanks to me, and are dutifully cropping, grumbling all the way about how many more they could have produced if only muggins knew his sky a bit better.
In the interest of documentary truth I now present a total and utter disaster brought on by my little fortnight of momentary distraction. Compared to the other vegetables, which are either grumbling or humming away, there's just the quiet sound of munching here. Womboks – Chinese cabbage – munched to death by slugs and grasshoppers. Far gone, inedible, a disaster. And it's all my fault. I haven't been paying attention lately. Not doing much gardening, no blogging at all...
Take last Saturday for instance. Week two of new car ownership. Sunny day forecast, again! Two options. One is to go outside and pull up the womboks, sow seeds, tackle weeds. The other is to run in the new Turbo-Diesel C4. And so I headed south, visited the family farm at Kiama on the South Coast (been with us since 1840, it has), and eventually made it home after a 300km loop. What an indulgent waste of fuel I hear the eco-friendly chorus cry! Guilty as charged. 300km, 16 litres. I've got myself a fuel miser! And a clean-air one, too. With its nifty particle filter, it produces a minuscule 0.004g of particles per kilometer, better than virtually every other petrol-engined car. Vive le France!
I have to admit that beneath the veneer of a dedicated garden blogger there lurks an old rev-head from way back. I road-tested motorcycles for bike magazines for many years in the 70s and 80s (that's how I got started in journalism, in fact) and so, for me, the lure of driving a lovely, interesting car is every bit as irresistibly fascinating as the lure of raising crops from seed or watching a flower unfold. Besides, there's room for both, and much much more, in my life. I often feel a bit frustrated with blogging as a single topic exercise sometimes. There are just so many other things that fascinate me as much as gardening does – history, movies, cars, bikes, cooking, novels, art, politics, current affairs, science, music, sport, socialising with friends and discussing all or any of the above, etc etc – and sometimes gardening takes second place for a while. But usually not for long. It is a major joy in my life, second only (but a distant second!) to Pam.
But back to the garden! I must go out there this weekend. Seeds need sowing. The weeds are having parties. I need to attend a wombok funeral. Bromeliad pups are whimpering. Life goes on, even when the head gardener is off with the pixies for a few weeks.