Sunday, August 26, 2012

Making the bed

So much work and so little to show for it, but that's making the bed for you. Garden beds, I mean. It's a classic piece of 'behind the scenes' work, much the same as all the scraping and sanding that precedes a decent paint job.

My garden is so small that I need to do things in a certain order, due to a lack of space. Today was 'prepare the beds where the gardenias will go' day. This is the bed I showed in my previous post, where the mother-in-law tongues once lived. Over the 22 years I've been gardening here this poor bed has hosted a range of different, grumbly and troublesome grevilleas; a totally out-of-control monster rosemary bush; and the potted curry tree, plus various others. 

The last time I tested the soil pH there was when I moved in 22 years ago, and it was mildly alkaline (7.5) back then. 

What a difference 22 years makes: now
it's acid, pH 6. Glad I checked!
It took three hours of hard yakka to
get the bed right. I made the mistake at
some stage of thinking a pebbly mulch
would look nice, and over the years the
pebbles had worked their way down
deep into the soil. There were far too
many of them, so out they came, one
by one. Then I added three bags of
cow manure, and numerous handfuls
of lime, to help correct the pH level.
Dug over, raked over, watered well,
it now has a week or two to settle in.

One good bit of news is that I scored a
nice plant this morning. I went down to the
local Marrickville organic vegetable market
(on Addison Road, Sundays 8.30 to 3), which
is well worth a visit. As well as all the fruit
and veg and other foods on offer, it also hosts
all sorts of people with stuff to sell, including
some very good little plant stands. I ordered my
Tiger grass from one plant stand and on the way
out spotted another one selling orchids, clivias,
bromeliads and lots more. The orange clivias
are the common ones, and don't cost so much,
but the other colours, such as the yellows and
reds, usually come with a hefty price tag.
$30 isn't a super bargain but it's a good price
and the plant looks very healthy indeed.
I hope that Radox stuff works its magic on my poor old back. At some stage today I used every heavy-duty garden tool in the shed: mattock, spade, fork, rake and gave my back quite a workout. Combined with yesterday's heavy lifting of all those bags, I am waiting to see what tomorrow brings when I attempt to get out of bed in the morning!


patientgardener said...

I'm re-doing my front garden at the moment. It is quite large given where we live and reshaping the lawn has meant four new borders to dig. I don't like digging any more and I ache all over. As you say there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff, and in my case much pondering and staring.

I have today got some plants in which had been lurking on the patio for far too long. There is still the fourth bed to dig but getting the plants in the other three was very positive and helped me see how it would look. I am now at the stage where I have a complicated serious of plant moves to undertake, each one dependent on another plant moving but then thats the fun of gardening

Thank you for your helpful comment on my black dog day post.


Lithopsland said...

Congrats on giving your garden bed a new lift, it's looking good already. Interesting that the ph has changed but I guess a lot can happen in 22 years. Nice find with the clivia, have never been to the Marrickville markets before, thanks for the tip. Ouch, hope your back recovers. I'm in my mid thirties, and am making complaints about back pains already. No pain, no gain they say. :)

ambra Sancin said...

How come I always set out to work in the garden for about half an hour, and three hours later...well, you know the rest. Very pleasurable though. I'm currently bringing our coffee tree back to health. More on my blog.