A Garden Journal

We moved house just 2 years ago

We found a once glorious garden

Now neglected

The drought had also taken its toll

I could see the challenge in the mess

So when I found a beautiful journal

With blank pages

And tiny watercolours  by Mary Woodin

Scattered throughout

I decided to start a Garden Journal

I taped a pocket inside the cover

To store the plastic tabs that come with new plants

I began with general first impressions

I wandered around with my camera

Snapping at what was or may have been…

I drew a plan, mapping plants, dry patches,

Weather influence, shade, soil types etc…

Marking jobs to be done

I tried really hard not to do anything major for the first year…

Except to remove dead or rogue bushes and obvious weeds…

Years ago as newly weds our first home had an over grown garden

We ploughed into without realising the wonders we were destroying

So we waited… and watched

And recorded it all…

I keep the photographic record through my computer

By copying photographs to a word document

Printing them off on ordinary paper

I cut and paste them into my journal for an ongoing record of the plants…

Their progress … or decline…

I have learnt a great deal

Even though it says they will thrive in a particular aspect

Plants do not always like where we put them…

It appears to be true that plants like company

I’ve lost quite a few plonking them in wide open spaces, on their own…

I find

A Garden is best grown out from what’s already there…

I also record the plan, the dreams, the what if’s

There were some big decisions to make

By recording the progress we can see what worked, what didn’t

And speculate perhaps why?

I planned various garden rooms

Imagined how they may develop

I sit and gaze trying to imagine

How best to use the garden as a buffer to the new street pathway

There are some wonderful discoveries which,

With just feeding and watering have come on a treat…

Including patches of violets and freesias that have, over the years, naturalised

Showing a priceless investment of time

I record what plant food worked best and where

What plants I’ve put in, when,

How they’re doing in company

What might further enhance the space

Season by Season

I don’t know the names of some things the previous owner planted

But gradually I am finding out and adding them to the pictures and descriptions I’d pencilled into the journal

I collect flyers, information of gardens I’ve seen and admired

I’m not a professional gardener

I don’t necessarily have green thumbs

But I do love our garden

I don’t have a big picture

Just things I’d like to see

I wait for an opportunity to include them

And gradually the garden continues to evolve

I have a record of the gumtree

Seeded and planted by our son

The Wattle tree gifted at Christmas by our grandsons

Planted by them

How it has grown

As they have grown

The Auzzie Wrinkly Tin Tank catches water for the garden

The huge rocks levered into position

Create another new little garden feature

In progress

Also into the journal

Events, like

The Digg-in

A Family get-together

When Boundaries where staked out,

Flower beds established

A huge pile of soil bought in to enrich the poor earth

Moved, one barrow load at a time,

By strong backs and loving hands

Beaut Bargains are recorded like the $10 Ever-red Japanese Maple

The journal came into its own when we bought and planted

2 bare rooted weeping silver birches

That first spring

A small flush of tiny green leaves, soon shrivelled and died

With nothing further to show for all the seaweed solution and TLC they received…

We waited for signs of recovery

When they did not, we were able to go back to the nursery

Giving an exact account of what we had done

Showing evidence of where they had been

And how the garden around them had come on

I still had the proof of purchase in the journal

After checking out our soil

The nursery asked that we returned the trees

The verdict was definite

The trees had been shocked at some point in production

The root ball showing no signs of further development

With no further argument the nursery replaced them both

Taking the time and effort to find suitable replacements

As spring approaches once again we wait with breath baited

Neighbours also watch as they pass

Many are keen to share what they feel about the garden we are growing

It all goes into the journal…

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2010

~ by Denise Within the Vine on 20/08/2010.

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