And just like that we are at the start of a new year, with the festive holiday season behind us and the months ahead stretching out like a blank canvas. Aside from a smattering of dates beginning to fill the calendar, the year is full of hope and potential and possibly plenty of achievement and reward.
I haven’t set any ‘resolutions’ this year for the garden other than the ongoing ‘To Do’ list. I guess here ‘Down Under’ it makes it a little tricky to set goals for the garden in the middle of the growing season, unlike those gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere who have gardens covered in snow and plenty of time to ponder the hopes and expectations of the coming growing season. At this time of year if I can come up with plans for all the zucchini then I’m happy!
This summer we took a nice long break completely off grid – no Wi-Fi and no power, camping in the bush beside the beach and it was lovely. I drew the line at staying in a tent after last year’s leaky situation. So, we were in semi luxury in a rented caravan, and I managed to just completely relax and often found myself in the shade of a tree losing myself in a good book or two while the boys got their fair share of surfing and swimming. A perfectly typical kiwi summer holiday, but it is always good to be home.
It can be tricky to leave the garden in the middle of the season, but we had some great house sitters who were left with clear instructions on what to do. The crops that needed regular picking were picked and the watering was made easy as all they had to do was move the irrigation trolley once a day. It looked like it may have been a little windy, but no harm had come to the garden at all. In previous seasons I have come home to weather related damage and devastation as well as well meaning house sitters not wanting to seem greedy, so left things unpicked which ultimately ended up going to waste and caused the plants to stop producing further. It is good to have people caring for the garden who understand what needs to be done and why.
We got back a week ago, but enjoying the offline lifestyle I decided to carry on for just one more week so I could indulge in gardening normally – without thinking about sharing it with the world… well not at the time it happened – loads of photos were taken as I set about doing what needed to be done to bring the garden from its casual caretaker state to the position that makes it easy for the ebb and flow that comes from daily maintenance and pottering about.
Once we got home and we’d unpacked and turned over a mountain of dirty laundry, I wandered about the garden and wrote down every little thing I saw that needed doing. I ended up with two lists – one for quick and simple jobs like pick tomatoes or sow more sunflowers as well as weed and feed everything!
The other list was more for projects and tasks beyond the general regular pottering about. Some are big jobs – I need to repaint the sheds. The expert at the store last year did say I’d need 2 coats, but I was out of time and short on cash. The lesson has been learnt – do it once and do it right. Especially as painting is not my favourite thing to do.
Some of the other things on the list will form the foundations for bigger long term projects… The inklings of Room Two in The Palace Garden are stirring…. And others are generally tidy up in the corners where weeds and mess sneak in and in the busyness of spring are allowed to remain unchecked. However, I have a garden visit scheduled for next month and the corners need to look as nice as the bits I tend to every day. I think I have enough on my plate to keep me going for a while.
As this new year gets going and the routine and the ordinary resume and restore the daily pattern of life, shrugging off the listless drifting through the days that comes with summer holidays, I have picked up my garden tools and will carry on as usual.
Come again soon – I may not have resolutions, but I’ll still be here… all year, sharing my gardening journey.
Sarah the Gardener : o)