Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Complete Rebuild

After the disaster with dressmaking last weekend it was quite a good thing that we had an “extreme weather event” on Saturday – that way there was no possibility of making excuses and dashing out into the garden - one just had to press on with the disastrous dress.  I never did fathom out just how I went so badly wrong first time round, but suffice it to say that a completely new bodice and skirt were needed.  The end result was fine but having made that pattern too many times to count, it is a mystery that it all went so badly wrong.  It may be time to retire this pattern and make something else. 

On Saturday night we had an outing with La Biblioth√©caire and her spouse, plus Mr and Mrs Peaceable, to take in the delights of Four Flat Whites In Italy performed by the local players.  How I do admire the people who are so brave as to step blithely onto the stage and show no fear!  I don’t know how they do it and I am afraid I probably sat with my mouth slightly ajar as I contemplated their antics and at the final scene I had a little tear in my eye which I had to surreptitiously wipe away before the lights came up.  Everything was so charming, even the set was enchanting!

Sunday brought slightly better weather but there were still a lot of sudden cloudbursts which meant lots of dashing indoors when the rain bucketed down.  I had been thrilled to find at Le Maison Rouge (emporium with lots of cut price articles and not much usually in the way of exotic botanicals) some tubers of the Gloriosa lily which I had long admired in fabulous glossy gardening books and magazines but never expected to find.  I bought three tubers, knowing my propensity to slash bulbs with my trowel and the ridiculously high expectations I have for plants to survive without any attention having paid to their basic likes and dislikes at planting time.  So here is the photo from the packet, it may be the last time I ever see any sign of the Gloriosa lily at Shoestring Cottage but in order to be any kind of gardener I suppose one must be an optimist.  

The planting directions imply that there will be masses of blossoms from each tuber.  The “lily” is not really a lily as such, it climbs and clambers and needs support and hails from tropical and Southern Asia.  It has a wonderful exotic look and I hope that one of my three tubers will survive and maybe even bear a few blooms. 

Speaking of surviving I was astonished to see this iris bloom in the garden on Sunday.  

The poor rhizome had led a peripatetic existence because when I went through a short lived love affair with irises last year and bought a wide variety of them from a lovely lady at a flea market (she seemed to live in a house bus, how romantic!), I could never find an appropriate home for them, and no sooner were they planted and putting down the odd tentative root or two than I would wrench them from the earth and move them.  Consequently they gradually were losing vigour and looking rather sad.  Finally I decided on a place which seemed as if it might just get enough sunlight and left some there, and this one has rewarded me with this most beautiful flower.  Sometimes our optimism is rewarded in the garden.  Also this week I was thankful that for the first time ever a lily of the valley has lasted more than one season in my garden, and that the Solomon’s Seal has likewise survived and blossomed.

  It must be just a bit colder and moister in the Waikato

The weed of the week would have to be Shepherd’s Purse.  I spent a long time wrestling with this little blighter on Sunday and remembered what somebody had told me about its picturesque name, which made things a bit easier.  Apparently shepherds used to only be paid annually and most of the time lived a very isolated and lonely existence so of course when they were paid they went to town and spent their money very quickly (and no doubt not very wisely).  The name “shepherd’s purse” equates to the explosion of seeds which you experience when you are weeding if you have left it too late and the seeds have already formed and “set”.  It is quite amazing to see the way they burst all around the plant at the lightest touch.  I did a bit of research after hearing this explanation for the name and was downhearted to read that there are 10 – 12 seeds per capsule and 4,500 seeds per plant!  Even worse, they remain viable for more than 35 years!  No wonder I feel as if I am not winning the battle here!  Next year I will have to be super-vigilant and not let a single one get anywhere near the stage of setting seed.  

An innocuous and insignificant flower - who would guess it was so powerful and all-conquering?
The wicked seedpods which cause the seeds to explode all over the earth

I had to put in a couple of clematis also - the white one is supposed to be gloriously scented but I can't detect even a whiff!  

I have been trying to encourage seedlings to come up in all the little nooks and crannies in the garden but somehow I doubt they will succeed in choking out the weeds.  Nice thought though.  

Even the herbs look good in springtime - the sage is flowering its heart out!