Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Field trip?

Finished reading Prince Charles' book on Organic Gardening. I had never really been into the other kind of gardening, using chemicals and sprays and artificial fertilisers. When I did my Level 3 Horticulture, one module was about weeds and we had to demonstrate proper use of weedkiller, wearing one of those boiler suits and gloves and covered footwear, and dusk mask and protective eyewear. We had to spray on a windless day, and be careful how much weedkiller we used.
Round-up causes weeds to curl up and die, but it causes all other things to die as well, as well as a possible carcinogen. So, I'm not really convinced of its use in a suburban garden.

As for pest and disease control, chickens are excellent at eating bugs and slugs and snails. As well as other birds in the garden, if you provide the right habitat (just put netting over your fruit). I've always thought why don't people keep pet sheep who can mow the lawn? If you deign to have one, that is! I never liked the noise of lawnmowers on a sunny day. Think of all the fossil fuels they consume. That is why, cottage gardens have no lawns. You can't eat lawn and you can't pick flowers from lawn.  And then there's the wonder-weeder. I.e. you, and a little tool shaped like a hook that you can pull weeds out with.

There's a lot more to organic gardening than meets the eye. Compost is vital, as is feeding the soil rather than feeding the plants with chemicals. Then there's no-dig gardening which mimics the way nature replenishes the soil with worms doing the work of spades. However I have to say sometimes digging is required initially and its very hard work, when a place is weed-infested. Which is why I paid one of those garden angels to do it. Mum of course, was not happy, and said I had to do it myself, but that would have taken a few weeks at least. My garden angel could do it in an hour and a half.

I don't know..I figure if someone has the muscles and wants to show off that they can do it as opposed to me straining my back and not getting anywhere..whats the harm of paying them a decent wage for a job well done? Next thing I know she'd be asking me to build my own house. Come on, I think feminism has a lot to answer for here. Its not fun doing a mans work as well as a woman's and not even get paid properly to do it, just to prove you can (or don't need a man). But I suppose mum was brought up under a sinister regime of pseudo communist-working-class-ethic that makes zero sense to me.

Prince Charles writes in his book that Camilla spent their honeymoon planting their garden and the rest of their marriage picking flowers. I just think that's sweet. I cannot picture his first wife doing that, getting her hands dirty or talking with flowers, but then they were like chalk and cheese. I would love to visit but it's on the other side of the world!

I garden alone...so I don't really know what it would be like to have someone who would just let me buy 500 trees to plant on 3 acres of land like Bev O'Connell did in her Ayrlies garden. She had help though, a landscape designer to construct the bones of the garden, a wealthy husband, and that English garden sensibility of knowing where to put the right plant in the right place. I saw pictures of it in 50 NZ Gardens to visit book. Just looking at the pictures takes your breath away. It might help that she had interesting land features to work with rather than it all flat like Prince Charles' Highgrove garden. There's a lush waterfall, exotic ferns and autumnal trees, and plants that complement each other just so. It doesn't look like its a nursery catalogue or like someones bulldozed their way through the land, or had more money than sense.  She really has an artists eye for plants. It looks so natural, lush and peaceful.  I want to visit. But it's all the way in Whitford, across town.
How to get there? It costs $15 to enter. The book says it's won several international horticultural awards.  I think it would be better than going to the movies.