Saturday, 2 September 2017

The bad-tempered gardener

Is it ok to despair online?
Well I have a few things to get off my chest.
1) Yes I'm a qualified gardener! But that doesn't mean you can be rude to me simply because I have taken the time out to study plants.
2) Going off site for morning tea does NOT mean I have finished for the day.
3) If something is planted in the wrong place I will move it, but gardens are not made in one day.
4) If they are, made in one day it is likely to be an artificial garden. Buy a fake christmas tree instead.
5) I don't live in England, so British gardening books and magazines are of no practical use to me.

And this leads me to another pet peeve. Landscape architects really don't know anything about plants.  I am forever trying to undo all their mistakes. A lancewood may look fashionable and 'architectural' right next to a building, but it will loose it's form and grow into a huge tree and block drains. Cabbage trees drop leaves that suffocate lawn mowers. Dandelions and puha are architectural too but it seems like landscape architects favour stingy, thorny agaves that are a beast to pull out when they get old and ugly. Phoenix palms have vicious spikes. Willows are planted near water for a reason. Lavender will not flower year round and look like a dead mess the rest of the time as it struggles on clay. You cannot have a decent lawn in the shade. Cutting back a plant will only make it grow again.  When pruning you don't just shave off the outside of a plant, so it looks like a lollipop, you thin the dead branches and twigs. Not all plants appreciate being grown in straight lines. Please don't keep a mealy bug infested indoor plant and hope spraying will help it recover. I would chuck it out, and buy a new one but...some people would rather waste their money on expensive sprays than a new and different disease resistant plant which is probably a cheaper option. You cannot plant anything decent through weedmat. Woe betide you if you decide to change your garden, because plants don't stay the same forever.

What looks good on paper looks terrible in real life. Don't slavishly follow a paint by numbers planting plan. The church tried to follow a council planting plan and all the plants died within three years. So now it's just lawn, a butchered tree, one magnolia managed to survive, and knee high kikuyu. Oh and mexican orange blossom, which hides all the cigarette butts and beer bottles from passing motorists. Please don't plant too many day lilies, and say no to dietes. Spare a thought for the gardener who has to maintain them. If you let them go, for too long we may need to resort to the slash and burn. Don't bury your roses under a mound of soil. Leave the onion weed alone for someone who will eat it.

 Note to elderly folk - younger people don't appreciate the excuse that just because you are old and infirm or on a garden committee means you are entitled to boss us around and get us to do everything for you, especially when we have to buy our own lunch while you seemingly have all the time in the world, sometimes the luxury of spending hard earned lunch money sitting in a ute while demolishing a potato top pie from the 7 day bakery is really not worth all the abuse.

Other than that the only other thing is when I see elderly folk go the wrong way round the roundabout to snag a park. Nooo!