I used to take gardening for granted - dig this up, move that, de-weed there, carry that. Did it all myself, with only major and heavy work undertaken by the gardener. It was easy. Now, not so!
What brought this home to me is the fact that a couple of months ago I decided, while my trusty Chrissie (garden manager) was off for the day, to start a new pathway. I had most of the major materials - paving blocks, river pebbles, some plants I could use from other areas - even the area had already been demarcated, this was a cinch, it was just a matter of doing it, quickly. Or so I thought.
Donning my sun hat, sunscreen and gloves, I carried the 14 paving blocks, one by one, and laid them in an order that pleased me. Then I carried all the river pebble bags and emptied each one, one by one, spreading them nicely and interspacing them with some bigger rocks. Then I scrounged round the garden, taking some Echeverias and Aloes from shady areas and putting them on the right-hand side of the new path.
The Erigeron already growing on the left-hand side of the path formed a nice contrast against the pebbles.
Chrissie had already transplanted some Hen-and-Chickens from another area that she had decided was overgrown! against the wall where they received a bit of shade, so that area was sorted out. I would just have to decide what to use to fill the rest of the space, which gets full sun, but also a lot of rain water run-off.
I decided to lift all my Echeverias (which were now in too much shade on the other side of the garden), a fairly easy job, and brought them all over to the new path, dug the holes, threw in some compost and planted them closely together. A few Aloes were added and I also carried over two metal birds from another part of the garden and placed them amongst the Echeverias. This was at last starting to take shape!
Next was to steal some Marigolds and a few other plants from other sections of the garden - thank goodness for Marigolds! They always make a good filler, are easy to transplant and give an instant splash of colour! Some more river pebbles and a few rocks and we're on our way.
Some Marigolds and a Festuca grass taken from another part of the garden.
Another trusty standby is old logs or wooden poles - they give an instant facelift and provide nice little features in empty spots.
After carting a couple of wheelbarrows (about six!) of crusher stone to fill the rest of the empty spot, making a nice little pathway, I stood back and surveyed my handiwork for the day, ignoring the gnawing backache, satisfied that I had made great progress for the day. A long, soaking bath was in order (as it was already 6pm) and decided to have an early night as well.
Well, the next morning was a different matter altogether! I could hardly get out of bed! There wasn't a bone or muscle that didn't ache! It took another soaking warm bath, a good rubbing of Arnica oil all over and three cups of tea before I could even venture into my studio.
What happened to the good old days of easy and relaxed gardening?! I know what happened - the years have a way of catching up with one!
But in just a few weeks I was rewarded for all my aches and pains. It definitely was all worth it and I will be repeating the exercise again shortly!
Chrissie, my trusted garden manager, without whose help my garden would really be in trouble!