This new garden we have arrived in promises to be both easy and hard. Easy because the ground has not been frozen since we arrived and itís going to be a long summer, presumably a hot one. If I hadnít just shifted, and many other things, I would have seedlings grown to plant already. Hard because there is not a single spider - oh well, one spider, I have seen - and so few birds that I fear Iíll really get tested as an organic gardener, learning how to deal with pests in an artificial condition.
Artificial 'cause we are in a small town, with other gardens all around, and the house has just been painted, so I spose that accounts for the lack of spiders, and also 'cause there is not a single tree on this property, unless you count the old pine that straddles the boundary with our neighbour. Itís not a great tall pine, but a topped one.
It took me three days to realise what was missing, after we shifted here. I knew the silence was gone. I knew the starry nights were dimmed. Then, on the third day I saw a blackbird and I realised the birdsong was gone. The depth of the silence, the intensity of the stars and the audio clarity of the birds. All gone.
Wild and Wonky
Had we moved into the seaside, lakeside house we originally planned to move to, we would have had the roaring of the Pacific Ocean, mighty waves on a pebbly beach, to get that sense surrounding feel of nature. But it was not to be, because the dog was not welcome.
Our furniture truck was already on the move when the dog-thing became a problem and it became clear we would have to find somewhere else.
I said goodbye to the seaside, lakeside house, at the same time noticing the Dr Seuss cacti scattered across the lawn like roosters were not really that at all. My imagination had just made them that way.
The funny thing is, we have ended up in a little town on the edge of a calm harbour which has that exotic seaside holiday feel, and everywhere I look are the same cacti thingies, only dozens of them, bunched together. It seems like this is the perfect climate for them. And there are other plants with wonky, wonderful shapes, and the cliffs round here are just festooned with daisies and other wild flowers later in the season.
And although we have lost some of the intensity of nature, we have all day sun, making the house easy to keep warm, 180 degree views of water, and barren volcanic hills (not to mention ships), and a house which is not so heartbreaking from a housework point of view.
We have no garden, but being a clean slate, it has great potential.
A preliminary dig revealed the soil to be a bit claggy. I threw some of this dark brown but clay clotted soil in some pots the other day, and planted them with alyssum, nasturtium and some flat, furry leaved thing which I think will become a daisy. These plants are more or less the only thing in a half hearted bit of garden in front of the house. I noticed today, one of the pots had an inch of water sitting on top of the soil. Very claggy.
The plan is to speed up the vege garden creation with the newspaper and peastraw process (we had started by digging), with a view to great hot-weather/long-season veges like chillis and eggplants; get hold of native trees, bushes, grasses, etc, to give the place some structure - not to mention birds; get in some herbs as soon as possible (I canít do without them); and let the flower garden evolve as it may.
Monica's discoveries are a work in progress and should not be taken as formal advice, especially where precise results are important.