As I raised myself from the sofa tonight, Rob breezily commented “Well your mother would be proud. I forced you to watch half a game of rugby.”
He didn’t force me. After another afternoon on the section, dealing with more weed-burning and a particularly stubborn rotary hoe, I was just dirty and tired and in desperate need of a shower but slow to pull myself upright. As I peeled off my clothes, it was amusing to see that my whole cleavage had turned black with ash – which must have somehow drifted down the front of my T-shirt and sweater and settled on the first near-horizontal surface.
After two weeks of burning – utilising any and every day off that I’ve had – tomorrow we finally get to start planting. I have a large box full of rooting sugar cane cuttings that need to go in the ground before they dry out. I also have hundreds of tulip and ixia bulbs that I’ve stalled planting until it turned properly cold. The lows of the last few days (around 10-14 degrees) could hardly be counted as properly cold, but I really can’t stall the tulips any longer so I’ll roll the dice and see how they go. Chances are, they’ll immediately think it’s spring and bolt. Tulips and Auckland might not be the best partners unless I spend the whole winter period dumping ice all over ground.
However, after taking all this time on the site prep (including several days where Rob and I have worked together) I think that psychologically we need to see something go into the ground so we can feel like we’ve completed a task. It is just one small step of many, many steps, but an important one to feel like we’ve begun permanent change on the section. If we stopped right now, the whole site would turn back into grass in just a few weeks and no one would be able to see where we’ve been. As of tomorrow, we will have a very different type of grass on one small bit and our mark on the land will be permanent.
Of course, that comes after I dig over the remains of the burnt weeds, and edge the plot, and add gypsum and compost to break up the clay, and fertilise my trenches, and follow up with mulch to suppress any re-weeding in spring. So, you know… there will be plants after a lot more work. It looks close enough to make Rob impatient, but I know there is still a bunch more to do if we’re aiming for a successful result.
Ah, gardening. It’s a bit like painting. If you want to do it properly, it’s never fast.
However, as we drove home at dusk, Rob did also comment on how much more rewarding it feels to be working on his own bit of land – to think that it will be us who reap the reward of all our landscaping, rather than just some landlord. And he’s right.
I’ve said it before, but it’s so much better to finally have something that’s ours.