The Gardens of Chiconia 24: digging for water

OK, I’m not reporting the discovery of an artesian well in the back yard.

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No, what I have been doing is excavating years of dead wood, decomposing leaves, stones, weeds, disintegrating plastic netting and about a dozen assorted pots, some frankly hideous and some really rather nice. The point of all this sweaty activity was to discover if there was a pond in Frogtopia, which is how I am now describing the Place of Big Leaves. And there was, but boy was it nasty. So after much sweating, cursing, bending double and cursing, I have installed an alternative water feature. Instead of the shallow basin of stagnant slurry we now have a classical square tub in charcoal, with a taller column in it, from the top of which bubbles and trickles a small stream of endlessly circulating water. It makes a nice noise. It doesn’t splash everywhere. The froglets approve, judging by the chorus they struck up as I headed indoors. I just have to get the power hooked up as I can’t reach the socket – it requires the long legs of the Husband, who is still asleep in preparation for night shift. Frogtopia is now looking rather better. It helps that there are no more dead and dying leaves, straggly weeds and a strong air of neglect…

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Also today we have collected my green children from the last house. Not the ones planted in the ground, but everything in pots and tubs. They are lined up in the late sunshine on the edge of the patio, they’ve had several large drinks, and they appear to be content. Especially the flame tree, which has begun to flame. The Husband, who is the tree’s official owner, is ecstatic!

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Soon, we’ll be decided where they’ll be put into the ground, but in order for that to happen, I have to locate some graph paper and draw a few ideas for garden layouts. I’m fairly confident the mango and avocado will go into the orchard end. I’ll probably plant the cherry guava there too. I can’t help feeling I’m going to want to visit the lemon and lime trees a bit more often, and so they will be closer to the house. The herbs will have to go into beds near the patio door, so I can just step out and pick some without a trek. I’m not too concerned. Everything will find its proper place if I give it time. And I’m not forgetting the other plants: the angel trumpet, the strelitzia, helliconia, ginger, banana suckers, orange trumpet vine and a succulent or two. But that will have to be a separate expedition of its own, involving fork, spade, pots, soil and another trip with the trailer.

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I feel as if I made some progress today. Which is nice, because I sort of feel like I’m just treading water in the house. No matter how many boxes I unpack, it still looks bare and messy. The place won’t be properly dressed until I have bookcases up and books in them. And a sofa. And pictures on the walls. Patience, however, is not my strong suit, a fact that may be familiar to you…

Right, time to go – I’m due at the Dowager’s tonight.


13 thoughts on “The Gardens of Chiconia 24: digging for water

  1. tialys says:

    Of all your plants and trees I am mostly jealous of the mango tree. I love mangoes and, next to blueberries, peaches and strawberries, they are my favourite fruit. Usually, when you buy them in the shop, they are too hard and never ripen properly. Once, when I was in the Gambia on a business trip, we could eat them from the trees and they were divine.
    Don’t stress too much about the unpacking – I usually use it as yet another of my ingenious excuses not to do any housework. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I agree, mangoes are my most favourite fruit, closely followed by cherries, which I can’t grow here. Sadly the unpacking needs to continue; unless I empty some more boxes, I don’t have anything else to do – all my books and sewing materials are still packed!

  2. What a satisfying and creative day you have had. It will all be gorgeous – house and garden – when it is finished, and you will enjoy the gradual transformation.

  3. Ha-ha Frogtopia! I love that name 🙂 Well done on improving their habitat.

  4. Wow, your energy puts me to shame. I spent about an hour picking runner beans, haven’t even mustered up the motivation to sit down and shell them to dry.

    Also, I adore the way you bestow names like Frogtopia and Place of Big Leaves. We name things here too but not as creatively as you.

  5. Helena says:

    I love reading about your garden, it amazes me how tropical and exotic it all sounds compared to my Scottish one. Here I am busy putting my garden to bed for winter, leaves falling everywhere and this morning the first hard frost with the grass all white, but it’s beautiful and I’m so looking forward to getting some sewing done now I can stay indoors! Good luck in your new home

    • katechiconi says:

      Funny how the hemispheres are back to front! Here, I’ll be putting a lot of things to bed for the summer. The heat, humidity and intense rainfall make it hard to grow things; even if they can stand up to the environmental conditions they fall prey to insects and mould based disease. What I can do is cut back, prune, mulch, tidy up and, best of all, plan for autumn. Bring on March, and the end of cyclone season!

  6. your froggies will love the water !!!! and your plants in pots look good, they will be very happy when they’ll be able to stretch their leggs in the soil !!!

  7. Having herbs close to the house is a good idea, especially if like me you often cook in your PJs and the neighbours can see over the fence – and it avoids the need to go far in heavy rain.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll be watering the garden and feeding the chooks in my nightie, I suspect, so the neighbours will just have to harden up! But staying dry in the rain is a good point. The herb bed in question is about 2 metres from the back door…

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