It has been nearly half a year since I was able to do any ‘proper’ gardening. Spinal surgery, all that stuff.
The result is horrible weedy junglyness, huge amounts of overgrowth, plants dying back and a general lack of order and soothing beauty for my eye to enjoy. Frogtopia has become so lush as to be almost impenetrable, and its pond became so choked with roots, dead leaves and other detritus that I’ve had to remove the pump. It was completely blocked and I didn’t want the motor to burn out. Since the water’s no longer circulating, it had become a dengue-fever hazard, so I emptied it out. The frogs have slowly moved out and into other accommodation, although not far: there is still a wonderful chorus every night.
From the back: frangipani, murraya, ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), ginger lily, dieffenbachia, edible ginger, custard apple seedlings, white and purple phalaenopsis orchids
Frog refuge, half full of water and stones
I have missed the sound of trickling water. Yesterday, I decide to get on and do something about it. Frogtopia will remain a jungle of huge leaves and ferns, but the water element has to move, or the same thing will happen again and again. So I went out and bought a large round black plastic builder’s tub, about 80cm across and 40cm deep (30 x 15 inches). I plunged into the Frogtopia jungle and reclaimed all the rocks from the dry water feature. Some of them were quite large and really a bit too heavy still, but I was on a roll.
By the end of the morning’s work, I had taken the pump apart, cleaned and put it together again, the rocks were all hosed off and free of soil and vegetable matter, and the tub, pump and rocks had become a free-standing water feature some distance from any source of falling leaves and close enough to the house that I can hear the trickle of water.
Today, I moved a bunch of plants and things in tubs to stand around it. It’s not a vision of beauty yet. There are plants which have clearly suffered from a lack of sun and not-so-benign neglect, plants which will enjoy the slight spray from the water feature, and enjoy the humid micro-climate. One plant had to be uprooted from its previous home; it had sent a large taproot out of the bottom of the pot and into a crack between the paving stones on the patio. I’m waiting to see if it will survive this rather brutal treatment, it’s looking a bit dejected… I have also given the water feature a frog/toad refuge, an old ceramic pot on its side in the water, with stones in it for them to sit on in the cool.
Yes, OK, my back is making a bit of a fuss about all this hauling rocks and tubs of plants around. But my mind and my eyes are delighted by a little bit of something pretty in all the mess. I’m giving my back the day off tomorrow, and then I shall start getting stuck into more mess, working out from the haven of trickling water and greenery.
Now I know my back is up to the treatment, I’ll be out there at work to get things shipshape before it gets too hot in a couple of months.