We first saw this house in November. It was being sold under sad circumstances and was in a rather unloved state. A don't take your shoes off before you go inside kind of state. So when I saw the garden looking like this:
I assumed all that bare brownness was just a lick of TLC away from a beautiful English garden. We finally moved into the house the following Golden Week after a lot of weekends spent working here. By Spring the bulbs that are hiding EVERYWHERE had all pushed through and had turned the garden into something out of a Monet calendar. Spring eased into Summer and the blooms continued and I planted a whole lot of pansies and daisies and some fruit trees. My first Autumn I was in awe. The ornamental maples in the front garden turned brilliant red, the other trees turned yellow and orange and red as well. Coming from decidedly green all year round Australia I was in love with the season- even before my neighbours started dropping off crates of apples. ;P Amy was born the end of September that year. So all the Autumn work was done by DH in an hour or so of invigorating early morning activity before work. I remained oblivious to Autumn's labours and found myself with a bare garden come November.
The next year I had a three year old and a one year old. Life was exciting to say the least. I was so thrilled to leave the children with DH and move at my own pace that I flew through the Autumn leaf raking and dead grass pulling without realising how big a job it was.
The next year DH got a promotion and worked longer hours. I was over my excitement at clearing the yard and in a bit of a funk about the long cold winter to come. Noone cleaned the garden in Autumn and I justified it by thinking of all that leaf mulch I was giving my garden.
Well the next spring I learnt my lesson when I had to remove bagfulls of rotten and rotting leaves from the garden as my poor bulbs couldn't push through the lank, dank layer. It is a far more pleasant job raking leaves when they're dry and papery than when they're slimy and mouldy!
And that brings me to this year. The girls are bigger and need less constant attention but I've taken on that big vegetable garden as well as my not inconsiderable front and back gardens. What seemed totally manageable in Summer is becoming a bit of a marathon of thankless garden labour. I'm afraid I'm no longer whistling while I work. :( The start of Autumn looks like this:
All dead and dry perennials. All those lilies and lupines and irises and cosmos (I know they're annuals but they come back every year tenfold so clearing them out is a perennial problem!) ;P die back and have to be pulled out, raked up and burnt.
This is a job that makes straight raking leaves feel like a breeze. Which is lucky as there's plenty of that to do as well.
One of three shedding trees on the lawn areas.
And now that we have these lawn areas I worked so hard to create and nurture I am out raking leaves every other day. The longer you leave them the more chance it will rain and the lawn under the leaves will go yellow and .... well I'm beginning to understand why we have the only lawn in the neighbourhood!
So now when I see a bare and brown yard this time of year I don't think, as I used to 'Man, you'd think they could find something to plant that would look nice this time of year. It's just so bleak.' Nope, now I'm all 'Wow! Not a single leaf on the ground! And all the dead flowers have been cut back, as well. Wow. That's a well tended and loved garden if ever I saw one.' And it reinvigorates me to grab my rake and get out there again.
Aren't I lucky to have such great helpers?