I've spent most of the past week here at Struan Farm head down bum up in the Homestead gardens. It's time for the big spring clean and then some.
John has decided a major redo of the Homestead gardens is in order, pronouncing that they weren't looking "homely" any more. For non-kiwis reading this I should translate, this means not "home-y" (vs. ugly). I guess we've had a disconnect on this, since as the gardener I'd thought "we" were trying to make them lower maintenance in our later middle age, focusing "our" efforts on getting the new gardens at the newish house established and looking good.
My problem seems to be that the new gardens are now looking so good that John wants essentially the same thing at the Homestead. And since the Homestead is the house he grew up in, it seems he still wants it looking like a home. His home. With serious flower gardens like Mum and Dad planted once again. A garden of national significance without the associated work force, you get the idea. So I've spent time this week digging things out and planning for more flowers. It's a bit late in the season for all this but I'm onto it. A large, too old camellia has been chopped down, and John is busy redesigning several gardens and paths and taking down a trellis. Relatively major work.
I've also been directed to get the bluebells under control. I hadn't touched any bluebells in the gardens, since along with blue hydrangea they were John's mum's favourites. Awhile ago I went on the record that they had the potential to be weed-like. Now they've spread everywhere.
My week has been spent digging out hundreds of bluebells. Hundreds and hundreds. Some will grow back, they're like onion weed and violets, you can't get them all but rather need to stay on it from one year to the next. We're leaving the bluebell dell in the roadside wooded garden, but that will also get a clean up to some extent once the spring bulbs have finished their show. Especially where they've tried to bully the tulips. We don't mind bluebells there, provided they behave themselves.
Not sure I will win the battle with the bluebells, but I do know that I can honour that request for the home gardens to be "homely" again. Even as I fret about my ability to manage it all.