As seems to happen each summer, there gets to a point where I just… give up. Dry spells kill plants. Wet spells make the grass growth explode. Bugs turn up. It happens everywhere and I just kind of… let it. There’s no point fighting.

Then in March-April I look around, horrified at how bad things are and start cleaning it all up again.

And so, that is what happened to my flower garden.

Finding the flowers

The kikuyu was probably the worst part. As I took a break from my latest assignment, I went out and began idly pulling strand after strand back before I stopped and thought ‘I should take a before picture’.

A 'before' photo taken soon after work had started.

Then I went back to it, pulling out the plantain and the kikuyu ropes. Removing the self-sown flowers I can see becoming invasive if I left them. I found flowers! Marigolds, strawflowers, dahlias, dianthus, zinnias and more.

I cut down the stalky, dry sunflowers, leaving the heads on the surface to see what grows next year.

The catnip swale

Around the corner, I uncovered a few dead catnip plants in the ‘catnip swale‘. This is not surprising.

The plant I split to create the swale was one of my original plants from Waipu. It’s 4 years old at this point, and that’s about as long as you get out of catnip. So it’s started to die back, leaving gaps.

I did see some chamomile in spring, but it seems to have disappeared from the swale completely!

I decided it was time to plant one of the two grevilleas that had been sitting in my ‘plant holding area’ for months. It’s called ‘Eureka’ and has yellow flowers in winter. I put it into one of the gaps. I have one more waiting to go in at the top when the others decide they’ve had it as well.

The grevillea and the catnip probably look like the same thing to most people right now

Start your engines

I whipped around with the mower, picking up the weeds like a hoover for the lawn.

There’s the garden!

After - all the grass and weeds are gone, the grass is mowed, and the garden is visible again.

It needs compost. And mulch. I need to find the tulips and pull them up for refrigeration if I want them to bloom again.

I should probably think about finding some more bulbs and flowers for it. When I worked in a garden centre that was something I did more often.

I’ve got some bluebell bulbs someone sent me. It’s probably the right time to throw them in and see what they decide to do. Or I could lift the bulbs and remove the annuals entirely, and work on replacing them with shrubs and perennials.

But I can see it again now, so that’s a start.