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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ripped!

by Anna Campbell

Apologies to those hoping to see gorgeous abs after reading that headline!

Snicker! I do so love to tease!

This is a gardening as lesson for life post. Which is kinda ironic as a gardener I am NOT!

I live basically in resort suburbia where people take huge pride in their yards. Sadly, my garden is the untidiest in the street. Hmm, sometimes the whole area!

But eventually even I will notice that things need to be cut back. Usually about the stage where the bougainvillea is breaking through the windows to eat me a bit like a hungry triffid.

It's about three years since I did my last major devastation in the garden. It involves getting my handy handyman in and his even more handy chainsaw, truck and trailer. And we cut and we cut and we cut until there's hardly anything left.

The blasted landscape in the photos is the result of three really heavy mornings' work. And I have the scratches to prove it! Ripping is not for sissies!

I live in a subtropical climate and everything grows like...well, triffids. We've had majorly big rainfall over the last little while - many of you would have seen photos of the floods over the Christmas period in Australia. I'm just north and south of some of the worst of that particular disaster. But it means all those lush tropical plants decided to become even lusher and tropicaler.

A couple of weeks ago, things had hit critical level in my garden so I decided to be ruthless. There were no ruths harmed in the production of this movie. Ruths were banned from the area!

I've still got to do one corner of the garden out front (I've included a photo below as an example of before so you appreciate quite how stark is the after. The whole yard was overgrown like that.) Then out the back - one more morning and it's done! Huzzah!

Three years before I once more need to rip my abs ripping at the alamanda and the buckinghamia (got to be careful how you say that one) and the grevilleas and the philodendrons which really DO look like triffids. Perhaps those triffidodendrons will want revenge after what I've done to them Eeek! I'll have to carry a machete when I get the mail!

Right now I'm in the throes of a first draft - yeah, this is the gardening into writing life bit of the post, let's pause while I philosophize, which is not to be confused with philodendronizing!

I write long and by the time I've finished that story, it will feel just as overgrown and out of control as my garden was a couple of weeks ago.

Now my garden is a lean, mean fighting machine that will grow back with amazing speed (or at least it did three years ago!). I'm looking forward to performing the same job on my manuscript. Chopping old growth and branches that go nowhere and weeds tangling up the beautiful straight growth of the story (yeah, I'm eternally optimistic!).

So do you have any major jobs on the go at the moment? Any major clean-up plans? Do you think gardening can be a metaphor for life? And what is it with those triffids?

24 comments:

Lolarific said...

This weekend we're hoping to get our pool up in the yard. It's been wayyyyyy too hot and humid here lately not to have one sitting at the front door when we walk out. My husband has put it off for a year, but he was told it had to be done by Sunday afternoon. We'll see how far he actually makes it but he's to hoping I'll have wet toes by Sunday night!

marybelle said...

I have some trees & 6 pots and never find the time to tidy those up. I'm not a gardener. It's not my idea of fun. So twice a year I go nuts & tidy everything up. It's a blitz attack.

marypres@gmail.com

Nas Dean said...

Ohh, gardening? My not so fav part of keeping my compound neat and clean!

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Kandy Shepherd said...

Your garden looks great, Anna, neat and trim and ready to flourish come spring.
Talking about "ripped"--may I suggest a gardener to provide both manpower in the garden and inspiration for the writing!
Aah, we can enjoy the fantasy of it, anyway...

Jo's Daughter said...

The sweeping lines of your little borders are really nice. I'm not really a gardener but I do like a pretty yard. So sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This year I haven't done much in the backgarden yet. But I really have to so... soon I promise.

Marie said...

Anna it's that time of year when you are suppose to be doing the trimming! But here, it's been so hot and humid (I love it) our garden looks like a tropical rainforset. What happens here is I plant some seeds or a plant and then we see if it grows. LOL I TRY to keep things weeded, but it doesn't always work.
And you have to admit, those landscape guys are always ripped and great types for heros and/or vilians! ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Good luck with the pool, Lola! And with the husband! LOL!

Anna Campbell said...

Mary, I think I'm a bit of a blitzer with you, compared to a bitzer like a good gardener is! ;-) I keep getting a shock when I look out and see the neighbors' houses - the jungle kept the house very private!

Anna Campbell said...

Nas, I sometimes wonder if I should just concrete the lot! Well, not really, but gardening's not my thing either.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for swinging by, Mr. L.

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, I didn't do all this single-handed, believe me. My job was strictly totin' that bale and haulin' that barge. The handyman did all the heavy stuff. Not sure what he'd make of you suggesting him as inspiration! LOL! Yeah, I know it looks completely devastated but everything grows like Topsy here so a couple of months and you won't even know there was a cutback.

Anna Campbell said...

Jo's Daughter, that's the sad truth about me as well. I love to LOOK at the garden. I just don't like doing the work that makes it worth looking at!

Anna Campbell said...

Marie, I had the tree guys in about six months ago to deal with a couple of recalcitrant palm trees. Now they really ARE ripped! My last big job in the garden is to prune the roses. But they've put on a late flowering burst so I can't bear to chop them back yet.

Estella said...

I am preparing a new flower bed. Still in the getting the sod off stage . It will be about 10 ft. by 20 ft. when finished.
I love gardening!

Anna Campbell said...

Had to laugh - getting the sod off is how I feel about writing my book and sending it to my editor! LOL! The writing-gardening continuum lives! Good luck with the new flower bed, Estella!

Pat Cochran said...

My major pruning and cutting back job
is an inside-the-house task. My poor
little 1969-style home is TOTALLY out
of storage space! In order to find
room for all my books, a SERIOUSLY AND
MAJOR reduction in all other household
items will have to occur. I'm laughing
as I recall saying that so many times
and it still has not happened! Woe is
me...& my poor Honey, who has to hear
me bemoaning the fact that I can't
bear to begin!

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, I'm laughing that the last thing to be jettisoned from any sinking ship in your vicinity is the BOOKS!!! I hear you, girlfriend! The sad thing is every so often I try to have a cull and I manage about half a dozen books onto the charity pile. Half a dozen books makes little difference to the general chaos!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, everyone, for swinging by! It's been fun!

Christina Hollis said...

Loved the post, Anna. Years ago my father used to grow Grevillea in pots to put out as dot plants for formal bedding schemes. Wonder what size of pot yours would need? ;)

Michele L. said...

Wow! Love the pictures! I am into flowers myself. I have planted lot's this summer. Petunias, geraniums, begonia's, Mexican Heather, blue fescue, red fescue, marigolds, impatiens, etc. I have over 11 varieties of hostas all over my yard. They are wonderful plants because they come back every year.

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, laughed at the grevilleas in pots thing. I remember having English friends over a few years ago and they were marvelling at our tree ferns growing wild. Apparently there was a vogue for them in the UK at the time and they cost an absolute fortune! And then usually wouldn't grow because it was just too darn cold. Actually I love grevilleas, not just because they're pretty, but because they're real bird magnets. The parrots in particular just adore the nectar.

Anna Campbell said...

Michele, that sounds gorgeous and what a show when they're all out. Before I had a garden, I used to imagine planting flowers everywhere but I'm just too slack!

Beverley Eikli said...

Hi Anna, I like the metaphor. I like your garden, too.

Three months ago in an impulsive moment I enticed the driver of a truck of landfill to follow me home after he'd finished digging a nearby ditch. My horrified husband returned from LA to find 10 cubic metres of dirt piled up in the garden. It's been raining in Gisborne for months now and although the dirt is leveled I'm waiting for my next advance to turn the quagmire into a grand paved terrace.
Bev