If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Friday, 17 August 2012


...or, Going Berserk.

...or, Dealing with Plants as if They are My Hair.

...or, Getting a Gym Workout in the Backyard.

...or, Turning Into My Mother (part 347).

For those of you who like me to cut to the chase, the end of this story is this:  I started to trim the hedge.  Realised my limitations.  Called a gardening service for help.

For the rest of you...
Part 1 of the story goes like this.  I like shade.  I like green.  Whenever someone would 'help out' with the garden and end up demolishing it, I'd get a bit upset.  Well, a lot upset, but I would console myself with the knowledge that it will grow back.  I do remember years ago thinking I should trim the top of these hedge plants, but they were too tall, and I never asked anyone for help.  Eventually, of course, they grew way too tall, and I gave up even thinking about it and just enjoyed the shade and the green.

Part 2.  I saw a blog post recently about a friend's kitchen garden.  It is stunning.  Gorgeous photos help, but the amount of produce growing on a balcony in Switzerland is inspiring.  I felt a little ashamed of my meagre selection of basil, mint and occasionally tomatoes (parsley is still going strong too!), especially as I live in subtropical Australia with a decent-sized courtyard.  Shade is a problem, as well as the fact that it is east-facing so only gets morning sun, sometimes only for 3 hours if that. 

Part 3.  I popped into a bookshop while I had 10 minutes to wait last week and checked out their gardening selection.  I didn't buy any (nor any of the cookbooks tempting me), but had a bit of a browse.  Some brought back memories of primary school science experiements - anyone else remember growing sprouts in a plastic cup?  And I thought, if I was nearly anywhere else in the world, what I have to work with is luxury.  Better find a way.  In one of my extended nap/doze sessions later last week, I had a brainwave.  That brainwave will be dealt with later.

Part 4.  On Wednesday, it was a public holiday in Brisbane and we had beautiful spring weather, so I pulled out some weeds.  I also noticed that an animal (or maybe more) has eaten the berries on the bushes and it hasn't been a good mix.  Evidence of this can be found all over the courtyard.  Then I had this urge, which reminded me of how I often feel on the way to the hairdresser (which is usually when I start thinking about what I want done to my hair):  I felt like trimming these hedge plants - but knew I didn't have the right tools. 

Part 5.  Today I went to Kmart and bought a lopper.  I came home, and I lopped.  This was harder work than I anticipated (hence the gym reference above).  I lopped anything I could reach that was about 2cm wide or less.  This turned it from overgrown and bushy to sparse and ugly.  With half a hedge in the middle of the courtyard.  Some of those bits were really heavy! 

Part 6.  I thought about it for a couple of hours - how should I deal with the hedge debris?  Should I leave the remainder looking horrible until bits grow back?  I needed help.  Hello Google.  After looking through a few options (how do you choose, really?!) I went to the company I see around here all the time.  Option for a free quote - yay!  He could swing by within half an hour, and he talked me through what he saw needed to be done.  By the time he arrived I was at the 'just rip them out' stage but he thought that was crazy.  A decent trim to a manageable height, and then dealing with the ornamental vine that didn't originate on this property, and removal of the randoms that have sprung up as well as all the stuff I lopped today.  Knowing what I'm like, I figured if the quote was reasonable (not that I had much idea, but within my immediate means) I would book the job - and it was.  So much cheaper!  He comes back early next week, so I have a courtyard looking like it's been hit by a cyclone for the weekend.  I think I can deal with it though.

Lopping time:  about 45 minutes.
Booking of quote until departure of gardener:  about 1 hour and 45 minutes. 
I'm pretty happy with both these times.

Today's photo:

In the shade of the overgrown hedge, the troublesome berries, still unripe here, looked so tropical and slightly tempting.


  1. Oh I'm happy to hear that I inspired you to do something in your garden, but I'm sorry that it turned out to be so much for so far! Good on you, though, for trying to clear the hedge yourself ... but paying someone else to do it sounds quite sensible :-)

    It looks like you have a decent amount of sun in your courtyard. I'm sure you could grow plenty there! Looking forward to the update!

  2. Well there's lots of sunlight in the photos - because it was in the morning! It's east-facing though so not much comes through after late morning. I'll let you know when the update is ready :)