Making time to quell the roses

Creating a gardening calendar allows time for important jobs, such as downpipe mesh testing.
Jobs like compost massaging and lawn frolicking can be done at any time of the year
Creating a gardening calendar allows time for important jobs, such as downpipe mesh testing.

TIME: it keeps clockmakers in business and gave the inspiration for the name of a great magazine.

It also keeps ticking on and we can’t escape it.

Put simply, no matter how much aloe vera cream you smear into your skin each night, gravity is going to take over at some point and drag your features down so it looks like your face is made of stretched Play-Doh.

On the positive side, we can look forward to what time will bring us, like another year of gardening.

Now is a super time of year to do up a gardening calendar.

Just think about it: you do up calendars for school events, for the work day, for your weekend custody schedules, but do you do one up for your garden?

Your gardens are the lungs of your house so it pays to schedule in a few things to keep it all on track and healthy throughout the year.

Take a moment to think about how you would like your garden to look in a month’s time, six month’s time, perhaps even a year from now.

Then take those high expectations and forget them because the average home gardener won’t achieve such lofty goals so it’s best to be realistic.

Start off by listing small jobs and when they have to be done. For instance: March 1 - repaint gnomes; April 22 - Ringbark snow gum in front yard; May 9 - Harvest prickly pear crop.

The more high-tech among you may be able to use an electronic device such as those popular ePhones or clever pads to do up a reminder system.

Here are a few tips to help you map out your own gardening calendar.

Seasonally Conscious

The seasons will determine what jobs you do and when. It’s no good putting in “Pick Oranges” in December, particularly if you don’t have an orange tree. Jobs like compost massaging and lawn frolicking can be done at any time of the year. Other things like “shovel snow from pathways” are best done after it’s snowed.

Prioritise Plants

People will forgive you; plants won’t. So if you’ve locked in the task of hedging the cranberry bush at 5.30pm on June 29, stick to it, no matter if it’s Grandma Audrey’s 100th birthday or your sister’s wedding. (You know it probably won’t last anyway.) Weeds won’t wait despite your son’s graduation ceremony.

Pen Selection

Some calendars have a glossy coating so be sure to use a permanent marker. Sharpies and Nikkos are great. The permanency of these markers also means you’ll be more inclined to do the jobs. Also, write in large letters on the calendar so nothing else can be added to that date.

Time conscious

Allocate the appropriate amount of time for the job given. Something like “shut garden gate” does not require a blocked-out week to be accomplished, whereas “convert swimming pool to subterranean bomb shelter” is not going to happen in a day. Then again, depending on how you work and what you see as important, the time allocated will vary.

I would give no less than four days to the task of repositioning pot plants; others might do it in a careless, half-hearted two hours with dismal results prone to show through. How you use your time is up to you.

So do yourself up a gardening calendar and get your horticultural year in perspective. You never know, it may just inspire you to get organised in other areas of life (although that is unlikely as generally an unorganised person will neglect their garden as well as their family life and work commitments, so just do your best.)

Tip of the Month: Lacing your lawn with washing-up detergent prior to a big storm will make it foam up with heavy rain, causing the neighbours to wonder where the snow came from. Brilliant!

DISCLAIMER: The information within this column is of a satirical nature and therefore the advice within should not be heeded. All views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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Better Backyards with Gherkin JarvisSelf-proclaimed gardening expert and carpet enthusiast, Gherkin Jarvis, brings you his thoughts on Australia’s great lifestyle tradition, the backyard.


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