If there is one thing crucial to a successful garden in these parts, it's an irrigation system. The summers here are brutal, and without supplementary water then very little is going to survive, let alone thrive. So the task this month was to try and make sense of the irrigation system. We found that the actual autamitic watering control box didn't work... why that is, I don't know at this stage.
However, we followed the wires from the control box and located the lid to remove to access the manual taps to turn various lines on and off. With a bit of experimentation we found 4 out of the 5 taps for the back garden worked. Well.. at least they would have, if the pipes hadn't been cut by past reckless lawn mowers, and if the nozzles hadn't been blocked.
With the one for the front garden, as I took the cover off I saw a very large redback inside guarding her eggsac. So copious amounts of flyspray used, and very careful prodding with a stick were needed before I felt safe to actually put my hand in there to turn on the tap! For our northern hemisphere readers, the redback spider is very common in this area, and you do NOT want to get bitten by one. So far, I've been lucky, although I have had a few close calls, including having one crawl onto my foot while taking a shower. It still gives me the shivers just thinking about that!
We have all but one line working, and with any luck we can get some joiners for the cut pipes and get the rest going before the summer heat arrives (we have already had out first 30c+ day of the new summer season, so hot weather isn't far away).
Della has been busy with this, it seems like the job is never going to end! The climbers are in a sorry state, and the main task now is to try and remove as much of the dead old wood as possible. Getting blooms to appear anywhere but on the very top and out of reach is going to be a difficult job, just so many years of letting them grow UP rather than training them horizontally means most of the flowers are well out of reach.
Still, a bit at a time - clearing the dead wood is a good start, then as new canes grow we can start to train them properly. Even so, it's not going to be a quick fix.
Pruning out the dead wood on the climbers, and getting the irrigation system working. We replaced some roses - we were lucky enough to have friends that wanted roses removed from the garden of their new house, so of course we offered to take them! Must have a count up to see how many we actually have, it will be somewhere between 30 and 40. think there must have been more at one time. Several areas of the garden have nothing in them except for old rootstcok growing. Obviously the site of long dead roses.
I mentioned the redback spider earlier, which reminds me... one of the reasons we are clearing away so many weeds and pruning so hard is not only to make the garden look nicer. It removes habitat for another common nasty we get around here, the Eastern Brown Snake. The garden was/is a perfect place for them with lots of hiding places, and a bite from one of these can be deadly without urgent medical treatment. The 2nd most venomous snake in the world, not something we want to have in our garden!
Follow our journey to restoring our rose garden to it's former glory. Each month, will mean a new installement of what (if anything) has been achieved, progress reports and photos, and anything else that we think might be worth reading about.