The house had a large expanse of grass ringed by high, bruised-green walls, and a handful of neglected perimeter trees.
A blank canvas inviting me to paint and sculpt a tropical garden of my own (within the bounds of a rental, of course!). First, the easy things: drawing a long sinuous bed on the sunny side, sourcing some large specimens, painting boundary walls, hooking up some lights – and getting down to the digging. It’s in this process that I named my new home: Gal Katayam – after the barrow-loads of kabuk, the spongy red rock so typical of Sri Lanka, that I found in the process.
Next, the shady side. Try to trim that feral mango tree, build up some beds …
Ooops – remedial work required: the plumbing for the pool is inadequate in tropical downpours – we need large new pipes and an overflow device, and a little dry creek bed for the run off, I think …
A fernery along the side wall – marvellous fun, acceding to The Girls
Oh, and a front door mat, I think, to capture some of that gritty gravel from incessant puppy traffic
After a year – a full progression of the sun – I’ve had to admit the ‘shady spot’ under the fluffy little tree isn’t working. The umbrella canopy does provide dense shade, but in that tropical heat it’s like a sauna, under there, and worse – a haven for mosquitos. So began the final phase – turning the little tree into a coat-hanger for a flaming Bougainvillea, and a herbaceous border instead of the shady void – bisected by a pathway down to the compost bins.
This (bitter-sweet) little trip down memory lane was prompted by Ailsa’s Garden Travel Theme for this week.