What a beautiful month! Traditionally a big working month (before I retired) I used to be flustered by October, trying to keep up with the changes. Beautiful October - I hope our new relationship continues for many more years!
Thursday October 12th
The October flowering of the Aquilegias always used to surprise me, but I see they are just the tip of the iceberg (eek!) in October's floral festival. And thinking of icebergs leads me rather nicely to the blooming of the first roses. Fruhlingsmorgen is blushing shyly in the Hen-House Garden, and Canary Bird is sunny in the Jelly Bean Border. The rose which covers nearly all of my washing line, a Yellow Banksia, has just started. It's a pleasure hanging out the washing!
The Future Looks Rosy...
And a couple of rose-related facts - all the rose foliage is fresh and healthy (long may this last), and late spring is the perfect time to buy new roses. Quickly! Before I lose my nerve (and my budget).
But before I do anything else, or launch forth into a twittering list which I'm bound to ignore, I must feed the chooks (left-over pasta) and rake the gum tree leaves from the house lawn. Everything is then ready for the best day ever in the garden. I have new pink slim line gloves to try out, some new 'age-defying' sunblock for mature, pink gardening skin, and some new gardening shoes - rosy pink trainers. Pink it is!
Another great day, with lunch again on the new garden bench. I've planted a couple of new roses behind it - a Teasing Georgia, and Sharifa Asma, both David Austin roses. Enough gum leaves are raked up, though it took forever. I've weeded the side house gardens - the deciduous azaleas are almost in flower.
I kept on seeing many spaces for new plants. So I went off full of optimism to two commercial nurseries, to buy some interesting new shrubs. Humph! Interesting prices - I came away empty-handed. I might have to revisit my 'local' and scoop up lots of boring Escallonias, Choisyas, and Cistus at four dollars each. And lavenders - they would be nice around the new seat - it's a really sunny spot. Right. I think that's settled. Or should I have bought (for example) a new shrubby Jasmine for twenty dollars? A fragrant red boronia for twelve?
- Rhododendron Saffron Queen :
- My rhododendron Saffron Queen has a great story to tell. This is plant survival against all odds.
Late this afternoon I took a friend around the garden on a quick tour. I was so proud - the gardens over the water race looked absolutely beautiful. The yellow rhododendrons (one is called Saffron Queen) are completely covered in flowers, with carpets of powder blue forget-me-nots and deep blue pansies underneath. The fierce deep red rhododendron in the Dog-Path Garden's woodland was glowing in the afternoon sun. Yes, I like rhododendrons more and more - now I understand their needs and have them appropriately positioned.
Then I fed my chooks their greens. Until my own vegetable garden is producing I get them their own cheap lettuce, spinach, old apples, etc. from the organic fruit and vege shop. What a good old mother hen I am! And the eggs they lay are full of this goodness.
Friday 13th October
Today is shearing day, and the buying of boring shrubs day. That's actually not fair - how about the buying of good, honest shrubs which grow fast, fill spaces, and cope well in all situations? Much better. So first I'll feed Haru the lamb (just one bottle a day) and the chooks (dish of the day - cooked potato peelings tossed in old salad greens with muesli and pumpkin seed topping). Then I'll get the plants. Maybe I will buy that Jasmine, if it's frost hardy. Then I'll do the grass seed - 'it aint grown if it aint sown'.
Oh dear. Oh dear me. I have 'found' a new local nursery where shrubs aren't boring, nor are they expensive. I have been there and filled my little car twice. Now to get all these youngsters planted - they are a lovely mixture, destined for all parts of the garden. I have a vague paper list - the official record will be done later this afternoon.
Saturday 14th October
Hmm... So much for Dog in Disgrace. How about Gardener in Disgrace? Having bought two car loads of new plants, the Head Gardener suddenly becomes oh sooooo tired. So after watered the planter bags she quietly slips away off duty. So I have plants for the new part of the Pond Garden, but this area hasn't been completely dug yet. And before my little jaunts down the road to the nursery I did dig for an hour in the blazing spring sun. Almost finished.
The Hostas are Growing
Two extra-nice things happened yesterday. I went next-door and with my neighbour we walked over to our shared boundary. It was lovely peeping through the trees from his paddock at the trees and shrubs in my Wattle Woods. Go, you lovely pink rhododendron! You are inspiring. Then my walking friend (who enjoys Moosey eggs each week) gave me more newspaper for mulching the garden and a large bag of salad scraps for the hens. Her squishy, over-ripe tomatoes were a treat. If my chooks are happy, then so am I.
New Standard Roses
The third thing relates back to the nursery (oops). I've found some standard roses called Blushing Pink Iceberg. I'm a great fan of the Iceberg rose family, as they start flowering mid-season, often still fully floral on Christmas Day. So I am going to buy three of them for the back of the Willow Tree Garden. The books always say to buy an odd number. And the books say that standard roses bring much needed height to a rose-lover's garden. Ha! How about five?
Today I have an embarrassingly large number of plants waiting. I will put on the hoses, and grab my mistress paper plan. Some fine tuning is required - for example I am to move the silver Astelia, still small, out of the shade of the Dog-Path Garden. It goes into the Wattle Woods. A low spreading rhododendron goes in its place. Such little details all combine to make a garden truly great. Hee hee.
My Great New Plants List
- Othello, Gruss an Achen, Burgundy Iceberg, Blushing Pink Iceberg, The Countryman.
- Viburnum Snow Queen, a purple flowering shrub, 4 Corokias, 2 Grevillias, a Berberis, 2 cheap rhododendrons, 2 Spireae.
- 2 Jesters, 1 Guardsman. Aargh! It's a phormium tenax hybrid!
- Grasses and Little Things
- 4 Hostas, 2 Bowles Golden Sedges, a groovy Japanese grass.
- Big Things
- 1 cheap red maple.
That list looks far too small - I'm sure I've forgotten some things. Right. On with the age-defying sunblock. Off to feed the lamb and the chooks, get the dog up, and get gardening.
Much Much Later
I have worked so hard - all day, with a very short rest (on the new garden seat) for lunch. My extension to the Pond Garden is so close to being finished - I just ran out of late afternoon puff, after much planting and mulching and watering, and a quick session in the glass-house pricking out yellow violas and cherry red nasturtiums. I have a pocket full of labels. I love my garden, and I've never seen it looking so beautiful. Fruhlingsgold (the big single lemon rose) has started, and Mary rose has one fluffy pink flower.
The Sheep are Shorn
The sheep are back from shearing - Charles the ram kept getting his horns stuck in the drafting yards. Haru, this year's pet fat lamb, will now have the company (if one can call it that) of the two wethers George and Fred - both ex-pet lambs themselves, though their memories of the experience are rather woolly! It is with little twinges of guilt that I am cooking an anonymous lamb roast for tea. Don't worry! The Moosey sheep are strictly wool producing only.
Down the Back We Go...
Whenever I go and talk to my chooks a strange squeaking and twittering starts up, high above in the big trees. The local sparrows and other birds are enjoying the leftovers too! And I've just remembered - I forgot the rose Blackberry Nip in my list.