What a wonderful month!
It feels like the edge of summer. My garden is growing well and looking fresh and beautiful. I love the new colours and flowers appearing every day - what a wonderful month! What a wonderful garden world!
Early Summer Shrubs
Thursday 9th November
We've had beautiful rain for the last three days, much appreciated by my garden. But rain followed by warm sun equals weeds! So I am off to get muddy and weed in the Welcome Garden. The areas where there is no newspaper are alive with lush green things!
More Pink Things
Tomorrow I have all day to get properly back in touch, hands and knees dirty. I have a lot of annual seedlings to plant - I am rather well stocked with pink lavateras! So I can continue my love affair with the colour pink - I notice that the pink Sparrieshoop single roses are starting to flower. And the warm hot pink rhododendron in the Driveway Garden is in full bloom. Lovely. Beautiful. No gardener who lives 'down here' should ever have to go to work in November!
And one of the most beautiful pink roses that I've ever met is growing, happily, in my very own Hazelnut Orchard on one of the rose arches. Her name is Madame Caroline Testout. She is awesome! I picked her quite randomly from the rose catalogue. Oddly she is classified as a early hybrid tea - oops! Maybe I've got my labels on the arches mixed up? Can't see how...
I'm back. My goodness the garden looks beautiful! A creamy yellow rhododendron is another of the last to flower, perfectly placed in the shadier side of the Driveway Garden. I adore creamy yellow flowers, particularly when it's sunny. The ornamental mountain grasses are shining in the late afternoon light - images that just cannot be captured by camera - mine, anyway!
Yellow Banksia Rose
Friday 10th November
Resolution - I have to be the smartest (?) gardener today. I need to do all my seedlings, and finish the water race lawn edges, and clear all gum tree rubbish from behind the pond. Then I have serious weeding to finish in the Welcome Garden. Everything must happen today because of the Olearia hedge. Tomorrow is the great annual hedge trimming day - aargh! That means one gardening thing - a whole lot of Olearia cleaning up.
The house painters are also arriving this afternoon - finally the weather is OK, and piles of scaffolding lie around, ready for action. I hope my cats don't get nosy and check out what's happening up on the roof! Roses like Othello and Westerland are leaning up against the house, fat and in full bloom - I will cover them with old sheets, and shut my eyes. I dread any damage or destruction, but will be warm-hearted and philosophical towards the painters. Won't I? Aargh!
So, with a nip in the air, I am off outside for gardening session number one. C'mon, sun - do your stuff!
Euphorbia Seed Head
I have done everything! And more - sitting on the new garden seat in the pond paddock to have lunch, I noticed weeds and untidy, straggly lawn edges. So I combined crunching my sandwich with pulling out weeds and trimming large tufts of grass. Some of the annual forget-me-nots came out - as the sun gets stronger they do fade and look tired.
Tomorrow I'm going to expand the newly weeded Welcome Garden just a tiny bit, back as far as the boundary fence. I keep thinking of the old gardening couple I met on the Garden Club tour of Akaroa gardens. Those two didn't know when to stop expanding. Do I? Hee hee. Speaking sensibly, if I lay wet newspaper and mulch all new areas there should be little on-going maintenance.
Saturday 11th November
I am up. It's sunny. I am going to expand the Welcome Garden. It is the very first area seen as one drives in, perhaps not a garden to linger in (too near the road and the neighbour's driveway). So, like a council plot, it needs to feel tidy, easy, uncomplicated, and organised, as one passes through. Sounds like a recipe for LIFE! Ha - life is like a Welcome Garden...
Enough silliness! There is much work to do today, apart from expansive weeding - hedge trimmings to clean away, maybe even a trailer of compost, lots of home-grown flowering annuals (pink lavateras and yellow violas) to plant... There are paths to clear, and roses to check. I can sensibly follow the shade around - family members fall over laughing when I wear my new floppy, sensible sunhat. So cruel! And the painters will be here today - I hope that my roof-climbing cats (Fluff-Fluff and Beige-Puss) don't get speckle-spray-painted!
Lunchtime - so far, so good. I've been planting in the Hen House Gardens, and clearing the paths. After lunch it's the Welcome Garden, which will by then be in the shade. Gardeners with English rose complexions definitely need this no-sun strategy. So all numbered gardening lists from now on should take the passage of the sun into consideration. Yippee - I think it's summer!
My weeding is going well. Yesterday a friend took me around her small and beautiful suburban garden. She proudly showed me one clump of two-toned hostas, nestled in weed-free mulch. It really got me thinking - I am lucky to have a large snail and slug-free garden with more than fifty different hosta clumps. But I take them completely for granted. The variegations and colours are so different, and so lovely, as are the leaf shapes. I am determined to notice my hostas more.
Late News - A Late Lamb
Eek! We have a very late new lamb, born in the last two or three days. Mother ewe is very attentive. When I think how fat and woolly Haru the pet lamb is getting - and it seems ages snce she was born...
Sunday 12th November
I'm inside having a coffee break, before I help clean up the hedge trimmings. The word 'help' is significant - it implies that I will not be the only person doing this thankless task. I reckon it will take all my afternoon's energy, and I'll return later to this journal grumping about nothing....
White Daisy Flowers
So far my gardening day has gone really well. OK, so I've managed to lose two garden tools - a hand digger and a hand scraper. But balance that with at least a hundred forget-me-not plants pulled out, fifteen lettuces, twenty five lavateras and twelve white cosmos (cosmoses?) planted. And the All Blacks won the rugby against France by a record margin.
All morning my gardening boy-cats have been scooting in and out of the garden where I've been weeding. They squeak and pounce on my weeding hands, then hide underneath the day lily foliage. My vegetable garden makes slow, silent progress - the runner beans are up, and my first ever row of spinach looks promising. Now where is that hoe? Weed control needs to improve this year.
- Blue Jay Rhododendron :
- Over the water race a beautiful blue pair of rhododendrons called Blue Jay are deeply ensconced in the moist shade, flowering furiously.
As well as the beautiful blues, shrub colour from a variegated Weigela, covered in apple blossom pink, dominates the neatly edged water race. The aquilegias are looking wonderful - there are all sorts of mauves, blues, pinks, and every shade in between. What a pity they don't cut well for the house!
And setting everything off nicely are the lush green lawns. They will soon need mowing again, but today? I might be pushing my luck.
Monday 13th November
Yippee! I am rewarded after a hard working morning in the Willow Tree Garden - I am going swimming! As a very special treat, I am allowed to do 50 lengths. Hmm... Some reward! But seriously, it will be nice to stretch out the back (It's been bending and stooping rather a lot) and gently kick the gardening legs - and appreciate the simple rhythm of breathing. I have been occupied clearing the waterside border of pink flowering Campion. A weed, I know it's a weed - but it flowers beautifully in my 'gap season'. Now the roses need their summer space, and I need to be able to see them!+5
Dear Rusty Dog has been stationed valiantly in the water - just in case any vegetation should escape and go floating past. He single-pawedly keeps the down-stream water race clear of debris.
New Zealand Journeys - A Gardener's Day Off
Great excitement Moosey-Web-wise! My New Zealand Journeys section makes its appearance on The Front Page. It's a big moment on a web-site - hearty congratulations to this new, exciting section. Every week I enjoy my day trips, and this week we are 'climbing' - that is, trudging and plodding up - Mount Herbert (a large hill which overlooks Lyttleton Harbour).
Rusty the Dog
When writing about my walking days the same things, little things, are joyously repeated. But that's just too bad! I love New Zealand's natural side, and the bush and forest are always inspiring. Provided that one has safe, friendly company, food and water, and a good Gore-Tex parka, that is!
Dog's Best Friend
The painters are here, totally spooking my eccentric white cat, B-Puss. Rusty, however, is their best friend - they have bought sandwiches for lunch. So the Moosey house gets an early Christmas present. Ha! While the Moosey gardener has been throwing out huge hints about a second pond - the ideal gift, the local contractor is standing by... My waterfall idea has already been laughed out of the house. But I'm not finished yet!