No more sulking...
Finally my winter gardening sulks seem to be over. My old optimism is back, and my head is full of plans for new, improved planting schemes. Thank you, snow, for kicking me out of complacency and garden laziness. But please, no more this winter!
Working in the Wattle Woods
Monday 10th July
I am still going strong, full of ideas - nothing is too much trouble for this re-energised head gardener. Yesterday - well, what a triumph! Yet more flaxes removed, broken into pieces and put in pots. A particularly tenacious, rather too easily grown grass - over ten random plantings dug up, all evidence burnt. This grass (which is a native, a type of coarse carex) is now confined to pots only. It seeds too much, and plants which survive a few seasons are incredibly hard to remove.
The Wattle Woods are so light and airy! Just a few stray branches now remain to be sawed down - possibly by me, later this morning. I will remove more of the Iris Japonica ground cover, too - confining it to the shadier places. Ajuga might be better for the open areas (the blue flowers would be a spring bonus).
- Rockery :
- When I first planted the Rockery I was so pleased with the carex grasses! Oh dear! How silly I was!
Then I am going to give my full attention to the Rockery. I have a plan to purchase suitable conifers - the phrase 'irresistible for rock or feature gardens' has the right sort of ring to it. But first I have some more digging to do (more of those silly grasses) and the morning is frost-free.
Yesterday I also ceremonially pruned the first roses - two white Icebergs (in honour of winter) and a Golden Celebration (for the summer to come). The exterior of the glass-house has also been cleaned. My goodness - my mind is in a whirl, there are so many things I want to do.
Iceberg Roses in Mid-Winter
Seven Hours Later...
This is what winter gardening is supposed to be like! Air temperature - mild. Wind - none. Rain - none. I have a long list of accomplishments to report on. Please bear with me - feed-back and feed-forward, even if self-generated, are important for one's gardening morale!
- 1. The Rockery is ready.
- I've finished the initial Rockery dig, helped by Fluff-Fluff (who kept leaping into the holes left by departing grasses). I will plant a row of Camellias at the very back, along the garage wall. Rich pink flowered ones!
- 2. More grasses removed.
- I've been finding these wolf-in-sheep's-clothing plants absolutely everywhere! What was I thinking, planting so many of them?
- 3. Two more large ugly flaxes removed.
- Both were by the water race, and the snow has flattened them dreadfully. They were not coloured, and will not be missed.
- 4. Rose Robusta dug out and burnt.
- Sorry, but this rose has not done well for me. It gets dreadfully blackspotted and it flowers sparsely.
There are a lot more things - I've completely cleared another tree which was down over the Willow Tree Garden, groomed two reprieved flaxes (with my new small kitchen steak knife, hee hee), and ripped out more Iris Japonica. I've pruned some more roses. I've trimmed the fern which was causing some slippery moments on Middle Bridge. I am so tired, and so happy. Finally my winter gardening is happening properly - I am making good decisions, and following them through.
Tuesday 11th July
Firstly, some important personal news. I can't sing as well as I thought I did - my probation period in the ladies retirement choir is not going well. I thought that musical bluff would see me through. Hmm... But I can garden, and I can buy some new plants - today! Camellias! Conifers! Hebes! Proper flaxes! Well, I am going to have a preparatory look at the little nursery down the road.
Then I will practice my songs in the garden (should be lovely). I have a few more grasses to remove - some pots await the smaller ones. The sea shanties should go well with this task. 'Haul awaaaay! Haul awaaaay!'... Then I can wander into the Wattle Woods with my rake and practice 'The Ash Grove'. The prayer 'Ma Te Atua' will centre me and remind me how small (and lucky) I am - and will celebrate the beauty of my own native New Zealand plants. Which will then lead me very nicely back to the plant nursery! Maybe I'll buy some of the flax hybrids called Merlot. I wonder if it will retain its amazing rich wine red colour.
Ridiculous. My two young gardening cats (B-Puss and Fluff-Fluff) are trying to climb up the Big Gum tree, tempted by a batch of burbling pigeons. The distance to the first transverse branch is higher than the roof of the (two-storied) Moosey house. The bark is loose and flaky. Aargh! I need to get outside at once to distract them.
And Dripping Dogs
Later... It's been a day where small things seemed to take hours. First, a sad decision - the big red flax which marks the end of the Dog-Path (and has been a landmark in the water race plantings for years) will have to be removed. It looks like something huge has sat on it - it's still squashed flat, weeks after the snow. I have already purchased the replacement.+5
But success of a sort - my first large water-side Phormium tenax flax is chopped down, leaving only a very low stump. I got totally muddy and wet in the process, while Rusty my gardening dog-helper stood in the water catching stray pieces floating downstream. He didn't seem to feel the cold at all! Must be good in winter, having furry legs.
- Magenta Rhododendron :
- These two rhododendrons flower very late - they are actually summer flowering.
Now the purple and magenta rhododendrons in Middle Garden are fully visible from the other side of the water, as are my red tree-sized Cordylines. It will be a brilliant spring look. I will probably get told off for breaking another one of the kitchen steak knives, though...
And I did make a quick visit to the nursery. I didn't buy any budget conifers - they had no labels or warnings as to size. I think a little caution is called for! And the Camellia selection was poor.
I have some new flaxes - 'Surfer' (a nice upright one with thin leaves) and 'Black Rage' (which will grow to one and a half meters, but at least I've read the label). He can rage at the end of the Dog-Path. I also found some cute little Hebes which look like conifers - they can kick-start the Rockery transformation. Nothing will get planted tomorrow - it's my walking group's day trip.