I am thinking of starting a second hand flax shop. Every time I successfully cut an oversized, flattened Phormium down I find two more, offensively obese. Has a troupe of circus elephants been sneakily sitting on my flaxes? That's what they look like...
The First Phormium I Removed Was Here...
Friday 21st July
I must try to produce a pair of before and after photographs! The Last of the Species Phormiums (perhaps a film title?) was cut down in the rain - it only took me two wet, muddy, hair-dripping hours. I had my two gardening cats with me the whole time. How come I get totally muddy and grubby, whereas Beige-Puss stays pristine white in the wet garden? And silly Fluff-Fluff balanced on the last remaining flax leaves and then launched himself off into the air, over Rusty dog doing floating-debris duty in the water, to land safely on the opposite side of the water race. Eek! A flying cat! Another garden circus trick! It made me giggle, as well as shiver.
- The Southerly :
- Our nasty weather always comes from the south - that's where Antarctica is.
Today I just don't want to think about the weather. I've listened to the radio. 'They' (the meteorological office) are talking about snow to sea level. I don't believe them - they're worried that some grumpy farmer will sue the next time a southerly arrives with unpredicted snow. Anyway, I'm off swimming, and when I return I will hopefully axe out the roots of my latest flax victim.
Some brilliant news - I might have found a new good home for my surplus flax pieces in pots - such a lovely thought for a compulsive recycler. These semi-mutilated New Zealand icons are to become fence-line shelter on the West Coast - hopefully!
Hmm...Swinging an axe in sleet and horizontal rain might be a little challenging. There will not be any gardening done today. Nor will there be any snow. And now I'm worried that my dear friend in Brussels is suffering from extreme heat, and her summer garden is gasping for water. Aargh! Strange world - is gardening weather getting more extreme? Or are we gardeners just all getting older and grumpier, with expectations less and less realistic? Hmm... Maybe don't answer that!
Saturday 22nd July
Today I think it is non-gardening partner's birthday (he's being a little coy about the proper date). Would he like to help me chop out just one more Phormium Tenax, as a special birthday treat? There's now one more flax on the water's edge to go - it seems that I keep on finding new ones, but honestly I have nearly finished the flax purge. Oddly the weather is calm, dry, nice even - sun is peeping into the Moosey office through the trees, cats are scampering up and down the hall (Feed me! Feed me!), the big gum tree branches are gently swaying in the (certainly not balmy) breeze... Hmm...
Red Striped Phormium in Winter
Winter can be quite gardener-friendly here, when it wants to be. Time to go - a cup of coffee, a cosy layer of thermals underneath gardening denims, perhaps a quick song for the birthday boy, then grab the axe and the steak knives (oops). Life is simple!
Random information - every time I mention Phormium Tenax (which happens quite a lot) the spell-checker suggests I'm talking about a 'Chromium Texan'. The headline in my mind reads - Lady Gardener Arrested for Chopping Down Chromium Texans - Eek! Sorry! Enough! Back to reality! Happy Birthdaaaaay to Youuuuu....
Spot the Missing Flax
Sunday 23rd July
My Great Flax Clean-Up has now reached the water race opposite the glass-house, where there is a floppy bronze Phormium Tenax to come out. Its roots have fused with one of those nasty coarse grasses - there's a beautiful patch of iris confusa, and a rogue large daylily just next-door, getting squashed. I've started some preliminary slashing, but regret that it, like so many before it, will have to be dug out.
- Phormium Tenax :
- These are strong growing flaxes - but they just tend to grow too large.
One strong, upright Phormium Tenax is left now at the end of Duck Lawn - and it looks beautiful. I did a consumer test with the birthday boy, as we walked right along the water race bank. He mistrusts me (funny, that) - he thinks I get irrational bees in my gardening bonnet when certain plants are out of favour. Well, three monster Phormium Tenaxes have been removed, their stumps axed down to ground level, opening up the borders.
Non-gardening partner actually commented thus: 'You still have quite a lot of flaxes, don't you.' Perfect! My beautification plan has worked!
Today I hope to finish my grand progress down the water's edge. Then I might tinker a little with the last Dog-Path, lay some weed mat on it and cover it with small rounded stones. Then, perhaps then, I will spend some money at the Camellia nursery. The ground is still a little frosty - time for just a little more writing...
Gardening Cat Report
Some more gardening cat reflections - Fluff-Fluff keeps practising his parabolic leaps of faith over the water race. He's totally fearless. And each morning Beige-Puss disappears on me. Where does he go? To the base of the big gum tree, where he sits in the pots, on sentinel pigeon duty. Poor B-Puss, snowy white cat - I should sew him a camouflage coat to help with hunting. It can't be easy!
Fluff-Fluff - A Gardening Cat
Right. I'm going outside. Please, please, please let me finish this flax removal today, so I can get stuck in to some serious plant-purchasing.
I have sort-of finished - well, I've removed all offending flaxes along the water race. This water feature (which I am so lucky to have) now looks so much more beautiful. The first ever Dog-Path I built (with dear old Taj-Dog as my guide) is cleared, perfectly passable, and looks very enticing from across the burbling water. I found two more lounging Phormiums on the glass-house side - why on earth did I plant them there? And when? In one of my thoughtless, budget garden phases. They've been turned into little pieces in pots, the Pittosporums have more room, and the water looks lovely rushing past.
I finished my day by burning all the rubbish. I took this opportunity to give the nearby Mermaid fence rose a rather serious trim. What a ghastly rose to prune! She attacks legs and bodies, as well as gloved gardening hands. An aggressive, thorny way to end my seven hour long gardening day. But what a legend!