Ha! A pinch and a punch for the first of the month, the first of the 'nearly-autumn' months, when the weather is supposed to settle and the wind is supposed to blow away. Welcome, March. Please remember that you can still be summery!
Sedum with Bees
Saturday 1st March
Late summer has its own definite seasonal look. The garden is filled with roses flowering again, the lawns are greener, the late perennials are flowering, the sedum flower heads are starting to colour up. And, of course, the scarlet red, deep pink, magenta, cerise, and all shades in-between dahlias are in full flower.
I am just beginning the Great Moosey Burning-Clean-Up. The fire ban has been lifted, and I have piles and piles of dry gum tree mess on the fence-lines to deal to. I am far too fussy a flax and cabbage tree tidier - these leaves, too, are piled up, and simply cannot be mulched or shredded. Confessions of a compulsive cordyline cleaner!
Beautiful Late Summer Roses
Yesterday, being super-industrious, I weeded and trimmed in the Willow Tree Garden, where many of my happiest roses are situated. There was a beautiful display of squishy new-born aphids, sitting on English Elegance's stems. My Abraham Darby roses were at their very best, blooming beautifully, a rich apricot colour.
Unknown Yellow Rose
The Willow tree stump itself was completely obliterated by new whippy branches - underneath I found the most disgracefully tall weeds ever, including a head-high elderberry (thanks so much, birds). I guess the stump will trim itself in time for the next rhododendron season!
Let me remind myself about being a sensible burning gardener. Yesterday's fire mess was dutifully sorted into combustible and shreddable (check out the photograph as living proof). But - oops - mid-burn the wind obliged by suddenly roaring and gusting. I stood guard, sharp eyes on the alert, water bucket and hoses ready. Phew!
A Sensible Burner
It's the weekend. I have the first of the great March nursery sales to check out and the Farmers' Market to visit, before further organising my lovely Non-Gardening Partner. He would probably rather escape into the yards to clean the sheep's bottoms than get stuck helping with the burning rubbish! Hmm...
Hmm... I bought one budget flax from the Farmers' Market. Only a foolish gardener would look forward so much to the Nursery March Sale, planning in detail what she's going to buy, sight unseen. I couldn't even find one worthy shrub needing to be rescued!
I'm off outside to possibly start the burning. I have asked NGP for his help - unfortunately I will need to help him stack a trailer-load of firewood first. Oh well. There are many good things about coming home empty-handed from a nursery sale. One is the total lack of plant distraction, allowing the Head Gardener to concentrate on general garden maintenance. Another is the state of the wallet...
Oh dear. It's raining. It's too wet to garden happily. I tried, weeding for an hour around the roses in the Willow Tree Garden while NGP used my trusty green wheelbarrow to empty the firewood - definitely a one-person job. I got cold, and wet, and muddy, and scratched, and my fringe dripped water down over my face.
Red Flower Carpet Roses
I've come inside to read my new library books. A really good one was chosen by accident, called 'Designer Plants' - a title which would normally get me on the defensive and itself left on the shelf. Not so, not so! Might have something to do with the back cover photograph of two variegated New Zealand flaxes surrounded by perennials. And an image spied on a quick-flick-through - striped canna lily leaves propping up red dahlia flowers. Hee hee - two great designer plant ideas, which I thought of first!
Even Later, Six Thirty in the Evening...
Sorry to keep popping up ever couple of hours! But I've just come inside from a massive burning session, wonderfully helped by NGP, a little smoky thanks to the light rain. It was a funny, noisy burn - the fire crackled, and set off a couple of my tree frogs. The fire crackled again, and they trilled and chirped even more. Rusty the dog, thinking the trees were chirping at him, was outraged and barked madly back.
The rain pelted down, the daylight faded, the frogs trilled, and the fire crackled fortissimo. It was a really funny time.
Sunday 2nd March
Good morning to my two ginger cats (sleek teenager Percy and giant man-cat Fluff-Fluff) who are both trying to fit into one (smallish) cat box on my computer table. What am I going to do first in the garden today? Rake and burn, trim and weed - or burn and trim, weed and rake? Whatever the order, it doesn't sound like much fun! But think of the results - trim the lawn edges, and suddenly my garden borders look brilliant, clear the paths and suddenly they look delightfully inviting.
A Beautifully Mown Lawn
I'm going off into the Wattle Woods first to clear around the stream. It's beautifully damp after yesterday's rain. I will try and completely clear the fence-lines, and maybe plant in some of the ornamental green grasses, waiting in pots behind the glass-house. And my new flax might like it in here - it's a pity one can't actually ask a plant where it would like to go. We gardeners could be very surprised by the answer!
That's it - I quit! I hate burning. It's started to rain, anyway, so there will be no more gardening today.
But I love my latest gardening book. I am obviously the sort of reader who appreciates 'designer plants'. The fact that I like having spiky plants in my garden means that I am energetic and vital. All the plants I love (except roses) are 'designer plants'. This is great for my gardening self esteem. Great.