Autumn sunshine and leaf colour...

Now April is rushing past - slow down! I'm not really ready for winter's frosts yet. I love the autumn sunshine and leaf colour. I love my dahlias and my late roses. Please keep going!

 Wonderful late bloomers.
Red Flower Carpet Roses

Wednesday 22nd April

Honestly - I don't mind that the oak leaves need raking, and that the peony foliage has suddenly turned from warm red to dead brown, and that the nights are getting colder. I just want heaps of mild gardening days which stretch out timelessly.

 Looking across the water race.
Autumn Oak Tree

No Talking...

Today I've deliberately stayed home from walking in the mountains - I'm still too 'coughy', and have decided I need a quiet day where I don't talk to anyone. Cats and dogs don't count - conversations with them are animated, naturally, but tend to occur in short bursts.

And show me a gardener who's ever had a decent conversation with a chook. Mind you, I'm enjoying teasing my rooster who is desperately growing his new tail feathers - I call him a 'girl's blouse', hee hee.

Simple Pleasures...

I'm planting around the new Wattle Woods path (which is extremely successful) and dealing to the burning heap. Then I'll continue my stone laying mission down the water race. My reward will be to get some new library books and go cycling with my dog. Simple pleasures. Simple. Always keep it simple.

Thursday 23rd April

Right. Today will be as simple as yesterday. I'll take Rusty to the river for more stones (yesterday we did this after our cycle ride - we had an extra-super dog-day). I'll finish the new Wattle Woods path off. At the moment it peters out, in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking). I'll plant my new Lavenders and find a place for two pink Grootendorst roses which are swimming (oops) in a bucket of water. I'll plant my variegated Arondo. I'll weed in The Shrubbery.

I'll get totally wet when I lay the stones in the water race (I'm slowly building up the edge to stop it eroding). So this will be done immediately before a break - so I can change and warm up.

Don't Forget the Burning - And the Raking...

Wait a minute - I forgot that I'm also burning. I could then warm myself up the natural way by dancing around the bonfire. And I'm raking autumn leaves up (I don't burn those). That means I need plastic rubbish bags. I'd get jolly warm raking, too... My goodness. Suddenly my day seems quite complicated, a network of choices with squillions of consequences. Hee hee...

Cerise Dahlias :
This is such a vibrant coloured flower - I'm very sorry to see it go! Blast!

My cerise dahlias are now frosted, and the Cercis and purple Cotinus leaves are flame red. Many Oak tree leaves are now fluttering gently down with no help from any wind.

It's later, and I've allowed myself to stop after three gardening hours. I've 'stoned' another stretch of water race, planted roses, lavenders, and some other bits and pieces. The woody Lavatera shrubs by the glass-house are totally trimmed. I actually wish they were the normal pinky colour (Lavatera Barnsley, I think). But no matter - they're brilliant instant filler shrubs for new gardens.

 A wonderful gardening kitten.
Minimus the Grey Kitten

Gardening Kitten

Minimus the gardening kitten, fascinated, has been leaping up to catch one or these creatures while it's still 'alive'.

I've been to get some rubbish bags for my autumn leaves (at the same time I fed my friend's cats). Now the afternoon sun is streaming in my house (which is still pretty clean, after the Garden Club had lunch here). And do you know - I think I might start my latest big jigsaw. Two thousand pieces of a delightful English manor house and garden - the summery flowers will contrast nicely with my garden's autumn mood.

I've Got Mail!

Yippee! Mail from lovely Daughter of Moosey, who loves her Birthday Garden Mural, but wants 'more mountains'. Hmm...

I'm sure my artistic director will be happy to provide such. I am so lucky to have such an interesting and - accepting? family, one who lets me be me. So lucky.

 And friends.
Autumn Maple

Friday 24th April

Another day in paradise, to quote Non-Gardening Partner, for those lucky enough not to need to work (work for money, that is). Gardening work is like non-paid fun!

I've had an idea to plant the three sale price Choisyas in a cluster underneath the Apple tree below the glass-house. Since I removed the oversized flax, this small curved garden has perplexed me. At the moment it houses two sulking David Austin roses - Othello and The Pilgrim - and two million self-regenerating weeds.

Scraping Off the Topsoil

Every month my weeding scrapes off another layer of topsoil. This is foolish. People spend time and money putting topsoil onto gardens! I'm thinking of removing the roses and filling up the area with shrubs. This will be my planting and shifting work.

The apple tree is laden with fruit, too - harvesting is required. This will be done in sight of the fallen oak leaves which cover the Pond Paddock grass. That's my raking work. And I'm close to the new Wattle Woods path, which really needs to go somewhere. That's my creative work! My reward tonight will be to read through FOUR new gardening library books and/or watch New Zealand's Next Top Model on the TV. What a ridiculous choice!

The books are as follows:

Roses in Modern Gardens, Sally Court
Hmm... Reading glasses needed to read the photograph captions.
Classic Garden Style, Ines Heugel
OK, OK - I still like to try, sometimes...
Rhododendrons & Azaleas for New Zealand Gardens, Murray Richards
About time, too, considering my scrappy attitude to these noble shrubs.
Pick of the Bunch: New Zealand Wildflowers, Peter Johnson
Nice one, Moosey the Eco-Flowery-Semi-Conservationist-Gardener.

And before I burn anything more I have to dig and spread all the ash. My burning heap is the biggest cone of ash ever seen in the garden! And I need to find my orange plastic leaf rake. Where, where, where? Back soon.

Much Later...

Ha! I'm back. Wasps (aargh!) are happily browsing in the Apple tree, and I have become a wasp-wimp (since Rusty the dog dug up a wasps' nest and he and I both got stung). But I've sorted the roses (one has been moved closer to the edge), planted the Choisyas, and spread oak leaves and wet ash from the burning heap onto the soil.

 The garden is organised!
Tidy Under the Appletree

I've weeded in the Glass-House Garden (this missed my manic attentions pre-Garden Club Visit - a bit embarrassing) and chopped down a dull green Ake Ake.

 Only just starting to flower! Hopeless!
White Pelargonium

A Reformed Gardener?

And I reckon that having the Garden Club to visit has helped me clean up my gardening act. I'm taking care of all sorts of little details, and I trudge around picking up absolutely everything when I've finished. Last autumn I would have thrown the bags of raked oak leaves into the door of the glass-house. Not so this year - I am reformed! I've stashed them right at the back in a row.

I adore the new Wattle Woods stream. It now has a couple of sweet new Pittosporums called 'Elizabeth', a row of Renga Renga along the stone edge, and a destination - it crosses over the wriggling stream by the (shifted) clumps of what I think is Lemon Balm. Thus the new path connects with the one down the fence-line. And good news for my little ponds, too - the silt in the water is plugging up their bottoms (?) and they're slowly filling with water.