The hottest January day on record!
Today (we think) has been the hottest January day on record. Wow! No wonder my gardening has been restrained, and confined to sloshing up and down in the water race.
Thursday 8th January
Wow! Extreme heat (just over thirty-five degrees Celsius). I know that New Zealand can't really compare with Outback Australia. And there's very low humidity, so it's hardly what you'd call tropical. But Moosey garden-wise, it's hot! The wind has died down now, so the big irrigation can whoosh its water around later tonight and the land can cool down.
Yesterday I went with the walking group up in the Peninsula hills, along the ridges to a native shrubs-and-trees reserve. It was almost as hot. One of the walking ladies told me about a rural perennial nursery which is closing down. Hmm... Two dollar hostas - I'm very tempted.
All I did today was some weeding of the water race banks. The trouble is that as I poke and pull, the banks erode - just a little, just a little... So the water race gets wider and my gardening land gets smaller! Anyway, I trimmed the flaxes and Astelias and generally dealt to all the clover weeds I could find. But let it be on record - my watery weeding work is not finished.
Large Daylily Flowers
Poor Hot Cat!
I do feel sorry for Fluff-Fluff the long-haired cat on hot summer days. This afternoon I found him underneath a shrub, making his crying miaowing sounds. Poor hot cat! He followed me inside, and immediately crammed himself inside his tiny cardboard box. That makes no sense, when there's a cool wooden floor to stretch out on...
The daylilies seem to do well in the heat. Each day I check for new flowers and dead-head the old. I love them! Right - it's time for a second watering session of the patio pots. The basil and parsley are going great guns!
Friday 9th January
It's supposed to cool down today. We have such random weather patterns. I remind myself we had the log-burner in the house going on Christmas Eve, and a week ago a huge southerly storm brought hail. Anyway, good morning to Percy the ginger cat, sitting on my lap. Named as a kitten because he purred so much, as a young adult he is super-quiet - Non-Gardening Partner is convinced he doesn't purr at all. Wrong! Ginger boy cats can be subtle.
Memorial Cat Montages
I've just finished 'creating' Stumpy the grey tabby's memorial montage. Departed cats leave so many good memories in amongst the sadness, and I've decided that a proper pictorial sending-off is required. A bit of a giggle - the first memorial montage I built was for Mugsy the cat, just before solemnly taking her to the vet. But I ended up bringing her home very much alive, dosed up with steroids and valium. Mugsy always defies the odds, and so her memorial montage lives to fight another day...
Today after swimming I'm going to continue my water race weeding. That's about all. I do need some kind of system, though, to combat erosion - if I'm still gardening here in twenty years' time I will be grateful. Perhaps Non-Gardening Partner will help me stash some large stones at the base to stop the water from undercutting. He has explained that the banks are built from loose fill, not compacted, and washes away pretty easily anyway, regardless of my weeding efforts.
Saturday 10th January
Yippee and hurray! I have a new mission in gardening life - to slowly but surely (as one does) lay stones along the edges in the water race. Yesterday we got a smallish trailer-load and I've laid the heaviest stones in the water, testing their stability. NPG reckons I'll need 'fifty tons - ten trailer loads - lots' to do the whole length. I have just given him a huge hug. Aargh!
The smaller stones are going to be edges for my path behind the pond. That is my first task for today. My second is to dead-head penstemons and roses in the Willow Tree Garden, and cut back the delphiniums. That way I'll get more flowers - simple, really. The red daylilies I wrongly threw out a few years ago, then shame-facedly rescued, are finally flowering in the back of this garden. They are stunning. My goodness, I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's been a grand summer for the daylilies! Some day I'll try and analyse why.
Right. There's no time to lose - the cricket starts at 2pm, the day is summer-cool (nice), and cloudy (equally nice for those of us gardeners with English rose complexions). I'm off.
I've worked for four hours - pottering around cutting back Salvias, pulling out Lychnis, and delivering stones. Good work, Moosey.
Sunday 11th January
My friend and I went out first thing to a country Farmers' Market. I bought a variegated Buddleia with beautiful rich purple flowers and two bags of golden leafed hostas. The country perennials nursery which is closing down starts its big sale next weekend - hmm... Very tempting...
New Golden Hostas
I now realise how slack I've been since New Years. So far today I've only worked for two hours. I've weeded the vegetable garden, watered the tomato plants (which are still very undeveloped), and planted silver beet seedlings (for my chooks). And I'm really tired - how ridiculous! A cup of tea should do the trick - my gardening day is not finished yet.
We are going to get the second trailer-load of stones (erosion management in the water race), and I have a lot more Lychnis to pull out. All of a sudden, with the really hot days, it has accelerated into super-seeding mode.
A small thank you to the shrubby Lavateras I grow, which are in flower at the moment. Their colour is rather insipid in the strong antipodean summer sunlight, but they are grand fillers, and their flowers seem to last for ever. Anyway, lots of nice things (like hostas and Head Gardeners) tend to look scruffy in the heat of mid-summer.
And a huge thank you to Fluff-Fluff the cat who is my supreme hot-weather gardening cat. All the others animals, including Rusty the dog, have deserted me for shadier spots. Fluff-Fluff, bless him, with the longest cat-coat, soldiers on. Love you, FF.