Birthday socks, birthday gnomes...

 Sorry about the Smurf-blue hat!
Birthday Garden Gnome

Birthday socks, birthday gnomes (one chap, holding a little forest creature in his arms, is just gorgeous), and now birthday Agapanthus. When will it all end? Unfortunately it ends today - I am allowed one week for this shameless self-focus, and one week only. Blast!

Thursday 15th September

Eek! I've had two days off from the garden, holidaying at home (a 'staycation'?) with Daughter of Moosey. We've been hiking, swimming, visiting relatives, shopping for merino outdoor clothing, watching Rugby World Cup games, eating gourmet food (DOM is a brilliant cook)...

Yesterday was the best day ever. We two friends, mother and daughter, went hiking in the foothills. I normally learn more from DOM than I teach her (oops - it's been like that for rather a long while), so it was an ego-pleasure for me to take her on this mapless trip. I knew where we were going, she didn't. Balance this with my new-found knowledge on making the perfect French toast and whitebait fritters. Apparently it's all to do with having a hot pan. Life is far too simple sometimes...

 By the brick spiral courtyard.
Rustic Garden Bench - Spring 2011

And the new Agapanthus issue is clear. I have eight large clumps of dwarf birthday Agapanthus to divide and position. They grow well for me underneath pines and gum trees, without fussing or needing extra water. Other things don't. Therefore that's where they get planted. Except one tiny patch by the house decking - the tiniest breaking of the Agapanthus rule.

 Still flowering.
Deep Pink Camellia


It's been far too wet and far too cold, and now far too late to do any gardening, thought the sun has started to shine a bit. So I've been for a garden walk with my dog, picking flopped-over daffodils and noticing things. Some of the Bergenias are flowering, and the first of the big flowering cherry trees is almost in blossom.

So spring springs further on through the month, and many of the Camellias are keeping up, still blooming, still producing new flowers. What beauties! I am so thrilled with them. There just might be room in my garden for a few more...

Friday 16th September

Hee hee. I'm going hiking again, all day, this time with my oldest friend, she with whom I might go walking the long distance footpaths of Britain. Lately there's been a bit of a push for some walking in France, too...

Much Later...

What a wonderful day! Every one of your days is wonderful, says Non-Gardening Partner. But it's especially wonderful to make the effort to go hiking, climb up and up, and get to the latest Best Lunch Spot in the Whole World. And not another person in sight, just the Canterbury Plains stretching one way, row upon row of seriously snowy mountain ranges over the valley behind us, and the wind roaring in the tussock grasses all around us. It's impossible to think small thoughts in such a big place. And it's impossible not to give thanks, too. I love my hiking friend, my boots and my socks, and the legs that go in them. I hope I never lose the energy to get myself up to such places.

 With brilliant views of the mountain ranges over the Rakaia.
The Lunchspot on Snowy Peak

And then it's also nice being home, tired and proud, wearing clean non-hiking clothes and my birthday socks, drinking coffee, patting my cats (hello to Histeria the tabby), and contemplating an evening of warmth, rugby (Eek! All Blacks versus Japan), good company (NGP, that means you), and takeaways. Yum!

 Should be called Jury's Beige?
Jury's Yellow Camellias

Saturday 17th September

Just four gardening hours today, during which I divided and planted four of my eleven clumps of dwarf Agapanthus. They are edging the gardens around the Driveway Lawn, and I've spread compost and placed new log edges. Today has been overcast, and this light so enhances the pink blossom trees in the Driveway Garden. Also more and more daffodils are flowering, and everywhere I look I see flashes of bright yellow. It's been really inspiring.

Blue things are visible, too - flowering forget-me-nots, muscari, and periwinkle. Again today I was stopped in my tracks by the beautiful Camellias behind the garage. Jury's Yellow is just lovely, and Plantation Pink has more of its large single flowers open. I really can't remember the flowering show being this beautiful before.

As for the more mundane, I'm afraid I'm seeing weeds - scores of weeds - in every border, just waiting for me to whip them out. But that's for tomorrow, along with helping Non-Gardening Partner. He will be trimming the Olearia hedges around the back of the house. The clean-up and burn-up (my job) seems to take forever. But, like having the lawns mowed, the hedges look great when they're neat and tidy.

Oops - I've just remembered to check the glass-house seedlings. Back soon - mustn't break my pledge again. I promised them I'd check and water every day. Oops, oops, oops. Have forgotten them for the last three days. Irresponsible and thoughtless... Naughty gardener. Phew - I'm back, and everything has germinated except my fancy heirloom tomato seeds - hope they are OK. All my lupin cuttings are healthy and non-droopy, and I look forward to a great show of mass colour later in spring. I must have thirty pots of them, all Russell hybrids, in red, blue, pink, and lemon.

 Happy with their woolly mother.
Twin Merino Lambs

NGP has come inside with first photographs of the new twin lambs. Mother merino ewe is super-attentive. I'm so pleased that this years lambs have good sheep mothers, rather than having me. And I never hear any lamb-bleating - a sure sign that the mums are concentrating. Good work, you ewes...

 Rip Van Winkle miniature daffodils.
Daffodils and Muscari

Sunday 18th September

Aargh! The weeds in my garden have invaded my subconscious. I woke up dreaming I was weeding. Aargh! So that's what I'm about to do, right away, in the real garden. I also worried that the last Agapanthus clump had been too lazily planted, and so I'm going to re-do it. Oh boy - talk about taking the garden seriously!


Since I intend to have the hugest gardening day ever recorded by a womanly spring gardener, I've decided to have a short break indoors for coffee, ciabatta, and some self-affirmation. I'm busy doing about four things at once, in a sort of gardening circuit that gym rabbits will understand. So while I burn the hedge clippings I also get compost, pick up Phormium leaves for the bonfire, clean bricks for the new vegetable garden paths, place them, and so on. I am also weeding like the gardener in my dreams. My 'October weeds' (my name for them) are a month early this year. This could explain why I always have an abundant yearly supply - the weeding-seeding issue, maybe. I first gardened at Mooseys in October 1996, when I met these weeds for the very first time.

Red Currants :
I was given them for fifty cents each, thought they were Philadelphus shrubs. Now they're where they belong, in the sunny vegetable garden.

I've planted a couple of red currant bushes by one of the new paths in the vegetable garden, which seems sensible. The compost is all spread out, and now I'm going back outside to do some more speed weeding. I will finish my vegetable garden today. I will. I hope I will!

Much Later...

Well, it's not quite finished, but I am. I'm so tired! Weeding by hand is finger-intensive, and I'm forever dipping up and down, seeing new things that need picking up or pulling. Anyway most of the hedge clippings are burnt, and I love my new brick paths in the vegetable garden. So I've gone apres-gardening, the rugby is on the TV, and I have lots of huge and happy garden ideas - but they are definitely for tomorrow.