Is it still late summer?

 Not the most bushy of busy perennials - but I can take cuttings.
Pink Gaura

Is it still late summer? Perhaps I should officially declare the changing of the garden season to autumn. One never quite knows - choose an equinox or the beginning of a month, or the time when the beautiful deep pink rose John Clare blooms again...

Sunday 6th March

Of course optimistic gardeners will just try and hang on to summer a little bit too long. And our silly, random late summer weather provides twenty-five degrees Celsius one day and maybe ten degrees the next. So I'm inside in woollies (even woolly socks) wondering what style of gardening I'll be doing today. If, if, if the fire ban was to be magically lifted I'd have no doubts. A sensible think-ahead gardener would shovel the remaining ash off the burning heap in preparation for the first great autumn burn-up. I think I'll be sensible.

Pond Cottage was noisy with heavy rain last night, my first such snug-as-a-bug rainy night over there. It's a sound which revives memories of little back-country huts I've safely 'overnighted' in. I drank my morning cup of tea on the mountain-chilly verandah, smiled, and nodded to myself - yes, I'm lucky. I love my country, even if the land is unstable and scary. I love the fresh air - I even love the wind (eek).

 With an Escallonia and roses.
Cream Delight Phormium in the Wattle Woods

And, of course, I love all my New Zealand native evergreen trees and shrubs, even if I am currently chopping down oversized Phormiums.


Firstly I did one hour of drizzly weeding of the garden border along the water race. I trimmed Shasta daisies and pulled out Salvias plus all sorts of unwanted seedlings, trying to think ahead. After a quick cup of coffee I returned and managed to weed and clear right up to Middle Bridge. Lemon balm has seeded furiously on the water race bank by the bridge, but this may not be a bad thing - the roots will bind the slope and stop further erosion. The worst weeds have been the clovers and grasses which weave their merry way through the root systems of the Daisies and Echinaceas.

Autumn Roses :
This is the darkest that the rose Nancy Steen gets. In late spring she's really pale.

But I have accomplished much, and I am content. There's definitely been an autumnal feel in the air today. The freshly blooming roses have deeper colour saturation, and the evergreen shrubs seem to have perked up. It's a beautiful place to be, a calm and fruitful haven away from the worrisome mess of the city and elsewhere.

Monday 7th March

It is really easy to move from garden messiness to tidiness - as long as one keeps 'at it' pretty much every day. I weeded last the water race border about four weeks ago, and though it's messy again my earlier efforts were not in vain. Because (Gardening Revelation) it's easier the second (and third and fourth etc.) time. So today I'll continue trimming and weeding from Middle Bridge to the Glass-House Garden. And then maybe I'll go over and get a carload of bricks for my new path


I am disestablishing the Dog-Path Garden seat which is

  1. Difficult to get to.
  2. Even more difficult to balance on.
  3. Generally unstable and prone to coming to bits.
  4. Surrounded by growth of this and that, none of which was there five years ago.

And if, if, if the fire ban is lifted I will start the mammoth task of burning my accumulated dry rubbish. There's my day - well and truly organised. But first - I visit my good friend for a cheery cup of tea, paying my overdue car insurance en route. Oops.

Much Later...

The Dog-Path Garden seat, and the little path which lead to it, are no more. I've filled up the gap with ash, removed the stone edges, and even weeded the actually dog-path by the water's edge. I am also half way towards the Glass-House Garden in my other work. I will check with Non-Gardening Partner (a volunteer rural fireman) tonight about the fire ban.

 Do not be fooled by the beautiful autumn colours - this path is definitely not organised!
Organising the Dog Path

Getting back to normal after the earthquake works like the infinite sequence 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 15/16... After each fortnight I try to be half as close again to full strength normalcy. I'm now hoping that the choir will still want to sing in my garden, by which time I should be 31/32 normal.

My version of normal may not be the same as other people's, though. I mean - today I found a green towel (for Pond Cottage) in the Charity Shop and got terribly excited. Then I looked around for a green dressing gown, to co-ordinate myself with the cottage decor (as one does). The Moosey dressing gown, like the entire Moosey wardrobe, is regrettably blue. I also bought a cheap copy of Lord of the Rings which I think will an enjoyable, atmospheric read in a tiny woodland cottage when the rain clatters down and the wind roars.