So much to say...

 A standard in the Island Bed.
Keep Flowering, Pink Rose!

I have so much to say that I need yet another March journal page. There's nothing like imminent garden tour visitors to dust off the cobwebs (done that), clean the house windows (that too) and get the garden humming - well, the honey bees and the bumble bees should do that. No wasps, please!

Wednesday 30th March

Oh boy. Breaking one of my most important rules, I intend to write up my journal right now, at the end of a tiring six hour gardening day. The thinking me is overwhelmed with achievements, and 'underwhelmed' with creative energy. So I'm going to have the longest hot shower possible, during which I will wash my smoky bonfire hair, congratulate myself over and over again - and hopefully wake up a bit! Back soon...

Famous Last Gardening Words...

Right. Famous last gardening words - I think I've raked and cleared all the paths. All of them! Take the path network in the Hump, for example. The adventurous garden visitor starts by wandering off the driveway and into my Pittosporum Forest. After seeing the Cordyline glade they'll pass a pair of sturdy, inviting, white cane chairs. They can check their hair in a mirror framed in golden roses and berries, hanging stylishly on a stately pine tree. They'll pop out onto the Driveway lawn, enjoy the dappled shade and the woodland surrounds, and then duck back into the greenery past a delightful variegated Pieris in a pot.

 Hope the visitors like it!
Late Afternoon, Driveway Gardens

Gliding on through the Shrubbery, they'll say a cheery hello to the two 'camp' gnomes on the head-high tree stump, and then wander further on, past some interesting New Zealand natives - Olearia macradonta (I think), Green Goddess Cordylines, and a clutch of sunny Cream Delight Phormiums. At the very secret end of the Hump there's a garden bench ringed with Renga Renga, from where the Ram Paddock (sans ram - he's safely down the back) can be admired. Pond Cottage will be just visible, tantalising, through the far trees.

 Sorry - it's my dog Rusty, back view.
What's This?

So Patient...

And all had jolly well be marvelling at the temperament and patience of the Head Gardener (me) who dares to cultivate a beautiful shrubby garden underneath gum and pine trees. And who keeps her paths so well trimmed and raked! Ha!

Well, that shower seems to have done the trick - now I have far too much to say! But I sound like a brochure...

Thursday 31st March

All the paths raked and cleared? A clear case of over-confidence. I still have to scrape weeds off the path behind the glass-house and remove obstacles (mainly buckets and plastic pot). That's my first task - c'mon Rusty, gardening dog, we have work to do. Great backside view, by the way - looks like you're wearing a frou-frou skirt!

Morning Tea...

I'm working my way slowly towards that path, doing the edges and weeding along the water race. And I had one of THOSE moments. I'd just finished two hours work, I'd stepped back to admire the garden, my gaze sweeping slowly over the beautiful running water to the Phormiums on the other edge. A magical moment? Aargh! Spell broken by a couple of dreadfully mature gorse bushes peeping out of a Berberis. Now Berberis may be a weedy thing for some, but gorse - aargh! The darkest, nastiest, pestiest shrub in New Zealand. Aargh!

Garden Credibility

Alas, it was not able to be dug out, but all offending branches have been lopped off and dragged to the bonfire. Imagine if the garden visitors had seen this! My credibility as a garden hostess cut to shreds by gorse prickles. Ouch!

 By the glass-house.
Rusty the Gardening Dog

Six Hours Later...

Four more after my first session, and the paths behind the glass-house are done, done, done. Also I did some cosmetic weeding in the border which is really in a messy apres-summer state. My self-seeding policy doesn't help, as I want to keep all the forget-me-not and pansy seedlings. And so, naturally, I get a host of others.

 Dear, obsessed dog!
Rusty Watching the Birds

Rusty the dog has been gardening all day, but he has one obsession and two speeds - race around madly (chasing birds) or flop on the grass (watching birds). I've managed to finish the whole water race garden border, and have even trimmed the edge of the vegetable garden. What's left for tomorrow? Heaps of work, but mainly now the immediate house gardens. I can be confident that any visitor who goes wandering off into the garden distance will feel safe, welcome, and hopefully come across something that's lovely.

 On Pond Cottage's verandah.
Minimus the Cat


Tomorrow I have an official Quality Controller (my singing friend) who is coming to check the garden's progress, particularly the paths. She is insisting on a clip-board, whereas my idea is that she'll be wheeling the wheelbarrow, at the very least. I asked her to spend a 'fat hour' here - she smartly replied: 'That means two hours.' But she was nodding in the affirmative, hee hee. You see, she knew I wasn't calling her 'fat'...

Goodbye to March

And now I have to say goodbye to March, month of the recovery of the subdued Moosey Spirit, and wonderful prelude to autumn proper. I've slept in Pond Cottage each March night with young Minimus the cat - we've come to an arrangement regarding trophy mice. I've acquired a nice 'antiquey' (in other words old, two dollars from a Charity shop) woollen crochet rug which she snuggles into. Minimus is now the official Pond Cottage resident cat.

My March has been brilliant, and I'm so glad the earth has settled down. Thanks again, Mother Nature.