Listen to the garden...
I've been thinking about the patio garden. Do I want all these ferns? And the huge, sprawling Anemalenthe grasses? What sort of garden is this anyway? I asked myself. There was no answer, so I asked the garden. A tiny voice answered : 'flowers please'... So tomorrow I'm starting on its new look. I know flowers in winter is a big ask, but I can always buy in pansies and polyanthus for now.
Friday 29th July
I've been out hiking today, up the Rakaia Walkway. A delightful trip up the side of the river, with gorge lookouts, farmland and tussock, and beautiful native bush filled with splendid specimens of green Astelias. The dogs had a long time in their kennels, so when I got them out we had 'lunch' three times - just to make them feel better about their day. Dogs are so easily fooled...
Saturday 30th July
Yes! The ferns are out, as is the hugest clump of grass. I now plan to winter-prune the Wisteria. The catmint needs dividing and replanting. Whatever happened to the beautiful blue edging? I didn't realise that catmint lost its oomph. I have started rejuvenating the pots, repotting the succulents, and rationalising everything else.
Winter Patio and Winnie the dog
One of the Brides (Exchorda) can move into the garden proper and free up her pot for pansies and other flowery treasures. When the garden speaks, the gardener must listen.
Tiddles the Tabby
Sunday 31st July
Yesterday's gardening was decisive, but of a somewhat short duration. Today (after a quick trip to pick up more potting mix) I make up for this. I will even sweep the patios! And I have a new rule (groan - the same one that's dragged out every winter) : nothing shall be allowed on or near my house patio unless it a) is truly, honestly, definitely meant to be there and b) looks nurtured, fresh, and beautiful.
Oh boy! A day! What a day! The patio garden is cleared, the roses pruned, even the Wisteria (my new RHS book told me what to do). Burning all the damp leaves and prunings has required the lasagne approach - alternating the green with layers of dry e.g. gum leaves. So I've been trundling around here there and everywhere raking up appropriate rubbish, with the bonfire gurgling for most of the day.
A Good Book
Early evening I snuggled down in front of the log burner with the RHS book. It's one of those month by month task books, which can be so daunting for a lone gardener. The untidy mind is scared off completely, while the creative free-spirit just wanders off, uninspired. But this book is actually quite groovy. I didn't know that one could (or should) force strawberries. And that sweet peas didn't need so much warmth to germinate. Thank you, Ian Spence, for giving me confidence.
Tuesday 2nd August
Ha! I've had some family 'busyness', but since I've been back home I've planted up spinach and cavolo nero seedlings in patio pots. And seen to a couple of things I should have done years ago - I've got rid of the sentimental cactus, and the faded green plastic seats. Cacti aren't sentimental - they're just prickly nuisances (like the rose Wedding Day, but that's another story, hee hee). Faded plastic seats have zero style, and are simply not patio material.
Ferns, Pots and Lupins
Now I'm off to sort out the ferns around the other house gardens. I've checked with those living on the shady side - they want to stay put, and that's fair enough. The above photograph shows how beautiful they look when freshly growing. All the greenery is dry enough for the bonfire, too. And I haven't yet lost my gardening scissors, so I am a fully functioning fern-trimmer. Phew.
So what else have I done? Potted up fifteen miniature roses and some dill, and planted a wheelbarrowful of Agapanthus pieces. Trundled over to the house with more firewood and bags of kindling - some winter weather is coming, but hopefully no snow. All this and sweeping the patio too. WOW!