February is almost half-way through - things move so fast! Early mornings are noticeably darker, and the midday shadow angles look different. Aha! The sun is beginning to shift in the sky. Things are changing. Summer is slowly sneaking out.
Sunburnt Gunnera Leaves
OK, my garden is still bursting with summer colour, but many of the foliage features are looking a bit ragged. Rose leaves are not so pretty. The Shasta daisies are starting to flop over. Some of the huge Gunnera leaves are sunburnt. Several garden areas are suffering in the dry heat. The wind is blowing down dahlias and daisies. Many perennials have finished - Phloxes, Delphiniums, Euphorbia polychroma, and Lychnis all need trimming. The Salvia uligosa needs watering. My garden needs its gardener, namely me, to perform thoughtfully and consistently.
Ha! So today I went swimming, then popped out to feed my friend's cats, then worked on another music arrangement for one of my choirs, then cooked the evening meal... Oh, but I did shift the watering hoses, several times. And I've made a discovery. One thinks it's going to take ages to water a particular area. But it doesn't. It only takes three or four days, shifting the hoses every two or three hours. Easy! That's nothing like 'ages'! And so a group of screening Pittosporums on the boundary have been soaked. They can show me their gratitude by fluffing themselves out and growing even taller (so I see even less of the neighbour's mess).
Thursday 16th February
We (the dogs and me) are off to the local forest to meet our friends and go for a walk. The Port Hills fires are still burning - away in the distance, the third day now, and still huge clouds of smoke are horribly visible. I rethink my personal plan for fire-evacuation, should I ever be required to. I should keep one of my cat cages in the cottage, so I can scoop up Minimus my cottage cat in a hurry. Yes. The pine plantations (next-door's one is no more, phew) and the gorse-infested valleys on Port Hills are always such a fire hazard.
Gorse on the Peninsula
Gorse, introduced so long ago, goes about its business silently, growing and spreading seedlings without fuss - suddenly there's a head-high gorse forest. In my garden I still get lots of healthy little seedlings (relics of an old hedge, removed over twenty years ago). Gorse never sleeps.
I've done a tiny bit of gardening - doing the edges behind the Stables and shifting the hoses around. There's a gap between what I should be doing and what I've actually done, though. And now I'm off for a swim, so the gap widens! Hmm... Perhaps today is destined to be a slow, thought-filled day. Action? Maybe tomorrow.
Friday 17th February
Action, yes - but in a circular sort of way. Insignificant, modular, but definitely active action. I remove a barrowful of the edging stones from the very front paddock, and slice a neat new replacement edge between the Deodars and the rough grass. A bit of weeding follows, using my new supremely comfortable garden kneeler. Then I trundle the barrow over to the Allotment Garden, and place the stones along the back boundary, replacing the large wooden logs which have been holding in the new soil. This involves a bit of digging and weeding. Of course - when is there not any weeding?
The logs are piled up ready to be redirected to the interior of the Hump, and off I go again down the front to get more stones. Very efficient, I reckon. It's kept me happily occupied for three hours.
It's been a bit drizzly today - hopefully this will calm down the Port Hills fire and make the situation safer for the fire-fighters and the helicopter pilots. Meanwhile I've been gardening, safe and sound, taking no risks. Hmm. Life is funny.
Enjoy today's batch of 'some of the roses are re-blooming, and are so beautiful with raindrops on their petals' pictures! I've specially enjoyed the row of Roseraie de l'Hay, underneath which I've been crawling around placing edging stones. Such a wonderful fragrance.