The magic of books...

 Very inspiring.
Magic Irish Book

Sometimes the simplest things cheer up a smoky-haired gardener (me) who is grimly plodding through the autumn burning season. Books! The magic of books. Specifically, other people's adventures, and other people's gardens. Yes! I am totally cheered up!

So at the moment I am cycling around with world with a man and a tent, as well as touring Irish Gardens (which look amazingly misty). I suspect this latter is a bus tour, where I don't have to make any decisions. I think I have reached the golden age of the Garden Tour By Bus.

The man in lycra inspires me to go somewhere just on my own legs - walk or bike from the East Coast to the West Coast (this is New Zealand, remember), that sort of thing. The Irish Gardens have me thinking about spending pots of money and booking a fancy tour. Pure escapism, both of these ideas, but lovely to think about.

Back to reality...

Back to reality. Yesterday I started the clean-up of the Hump. I filled the trailer, burnt the rubbish, and then went to Madrigals. This morning the trailer is already back in position, and Non-Gardening Partner has escaped to go flying. However, inspired by a photograph of an Irish Garden (ha!), I am going to sort out the paths. Even if I just neaten the edges, or maybe plant something nearby. A path that is obviously intentional is, after all, a feature, and draws focus away from the mess on either side.

 Lamium underneath.
Path into the Hump

By the way, thanks to...

Lemon-yellow flowering Lamium, invasive at its worst, welcome ground cover at its best, for growing happily underneath the pine trees in the Hump. And not to worry that there are no flowers in this inhospitable, shady place.

Much later...

Yeay! A seven hour day, with lovely surprise visitors at lunchtime, and then an equally lovely surprise garden helper with the afternoon bonfire - NGP! While he raked the final pieces on the burning heap I lay down in the wettish grass nearby. Ouch! A dog paw, then agitated barking right in my face from Winnie. 'I am still alive' I assured her, but she wasn't convinced.

Monday 12th March

Ha! I have cycled from Paris to Pakistan in two days - racing along (unfortunately) trying to break the Guinness Book of Records, rather than taking in the scenery. And I mentioned my Irish Garden Tour to NGP in the car last night. Would he like to - ahem - sponsor me? I could have a so-called 'big birthday' especially for the occasion. Hmm... Ireland is a long way from New Zealand.

Today's plans are the same as yesterday's. Much progress will be made. Yes? YES!!!!! I will finish the Hump clean-up today - weeding, raking, pruning trees, and edging the paths with new wood logs. And I promised some new tough plantings (and horse manure) for the large area behind the purple garden bench. Just as long as I remember there's no irrigation. This means nothing fancy, and definitely (unfortunately) no rhododendrons. Even the Phormiums in here have sadly passed on.

 And a purple garden bench.
Pittosporums in the hump

I'm thinking Anemanthele and Renga Renga, and maybe some of my small seedling Lemonwoods. Now I'm hearing the word 'irrigation', but it's just a whisper. Surely a hosing once a week would do?


It's so easy to clean-up a semi-wilderness area! It just takes time, and loads of trundling and barrowing mess. The proximity of the trailer helps, too. As does the designation 'semi-wilderness'. I've chopped down Tagaste tree-lings, trimmed the remaining Phormium tenaxes, and sorted out the paths.

 Past Hebes and a green Phormium.
Path out of the Hump

And once a path is sorted, then the gardens either side look great. Actually things looks better than the picture in my Irish Gardens book, because there is a delightful under-story of Pittosporums, with their delicate, gentle foliage.

Taming the Widerness?

Cycling-wise I have arrived in Australia (that was pretty quick), have saddle sores (ouch), and am no longer a vegetarian. And of course my Irish Gardens tour will have to include Helen Dillon's town garden. She fills spaces with black pots of flower colour - something to remember for the future. Black pots, though. Not terracotta, or green - they are too visible. A thought.