Garden Journal 2021

Hello, 2021. Best not to think too far ahead about you. One day at a time. I promise write lots of happy journal pages (no moaning allowed) and enjoy my garden. That means relaxing and looking, as well as working hard in it!

Happy New YearHappy New Year...
What a year 2020 has been! Bad for the world, good for the garden... And I guess not so bad for a moderately unsociable gardener based safely in New Zealand, oops. So what's it to be, 2021?
A messy business...A messy business......
I've been thinking about the messy end of the Hump Garden, while listening to the cricket commentary on my wee radio. Very nice, very slow, very summer holidayish. But I can't decide what to do, and I've mislaid my hand digger and my spade...
Too much thinking...Too much thinking......
There's a danger in overthinking a garden development, when there's just one of you (i.e. just me). Too much thinking takes time away from the real issues, like weeding. Too much squinty visualisation and analysis pulls focus away from soil maintenance and mulching. And too much thinking makes a simple task seem difficult...
Spread out more...Spread out more......
Working in one garden area for days, I lose track of calendar time. I get stuck in a rut and forget that other parts of the garden are growing madly, maybe even getting out of control. Oops. I need to spread myself out more.
Flowery trimming...Flowery trimming......
I rather enjoy a spot of flowery trimming! It can even be done successfully in a white apres-gardening cotton shirt and the wrong shoes. Much more relaxed tripping gaily around nipping at dead-heads than battling dandelions and clover.
Bad timingBad timing...
Such bad timing. Right at the end of yesterday, with no time or energy left, I went over to Henworld - a circular garden underneath huge gum trees by the hen house. I was carrying my new metal rooster, and feeling jolly pleased with my tired and gardenworn self.The idea was to pop rooster in the Agapanthus with the others...
Scruffy time...Scruffy time......
OK. It's Scruffy Time. Hot winds, Campion and Lychnis done and dusted, time to trim them. Falling pieces of gum bark - clean them off the lawns and the gardens. Then tomorrow do it all again...
My piano is back...My piano is back......
Just for once, my garden is relegated to second place in my heart. Because my piano is back in my house. It has been reconditioned. It feels amazing. It feels settled, totally connected to me, and finally at peace. Wow. What a transformation.
Hot summer days...Hot summer days......
Spent the whole morning playing my piano (washed my hands first). I love my piano, now that it is playing properly. Not that I am - have decided that my left hand fingering is too inconsistent. No wonder improvements are so slow...
Another hot summer day...Another hot summer day......
It's another hot summer's day - too hot even for the cats to come on our dog walks. And guess what, garden-wise? I've found some roses which are struggling, and I want to relocate them. Right now. There's silly, and then there's simply too silly. One does not do this in the heat of mid-summer.
Unfair!Unfair!...
Seems a little unfair. We 'enjoyed' two to three days (it felt like weeks) of really hot temperatures and nasty winds. I watered my garden at night, I watered the pots on the patio, I carefully dribbled hoses onto sad trees. I thought I'd got away with it. Alas, no, I didn't, and I am only just noticing the damage.
Good morning, February...Good morning, February......
Good morning to February, and to my singing dogs, throats stretched up to the ceiling. Oh joy! Woke up feeling dissatisfied (no reason for this), with a bit of a headache. A dog walk in the fresh air around the orchard has cleared my head. We met the Fred cats at the hay barn, with much tummy-showing and face-licking. How lucky am I!
So silly...So silly......
Am so silly sometimes. Trimming a garden on the back house lawn, noticed lots of little white specks all over the leaves. Aargh! The dreaded white-fly! Raced in to find my insect spray. Came back, looked again. Oops. Queen Anne's Lace seeds! Lovely! I love this annual - it is most welcome to self-seed for me.
Today, tomorrow...Today, tomorrow......
It's so easy thinking of things to do in the garden tomorrow. Move this, tidy that, plant here, weed there... Wandering around the garden, I always see things to do tomorrow. What's so special about tomorrow? What's wrong with today?
Oops times 5Oops times 5...
I've just been outside with spade and diggers to shift some Pittosporums and plant the large leafed Bergenias in the Pond Paddock Garden. Have been meaning to do this for ages. This was to be the triumphant tying up of a gardening loose end, so to speak. I love the foliage plants in the Pond Paddock.
Rather nice?Rather nice?...
Beauty is definitely in the eye (and the mood) of the beholder. Yesterday my garden was looking rather nice - an honest, sprawling, mid-season garden. I smiled indulgently at the flopping Shasta daisies, the yellow dandelion flowers, the rose and dahlia dead-heads. Sweet things! Symbols of the ever-changing cycle of nature...
Pumpkins...Pumpkins......
I seem to have an excess of pumpkins roaming around the Hump Garden. Daughter, who I share produce with, has even more. In her (small) edible garden vines trail up and over trellises and fences. My pumpkins have climbed all over the other plants, threading themselves through the ornamental grasses...
Anniversary...Anniversary......
Today is the tenth anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. I do my own remembrance by floating rose petals down the water race at the appropriate time, 12:51. Hopefully I get the time right this year.
Happy?Happy?...
I am very happy in my garden. But I am not happy with my garden. Areas that get irrigated are fine, others not so. Bad planting choices, lack of sensible watering plans - hoses not reaching, moisture running off compacted soil... So technically speaking I am not happy with me! Aargh!
A garden and a library...A garden and a library......
All I need is a garden and a library, right? Yes and no. I'm going to miss singing, but choirs are super-spitty things. We have gone back up a Covid level, so I semi-lock down myself- no choirs, no Silver Swans ballet classes. I have all the time in the world to read books and sort this sad garden of mine out, yes?
Shasta trimming...Shasta trimming......
It's time to start trimming the Shasta daisies. But didn't I just do this, a wee while ago? What on earth has happened to all those months in between? Aargh! Time is getting faster, I'm getting older...
Little by little...Little by little......
Little things add up to a lot, in the garden. Some days I do lots of little tasks. Insignificant by themselves, but wow! I reckon I achieved lots. Maybe not measured in hours spent, but in details taken care of. And in the distance my old green wheelbarrow covers (with me trudging behind).
In the water race...In the water race......
I've spent the last few days in the water race (wearing woolly socks and crocs) clearing and trimming the banks. It's quite private in there, tucked away, down out of sight. The water comes up to my knees. Just me, on my own, sloshing about.
Write now...Write now......
There are many reasons why gardeners keep journals, or write blogs. Some want to provide nerdy information, others to simply share their love of gardening. And occasionally a gardener might think they have something new to say...
My goodness...My goodness......
My goodness I have had a great weekend. Why exactly? I've enjoyed some great music rehearsals and some great gardening. The distraction of the 2000 piece jigsaw is gone - it's finished. There are some beautiful colours in my garden, and the greenery is magnificent.
Waiting...Waiting......
March 2021 has stalled. It's been a month of waiting. Waiting for rain - please, some rain. We are irrigating the sheep paddocks and/or parts of the gardens every night. Waiting for the autumn leaf colour. And waiting for the fire ban to be lifted...
April...April......
Good morning April. No fooling around for me on your first morning. I have my Silver Swans ballet class. Then I might leap (a grand jete?) into the last stretch of water (by Rooster Bridge) to finish my autumn water race clean-up.
Never dull...Never dull......
Yeay! My musical life is never dull. I have my wonderful jazz choir. I sing alto in posh Mozart Masses. And now I have been asked to perform in a Bob Dylan 80th Birthday Tribute Concert. This new venture is very exciting
Girlie GardeningGirlie Gardening...
Had such wonderful plans for today. I was going to spend the afternoon doing Girlie Gardening. Sorry, but that's what I call it. One gets out the coloured pencils, draws a wee map, and colours in everything. The path is shaded a delicate brown, miniature Agapanthus are a zig-zag of blue...
Gifted a garden!Gifted a garden!...
I love how unpredictable gardening life is. Some days can be lazy, others super-busy. For weeks it can feel like 'same old, same old' - weeding, trimming, raking... Then out of the blue a friend gifts me her whole garden (the house on her property is soon to be demolished). Wow!
No guilt...No guilt......
Right. Lets get this clear. I am allowed to make mistakes in my garden. If I plant something in the wrong place, I am allowed to shift it. No regrets, no recriminations. That's life, as far as my garden is concerned.
Rain!Rain!...
Rain! Seven or eight millimeters. Yeay! We need fifty - spread out, to properly saturate the ground. But thankful for what we get, yes? Definitely yes! So that's rain, finally, for the sheep paddocks, and for the hazelnut orchard, and for the shelter belts, and - last but not least - for my garden...
My New Friendship GardenMy New Friendship Garden...
I'm building a new garden area for my friend's plants to live in, and calling it my Friendship Garden. Tomorrow I make my first trip into town and start digging - the first carload of many. My friend, very much alive, didn't really want it called a Memorial Garden. Fair enough!
Almost a Weeping Maiden...Almost a Weeping Maiden......
Ooops. April should finish with me scurrying around with the leaf rake and the camera. Autumn leaves! But this April has limped to its end, rather like Winnie and her back leg - and me, who fell into the earth rather spectacularly, hurting my knee.
Garden-Grumbling?Garden-Grumbling?...
I'm not garden-grumbling (she said, definitely garden-grumbling) but autumn hasn't really done much this year. Yet! It's been very dry, so many deciduous tree leaves have barely turned colour before drying off and dying...
So sensible?So sensible?...
So sensible, am I? Oh yes? Hurt my knee in a silly wee garden accident. Did all the right things - for example, no gardening, for the next three days, and minimal dog-walking. Naturally the knee started feeling better. So...
Never satisfied!Never satisfied!...
Rain! Yeay! Cold rain. Brrr... Never satisfied, gardeners. They want rain, it starts raining, and immediately their heads fill up with imaginative, spirit-lifting gardening plans, enough to fill up the day quite nicely. But not suited to cold rain. Sooooooo frustrating!
Animals at the vet...Animals at the vet......
I have dog news. Winnie has been back to her vet for an X-ray. It is as we thought. She's booked in for cruciate ligament surgery on her other leg (one leg was fixed up last year during lockdown). This coming Monday is THE day. Just as well that dogs only have two back legs, I reckon!
Almost winter?Almost winter?...
The seasons they are a-changing. I reckon it's almost winter, but I've only just raked and bagged up the first of the autumn leaves. I have trimmed and dumped my first load of dead dahlia stalks. The sun is noticeably lower in the sky. The first almost-frost has been and gone...
Thinking About Cats and DogsThinking About Cats and Dogs...
It's raining. Looovely! No gardening for me - have been to the country library instead. Then I sat in a cafe on my own having a coffee, thinking about life and worrying (unnecessarily, I know) about my cats and dogs...
Taking ages...Taking ages......
Funny day. One of those gardening days where it took ages to accomplish very little. It's that dratted bonfire. I worked hard at it, barrowing and burning. Just one more load, I kept telling myself. And no leaves allowed - they go in bags. Except gum tree leaves.
Severe rain warningSevere rain warning...
A severe rain warning. A once in a decade rain event forecast for us. Oooh. Is this exciting? It is for the aquifers. Not for people living near some of the rivers. Too late for the grass growth in the paddocks. My garden will absorb it with good grace. I am blessed with free-draining soil. Hope others will be OK.
The sun is back!The sun is back!...
Finally the rain has stopped here. The birds know - they were much noisier and busier first thing this morning. The cats can now be out and about without getting drenched. There's actually some sunshine - and blue sky! Yeay!
An ultimatum!An ultimatum!...
An ultimatum. I have been an indoors lazybones these last four days, poking around on my website, ogling at photographs, updating tired old web pages. Today I do some proper winter gardening. Outside! I work in the Jelly Bean Border and the Pond Paddock.
Good winterGood winter's morning......
A good winter's morning to my garden, my gardening journal, and my cats and dogs. You will not see me this morning - I am woofing and plonking. Let me explain. My friend and I (two enthusiastic, mature musicians) are playing chamber music - flute sonatas by Bach and Poulenc.
Lilli-Puss is Back!Lilli-Puss is Back!...
Something amazing and really, really scary has happened. Lilli-Puss, my grey cat, went missing six years ago. Six years. Last night a letter was popped into my letter box. Lilli is at the SPCA. The rather unfriendly generic note uses the words 'liable', 'required' and 'urgent', and quotes the Disposal of Animals Act. Eek!
Soooo wintry!Soooo wintry!...
My garden suddenly looks soooooo wintry! And it's still busy and noisy - the roof painters are painting on, while the hedge trimmer has been trundling up and down the hedges, blades whirring. I walked the dogs, then I'm sorry to say I escaped off to chamber music...
Lots of updates...Lots of updates......
I am here. My winter garden is here. The hedge trimmer has gone, leaving lots of mess behind. I am procrastinating, naturally. But the bonfire is ready to go - sorry about this, but needs must. Aargh! Prepare for lots of tedious updates...
The rehabilitation of Lilli-PussThe rehabilitation of Lilli-Puss...
New strategies in the rehabilitation of my lost and found cat Lilli-Puss, who is shut safely in my sewing room. Naturally I am taking her reintegration into my house extremely seriously. Read on...
So much to do...So much to do......
There's so much to do in the winter garden. For example, bonfiring. Blast. All those hedge trimmings, lying around on the grass. Don't really want to think about them, write about them, or do anything with them. But they have to be cleared up. And that's that!
Winter doings...Winter doings......
I've been burning Leyland hedge trimmings and dead Phormium leaves, while doing some pretty deep thinking about my animals. Particularly Lilli-Puss, my lost-and-found cat. She is a very sweet, loving cat, but naturally timid and cautious, and doesn't really want to come out of her room. I put on my sweet voice, I tempt her with food...
The rose pruning month?The rose pruning month?...
Good morning, July. So you're the rose pruning month, yes? Well, I've pruned one white Iceberg. Wow! Guess what? Today I'm planning to prune some more. That is, as soon as I've trimmed the remaining Gunnera in the water race, and raked up some more hedge trimmings, and planted a large green Phormium by the house. But, since it is mid-winter, I am still inside contemplating the outdoors temperature...
Trundling along...Trundling along......
My July is trundling along at a somewhat leisurely pace. It is an extremely measured month, full of the loveliest browns and greens, with the tiniest splashes of flower colour. Am trying to be disciplined and spend time every day in the garden, no matter what the temperature.
A bit sad...A bit sad......
Rule number one of garden blogging : have something garden-ish to write about. Rule number two : never blog when feeling tired, or grumpy, or sad. Oops. Am a bit sad at the moment : about the state of the world's climate, about Lilli-Puss...
Friendship plantsFriendship plants...
Have dug more plants out of my friend's garden - her house is soon to be demolished. Was going to put them all in one area, but my garden is much more frost prone than hers. So I am going to scatter the so-called friendship plants all around my garden, according to their needs...
The socialisation of Lilli-Puss...The socialisation of Lilli-Puss......
Oh boy! I've nearly made the biggest mistake of my pet-nurturing life. Decided, since it was such a lovely day, that Lilli-Puss should come outside and keep me company gardening. Organised a seat outside her window for her to jump onto. Things went well for five minutes. Then Buster the black cat (not known for aggression) arrived hissing and howling...
Lilli-Puss continued...Lilli-Puss continued......
The re-integration of Lilli-Puss (my lost-and-found fourteen year-old grey cat) continues. Some days she's brave, and comes down into the main lounge room. Other days, not so. Lilli was always timid, I remind myself. She's doing her best, I remind myself. She loves cuddles, chin-tickles, and company, and shows no sign of wanting to leave us.
Tree accessories...Tree accessories......
For ages I have been wanting to accessorise the big trees in my garden with fairy doors. Finally, I've started production. The idea (thanks, Pinterest) is to use photo frames as the door frames, then twigs (for example) for the door, and assorted oddments for door handles and knockers etc.
Fresher and lighter...Fresher and lighter......
Yes, yes, yes! Lots of weeding. Planting. Trimming mess - particularly the ferns. So many ferns! Burning. Photographing Camellia flowers. Sniffing at the air. It's fresher! Marvelling at the light. It's definitely lighter!
Olympics and gardeningOlympics and gardening...
I've been using good gardening time sitting on the TV couch, watching The Olympics - often sports that I don't really understand, or follow. Unfortunately my garden is slightly out of medal contention!
Where to put the fairy doors?Where to put the fairy doors?...
What a funny day! It's been trying to snow, nothing too serious. I've been lurching around outside trying to place my first batch of newly made fairy doors for a photo shoot. Flakes of snow have been covering my camera, and my faithful dog Winnie. But no settling, thankfully. My garden does not require any snow...
Grunty gardening...Grunty gardening......
Seven hours of grunty gardening! Sore hands (wasn't wearing gloves, silly me). Happy! Proud! Worked all day in one place, in the Hump Garden. Focussed gardening! And not one little bit boring.
Decisive or dithery?Decisive or dithery?...
As a compulsive self-analyst I am very experienced at evaluating my gardening day. Has the time spent resulted in appropriate progress? Have I thought things through, and made good decisions? Have I been decisive, or dithery?
Foot powerFoot power...
As a compulsive self-analyst I am very experienced at evaluating my gardening day. Has the time spent resulted in appropriate progress? Have I thought things through, and made good decisions? Have I been decisive, or dithery?
Lockdown gardening commences...Lockdown gardening commences......
Funny how gardening in a national lockdown feels different. Because it just isn't. Everything is exactly the same. Except I can't go racing off to the nursery to buy replacement secateurs - they are considered non-essential items, and the nurseries are shut anyway. But really! I should have looked after the old ones.
Lockdown gardening continues...Lockdown gardening continues......
Good morning, Camellias. Good morning lockdown, day four. Three days of concentrated gardening (no diluted gardening allowed). Three days spent happily in my gardening bubble. Exponential garden improvement - updates daily, like the Covid numbers. Oh boy.
Six layers of dirt...Six layers of dirt......
Good morning. It's Day Six of the Official Gardening Lockdown, six days during which I haven't washed my gardening jeans once. Their knees are caked with dirt, layer upon layer, hee hee. Six layers! How many more, I wonder wistfully...
What day of the week is it?What day of the week is it?...
Good morning to day eight of lockdown. Remind me - what day of the week is it? Ah - Wednesday. Would usually be going to two choir rehearsals tonight. Yippee! Can have a night at home, after another satisfying, hard-working gardening day, with no cafe lunch distractions, hee hee.
Drippy and drizzly...Drippy and drizzly......
It's drippy and drizzly - time for some happy indoor lockdown reflection. I am gardening-happy. I feel safe in my country, and connected to my friends and family. And it's been raining on my newly planted plants. Great timing, lovely clouds, thank you.
From the breakfast chair...From the breakfast chair......
Having my breakfast sitting in one of the breakfast chairs, Lilli-Puss on my lap, planning my gardening day from this vantage point. It looks out to the Island Bed. What couldn't I see, but would like to see, now? What would I like to see further into spring and summer?
Enjoying my gardening bubble...Enjoying my gardening bubble......
Am still enjoying my lockdown gardening bubble, which at this stage still only includes Non-Gardening Partner, five cats, and two dogs. Am still enjoying the timelessness of it all, but guess things could get a bit tedious if it goes on too long. Buy for now my garden is loving it!
Inspired by my gnomes...Inspired by my gnomes......
Was busy clearing and weeding behind the pond, when I had a brainwave concerning the pond paths. The water-side path was really the only one I used regularly. It passed by the gnomes - reading, fishing, lounging about, sitting on toadstools, digging, contemplating daisies, and riding their snails. And other assorted gnomish activities.
A beautiful spring SaturdayA beautiful spring Saturday...
It's a beautiful spring Saturday, Day Eighteen of Lock-Down, and I have big plans for Non-Gardening Partner. Weekend chain-sawing! So he's decided to wash the floors and vacuum the carpets and rugs in the house. Clever man. This obviously puts me in a dilemma. One cannot redirect a man who is doing the housework.
Is this a path?Is this a path?...
Yesterday I took Non-Gardening Partner into the Wattle Woods to cut down some Viburnums with his chain-saw. Is this a path? he rudely asked. He did have a point - things were greatly messy. So today, some serious path action. The Wattle Woods garden needs me. And it's going to get me.
Is this a path? Continued...Is this a path? Continued......
While I was busy raking the path behind the cottage...
Happy Birthday to Me...Happy Birthday to Me......
Good morning to me, and Happy Birthday! Yes! What would I like for this year's birthday present(s)? Already, the garden has accepted, on my behalf, some very welcome birthday rain. And it's given me some beautiful spring things to enjoy. Aha! A list!
The sweetest of plans...The sweetest of plans......
I had the gentlest, sweetest of plans, involving seed potatoes and seed raising mix. Forward looking plans, full of promises. Perfect plans for spring. I would prepare the new potato patch in the Hump and sow my seeds...
Be really strict...Be really strict......
Look - I'm going to have to be really strict with myself. I MUST SOW MY SEEDS TODAY. No matter how wet (it is) or cold (it is, a bit). And no matter how tired I feel - had a bit of a wild weather night, so slept in the house. Missed my lovely cottage and Minimus the cat.
Reflection...Reflection......
Reflection is a good habit, yes? Counting your blessings. Or, trying not to be too greedy, choosing three good things that happened in the day and thinking deeply and fondly about them at bedtime. If I've had a busy day on the garden I have squillions of good things to think about...
Feeling moochy...Feeling moochy......
Hmm... Am feeling really moochy. Not sure what I feel like doing in the garden. Is there any point in writing a list? Of course there is! But before I do, will change into gardening jeans and shirt. Prepare the body, and in so doing trick the mind...
Good morning to my gardenGood morning to my garden...
Good morning to my garden, to the sun, to my cats and dogs (especially Lilli-Puss), and to spring. Beautiful, blossomy, colourful spring, full of little surprises. Good morning to the buzzing honey bees covering the flowering cherry tree. And the bellbirds. Love you all.
Recipe for giving thanksRecipe for giving thanks...
Recipe for giving thanks. First thing in the spring morning, put on extra layer of clothing and sit outside with breakfast. Listen to the birds, smell the fresh air (no bonfire smoke, please). Look around at the garden. Pat my old cat Lilli-Puss, smile at the dogs (please, dogs, no singing).