I dug and I mulched...

 My Arboretum could have lots of Dogwoods...
Autumn Dogwood Leaves

The autumn gardening song, heard over the water race where the head gardener has been lurking (and singing to herself) - 'I dug and I mulched, and I dug and I mulched - and I dug and I mulched myself sore....'

Sunday 8th May

The song continues:

'I dug and I mulched until it got dark, then I couldn't dig and mulch any more...'

That was yesterday afternoon, when I lost track of time and temperature (though it was autumn mild), and further expanded the Willow Tree Garden. I felt tired but I just kept going. A lot of the straw mulch is down, and today when it stops raining I'm going to remodel the planting scheme. Two roses huddling completely underneath a Yellow Wave flax (guess which plant has overgrown its garden location!) are coming out (hmm...) and taking the front row of the extension. Sun, fresh air circulating, and space to breathe are now promised The Nun and Sexy Rexy - an interesting rose pair, and I promise I didn't make their names up!

Rain, Rain...

And it will stop raining - I know it will. Puppy and I have already checked out the early morning rain-garden - more autumn leaves are dropping, leaving carpets of gold and red on the grass and the driveway. The ginkgo leaves are the colour of pale straw - the colour I'd like to paint the house. The Japanese blossom trees spreading out in the pond are spectacularly fiery in orange and red when viewed from the upstairs balcony. Yet close-up a single leaf looks quite dull. Ha! I've worked it out - it's the overall effect of autumn colour which gives the illusion of richness. Plus the droopy light, and the decreasing temperatures (the heart-and-body-warming fire flame colours).

 The shrub in the foreground is a Leucadendron Safari Sunset.
The Stables Garden in Autumn

My rooster still dislikes me - this morning I spotted him from the upstairs balcony, called out in my sweetest voice to 'Buzz off' and he ran away instantly as if his tail was on fire. This 'remote control' of rooster has impressed some visiting Australians, who now think I am a chicken wrangler. Hee hee...

Today's Garden Plans

Back to today's plans. I hope to do some serious rose moving. I hope to also dig out more daisies and variegated pelargoniums and get them safely tucked into little pots on the glass-house shelf. I have five hebes (Wiri Charm) to plant in the Hump. What else? It's time to mulch the Driveway Garden - the first Moosey Garden to be put to bed for winter. And rake up the leaves from the pond paddock cherry trees. I'll put them with the fallen oak leaves in big plastic rubbish bags and see if I can make some leaf-mould.

Ha! I have energy to burn. Aargh! Burn! Don't remind me!

 We've always called these Paris Daisies.
Yellow Autumn Daisy


We've been to the mountains for a special Mothers Day drive! Happy Mothers Day to all other mothers. On behalf of all gardening mothers I am now going outside in the cold, late afternoon to shift roses. As one does...

Monday 9th May

The weather was foul (about seven degrees) and I braved the wind chill to shift those roses for gardening mothers! I decided, however, to leave Sexy Rexy where he was - another pink rose (with a label!) called Madam President got shifted to be next to The Nun - much more appropriate. Loads of wet ash from the fire and mulch were dumped in - and now the new model Willow Tree Garden is done. I also shifted a low growing rhododendron out to the new grass line. Hope the roses like their new airy position here!

A Little Light Gardening?

Today might be a bit light on the gardening. I have to go in to work soon, and have scrubbed and cleaned my hands and fingernails - they should technically stay that way. Hmm... The ginger kitten Smoocher has gone back to the vet this morning - further diagnosis is needed. I feel very powerless when one of the animals is sick - and Tiger his kitten-sister seems to miss him.

First Frost :
I don't take many pictures of the plants in the frost. The roses don't seem to mind very much, though.

First 'proper' frost this morning - delightfully light and crunchy! Oops - wonder if the pelargoniums and daisies I forgot to dig out yesterday are still surviving? Hope so.

The first frost is always a sobering sign. It will soon be time to take the approaching winter seriously. Brr...

Thursday 12th May

Oops. This wasn't exactly how my second gardening week in May was supposed to be - another three gorgeously mild and sunny days spent at work earning dollars. However, today at approximately 1 pm I will be ready to re-launch and re-invent myself. Please let the weather hold! And please let me instantly find enough things to do (I'm sure I will).

Smoocher the ginger kitten is still at the vet, but hopefully can come home tonight. He has a diagnosis (quite serious) and a drug regime (comfortably priced, a good success rate, not too aggressive) for the next six weeks. Go Smoocher! Get better! We all love you. And our vet has been brilliant.

Early Afternoon...

Ha! It's 1:45 and I am ready to make a garden list. The weather is colder than this morning - cross fingers there's no rain. Here goes my list, anyway:

I must work hard and complete all tasks. I may see new things which need doing - in these cases I must use common sense. But most of all I must enjoy the fresh air and the breezy solitude (well, relative solitude, as puppy will be my faithful gardening companion).


Puppy the not-so-faithful did some zooming grass circuits, with a manic look of concentration on his face, then disappeared for ages. He returned quite a bit later with something dark and disgusting in his jaws, and mud and dirt all over his chest, face, and legs. Eek! Animal, vegetable, or mineral? Definitely the first, obviously dug up from some earlier cache.

 These are just like the ones in my Dog-Path Garden which I'm complaining about!
Phormium Tenax Flaxes

While puppy pulled his treasure to pieces (aargh!) I planted one hebe (only one, sorry), and shifted out a couple of overcrowded roses in the Dog-Path Garden - where the Copper Beech is suddenly living up to its name. What beautiful leaf colour! Then I weeded, shovelled ash and shifted mulch. It has been a rewarding if unspectacular autumn afternoon in the rather neglected Moosey garden, and I have rather run out of puff. Hmm... I hope puppy isn't too stinky...

Friday 13th May

I'm home! The sun is shining! I am off outside to continue my pre-winter organisation of the Dog-Path Garden. I am thinking of moving the Dog-path Seat and widening the dog-path itself - perhaps having it take a new route through the garden from the water to the grass lawns. The path should probably pass underneath the Copper Beech tree - though technically the tree will need to be bigger.

 The most fragrant David Austin rose that I grow.
Sharifa Asma Rose

Garden Path Problems

At the moment a traveller on this Dog-path has to push aggressively past some stiff Phormium Tenaxes (and dodge large clumps of daffodil bulbs in spring). If they stay by the water and bravely make it past the big red waterside flax, the path stops - for no reason, abruptly, with no reward. I suspect this should be the new seat position. Hmm....

See how many deep thoughts and analytical strategies are required for a simple afternoon's gardening!

Later, After Deep Thought...

It is obviously the path-changing and garden expanding season - a couple of weeks ago I successfully sorted out the paths in the Hen House Gardens, now I am doing the same in the Dog-Path Garden. It's the same old story - first I enlarge (just slightly) the garden itself. As a result of my plant-close-to-the-edge policy (which I always employ), some quite large things - for example, in the case of the Dog-Path Garden a beautiful orange-flaming Cotinus - end up much too close to the garden edge. So what I do is to shift the edge - subtly outwards - and thus the gardens creep slowly into the lawns. Hee hee.

Waterside Flax :
These are two of my favourite flaxes.

I have decided that the Dog-Path Garden will get a brand new path, which will only lead to the newly positioned Dog-Path seat - alongside the big purple fountain flax, and next to the most fragrant of roses Sharifa Asma. I will block off the original waterside Dog-path where the seat is now - even puppy has trouble pushing through any further than this. Today I dug the new border curve - the Cotinus now looks more sensibly edge-placed - and spread some ash and mulch. A Hypericum will have to be dug out, and I will trim the very lowest branches of the Copper Beech.

Dog Disgrace

Puppy disgraced himself again - not by digging up horrible things, but by seriously chasing the chooks. Poor white hen is severely traumatised - she had (unbeknown to me) taken refuge in the house garden underneath the dahlias. Naturally, by the Law of Unhappy Coincidences, I chose this very moment to chop down the dahlia stalks. My groping un-gloved hand touched warm feathers, the hen squawked, the gardener shrieked with fright - Aargh! Puppy relaunched himself at the fleeing chook, the gardener roared at puppy... The gentle, rural soundscape of country life...

Smoocher the kitten is coming home from the vet tonight. Yippee!