Go, you roses!

I think it's the beginning of summer! Go, you roses! Summer weather - get on with it! I have my new, sensible, floppy gardening hat freshly washed and ready.

 A wobbly garden seat is by the rhododendron garden.
Rhododendrons by the Water - 2006

Thursday 2nd November

I am back from a two day holiday, touring gardens in Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. Consequently this morning I am full of new thoughts - resolutions, rather than ideas. Visiting other gardens is inspiring, but more importantly it affirms the need to be personal, be myself, to garden for me. Would I like to copy anything I saw? I don't think so - I'd love a second pond, but I probably wouldn't have an artistic dinghy placed just so, making reflections for visiting garden photographers!

A Moosey Garden Plan :
Occasionally - very, very occasionally, I try and draw a garden design plan.

Gardens where 'proper' design plays a large part can feel sadly static - there is much visual beauty, but any real hands-on gardening evidence seems hidden away. There's no sense of development, no exciting and ridiculous personal project in progress. One very professional garden I visited had good facilities - morning tea rooms, garden chairs to seat a busload - and the most beautiful plantings and vistas. But it was all gloss and glamour, lacking anything quirky, anything with personality.

Hmm... Perhaps one needs to be a good shopper to be a good commercial open garden visitor!

 She is a lovely shade of pink.
Mary Rose

Now to get back to those new resolutions. Today I will lay my current supply of newspaper in the Welcome Garden. I will lay mulch over the top. Today's watering plan will concentrate on the Wattle Woods, which will also have its mulch layer finished. I will make further improvements to the back of my pond (which is so rough, compared to the open garden pond I've just met), and I will finish weeding the edge of the water race. Rubbish will be burnt, seedlings watered, pelargoniums potted up, and I want a row of catmint to edge the side house garden. There! That lot should set November off nicely!


I have spent the morning burning rubbish. No disfiguring burning heaps were visible in those two elegant open gardens I visited. It's as if my style of gardening produces rubbish - much rubbish, non-compostable rubbish. Hmm... What am I doing wrong? This afternoon I will try to get more variety in my work. Right. Back out I go, newspaper piles ready.

Saturday 4th November, Apres Gardening...

The whole of the water race edge is neatly spade-trimmed. I have been watering, weeding, spreading newspaper and compost, as well as planting my pelargonium patches. Suddenly I have run out - I need more! It's that old supply and demand problem again!

A Garden's Personality

These last two days I've been thinking a lot about the gardens I visited. I wonder, sometimes, how 'good' my own garden is? What would a busload of retired ladies in trendy denim jackets and jeans think of it? Is my own personality in there somewhere, lurking in the flaxes, or tucked in behind the roses? And this concept of gardeners who look like their gardens? Eek! Weedy, messy, dry, overgrown - not a good look for a lady!

 A beautiful late spring pair.
Choisya Sundance with Rose Fruhlingsgold

I have just a little more watering to do, plus the collecting of the day's eggs, and possibly some more compost spreading. Lovely day - warm sun, no wind - delightful. When will the big irrigation pump be ready for action? And the lawns need mowing again. Hmm.... I will ask politely...

Sunday 5th November

Well, it's past Halloween, and officially Guy Fawkes Day, which is horribly inappropriate for southern hemisphere country folk to celebrate. Last night my friend's horses were spooked by noises of firecrackers (so dangerous), and the local fire brigade has been called out already. Grr... And sorry, but fire shouldn't be a part of fireworks!

Today I have huge plans, which I will put in a list. My November garden work has had a few nice interruptions, and we don't want guilt setting in so early in the month!

November List

The glass-house needs a couple of solid hours work. Spinach, lettuce, and assorted flower seedlings are ready to be pricked out. Hopefully some of my daisy cuttings will have taken root. And I need more pelargoniums.
The Hump
The edge which faces the house needs a complete clean-up. This is partly cosmetic, but all the dry gum and pine tree rubbish needs hauling out - before there is a fire ban.
The Septic Tank Garden
Excellent progress has been made on the newspaper and compost layering to tidy up this garden. Rotting hay mulch is now needed - the icing on the Septic Garden cake!

And I have time for some comments on the garden. The irises - beautiful! The New Zealand Toi Toi (South Island variety) - beautiful! They needs wee stickers - 'I survived getting flattened in the snow storm.' The creamy white Choisya blossom popping up everywhere - beautiful! New hostas, and new trees - beautiful! I like the colours of Esk Sunset no. 2, and my new little red maples are brilliant - I adore red leafed trees. Old hostas and old trees - brilliant! Fresh new leaves, bulking out nicely, thank you all for looking so lovely.

 The colours are very lovely.
Esk Sunset Tree

I am being bleated at by a fat pet lamb (Haru) and a huge pet sheep (Fred). What a silly pair they are, both gazing intently up at the house windows. Sheep behaviour - as interesting as the behaviour of hens? Hmm... Haru is much much brainier than any of my silly chooks! One of the black hens has gone broody - the big boss grey stripeys push her out of the nesting box when they wish to lay. She patiently waits in the wings (hmm... a bird pun) then hops back on. It's a pity, but I'm simply not ready for chickens! OK - time to get started.


Ha! I am back, after a full and satisfying day. I have just one thing left to do - the burning of a whole trailerful of rubbish. I am waiting for the wind to die down - having become such a virtuous vigilante regarding fireworks in the country, it would be very embarrassing if one of my burning sessions caused a call-out.

Roses and Rhododendrons

Earlier I took stacks of rose photographs - my goodness, much is flowering! There are still rhododendrons blooming, too. And my new coral peonies are the first to break open - their flowers look like super-sized Phyllis Bide roses. The irises continue to amaze me, and those beautiful toi toi plumes - what a warm colour! I love New Zealand native plants! Yippee!

 This year the flowering has been wonderful.
Lilac Rhododendron and Cordyline - 2006

Unfortunately the Septic Tank Garden did not get its icing. But I am very pleased with my day. I can cope with the Hump being scruffy internally. I've taken a leaf out of the professional open gardener's book and have made sure the lawn edge is clean and clear. Yes - those lawns have all been mown - I have a friend coming to look at the garden this next week, the perfect excuse to apply discrete pressure.