Wonderful roses...

The Moosey roses are still looking wonderful! And no panic from the Moosey gardener that all the leaves or flowers are about to dissolve or to fall off - as yet!

Thursday 16th November

The woodshed roses are beautiful! Many shrub roses are in full flower, too, whereas those hard working little Flower Carpet roses are yet to begin. My friends are right about the new rose Rhapsody in Blue - its light, clear green foliage sets off the smoky violet flower colour perfectly. I love all my roses - both new and old.

 Three roses are now  happily blooming over the roof.
Rambling Rose - Summer 2006

Everything is Beautiful...

The start of the real rose season brings with it the over-use of the word 'beautiful'. This common-garden adjective will appear at least five times on every journal page, and will infuriate literary readers - doesn't she know any others? Ditto the words 'wonderful' and breathtaking'. When the roses do their stuff I get lost in cliches! But I promise I'll try some little variations. How about 'amazing'?

Maths and Music

Right. Today I have some maths commitments. Let T equal the total hours in the day, and let x equal the time I will spend tutoring. Then the expression T - x has a maximum value of 4 hours, and a minimum of 1. So be it - I can always spend the maths money on more Pittosporums.

 Late to produce rather large blossom, and rather large leaves - could the label be wrong?
Malus Tree - Charlotte?

And I have to choose my summer piano playing programme. Probably I will revisit Bach's Partita in C Minor, and throw in the compulsory Brahms. Ravel - well, his flowing semiquavers have got me rather stumped, but I love his harmonic progressions. I want to play Ondine and Jeax d'Eau - rather watery choices...

Late Afternoon...

Right. Playing Ravel on the piano feels exactly like weeding an overlarge garden. One thinks that an hour or two should see definite improvement overall. Nope. So one zealously plans to weed (i.e. play Ravel) for four hours every day without fail. Aargh! The rebel lurking within rises up - there are far nicer things to do each day. What about going bike riding with Rusty the dog? It's far easier to bluff Mozart and slow Bach - playing these chaps is like throwing mulch on top of grassy weeds - instant garden, instant music!

So I've put the watering on (it's hot, hot) and checked the rose archways (beautiful, beautiful) and delicately watered the seedling vegetables with my plastic watering can (softly, softly). Now I am contemplating a glass of wine and a second bash at Ravel (could be interesting). Or I could try wining and weeding...

Earlier today I really wanted my two Barred Plymouth Rock hens to do some scratching underneath the Hen House Pittosporums. Do you think I could separate the two big striped girlies from the others? No way! Two big bird brains - they're a tag-team in the chicken run, when it came to enticing them out the door they became stubbornly independent.

Sounds of the Countryside

Haru the ever expanding pet lamb has a juvenile baa-lamb voice which is starting to break, and her bleating now sounds like she's yodelling. This then starts Fred the ex-pet lamb off, though he has a rich, low baritone. Then some beasts (cattle?) down the road start groaning and bellowing loudly. And next door is grazing a flock of sheep all of whom roar like industrial/heavy metal band lead singers. My rural soundscape is becoming quite comical. Symphonic, even?

 A hybrid tea, I think.
Unknown Big Pink Rose

Friday 17th November

It's a holiday today, and I have a boring list for a certain non-retired garden helper (who will be expertly supervised).

His List

  1. Mow all the lawns before it rains.
  2. Fix the hoses. Some drip, some leak, some keep coming apart.
  3. Finish shifting firewood out of garden.
  4. Get trailer load of mulch from down back.

Then he is required to drive me to shop to get potting mix and new teapot. There is also a list for me, which follows.

Her List

  1. Do lawn edges before it rains.
  2. Lay newspaper and mulch in Welcome Garden before it rains.
  3. Plant spinach and lettuce seedlings before it rains.

If and when it rains, I can start my compulsory Ravel piano practice. Like gardening, two sessions will be better than one. There! The day unfolds (unravels? ouch!) before me....


+5 Blast! It's raining already, so I've only had time to do the vegetable garden. Fluff-Fluff has been rolling in the dirt, squashing spring onions and carrot seedlings. Silly cat! My garden helper has done some sheep checking (the late new lamb is a very healthy wee girl, and mother ewe is attentive and milk-laden). He has organised replacement attachments for my hoses. He's mowing with the tractor out the rose archway paddock, and then he promises to do 'my other jobs'.

 No roses is quite covering its archway yet - but some are getting close!
The Rose Archways - Second Summer

His proposed Christmas present to me is apparently already chosen. I have warned him that a gardener who really wants a large second pond may not be easily fobbed off with something small and insignificant - like a compost maker, or a new spade. Dear bloke! If only he'd think big...

I'm going to have lunch, and then re-evaluate the weather. I don't mind being drizzled on - it ensures that all movements are brisk and purposeful. Then I promise to spend at least an hour learning the new Ravel pieces.

Saturday 18th November

How wrong can one bed-snoozing gardener be? The rain seemed to be well settled in, so I have mentally prepared self for a morning pottering in the glass-house and an afternoon tinkering on the piano. Like the birds outside, early morning twittering (in this journal) makes the perfect beginning to the day.

So the rain has decided to stop, and there are blue patches of sky, and this means work, work, work! On go my slightly muddy clothes from yesterday and out go I! By the way, yesterday was fruitful. I gardened until the drizzle turned to real rain and cold water started dripping down my neck. I behaved, both outdoors and indoors. The Ravel now goes a bit faster, and the Dog-Path Garden has less weeds.

 She looks marvellous by the water.
Weigela in the Water-Side Plantings


I've weeded, I've seeded, and I've Ravelled! I have potted up my five hundredth lettuce seedling and three hundredth silver beet seedling. These chooks of mine are so much loved that they now have their own special part of the vegetable garden.


I have some garden observations which, for once, do not include the words 'rose' and 'beautiful'. The aquilegias are almost finished, and lots of lovely foxgloves are ready to take their place. Several of the new lavenders are almost in bloom, and my few patches of perennial geraniums are flowering. The excessive rain has knocked over several peonies (buds just opening) and some dark, smouldering irises have gone horizontal. I'll pick them for the house.

The water race has been shut off all day, due to the nearby Waimakariri River being in flood. We've just been down to see - it's wall-to-wall dirty brown rushing water, and there are several breaches of the groynes. Many years ago this river totally broke through its stop-banks, changed course, and flooded downtown Christchurch! This, of course, is the perfect time to do any water race edge maintenance - like weeding - without getting frozen wet legs. Hmm... I'll think about it...