Welcome to the Welcome Garden!

The Welcome Garden becomes much more welcoming, as I fill the car more than once with New Zealand Native plants from the nursery. My plans to sneakily remove all the recycled newspaper piles in my road are thankfully put on hold - maturity has kicked in!

 Check out the lovely mulch!
The Welcome Garden - Half Finished

Thursday 8th June

Right. Today. First, a sneaky walk down the road, scouting for piles of newspaper (it's recycling rubbish put-out day). Then, off to the nursery to buy heaps more plants - natives, mainly Hebes, perhaps a few cordylines...

Then a busy day of earth-shattering gardening. Maybe the Welcome Garden will be finished today. Then I can start on the Pond Paddock extension. There is much merit in completing all winter digging projects before the frosts start. There's nothing more to add - until much, much later! Wish me luck - it's sunny, and hopefully the gentle rural ambience won't be ruined by Rusty's barking battles with next-door's pigeons.

Later... Two Things...

Firstly, I am too old to start pilfering other people's rubbish. Anyway, on my cycling reconnaissance mission all I could see in the neighbouring recycle bins were wine bottles! Hmm... I will find another (legitimate) way to get the newspaper layers I need for my mulching mission.

Secondly, Rusty and the pigeons gave me a chance for some concentrated out-of-house dog-training. For four hours he went off to lay siege under their gum tree, to bark and groan at them. For four hours I called him back, in friendly tones, sat him down and repeated the phrase 'No barking.' Seems simple, doesn't it?

 The perfect mulch - no seeds, well rotted - and free!
Mulch Bale

Friday 9th June

Did I say the Welcome Garden would be finished? Well - how about 'Not quite, but nearly?' I need just a few more fountain shaped flaxes for the front edge, and a few more filler Viburnums to plant nearer the fence-line. And one more load of river edge stones. Then I might make a groovy, rustic sign, saying 'Welcome to the Moosey Garden' for a red flax to lean casually against. Nice!

Today I am off swimming, alone. My gardening-swimming friend is in the skies somewhere on her way to Vienna (we older lady gardeners are a well-travelled breed). I have had quite a social whirl since my wee holiday, though - my walking group's trip to Banks Peninsula on Wednesday was magic, and I have joined a ladies choir - as one does, when retired. I am to bolster the second altos (assuming I pass the audition - oops) so all my contralto booming at Rusty dog will be good training. I'm sure I can hit a satisfactory low D in the middle of winter!

Red Cordyline :
My London webmaster is seen here hugging a London cordyline.

I am going to buy a few more red cordylines, too. I have already planted a green trio, a feature which is to be admired by driveway walkers. Winter gardening days are short, and I must finish all these soil scratchings and plant diggings before the frosts. There are also some stray Pittosporums planted in wrong places that need a quick shift. And oh so soon the roses will need pruning. Aargh! Is there ever nothing to do in a garden?

Saturday 10th June

I only have about six plants in pots left to dig into the Welcome Garden. It is ever so close to being finished! That's today's immediate job, before I wander off randomly into another area and find (as I will) weeds to weed or other assorted wintry things to do.

 You can just see my straw mulch on the garden.
Yellow Wave Flax in Winter

Slight problems of an edible nature - due to a lack of communication two large chocolate gateaux were purchased yesterday for a family member's birthday. Evening meal - gateaux. This morning's breakfast - more gateaux. I am feeling rather sick! I need a calming cup of coffee, and then outside I will go. A nice salad sandwich for lunch, I think...

Much Later...

The gateau plan is as follows: One only feels a little sick if all that one eats is chocolate gateau. Therefore each such snack must also include other food to be eaten first, and a cup of tea or coffee to help 'wash' the gateau down. Winter waistlines will be expanding!

I have finished the Welcome Garden, except for the sign. All the plants are planted, the contents of the big mulch bale have been lovingly laid on the ground, and I am so pleased! Such an improvement! I find it odd, though, how much time it actually takes to plant things. I have even finished the river stone edge. Success! Welcome to the Welcome Garden!

 I did miss my animals while I was away!
Tiger the Cat - Asleep

Now I am going to sit down with my six cats and a dog, get a cold beer out, ignore the chocolate cake, light the wood-burner, and get ready for the rugby.

Sunday 11th June

Yesterday's quiet planting euphoria has been replaced by a mood of gloom - today I have been out weeding for three hours, until my (wet and muddy) legs got too cold. I'm now having a clean jeans, hot food and cup of tea lunch break. Gosh, winter weeding is so annoying! Particularly as I encourage my pansies to self seed, and feel so guilty if I scrape their little plants up with the rest of the undesirables. I know that winter is necessary (in a cosmic sense, to give plants like roses a good rest, and so on) but it would be so pleasant peeping out from a warm house, knowing that there was little garden work to do. Humph - self seeders require fussy weeders.

This afternoon I will try and complete the following insignificant tasks, without further grumbling:

Place new garden bench in Pond Paddock.
Sit with afternoon coffee to test ambience.
Shift two more Pittosporums into the Welcome Garden.
What was I thinking, planting them in a rose garden?
Scan photos.
It's time for some sentimental family framing!
Plant second tray of pansies.
Most unsuccessful this morning, since first lot were run over and mowed by the lawn mower. Oops. Can't complain, need those lawns cut!
Wander around later and trim edges.
Well-cut grass, well-trimmed edges - should raise the spirits!

That list should last for several days!

Monday 12th June, Daybreak

 A lovely mixture of colours.

Well, well, well. What a winter grumpus! Poor thing, gardening in fifteen degrees of balmy winter warmth, getting cold legs while weeding. Today there can be no grumpiness - I have woken to snow, six inches already settled, and still falling. Brrr! What crazy weather - I blame England for being super-sensitive to my colonial rudeness, having fun complaining about the cold, wet English summer weather? Ha! Take that, antipodean whinger! Snow!

Yesterday I did return to the garden to trim all the lawn edges over the water race, and I did some fast spot weeding - for example the nasturtiums by Duck Lawn are pulled out, leaving a carpet of seeds for recovery in the spring. Today will be - interesting! Am expecting to have a power outage, so many tree branches seem to be cracking and falling with the weight of the snow. Will go and boil jug of water and find house lantern...

To Be Continued...