Much visible improvement...

Another July week scuttles past, and I have more new plans... My super-garden-energy phase has lasted for ages. And yes! There is much visible improvement in the Moosey winter garden. If you squint and look carefully - over there - over there...

Monday 24th July

The winter morning sun is up, streaming into the Moosey Office (must clean the windows). Nice. I am mentally organised. There will be three distinct parts to today - flax-axing, dog-bicycling, and planting. Each will be given loving energy and caring thought, and enjoyed for the moment.

 I love my flaxes - but...
Subtle Shades of Red - New Zealand Flax

Part One - Flax-Axing

Here I go again. During my dawn mind-gardening session I identified another four inappropriately positioned flaxes. Pieces will live to sprout another day - they'll be divided up and potted. No more wanton destruction of Phormiums is allowed - it is spoiling the friendly, nurturing tone of this gardening journal.

Part Two - Dog-Bicycling

Rusty has been a good gardening dog. He has been an integral part of my clean-water management plan, standing for days in the cold water race catching escaped pieces of vegetation. I might add that several - gardeners? - upstream are not so vigilant. Witness the pine and willow tree branches that I've fished out, stuck under my bridges. Today we are going to bike around the biggest block, stopping at the old churchyard for a dog-and-gardener lunch.

Part Three - Planting (Incorporating Purchasing)

A small collection of replacement flaxes and other New Zealand native plants waits patiently to be planted. I intend to add some Camellias, and spend the afternoon finding suitable spots. Also some of the newly potted flax pieces are going in the back of the Wattle Woods.

 My faithful shovel! My favourite plastic bucket!
Gardening Tools

Tuesday 25th July

Yesterday my day went really well. Except that there was no planting - the garden is not ready yet. I still kept a sense of symmetry and balance, explaining to the running Rusty Dog several of my planting plans. Those in the wattle Woods really revolve around a couple of new, small, specimen trees (as yet unpurchased). The area needs to be cleared properly, and then given the grand sweeping eye treatment.

More Snow Damage

On returning to the garden after our bicycle ride I 'discovered' small-level snow damage in the Septic Tank Garden. Pittosporum branches were cracked, and the small shrubbery was a subtle mess. My early-flowering baby pink Camellia had several dying branches, the wood split, the leaves a sickly yellow. I've tidied it, and will have to trim it a lot more - after flowering.

Where Are My Spring Flowers?

Come on, spring flowers! Early daffodils, snowdrops, and the like. Where are you? You're not all struggling for air underneath my layers of May mulching madness... Come on, you slow Camellias! Hmm - that batch of super-cold weeks has really set everything back.

Today I'm going to sort out this Septic Tank Garden once and for all. Saw - get sawing! Shovel - get slicing! Out must come absolutely all the invasive Lamium ground cover. Last year saw one of those stupid, lame compromises - digging it out from the edge of the border then asking it to 'please behave'.

Tricolor Flax :
And I don't know how to say this nicely - I 'found' another dodgy flax. This one's a Phormium Tricolor, the most terribly squashed one I've found yet.

A Tricolor flax should have gracefully bending leaves. It should not have collapsed in the middle, as if sat on by a roaming circus elephant. Nor should any of its leaf fans be trying to grow on a horizontal plane.

Don't worry, New Zealand flax supporters! I promise to dig it into pieces for replanting.


Only five hours work today - it became obvious that I wasn't going to finish the whole Septic Tank Garden clean-up in one hit. So I retired early. Much progress has been made - that ground cover Lamium is almost all out now. It wasn't me - I didn't plant it! But this new pro-active gardening mood I'm enjoying will ensure its complete eviction. I've also pruned back the Hypericum - not sure whether I'll forfeit some flowers, but never mind. I found an Abraham Darby rose sulking on the fence.

 Bound for the dump...
Flax Leaves in the Trailer

Oh how inexorably (strong word, that) one gardening thing leads to another. The Septic Tank garden runs down the side of the house, and has an original fence through its whole length. Now that the area is cleared, the fence is very visible. It will be covered in roses in late spring, but that's a wee way away. For now the fence needs repairing and painting, before I tie in the straggly rose canes (Constance Spry and pink Sparieshoop).

And lurking in the back of this messy garden were three of those coarse grasses! I must have been mad to plant them - they're so difficult to dig up, particularly where the ground is stony. The Tricolor flax got the sympathetic chop, as did a floppy Yellow Wave. I hope my friend still wants the pieces!

Tomorrow I have the whole day off - my walking group is climbing up Mount Richardson. This is a serious day trip - I will take my camera for lots of pictures of Nature As a Garden, New Zealand style! Farewell.

Thursday 27th July

What a brilliant day yesterday was! Hurray for Mount Richardson! Plodding and crunching through snow on the tops, gliding through the Beech forest past all my favourite plants - Astelias, Hebes, and little Corokias - ferns, mosses, Lancewood trees... I wish I was a proper New Zealand botanist! It's the most beautiful garden my tired legs have ever had the privilege to walk through!

 On the top of Mount Richardson, in the foothills of the Southern Alps.
New Zealand Garden in Nature

I saw lots of beautiful foliage natives with tiny leaves, too. Sometimes in planning plants for the Moosey garden I think too big - large spikes, spreading trees, roses which climb high and wide. I have read too many books on mass-planting for the country garden. Nature doesn't necessarily do this. I must remember to get more little Corokias.

Enough. Today, feeling fairly stiff from my mountain ramble, I will finish clearing the Lamium from the Septic Tank Garden. When will I feel ready to buy my new plants? And when will I paint the fence? Aargh! Perhaps a garden helper could do this - but then daffodil patches and hosta shoots would get stomped on... Enough! Out I go.