Vegetable seeds and seedlings...

 Two kittens growing up in the garden.
Histeria and Percy

Right. It's the end of October a mid-spring month in my garden, and my vegetable seeds and seedlings are still not planted. My lettuces are busting out of their containers, desperate for soil and space.

Saturday 27th October

Today I absolutely have to get back to being a proper gardener. This last week was too windy, resulting in me sulking on the patio, under the Wisteria, doing cryptic crosswords and reading.

Then B-Puss was sick, much sadness, vet visits... We had the small burial ceremony yesterday in the orchard, attended by the three kittens and Fluff-Fluff - no dogs or chooks allowed.

Back to the Garden

Today I am ready to return in body, mind, and spirit. Already the animal entourage has helped me feed the hens (Rusty the dog desperate to bail up the hen house rabbit). I have a short choir practice and then I will plant that vegetable garden! Freedom for lettuces! And my one solo courgette plant. Tomatoes - you, too, will be installed, staked and tied up. And I promise this year to water you properly.

 Still looking great on the house patio.
Wisteria Still Flowering

More spring roses are blooming. Agnes the yellow rugosa is the latest - mind you, those rugosas are very, very sneaky! It's like a slow-motion competition - here are the placegetters in the spring Rose race for 2007:

The yellow Banksia will be next - in my friend's suburban garden it's already fully flowering. And back to Agnes - what a beautifully understated rose she is. Such a soft yellow, and she never minds if she's pruned or not. She doesn't need an audience - or the rose sprayer - to perform.


My goodness, I hope that vegetables aren't in tune with the feelings of their gardener. I simply haven't been 'in the mood' and my carrots, beans, lettuce plants and tomato plants have been plonked in, indifferently and thoughtlessly. Possibly an inauspicious beginning... But it's done, and my ginger gardening cats provided good company.

 An Ilam hybrid, bred in Christchurch.
Azalea in Flower

However my chooks have been banished to the chicken run after 'jumping' the fence twice. I understand they are driven by the wind to shelter on the garden-side of the hedge. But they scratch up my mulched paths and eat my annuals.

Odd Rhododendrons

Some of the Willow Tree rhododendrons are odd. Two large shrubs are deep brick red (a stunning colour) when in bud, then they open to be wishy-washy beige-yellow - the colour of old cooked potatoes. Maybe this put them into the bargain bin in the first place? Hmm... They were snow damaged last winter, giving them a ground-cover aspect, and some of the open flowers have been frost-burnt.

 Name unknown.
Cream Rhododendron

Others are OK - tropical fruit salad, proper yellow, proper pastel pink and cream. Naturally any rhododendron with the word 'blue' in its name is a pale, see-through lilac colour. And maybe it just happens in my garden, but these mid-season blues rarely have very many flowers.

Oops - it sounds like I'm grumping and being ungrateful. Sorry. Penance is required - at least an hour of solid watering, weeding and raking, to be followed by the taking of rhododendron photographs. Time to accentuate the positive - what a delightful shade of old cooked potato!

 By my patio table.
Bookcase Pots

Sunday 28th October

It's my last day to get my garden and my pots organised for October. Tomorrow I zoom off on a bus with the Garden Club to visit the Dunedin Rhododendron Festival. I'm away for three whole days! Eek - hope no more tree branches fall down while I'm gone.


I feel rather guilty about my vegetable-indifference. Today I will be better! And I should apologise to my own rhododendrons. Look - you don't all have to bloom yourselves silly each and every season. Take a break, just be yourselves, wear your own colours with pride, and give what you can.

You put up with late frosts, flattening snow storms, and rotten equinox gales, not to mention lack of water and decent food. Some of you have been shifted at least three times, and finally, when you're at snugly at rest, the Head Gardener goes and chops down your sheltering Willow Tree.


I've been a champion weeder and planter of annuals. The chook-proof fence is finally completed - no more dust baths in my expensive wood-shavings path mulch. No more chook-poop on my paths. And B-Puss's memorial tree is in - it's an Eddie's White Wonder dogwood. Dear B-Puss - I will always cherish my wonderful giggly memories of you. You were definitely a 'white wonder'.

Tomorrow I'll be boarding the Garden Club bus at seven in the morning. Wish me luck!