More Spring Delights
My Crab-Apples and Apple trees are now spring-blossoming. The local plant nurseries are full of beautifully bright flowering Azaleas. My garden has so many gaps which are just the perfect size for a splash of Azalea colour...
Wednesday 10th October
OK. I've just returned from visiting not one but three nurseries, and not a single plant to show for it! No new seed packets, no new gardening gloves - which I actually could do with. It's funny how gardeners can sometimes be budget-stubborn! I was really looking for some lazy instant colour patches, hence the checking out of ankle-high Azaleas.
Garden Club Outing
Yesterday I went off for the day with the Garden Club, visiting four spring gardens. It was a lovely day out, with the usual mental turmoil - in the middle of the lunch garden all I wanted to do was race home and get back into my own. I think my sudden need for colour patches has sprung from the first garden visited - a town-house with a rockery, small planting details, alpines, with lots of clumps and mounds of vibrant colour.
Here in the real world of country gardening there is a huge fallen pine tree to continue cleaning up. NGP (Non-Gardening Partner) and I have a system - I clean the side branches and remove all this mess, exposing the big stuff, which NGP chain-saws into logs. Then I clean up the logs. This division of labour seems fairly fair - well, it's certainly in proportion to the amount of 'free' time each of us has. And I don't want to learn to use the chain-saw - my pianist's fingers shudder at the thought. But I reckon NGP's part is the more satisfying!
So off outside I go. The bellbird will chime his beautiful song high overhead, the cats will run along the fallen branches (this tree climbing lark is easy peasy!), and Rusty the dog will poke around and chase off any intruder pigeons.
My three white sheep boys, freshly shorn, will hang around over the fence munching pine needles - George the wether, fat Fred, and Charles the merino ram. Such country charm! If I'm not careful I will get my hair and clothes covered in sticky pine gum - not so charming!
Hmmm... I had zero cat company. Mind you, cats aren't stupid - not that I'm implying that Rusty the dog is. He has faithfully kept me company in the rain for over an hour.
My chooks are stupid, though - loud raucous screeching as two hens desperate to lay managed to get themselves on the wrong side of the chicken run. Rooster wasn't helping - 'encouraging them' to spirit themselves through the wire netting to his side. So I've locked them all in - they may have a non-free-range afternoon, but at least they'll be stressless. And eggless. Cats are so much more intelligent.
Lazy Bed Cats
I'm sorry to give up so quickly, but I just got too wet. I've thrown all the logs sawn yesterday evening into a huge pile, and trimmed some longer branches. More tomorrow... Hmm...
Thursday 11th October
It's been gently raining all day, but not enough to silence the birds. I've just been peeping at a brilliant Scottish blog which has nesting-box webcams. Wow! A huge thank you to Shirl for saying hello. Why don't I ever do anything like this? I can remember how thrilled I was in North America, where backyard gardens all had feeding stations for the visiting birds.
I wonder if my bellbird would like some sort of nectar feeder? Are New Zealand country folk just too busy cleaning sheep's bottoms and the like? We tend to provide native plants for our native birds and then do nothing more. And I've embarrassingly chosen to fill my garden with prowling felines and a pigeon-hating dog. Aargh! However I do provide good food for the hundreds of introduced sparrows, starling, blackbirds and finches who hang out in the trees by my hen house. Hmm...
Today on my wet walk to feed my bored, semi-free-range chooks, I spied the following:
- The first proper blue iris flower.
- The weeping silver pear tree in blossom.
- The trillium - a boring off-white one, but still there!
- The red maple trees in full leaf.
Yippee and blast! I'm off to do some more pine tree cleaning up. Just an hour in the drizzle, where I shall rake and wheelbarrow the rubbish energetically and collect the fallen pine cones before I trip over any.
Red Maple in Leaf
Friday 12th October
Today I am going to work harder and smarter. NGP has promised to spend his weekend chain-sawing, shredding, and finishing the chook-proof fence. I have promised him to have the piles of pine tree branches ready. The shredder can just blow the chippings into the Hump garden. I will also do some weeding with my sturdy hand scratcher, sorting out the Wattle Woods paths. In a hurry, I didn't lay weed suppressant on some before shovelling and spreading path mulch. Naturally there are some beautiful, healthy, green patches shining through the wood shavings. Foolish, shallow woman!
Blue Ajuga, Purple Leaves
And my glass-house needs me - yet more seedlings are ready to go outside to be hardened off. It's almost time for safely planting my lettuces, cornflowers, etc. in the garden. I will rotate these three tasks - say forty minutes on each, before moving briskly on. The gardening day will swirl and loop before my eyes! Right. What am I waiting for?
So far so good, but trimming and hauling the pine tree branches has sapped (hee hee) my energy. So I will take about an hour off for lunch. Ha! I'm sure I can twitter on in this journal for one hour. Now let's see - what is there to say?+5
Fluff-Fluff, F for Faithful and Fluffy, has been my only gardening cat. Rusty the dog, with much barking, has removed two tormentor-pigeons from the big gum. I've found some disgraceful weeds in the Island Bed - running grass whose roots are all caught up in the Alstroemeria, and heaps of lilac phlox which I destroyed - yes I did! - not so long ago.
The House Lawn
There is general house consensus - little Lilli-Puss the grey kitten is a Stumpy cat look-alike, a built-in replacement when - ahem - dear Stumpy (seventeen years old and quite arthritic) is finally stumped. Tiger cat will then breathe easier in her snoozing chair - Stumpy finds superfeline strength at least once a week to chase her up the stairs and out the window. What has Tiger ever done? She is round, sweet natured, and quite un-territorial.
Right. I have managed to twitter for fifteen minutes - this is quite enough! I'm off for phase two of the Big Gardening Day Out. Hello glass-house! Hello eighty lettuce seedlings!
I did it! I worked on rotation without getting bored or brassed off, and I even planted out some of my Cerinthe seedlings, en masse, in the Apple Tree Garden.