Back from the garden tour...
I'm back from the garden tour with my head full of rhododendrons and azaleas. And lush green gardens, with decent rainfall, and no wind - neatly trimmed edges, freshly mown lawns, smiling hostesses serving yummy afternoon teas...
Iris and Pansy
Thursday 1st November
Hang on - the smiling hostess is also the gardener! Well, that's the theory. Cynical question - how many smiling hostesses actually had heaps of help with all the weeding, trimming, digging and mowing? Cos they tend not to let on - phrases like 'so I went ahead and bought the (two acre) paddock and just started gardening it'. Hmm...
A Moosey Rhododendron
Anyway, I had a great time with the Garden Club. The trip had something for everyone, with shopping stops kept to a minimum - phew! I've walked around some inspiring gardens, and now am happy to include Dunedin as a favoured holiday destination. And I now know that there are sixteen different types of hairy undersides of rhododendron leaves! Ha!
Arriving home last night to my wind-blown, dry, 'lush-less' garden was - interesting. I had a large sulking moment, put on the hoses and raked the house lawn, watered the patio pots and sternly told myself off. Get over it and on with it, I said, as tired tears of frustration threatened to flow. I am to run my hoses continuously for the next three days hours, do all my edges, and I'll feel better - there, there!
So today I swim, I pick up Rusty the dog, and then - my garden had better look out! The gardens of the Dunedin Rhododendron Festival have set a rather high standard, and the Moosey Garden can jolly well shape up. Hmm... How many bales of pea-straw could I cram into the boot of my little car?
Later today (between shifting hoses) I'll start deciphering my scribbles and see if I can write anything interesting about the trip. Warning - I didn't copy down very many plant names!
And another warning - there's a long list of things that I haven't got in my garden and now want. Some are fanciful, like rhododendrons big enough to walk under, while others are possible - for example, I liked the plantings of perennial geraniums underneath the rhododendrons in some of the open gardens.
Scene from Herewaka Gardens
I've worked in the Pond Paddock while watering the Driveway Garden. But these hoses are far away from the water source and the spray is quite weak - not something I can justly complain to NGP (Non-Gardening Partner) about. I asked about running the big irrigation and didn't get very far - 'Your garden can't be all that dry - it rained two weeks ago' was the reply. Hmm...
I've trimmed the Pond garden edges and pulled out all purple Honesty which has finished flowering. The variegated white can stay longer. I've also tried to clean up the lawns. Tomorrow I'm moving a rhododendron and planting the last of my Cerinthe. And I've cleared around the base of the trees, where I'll plant some pansies. This is a good cosmetic trick I've learned from my recent open garden visiting.
New Rhododendron Knowledge
With my new rhododendron knowledge I am wishing that I knew the breeding of all my nameless bargain bin plants. For example, a hybrid of the species R. yakusimanum can tolerate a wide variety of weather conditions without sulking. And such is my beautiful Percy Wiseman! Though I may never get to walk underneath him - these compact hybrids are good choices if I want smaller shrubs.
Olveston Garden Parterre
Friday 2nd November
With my brand new edge shears I have been - you guessed - doing the edges! My plan was to do absolutely all of them at one go, and then rake up the mess without bending. However I have come inside for refreshments - it's hot, and I got bored. I'm a third of the way around.
Visit to Ilam Gardens
Earlier this morning I went to the Ilam Gardens where the Head Gardener showed me around. What a brilliant tour! This is the garden where the famous Ilam Hybrid deciduous Azaleas were bred. My head is full of flames - well, I mean flame colours. I have certainly had a rhododendron week!
Now the Moosey Garden needs to be spruced up to the standard of these open gardens I've been visiting. This is my goal, which I'm afraid will require NGP to remow all the lawns. Meanwhile I will plant out my next big batch of annuals - they will all go near border edges, and I will weed as I plant.
It takes a certain gardening personality to attend to small, cute little details, but all the female rhododendron festival gardeners did this. There's more to it than putting little pots by the woodland path and cramming succulents into an old shoe. I seem to have missed the boat...
Maybe their NGPs take a more active role - perhaps they do the edges and rake all the paths for the gardener. She can then flitter around all day pulling out the odd weed and being creative. Hmm... With this thought I am returning to the garden to continue my edge marathon. The hoses, too, need shifting along.