Walking on the wild side?

Three days before I go 'walking on the wild side' - to Cape Campbell, on the East Coast of the South Island, New Zealand. I will probably come back wanting a tussock garden and a lighthouse...

Monday 7th April

Nature does themed gardens so well - like the beautiful Hebe rockeries in the mountains, and the swathes and drifts of flaxes, and the little meandering streams which look like totally natural water features - because they are...

 Such warm colours for autumn and winter in the garden.
Healthy Red Flax

Today I am going to finish digging the shrubbery extension, and shift in some ailing flaxes. Three reddish hybrids in the Welcome Garden have lost half their leaves and are looking hopeless. They're out of range of the irrigation and my little sneaky hoses, and I refuse to carry buckets of water to them. Tough love, in the watery sense.

 She is turning into a bit of a bully...
Tiger on a Post

I'll be away from my garden for five days! Five autumn days - hmm... A lot can grow (and perish?) in five days. I need to get fish food for the tadpoles, raw meat for the cats, and layer pellets for the chooks (who are laying 0.2 of an egg per day, on average).

Pets and Pea-Straw

I will write a list for Non-Gardening Partner, who is in charge of pets and buying pea-straw for mulch. And irrigation. If he gets bored he can make a start on the second rustic recycled garden bench, which will sit at right angles to the first in the new courtyard - my first wee garden room! Hee hee...

Back Yard Adventures

I've been reading about a lot of other people's adventures lately, initially feeling half-inspired and half-envious of them. But I've moved on! Smaller-scale adventuring in ones own back yard is just as challenging and enjoyable as cycling madly across, for example, China. And somehow it feels more valid, even if it's a softer option - in line with environmental trends to limit the carbon footprint, eat local produce, and so on. Ha!

So I guess there will be no Moosey Grand Global Tours this year - a pity, because that means I'll be resident during the deepest winter months, when trees blow down and the cats get lazy about toilets in the wet outside. Aargh! I'm going to try and have one home-grown New Zealand adventure per month outside my garden.

 Rusty by the stone wall.
Gardening Dog

Right now I need to stop rambling on and get the real day started - gym, swim, then cycle (not to China, alas, but past the Observatory to Stackhouse Road) with Rusty the dog, then sort these silly flaxes out. Done. Easy, simple, no messing around, no airports, no money. Dog-company - just brilliant.


Ha - patchy drizzle.So I'm going to do some Albeniz piano practice before dealing to the flaxes. The house is humming - Daughter of Moosey is busy dehydrating bananas for the walking trip. She is coming too, as my personal cook. She says that people who try and eat local food are called 'locavores', and I would have to give up sugar (no problem), bananas (aargh!) and coffee (eek!) should I wish to be one.

Mid Afternoon...

I've finished the digging and have decided to fortify and build up the soil before any random flax planting. The soil should come first, anyway, and what's up there is almost pure sand - an old sand dune from the Waimakariri River flood plain.

 Waiting for organic matter.
The Final Piece of Garden

Tuesday 8th April

I haven't done anything yet - I've been sitting in my kitchen listening to bananas dehydrating, wondering what to do first. When in doubt, take the dog for a cycle ride and discuss the day's plans with him.

I need more horse manure, and I need more compost. I am always peeping out the house windows at the stone wall and new garden - I think it needs just a bit more curvature. Oh dear - when will the stone wall actually be finished?

 My newest rose, planted in the shrubbery.
Blush Noisette Rose

More Roses?

And the Blush Noisette roses are lovely - they're flowering now, and I could easily plant a couple more. Stop right there - must remember to check how big they get.

Today my Garden Club is having a demonstration on plant propagation. Typically I've decided that I know it all and don't need to go. So how about my 25% success rate vegetatively cloning penstemons? We'll just pop that one under the bench in the glass-house...

Wednesday 9th April - Goodbye to House and Garden

Today's the day we travel up to Marlborough by car, staying the night in an old homestead at the beginning of our walk. I've sort of packed (which means I've written a list and got my sleeping bag out). Having travelled through Europe for four weeks wearing the same blue shirt, with everything in a day pack, I am an experienced packing minimalist. But I'll be adding my little hiking thermos and blackcurrant tea bags.

So it's goodbye to the house, garden and animals, and hello to five days munching dehydrated bananas - yum! I hope Percy the cat behaves while I'm away. Last might he was a bored, juvenile cat-prat - leaping out upon his two sister cats to rumble and wrestle them. And I hope my tadpoles eat their fish-food and not each other, while I'm gone!

Ooops - I need to spread and cover the latest bags of horse manure on the new garden before I go. It's not good gardening practice to wander off for five days leaving bags of fresh manure on a house patio.