Great weather and wonderful adventures...

So far April has been full of great weather and wonderful adventures. After being away hiking, it's only taken me a week to get most of the garden looking good again. Hmm... Better not look too closely!

 Off to the hen house - the ivy on these stone steps has been cleared.
Cordyline Vista

Monday 21st April

The garden areas which I've recently weeded and trimmed and cleaned up are those on my daily route to the hen house. It's such a pleasure to fit through the hedge and then wander through well maintained borders. Another garden area I absolutely love looking out at is the new shrubbery behind the stone wall. I am so glad I made that wall!

Better not expect a long list of accomplishments for today - it's been my official day off. I've been playing the piano, swimming, and reminiscing over morning coffee about the Cape Campbell Walkway trip. My friend says she only came with me to 'shut me up'... Am I that annoying? Oops. But now she thinks she'll try some more 'boutique hiking'. This is good news!

Much Mulch Needed

I picked up more horse manure on the way home, and I have a serious need of mulch - pea straw would be easiest. There's rotting hay a million miles down the back paddock, but I'm too lazy to get it myself.

Oh Dear! Poor Thing!

The bales are round and oh so heavy and scratchy to handle. I have to pull them to pieces and load bits on my wheelbarrow and then open and shut about five sticky gates. It hurts my hands and then half of the hay falls off en route. And then I get the sneezes, and the whole process takes about 20 minutes and the mulch covers about two square metres. Oh dear, dear, dear! Poor thing!

My waterwheel is still slopping around in the water like an object possessed. I checked the wriggling stream today, cleaned out some gum tree leaves, and made some plans for a muddy-bottom weeding session - tomorrow.

 With the most beautiful stripes on their leaves.

We almost had a frost last night. My big pots of basil are drooping, the canna lilies by the house look a little 'touched', and the oversized white dahlias on the back fence suddenly look terrible. but there are still some beautiful roses about and yet more autumn leaves to admire - I'm so glad I discovered (and can grow) Dogwood trees.

 Such great late bloomers.
Flower Carpet Roses

Funny to imagine friends in the northern hemisphere getting all springy - it's such a basic global gardening concept, but I always find the difference quite amazing. Particularly when I'm not feeling analytical.

Tuesday 22nd April

Eek! Some visitors are coming this afternoon to look at the waterwheel. They will expect to see it revolving, and the little stream it feeds wriggling contentedly through the casually informal (but weed-free) greenery of the Wattle Woods.

The wheel has claimed (I think) its first casualty - a hand-sized fish. It's not uncommon to see troutlings in the water race, and occasionally they'll lurch down the pipe which feeds the irrigation pond. Well, it's possible that this little fish was scooped up in one of the waterwheel's buckets. But not enough depth in the stream to keep it alive. Hmm...


I am such a legend today! I've finished the (slightly cosmetic) clearing of the Pond Paddock, I've scraped heaps of weeds off the little Wattle Woods path which ducks behind the glass-house, I've transplanted lots of little ornamental grass and tussock seedlings, I've cleaned out the wriggling stream bed - and yes, the waterwheel is going. I removed the tiniest twiggiest branch from underneath, and it has rewarded me by zooming around molto allegro. There is minor flooding, but how beautifully the gardens alongside the stream have been weeded!

 A pretty variegated variety.
Autumn Liriope Flower

Oh dear. A friend came to pick up some excess firewood, and we sat in the breakfast chairs to admire the new stone wall. But - it definitely wasn't big enough! I fancy that the whole retaining wall needs to move towards the house by at least one metre. Blast. Just when I think that a piece of garden is finished... I am swapping firewood for some of her rotted horse manure (mixed with untreated sawdust). Nice! Now - quickly - before the waterwheel visitors turn up I should shower and change and look elegant in clean jeans. Perhaps a white flowering linen shirt... Aargh! I am too late! A car has just arrived. Blast again!

 From the Waimakariri River.

Later, Dusk...

Ha! After my second visitors I decided to act upon the moving of the stone wall and the enlarging of the shrubbery. I've done it. The base is now placed in its new position - I'll finish in-filling and building up the stones tomorrow. I'll need to shift a few plantings further towards the edge, too.

Well Done, Waterwheel!

I must say that the waterwheel behaved for the visitors, and the Wattle Woods stream looked absolutely lovely, attendant grasses shining in the afternoon autumn sun. What a successful, encouraging, sociable gardening day!

Wednesday 23rd April

Today is easy. I'm not going walking, I'm finishing the stone wall. It's the third time I've tinkered with it, and hopefully it will be the last. A stone wall is an incredibly strong visual feature in a flat garden, and has to look good from all angles - approaching along the driveway lawn, as well as viewing from the downstairs and upstairs of the house. Thus my tinkering is justified.

I'll need more stones and more compost, and I would like some cat company. This morning Fluff-Fluff is behaving oddly (too tired to get off the chair for breakfast) - hope he is OK. Advance warning - stone wall building makes for extremely boring writing.

Later, Dusk...

Yes. Definitely yes. The stone wall is now finished. Finished for the last time. The curve is perfect, the height is perfect, and the aspect from all viewpoints is perfect. A trailer load of compost (or similar) is needed to fill in the gaps in the soil, before some serious mulching. Oops - the shrubbery expanded this afternoon - just a tiny bit, back into the Hump. Nothing serious - I've just removing the grass, and collecting up old cones and firewood from the now deceased pine tree. Some of my flaxes in buckets can go in here immediately.

 The company of a good dog!
Good Dog Company

I've had brilliant dog company all day. Rusty and I started our day at the river getting stones, and have ended it by cycling madly down the road and back again. I have finally plucked up the nerve - please don't laugh - to engage third gear.

Chair-Snoozing Cat Tendencies

Autumn obviously brings out the chair-snoozing tendencies of my cats - not one has been near me in the garden today. But they all love me now, though - it's near food time, and the wood burner with its circle of cat baskets is lit. Histeria is sitting behind me warming my back, Percy is on my lap, and Fluff-Fluff is in his cardboard box by the computer.