A frosts-and-firewood sort of month...

 A favourite shrub.
WInter Flowering Hebe

The merry month of May is almost finished. It has definitely been a frosts-and-firewood sort of month - OK for short day-adventures, but nothing more expansive. Brr...

Thursday 29th May

All yesterday I went walking on the peninsula - along the cliffs and down to a dramatic lunch spot at the Lyttleton Harbour heads. Botanical report - wild parsley grows on the cliff faces, with a fleshy blue-green succulent, clumps of flowering Gazanias, and just the occasional gorse bush. Weather report - perfect!

Today I plan a whole day at home. I'll be scratching in the garden, dog-cycling, buying and planting more Pittosporums and flaxes for the Shrubbery, playing my beautifully tuned piano (Brahms is the musical soup-of-the-day), and then - when the evening shadows fall, along with the air temperature - burning my dry rubbish, collecting up my garden tools, organising my firewood, and...

 I'll be planting some flaxes in the shrubbery, too.
Green Flax Leaves

But that's a long way off! This morning is moderately frosty. Funny how my most expansive wintry gardening plans germinate when I'm snug in bed, peeping at the white grass outside. Mind-digging and mind-weeding - instant success! Shrubbery extensions are quickly cleared, ready for planting, in the blink of a sleepy eye.

 I keep needing more - and more - and still more...
Gardener with Stones


Aargh! It's too cold to linger for lunch on my rustic garden bench, so I've retreated inside to check in and warm up. My dog and I have being 'doing' things together all morning - getting stones from the river, splitting firewood, and cycling. There's probably one more outdoor hour left in me. Back soon.

Needed - More Stones!

It's later, it's colder, and I've finished. My rubbish is burnt and I've used up all the stones. But I still need more, like the song that never ends... It's fun creating things with stones - I'd like to try building something substantial like a stone look-out (a belvedere?) some day. Ha! Now there's yet another grand gardening idea.

Friday 30th May

I've had a brilliant day. The star of the gardening show has been my new Shrubbery, or specifically the extension thereof. First I planned quite a long path route, to lead through the existing screening shrubs (mainly Pittosporums and Viburnums), and on down to the front paddock. Then I made a barrier wall of large pine tree rounds - wilderness and mess was allowed only on the other side, towards the road. Then I planted a row of Pittosporums in front of the barrier, and a trio of fat-leafed green Cordylines in the cultivated garden.

I am so pleased with the path. Rather than dotting my shrubs here there and everywhere I have created some nice garden shapes, and a path with a purpose. Shrubs like Choisya Sundance will be planted near the path edge. This area of land is near the house and has never ever before been gardened - that's quite exciting, too, after fourteen years.

 With summer perennials.
Choisya Sundance in Summer

It was noisy work - three squealing cats played a rather rough game of chasing, and Rusty the dog cleared the airspace of marauding pigeons. Now I'm inside, clean and warm, and feeling quite superwomanish. I can even split firewood.

Saturday 31st May

Good morning to Percy the ginger gardening cat, the most energetic of yesterday's chasers. The first cup of hot tea on a cold and frosty morning, a warm purring cat who knows how to balance properly on a garden blogger's lap - just magic. Percy is growing up into a gentle ginger giant. Mugsy, my disabled half-size cat, has taken to leaning side-on and biting the back of Percy's neck. He, who could further disable little Mugsy one-pawed, plays along and simply bows his head. Dear Percy!

 All wound up ready to spring.
On High Alert - Percy the Cat

This morning I want to lay out the Shrubbery path properly with stone edges, before I continue planting. It's a good mulching morning, too - using up all my newspaper and leaves. The sludgy heap of fallen Wisteria foliage, blocking the entrance to the house, could be whisked away. There are leaves to rake up in the driveway, too.

Fresh Start for Shrubs

I'm a compulsive recycler, so I'm on a scouting mission to find any unhappy moveable plants in other garden areas (or stuck in pots). Shrubs who feel like a fresh start can indicate this strongly by visibly drooping or leaning over as I pass. Desperate shrubs could try tripping me up.

Red Flax :
Flaxes are notorious for reverting, losing their stripes, or just growing wrong. But not this red flax, I'm pleased to say.

There's also a red flax by the water race I want to clone. It's big and beautifully formed with a graceful 'weep', deep claret in colour - perfect parenting genes, as far as flaxes go. After a snow storm one winter (aargh!) it was severely flattened and had to be cut down. There should be some pieces of regrowth that I can slice off easily.

Right. Oh my goodness! There are two heavy power poles sitting on the trailer in town, the supports for my new water race bridge. I have heaps of big gardening to do today, but first - a car journey.

 Well, the two supporting poles have.
The Bridge Has Arrived

Much Later...

Oh dear. I sort of got sidetracked from the Shrubbery. But the power poles are ready, sitting in the back of the trailer, and I've shifted roses and weeded where the bridge will 'land'. This is most exciting stuff. I ended the day warmed by my burning heap.