Summer sunshine and scrappy flowers...

 Rusty the dog staring over the gardens.
Too Wet for Dog Gardening

Summer sunshine and scrappy, tired flowers - it's an in-between time in my garden, and every day more gum tree bark blows down onto beds and lawns. Why do I put up with my gum trees? So unsuitable, yet I love them...

Monday 4th February

It's raining - yippee! Lovely wet dog smell in the house, water for the garden and pots, raindrops on roses - a great excuse for lazy old cats like Mugsy to disgrace themselves in the house (she's afraid of the rain, and the wind, and walking on wet grass). A great day for piano playing and book reading and writing a list entitled 'Trouble Spots in My Garden'.

For example, the Driveway Garden needs a replanting makeover. With my Monday morning lack of imagination I'm thinking hebes for a greener, shrubbier look. The scrappy self-sown aquilegias, pansies, and sad budget roses are just awful, as is the soil. Daylilies in here have been particularly hopeless. Hmm...

For another example, the large plum tree with small yellow plums completely overpowers my washing line and the yellow Banksia rose. What a pity I don't use the chain-saw. He who does, Non-Gardening Partner, says this is not the time of year to fell large parts of an unwanted plum tree. But I have other ideas. Hmm - how much saw-stamina do I have?

 The Hazelnut Orchard
Rain is Needed

Right. I am off gymming and swimming. I may not do much real gardening today, but I have lots to plan and plot for. I think it should just keep on raining - the gardens and paddocks need water.

Tuesday 5th February

I'm going to do some more work on the Wattle Woods stream, that new Moosey water feature fed by the brand new Moosey waterwheel. Thoughts - edge plantings, nearby garden plantings, possibly widening... The curves of the stream create garden shapes which give the Wattle Woods much interest. Ha - garden seats! Definitely something to think about. Or maybe a woman-sized tree-house, with a rustic balcony, where a tired gardener can rest and enjoy? Explanation - I've just returned from the local library with a basketful of gardening books, including one on - ahem - building tree houses.

 These are starting to grow well in the Wattle Woods.
Acanthus Flowering

Feet back on the ground, I think. I need to get into my gardening clothes, grab lunch and a hot coffee, and take myself off into the Wattle Woods to soak up the ambience. I am bound to get good cat company - the next-door paddock hosts many ducks, pukekos, and smaller scavenger birds. Oops.

Much Later...

Success! I've planted little pockets of Renga Renga and a large red-toned flax, widened the stream bed, widened the path alongside, and started to reorganise the compost and general rubbish on the fence-line. Now I'm waiting for the new stainless steel buckets to be attached to the waterwheel and the water to start flowing again.

Go, Gertrude Jekyll!

And my gardening books are absolutely wonderful. I've just read about wine estates and gardens in the Napa Valley, California, and I have enough lady-gardener quotes to fill a whole page! Like the 'gardener' who 'does not garden herself, but considers the garden her soul'... Hmm... And I never realised how quotable Gertrude Jekyll is - prepare for a barrage of her wise-woman words.

Thursday 7th February

Yesterday we went walking in Arthur's Pass, up the Minga river valley. Over the weekend hundreds of fit athletes will bounce down the track that we trudged slowly along, as part of the Coast-to-Coast adventure race. It's a beautiful river when the flow is low - this hike has multiple wet-knees river crossings. And wet-unmentionables if one wobbles too much on the slippery rocks! Not me - I am a well-balanced woman - even if I grow too many roses...

 Honorine de Brabant
Striped Pink Rose

Today I have a really good plan for gardening which will be implemented after swimming and gymming. And before I go off to a cricket match in town this evening. My goodness - what a whirlwind day for a happy retiree!

Rough Tough Shrub Rescue

The gardening plan involves rescuing some rough tough shrubs (mainly pittosporums) at the back of the Welcome Garden, beyond the spray-reach of the irrigation. Some are sulking, some are struggling, and a couple have - oops - died. Armed with several welcoming buckets of water, sad shrubs will be replanted in the Wattle Woods near the new stream. Yippee! Good common sense and a new life for the shrubs concerned. I'll clear out a couple of composting heaps by the fence-line - some pittosporums might like to be planted here, to provide fence-line shelter from the nor-easterly wind and the neighbour's rubbish heap. After all, it was that wise-woman Gertrude Jekyll who said, and I quote:

There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare, or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight.

Oops. I realise that it's not modern, PC thinking to consider that 'arid' is undesirable, or that land is there to be 'tamed'.


I'm back. Before I start ripping out shrubs willy-nilly, I need to think about the replanting of the Wattle Woods - please bear with me as I state the obvious. The fence-line path is for dumping compostable and burning rubbish. Access cannot be blocked. If I was totally organised, which I possibly could be, I would sort all the fence-line rubbish into just two heaps and erect fences. Ha! Thus I am taming the ground along the fence-line.

 I like the red roses which bloom at this time.
Weeded Rose Garden

Next-door's paddock offers a scruffy, yet rural 'borrowed view' - the best ambience is at the very top where my (my?) water race burbles through. Pittosporums are excellent shrub-trees for screening out the unwanted. Concentrating them in one place and trio-planting would be better than spreading them out. But I quite like being able to peep into next-door's paddock to see what the pukekos (bright blue New Zealand wading birds) are up to. Hmm...

To write any more would be to procrastinate. I choose 'beauty and delight' (thanks, Miss Jekyll, see above) and I'm going gardening!