Terribly exciting news - my mail order bulbs and grasses have arrived - with a long enough delay to have thoroughly forgotten what I ordered. Hee hee! And tomorrow the best of all Easter Nursery sales starts. It's the best because it usually has the best bargains...

 Aargh! One of the symbols of autumn...
Autumn Crocus Flowers

Thursday 20th March

In my mail order box I have some ruby coloured Eucomis and some Pennisetum grasses, which are usually outlawed and banned in New Zealand. These are from a reputable nursery and therefore must be OK - right? They might not enjoy the winter frosts, though. I have some bags of special daffodils, and I see that I've even ordered bright red tulip bulbs! Brr... Mail-order symbols of the autumn garden - colder temperatures, less light, lower sun...

 Beautiful blues.
Autumn Asters

Autumn Warmth

Today has been such a beautifully warm autumn day - I've spent a dreamy three hours weeding in the water race, helped by Rusty the dog. He grabs any escaped weeds which float away from me - together we are doing our bit to keep the down-stream water race clear and free of vegetation. Time for an embarrassed 'oops', though. I have a lot more Gunnera growing than I did four years ago (I've just been checking old photographs). Mature clumps in full-leaf make the water race quite impassable, and there are more new seedlings doing oh so well!

I've collected two more wheelbarrowfuls of stones and balanced them on the top of the new wall. I've enjoyed a coffee and a book-reading session on the Pond Paddock garden bench. Now it's almost time for the evening BBQ - we are having venison and gourmet salads. But Daughter of Moosey, my resident cook, is becoming bossy. She wouldn't let me stop and fill my car with horse manure this morning. Apparently I have to use up the three bags sitting in the sun by her sleep-out door first. How unreasonable!

And tomorrow I visit the great Easter nursery sale, where hundreds of worthy plants are waiting in the bargain bin to be rescued. Such anticipation...

Easter Good Friday - March 21st

Oh boy - what a gardening day! I've been to the nursery twice, I've also loaded up the car with horse manure, and I've planted the new garden. Here goes - five gold variegated Corokias, a cute little white flowering Hebe, two Australians - a Grevillea and a Prostanthera, two New Zealand flaxes, a golden leafed Escallonia, two Nandinas, an upright Rosemary, two trailing Rosemaries, four Pittosporums for the fence-line behind the rugosa roses, a green Astelia... and my own additions from behind the glasshouse - Bergenias, green ornamental grasses, a fat-leafed red Cordyline, Dianthus to spill over the stone edge, dwarf Agapanthus, wallflowers...

Cordyline Albertii :
The first ever Cordyline Albertii I bought cost me fifty dollars! Fifty dollars!

And my best bargain? A beautifully large cream and green striped Cordyline, no holes, no dead leaves, no planter bag - for three dollars. The nursery called it 'unknown Cordyline' but it looks exactly like Cordyline Albertii which I've paid lots for in the past.

I've put it in a pot on the soon-to-be-paved new courtyard. I'm going to fill up some of the edge spaces with some of the new daffodils.

Saturday 22nd March

First thing I'm going to sneak back to the nursery - just in case they've replenished the bargain bin - and check out the horse manure pile. Then I plan to have a slow day, with no grumping allowed. There's lots of garden that I haven't visited since I've been wall-fixated, and no doubt I'll find lots of weedy and trimmy work to do.


Another great bargain day - two waist high, healthy Pittosporums called 'Mountain Green' (nice name) and four more trailing Rosemaries, and some white-flowering pelargoniums in fat pots for fifty cents each. The new irrigation pipe is installed, the shrubbery has six more bags of horse manure in it, and there's a pile of ash in the Hazelnut Orchard waiting for my wheelbarrow. I've sorted out the spring bulb positions, and I'm going to put the tulips in the fridge. They are labelled - hopefully my resident vegetarian cook won't slice them into a stir-fry.

 The blue pots are Rosemary plants.
Courtyard Behind the Stone Wall

I've cleared the fence-line by the Wattle Woods stream, and my rubbish pile is ready to go up in smoke. And there are encouraging noises coming from the garage - hammering, electric drilling, sawing... Yippee! The first rustic garden bench is underway.

Sunday 23rd March

Thoughts on how to get a Non-Gardening Partner to construct a rustic garden bench in approximately two hours. It's easy! One groans in a subtle way, then asks in a small voice politely that the NGP, if he doesn't have anything else to do, could help cart and carry rubbish to the burning heap (or other suitable location). The key phrase is 'if he doesn't have anything else to do'. NGP wants to appear helpful, so frantically tries to think of a more appealing late afternoon task than hugging mounds of rose prunings and the like.

If he has a garden project like making rustic garden benches 'on the go', he will leap at the chance. Quietly pottering in the garage or workshop and talking to the dog sure beats wheeling and carting and raking and carrying nasty things! And he can escape easily in the car with the dog - to get more screws, for example - if the Head Gardener seems at all dissatisfied.

One Garden Bench is Finished!

So eight more barrowfuls of gum tree rubbish have been wheeled from the fence-line and burnt. And simultaneously the garden bench, the first of a matching pair, is finished! Yippee!

 Very nice...
The Rustic Garden Bench

Late yesterday I did some speed weeding behind the Willow tree stump. This garden puzzles me - its roses were looking beautiful, after months of being passably moderate. And the standard Blushing Pink Icebergs were flowering in all directions, not just pointing away from the path like they did in early summer. It feels quite personal when ones roses avoid eye contact, so naturally I like this garden again.

 This looks more serious than moulting!
Headless Chook?

Sprouting and Moulting...

The Willow tree stump has sprouted madly, and looks like the stump head of a giant having an extremely bad-hair day. There were (past tense) a few weeds - particularly clover, some nasty fleshy annuals with scary little berries, and the green weed I call 'fat hen'. Ha! None of my real hens are looking 'fat'. It's the moulting season, rooster has no tail feathers, and the black and white Plymouth Rocks are shedding in an oddly asymmetric fashion. All in all it's not a healthy look, and one of my Henworld statues has been broken...

Right. Today will be a quieter, more leisurely garden day. I am not going to the nursery - yesterday I bought a brand new ten dollar hand-scratcher, put it carefully in the wheelbarrow, and almost immediately tipped it on the blazing fire. Aargh!