A successful winter gardener celebrates!

I love my garden, and my new, strong attitude to winter-gardening. I'm sure lots of lovely new plants and trees would make brilliant rewards for this good winter-gardening behaviour.

Friday 4th July

Happy Fourth of July! And Happy Birthday to Son-In-Law of Moosey, who is on a slow ship in the Arctic seas with a batch of Russian scientists. He will be spending his summer working in the Canadian Arctic.

Today I would normally be in the city having morning tea with my seaside gardening friend. Since I am not, I have four extra hours in which to garden. Yippee! What shall I do first? I'll finish spreading the horse manure in the trailer, I think, then - if I'm feeling really deserving - I'll go back to yesterday's nursery and buy the following plants and trees. Oooo - a plant list! This is sooooo exciting, after the manure, weeds and paths lists of late.

Plants I Will Buy

1. A Magnolia Stellata for the driveway.
Simple. I had one. It died. I miss it.
2. A creamy Camellia for the driveway.
Simple. There's a gap.
3. Three orange deciduous Azaleas.
Simple. The books always say to plant in odd numbers.
4. A Cercis Forest Pansy tree
Simple. The Shrubbery needs a small specimen tree.

Anyway, I need all the above to balance my New Zealand native plantings. My garden purchasing of late has tended towards the budget hebe, pittosporum, and flax brigade.

 Gunnera and flaxes.
Garden by Car Bridge

Early Afternoon...

It's getting colder and greyer outside. Blast! My radio talks about an 'extreme weather event' destined to hit Canterbury. But I am not deterred. I've spread the manure, finished the new Gunnera and flax planting by Car Bridge, and now I'm off to the nursery. Then I will spend the afternoon planting my new shrubs and trees. Back later.

Late Afternoon...

The best laid plans of greedy gardeners can go wrong - the nursery was closed! Oh well, it gives me time to moderate my plant spending. In the meantime I've found another gap, the perfect reason for the purchase of a new creamy-pink rhododendron.

The nursery also has those fat-leafed cordylines that I like - both the plain green, and green with a reddish toned back. I had one in a patio pot once and it - ahem - didn't last very long. Oops. I think I've just spent twice as much - so much for moderation!

Right. The log-burner is lit, it's dark outside, and all my cats (tummies full of fresh pet meat) are inside. The dog is snoozing on his fireside chair. Let winter throw at us what it may - we're ready! I'm off to burble some Bach and Brahms on the piano.

 Stumpy the grey has chosen hers.
Cat Baskets Ready

Saturday 5th July

So - it is supposed to 'snow to sea level' and be 'heavy above 200 meters'. This leaves the land of plants, flaxes, shrubs and trees known as Mooseys Country Garden in a bit of a dither - we are 100 meters above sea level. So will our snow be half-heavy or half-light?

I'd like to point out that this hard working garden has already had snow this winter, with the Head Gardener dancing around like the Gore-Tex fairy with a divining stick, knocking snow off flaxes and Pittosporums.

Another thought - if it does snow soon, I'll have all the time in the world to write up my winter journal, but - alas - nothing much to write about! Hmm... If only I'd been able to buy those special new plants yesterday...

Rhododendron Thoughts

My late flowering rhododendrons seem to get exhausted by the heat, and their flowers don't last. Early flowering ones can get spoilt by frosted buds. Hmm... Budget thoughts - I wonder how big a cash float I could winkle out of Non-Gardening Partner? This nursery only takes real money...

 Just starting to cover a pink toned flax hybrid.
Aargh! Snow!

Later, Snowing...

Absolutely, perfectly wonderful timing! I've just spent four of the most focussed hours ever known in the history of winter gardening. The southerly wind roared over my head, but I was working in the gardens directly off-wind of the shelter belt. Yippee for Leyland hedges! Sorry if I've offended any semi-suburban British gardeners.

Cordyline Sundance :
This beautiful cordyline deserves another chance - in the real garden this time, not in a pot.

And sorry about the obsession with winter weather reports, but a few flurries of snow ended my gardening session perfectly - at lunchtime. By this time I'd bought AND planted my new special shrubs - the rhododendron 'Unique', a white Camellia, three deciduous orange and yellow Azaleas, some cheap pots of striped Acorus, and the cordyline, variety 'Sundance'. Same as yesterday's list!

What Else?

What else? I've also trimmed a Phormium Tenax and planted the pieces along the neighbouring fence-line. Six barrowfuls of rotted horse manure have been lovingly shovelled around, from the second pile by the driveway. And I've built up the edge of the rose garden by Willow Bridge with more stones. And what else? I'm sorry, but I've got more to say!

 Head Gardener and Rusty in the snow.
Good Dog

My first garden park bench sits underneath a limbed-up Pittosporum in the Dog-Path Garden, looking over the water race to the house back lawns and the Dog Kennel Garden. Finally I've organised the path which curves past this garden seat. It's an official dead-end, and I've planted those Azaleas on the path edge. Ha! So now I have an Azalea seat.

Pink and Orange

Oops - bright orange spring Azalea flowers underneath a taller baby-pink shrub and the Cercis Forest Pansy tree with deep pink blossom? Shades (hee hee) of that famous garden at Great Dixter...

And then, after all that industrious gardening, it did start to snow properly... Forget the flurries - now that I'm inside, warm and dry, it's seriously snowing, and there's no point in denial. It's snowing again! Blast! Please don't settle too much!

 My All Black flag is on Rusty's dog kennel.
Go the All Blacks!

And please don't snow on the rugby (the All Blacks play South Africa tonight). I'm off outside with the dog to tap my shrubs and flaxes before it gets too dark.