That finishing feeling...

It's such a good feeling finishing something in the garden. It's not a feeling that I'm over-familiar with though... I must treat myself and finish my cosmetic house garden tidy-up.

Monday 25th January

The Septic Tank Garden is the most disappointing, flower-wise, so it can get my pretty Lobelia annuals. I've got some stones to finish the extension of the stone wall, and some mulch to build up the soil around the old fashioned roses there. And I promise to weed the edge of the Hump and plant some Pelargoniums along it. Here they will survive the winter frosts we get, so they can be considered permanent fixtures. That's a good idea.

But first of all Rusty the dog and I are going for a walk to discuss the middle third of the Hump Garden (a disgrace), and the lifting of the fire ban at midnight. I won't be dancing around the bonfire in the wee small hours, but I could have a trailer-load of Hump mess ready for burning tomorrow. Rusty likes snuffling around in the Hump, and Histeria the cat can practice her extreme tree-climbing (I can't watch - my feet go all tingly).

 Such a good listener...
Rusty the Dog on His Chair

Right. We are back, the gardening day is organised, and I've had breakfast. How does that song go again? 'Why are we waaaaaaiting? Why are we waaaaaaiting?'

Tuesday 26th January

Right. Eek! It's already the afternoon, so I'd better get out there and do some work. I had such fun yesterday - my trailer-load of rubbish is ready for burning, and as I cleared in the Hump I built yet another little path. I found an old compost heap which had composted, so this got spread around up to the path edge. Suddenly, from nothing, another small part of the Hump looks wonderful. And some general words of encouragement for the Hump - Son of Moosey's friend calls it my 'Fairy Garden'. That's a great honour!

 Doesn't it look magical!
Garden Bench by the Hump

Today I have the idea to do a circuit - cart a load of mulch to the Shrubbery and return to the bonfire with a load of burning rubbish. I'll keep this up for as long as I can (wheeling heavy loads around usually gets me grumpy). But first my patio gardens need a quick trim and weed. Easy peasy!

 My gardening dog.
Rusty Dog on the House Lawn


I weeded etc. for a couple of hours. I took my afternoon tea break in the garden, snacking on peas, thinking about the problems of seriously growing my own food. And imagine taking seeds, tubers, etc. to a totally new country without even knowing if the climate would be suitable to grow them. Storage of vegetables over winter would also become a very necessary skill.

 Dear cat! Fluff-Fluff loves gardening.
Cat in the Shrubbery Mulch

Ornamentally, I've always gardened in a temperate place. Hmmm... I do wonder how I'd get on being a sub-tropical two-seasons gardener. I'd have to learn all about palm trees...

Two Hours Burning

Oh dear. I didn't feel like burning. But I did - for two more hot hours, with Fluff-Fluff my superb gardening cat. Whoosh! Up in smoke went all yesterday's mess, and six more barrowfuls. But I didn't do any circuits. The trouble is that one needs quality time to look back at the end of the gardening day, feel proud, that sort of thing. If one comes in from gardening totally exhausted it's no fun...

Nature News

Some nice nature news. I was on my way to the burning heap and stopped to do some speed weeding in the Dog-Kennel Garden, where my bathtub full of tree frog tadpoles is. I met a tiny brown tree frog (the size of my thumbnail) - he/she was trying to hide under a stone. So my tadpoles do get organised - phew! I was worried that they just stayed into their bath, grew their back legs, and then tried to eat each other.

Wednesday 27th January

I've been in the mountains all day on a glorious hike through bush to a 'depression' underneath a shaly peak called 'Leith Hill'. We New Zealanders are so tough that we call mountains hills, by the way.

Lilli Puss :
Lilli-Puss has been a worry for a while now. I guess like my cats (and teenagers) to at least come home for a meal once a day, and tell me where they're going!

Now I'm home, I'm clean, and I'm concerned. Lilli my timid grey cat has been AWOL for three whole days. Rusty the dog (who has a good nose for cats) and I have been on a couple of calling searches down the back. Just now we've checked the front paddock - again, no luck. Now we are off to the Hen House and we'll walk along that boundary fence.

Teaching Work! Aargh!

And some terrible gardening news - I have to go in to work for the next two days, to be a remedial Maths teacher again. This doesn't mean I can spend what I earn on plants, either. Already one of the walking friends has promised me some patches of Solomon Seal. And another has mentioned some free hens - not that hens are plants...

 A glowing yellow rose.
Golden Tribute Rose

The Garden Club's visit has been confirmed, and it's in less than two weeks time. I need to make a sensible list - what exactly do I want to do before they come? And what can I get away with, remembering that they will be here at twilight... Here goes.

  1. All paths must be fully operational.
  2. All garden seats must be wiped and cleaned.
  3. The House Patios must be swept, tiles water-blasted clean, chairs and tables cleaned, and the front path weeded.
  4. The Vegetable Garden - aargh! This must be weeded, and the tomatoes watered and staked.

I'm so sorry, but there's more. Here's the second list.

Water Features.
Aargh! The pond must be beautiful. The whole of the water race must be weeded. And - eek! The waterwheel should be going around...
Rustic features
The Hen House needs a tidy-up, with pelargoniums planted in the concrete trough.
First Impressions
The Welcome and Driveway Gardens need to be weeded.

Then, just before I expire from gardening gloom, I need to look at the general Stuff. All lawns must be mowed, and edges neatly trimmed. If possible the fence-lines need to be cleared of rubbish, all of which should be burnt. And I haven't even mentioned the interior body of each of my gardens. Oh dear. It wasn't such a good idea making a list. Somehow dead-heading the dahlias doesn't seem quite so important now.

 A wonderful colour for a dahlia.
Cerise Dahlias

Thursday 28th January

I've been at work all day. But the gloom has gone - Lilli Puss is back, and I have a plan. She's had two huge meals over by the Stables (where she seems to base herself) and I'm going to set up a feeding station for her over here. She can become the Stables cat - that way I'll be fulfilling my pet-owner responsibilities, and I won't be forever checking under hedges for a sick (or dead) cat.

All I've managed to do gardenwise today is put on the hoses and water the patio pots. But affirmation - school teachers work so jolly hard, they are wonderful people, and (luckily) I only have to be one for two days. That's a huge relief - I am super tired. Only half a day tomorrow - yippee!