From molto adagio to allegro con brio...
It still feels like spring. I love spring, but now the tempo of the garden will be speeding up. Eek! From molto adagio to allegro con brio in a matter of weeks? I must be sensible and make time to notice absolutely everything.
Spring Blossom in the Island Bed
Thursday 26th August
Yesterday I went hiking in the mountains, a brilliant trip in the Horowhai Tussocklands, with the Moosey legs striding out almost manfully. Today I plan a leisurely sort of day. The pheasant is in the house gardens, honking like a party hooter (thankfully there is only one of him). I am about to spoil his party by appearing with my wheelbarrow and dog.
Garden Gnome Graham
New Hybrid Tea Roses
I have a car full of six hybrid tea roses to plant. Great excitement, for this summer I am going to meet Ingrid Bergman (well, two of her) and the locally bred Ivey Hall. I must choose the best possible planting places.
And A New Gnome
My newest garden gnome has the kindest face - he looks all gooey and benign. A naming ceremony, I think, and then he can join the others by the pond. It's nice to have an industrious gnome (he is holding a garden spade). He's called Graham, in honour of my small pink early flowering rhododendron.
Now I'm going to get a hot coffee and just wander around. There are shafts of sunlight peeping through the Hump trees - I'll take my camera, check my Camellias, and generally celebrate the fact that I'm here (lucky, lucky me). Still here, con anima, andante ma non troppo, with the ability to accelerando poco a poco and throw in the unexpected sforzando (I'm doing a lot of piano playing at the moment, hence the musical language).
Much, Much Later, Meno Mosso...
Hee hee. The gardening iPod has ensured I've had a longer gardening day than expected. And Hurray for Rachmaninoff. Forget gardening to prissy, measured Mozart (a tablespoon of weeding balanced by 2 teaspoons of raking, etc.) or the so-called mind-expanding Vivaldi. Rachmaninoff's piano concerti are perfect, their over-the-top lushness matching my over-flowing garden borders, and they give me heart.
Would Rachmaninoff get uptight about a Hebe which needed trimming back? Not on your life! Though I did 'uncover' that cute little patch of blue Dutch crocuses...
Symphonic Garden Gestures
And so, empowered with all this silly music, I have made some grandly symphonic gardening gestures. I've enlarged the Dog-Kennel Garden, dug out yet more (more!) coarse green Carex grasses, and carefully planted all my new roses by the water race. The Gunnera has hopefully played its last movement (I've planted the final crowns in the mud downstream of Rooster Bridge).
Rusty the dog and I had lunch again on the verandah of Pond Cottage as the spring sunshine poured down on us. Life and the seasons - just wonderful. It's even worth having a winter. Now we're off for a walk down the road. I love my dog.
Friday 27th August
Right. I've played some groovy music with my flute friend, and we had a late morning tea on the verandah of Pond Cottage. So now - what to do? What should I do first? Change? One obviously does not play chamber music in gardening clothes. I could wander elegantly around the garden with my camera saying hello to new spring flowers. Hmm...
More Carex Grasses!
Much, Much Later...
'Should I just flit around for the rest of the day, or should I choose one thing and do it properly?' I asked Rusty the dog. He didn't really have an answer, so I did a bit of both - typical! First a barrowful of odd prunings etc. (with the emphasis on the etc.) from the Shrubbery, then off into the Glass-House Garden to further clear out carexes and get the path and the garden border sorted. Rusty stood on duty in the (cold) water race, just in case any greenery should escape, and I dug and pulled and pulled and dug and said some rude words.
But now it does look much improved, and the flowing water is visible. Alas! This means I can see a whole forest of green carexes over the other side. Aargh! Thank you, garden, just when I think I must have dug them all out... Anyway, I've burnt my rubbish and now I'm going to find a comfy seat and do some brainy reading.
Five Minutes Later...
Blast. I was all keen to read some mathematics (functional analysis) but it's way too hard and I can't remember anything relevant. So it's back to the mental custard of Agatha Christie... And I do not want (or need) to dig out any more Agapanthus from other peoples' gardens, do I? No. I am tired of digging. I have enough Agapanthus. QED.
Saturday 28th August
Eek - in a moment of daft perversity I've made a bid to buy and dig up forty roses, varieties unknown, in an online plant auction. Forty! Why do I do this to myself? Now I am crossing my fingers that some other foolish gardener takes the bait and bids over me. I should have stuck to Agapanthus.
What am I going to do first in the garden? I'm going to finish yesterday's Glass-House Garden clean-up. And then I will bravely shovel out the remaining green carexes from the Hen House Garden. It's surreal - I keep on finding them. But this time I just may have to stand in the water which is ski-season cold - aargh! And Non-Gardening (and non-skiing) Partner has promised to do the lawns as well as start the interior wall lining of Pond Cottage. Yippee!
I've just been digging out carex grasses. I keep finding more and more of them - this is definitely a gardening nightmare. I guess I've just popped them in everywhere over the years, then forgotten about them. I promise that I will never, ever do this sort of lazy planting again. Anyway, the garden by the water (and the very first dog-path) is now clear, and hopefully I haven't dug out and burnt too much of my iris confusa clumps. I couldn't tell whose roots were whose, and there were also lots of weedy think-leafed grasses, all mixed up.
It's so simple. The lawns are mowed and suddenly - pouff! My early spring garden borders look a thousand percent tidier, better, more colourful, more interesting, more well-designed and planted... There are many more daffodils flowering now. The white Camellia by the Sleep-Out has its first blooms, and in the Wattle Woods the early red rhododendron Kaponga is looking very blousy and fierce. Little pink Graham (he's a rhododendron too) is being his usual subtle self, and it's time to trim down the Miscanthus.
And I have great news - I am hiring garden help for two long mornings next week (one of my 'oldish chook' friends is fund-raising for a trip). She will put pea straw on the borders and spread path mulch - while I'll probably find yet more coarse carexes to dig out. Aargh! Surely not. Please, please, please...