Easter weekend nursery sales...

 The start of the golden season.
Autumn Leaves

Easter's full moon is just splendid, spreading silver pools of night-light all over the autumn leaves on the lawns. But what about the drool-and-salivate Easter Nursery plant sales? For the first time in years I have been conspicuously absent...

Saturday 7th April

My right elbow is aching after slamming the spade furiously sideways into tree suckers yesterday. Do I learn from this? About time I did. I'm going for a therapeutic swim, an even more therapeutic morning tea with my friends, and then (hopefully) there will be chain-sawing. And I do not intend to pop in at the Nursery sale.

Much Later...

First let me tell you the perfect way to cope with Easter plant sales. One sadly declares oneself on the strictest of plant budgets - that is, zero dollars for anything new. It's so out of character that the Non-Gardening Partner feels very sympathetic, and kindly offers to help pay. This sets the scene.

 Possibly Abraham Darby?
Recycled Rose

Budget - Phase Two

Phase Two of the budget involves popping into the nursery walletless, and timidly asking for a cash float from the afore-mentioned (and generous) NGP. One accepts just one twenty dollar note, no more, and is careful to provide a little amount of change.

'Look how frugal I've been' one proudly crows in the car, pecking the NGP on the cheek several times to indicate how nice he has been. Warning - one's cover gets blown if Phase Two is repeated on the second day of the sale.

My Garden Is Full Enough

And that's exactly what I've done this Easter. I've been a one-day Easter Sale wonder. I do not need to go back for large numbers of four dollar Lavenders, or chirpy potted pelargoniums, or really anything. My garden is quite full enough, thank you.

Rose to Shift :
Pat Austin is definitely moving into a sunnier space - when I get around to it. She's a stunner!

And now, the chain-sawing. There I was, doing some relentless hands-and-knees weeding in the Pergola Garden, making plans to shift roses and dig out self-seeded Aquilegias. Then I heard the chain-saw starting up. My call to action!

Down came the trunk of the fruitless Kiwi fruit vine, and off we both went to attack the huge Tree Lucerne by the water in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden. A messy, nasty job, but it's down, with a sensible division of labour - I cut up all the smaller branches and pull them into piles, while NGP turns the big stuff into firewood logs.

 Aha! You can see the stump...
Spot the Tree Lucerne!

Just one branch of one rhododendron was smashed in the felling process. The garden now looks wonderful, and the fastigate Oak trees now have the airspace to be actually be fastigate.

Apres-Gardening Plans...

And now the apres-gardening plans. Possibly some Schumann piano playing, more likely some couch TV with a glass of wine. Or I could read some more of my book (by that groovy pink-faced British archaeologist Francis Pryor).

Sunday 8th April

Happy Easter! I'm up bright and early, and there's a huge tree mess to start clearing up. But I rather fancy doing some gentle, more womanly (?) gardening. So the plan is to ease into things slowly - sorting out the patio pots and sweeping the patio clear of fallen Wisteria leaves. My Chrysanthemums are about to have their day - or hopefully their few weeks!

 These grow in the Stables Garden.
Autumn Chrysanthemums

I am also going to take a tough-love line with my self-sown red dahlias. The end of the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden is a designated no-grow area. I'm not throwing them out, though - they can squash in with their friends further down. Right. It's time to start up the little incinerator and burn the patio leaves.

 Smiling at me...
Blue Skies...

Much, Much Later...

I've had a great day, though my progress has not been particularly visible. The strawberries, Astelias, and yellow patio Chrysanthemums are repotted. Gum leaves have been raked off the house lawns. My Iceberg roses are all planted, and all the tree rubbish is sorted into piles.

The shreddable branches have been shredded - it's so quick to reduce the mess to valuable mulch. Now I just have to pick up the logs and throw them by the Stables - next winter's firewood.

I'm not 'bonfiring' today. The sky is blue, the sun is warm - it's far too beautiful to create smoke.

Monday 9th April

Today's gardening plan is suitably vague. What and where is it? How big? And will the wind blow? Autumn 'bonfirists' need to check such things...

Ginger Percy :
Percy is Little Mac the new kitten's most favourite cat-uncle. He's so patient with the youngster.

Ginger Percy, normally so benign, has already tried to wrestle two of the other cats. Big Fluff-Fluff was simply not in that sort of mood, and indicated so loudly. Histeria (his sister) ran off down the driveway, shrieking indignantly. Percy employs the most innocent look for such situations: 'I didn't really doooooo anything...' After checking I wandered back into the kitchen to find my coffee has gone cold. That was quick! Such action, captured in lurid detail, to start my Easter Monday!

Late Lunchtime...

Rushing in to record how good I've been is rather self-indulgent, and there's another way of looking at this morning's work. How about an embarrassing private cringe that the gardens around the Pond Paddock have been so poorly maintained? Aargh! I've been pulling out disgraceful old grasses, trimming dreadfully messy Phormiums (dead flax leaves are not decorative), nipping down branches of the neglected apple tree, and weeding out ancient weed colonies, determined to remain positive.

 Ever cautious...
Minimus the Grey Cat

I only came in for a fortifying cup of coffee and to get the long-handled saw. Drooping tree branches beware! Two metre tall Hebes straining for the sun, you'd better prepare for a serious prune, too. This garden needs care and attention. This garden needs compost - and perhaps some new roses? Hmm... Now that feels better.

Much, Much Later...

The Hebes are drastically pruned, as are the smaller trees. I've scraped up lots of dry rubbish from the garden surface, dug out grasses, wheeled in compost, and left the hoses on. And yes, things do look much, much better. See - I'm positively positive. Young Minimus provided very squeaky cat company, alternately hiding in the garden and lolling on the cottage verandah chairs.

One of the rhododendrons, the dark pink mid-season one, is misbehaving (possibly in a fungal sense), with branches dying off. But there's definitely some room for more shade shrubs. Oooooo, goody. But I'm not tempted by that nursery sale - I'm sticking to my budget!

The afternoon sun has been just gorgeous. In fact, the whole of the Easter weekend has been glorious, weatherwise. The only thing I didn't do was fire up that alarmingly large bonfire. I just didn't fancy spoiling my blue sky (and clean hair) with smoke.