Birthday rhododendrons and gnomes...

It's Daughter of Moosey's birthday today, and she's thousands of miles away in Nepal. I'm getting her two fat rhododendron shrubs for a present - I have the perfect semi-shaded spot on the edge of the Pond Paddock.

And there's a second, really exciting present - six retro concrete garden gnomes! When I've painted on their new birthday clothes they can hang out together in a Birthday Tableau by the rhododendron.

 Happy birthday!
Birthday Garden Gnomes

Monday 26th March

Phew - the perfect solution to my personal gnome problem. You see, I am on a no-gnomes-allowed money budget, and yesterday I succumbed dreadfully to temptation and bought some. Now, since they have been designated as birthday presents, I will get away with it! Hee hee... Love you very much, Daughter of Moosey. Happy birthday. And aren't you lucky!

 Flowering again in the house border.
Autumn Daylily

Much Later...

The whole afternoon has been dedicated to The Birthday. I've bought two nursery sale rhododendrons, name unknown (I felt sorry for them, being anonymous), colour apricotty-pinky-cream. I've painted the gnomes. Not so successfully - the orange pants and waistcoats looked decidedly dodgy, so I repainted them a less dodgy turquoise blue. Haven't touched up their beards and faces yet, though. Suitably shabby chic? And why does orange look silly on a garden gnome anyway? On second thoughts turquoise looks just as daft.

Tuesday 27th March

Continuing my own proud-mother celebrations of Daughter of Moosey's birthday this morning, the rhododendrons are to be planted near the Septic Tank, in the space vacated by the large white dahlias. I also have to divide and shift a patch of variegated Scrophularia. Small thought - I hope DOM doesn't think my gifts are too self-centred...

Anyway, the rhododendrons were Non-Gardening Partner's idea. He was making the connection with the great rhododendron forests in the Himalayas, near where Daughter of Moosey is at the moment. Nice thought? Nice, I reckon. I'd love to see rhododendrons in their own real mountains. I imagine they would look really happy.

 The Golden Elm is changing colour.
Autumn in the Frisbee Lawn

Right. High time I was outside doing some serious gardening. It's a beautiful autumn day. The shadows are longer and the sun is lower, but it's warm, with the bluest sky and no wind. Back soon.


Oh dear - the cricket. We (New Zealand) are not doing well. And ditto the garden. Suddenly it all seems disgracefully scruffy, weedy, and dry. Nothing looks very inspiring. But I've planted the Birthday Rhododendrons.

Cannas :
The Canna lilies in this border are red Tropicanna and green and yellow Bengal Tiger - those are the New Zealand nursery names.

I've got the hoses on the striped Canna lilies by the house, and I've weeded one tiny border. I must be in a picky sort of mood - on a similar day I'd probably wander around beaming at everything. So, when in doubt, do some more work: 'I shall not cease from mental fight, nor shall my spade sleep in my hand...' I'm not coming back inside until I've worked my hardest, done my very best, and achieved a list of things as long as my arm. Which I will proudly display in this journal (yawn).

Much later...

Right. A list of Septic Tank Garden achievements follows:

1. Magenta dahlias.
All have been pulled out, and are in pots.
2. Roses.
Superstar and Barcarolle are planted therein.
3. Miniature Blue Agapanthus.
Planted around the front edge of the garden.
4. Raspberry Daylilies.
Rescued from the strangling roots of Euphorbias, replanted in the sun.

The hoses are on, the rubbish is burning in my little incinerator, and I am clean and pink-faced in white cotton shirt and shorts (which are nicely loose, hee hee). Ha! It could be summer, if it wasn't for the roses. Their leaves are dreadfully tired-looking, while the flowers are absolutely beautiful - deeply saturated, in darker shades than normal.

 Usually a lighter colour, with pink overtones.
Paddy Stephens Rose in Autumn

I feel better about the cricket - we have hung on desperately for a draw. No shame in a draw! I feel so much better, too, about my garden, and my tough Colour Choices Policy seems to be working. Put it this way - no insipid lilac Cosmos is visible from the house.