A new project...

I need a project with which to surprise Non-Gardening Partner, who is going to Canada for a few weeks. Once before he did this, and I built a substantial stone retaining wall in his absence. When he arrived home and saw it he seemed to be a little underwhelmed. Maybe I went on and on about it a little too much - three hundred and eighty stones, twenty five bags of compost, thirty barrow loads of in-fill, and so on.

Path into the New Garden

Thursday 6th July

I've been trying to think of a similar creation, a noticeable improvement, a new feature, visually appealing and so on. Small, grim thought - I could just clean up the Orchard hedge trimmings completely. Grrr. This is so not creative! But nothing springs to mind. It appears that I have absolutely everything I need, garden-wise. This is a good thing, yes?

Yeay! So I asked NGP, on the way to the airport. He mentioned the hedge trimmings in the orchard (lightly, with a silly grin on his face). And then - lift-off! He thought I could create a rhododendron garden in the back of the Shrubbery (not that he named the location correctly - NGP doesn't know the names of my garden areas). He must have been in there and seen the grassy weeds? He reminded me that the irrigation reaches this garden, and he had the row of gum trees felled to let in dappled sunlight. I must have nagged him about that. Hmm.

So here's the plan. Today I make a start. Well, actually, I take a look. I have a think. I run through the issues - how to weed the area efficiently, are the paths workable as natural routes, which overhanging tree branches need trimming, and so on. I also need to define the extent of the development, and think about some serious mulching.

But now - a load of washing to put on, and the dog park. We (Winnie and I) need our morning exercise (and our social life).

 Little Macs Memorial tree.
Winter blossom

Later, After Swimming...

Winnie and I have inspected the garden area in question. The 'bones' of the garden area are rather nice. Shrubs (Pseudopanax, Hebes, Pittosporums, Aralias) are starting to fill out. Masses of gum leaves and bark need raking out, and of course the weeds need sorting out. The paths are messy, edged with wood logs - river stones are required. This is looming rather ominously as a large garden clean-up, rather than a 'new project'. And so - typical - I am rather putting off committing to it!

And Dusk...

I have made a start. The entry path now has stone edges (Winnie and I went to the river to scavenge for them). Looks sooooooo much better!I only cleared one barrowful of mess out. Not much, but a start. Decided not to burn anything. Having a bonfire rest.

Friday 7th July

Random winter morning thought - there's just enough coldness to wake up the brain, but not so much that the outdoors is scary, off-limits. I wrap my woolly shawl around my shoulders, sit by the log-burner sipping tea, and smile. It's 8am, one degree Celsius, and the sun (yeay for the sun!) is just up. The little birdies on the patio are busy eating apple, 'syruppy' peaches, lard, and seeds - a balanced winter diet? Hope so.

Tiger :
Tiger is our senior cat - a tortoiseshell with a swinging cat-belly.

Tiger the cat (old, stiff, and slow) has hopefully done what she needs to do outside in the garden - time to let her back in. Perfect! Soon Winnie and I are off for a forest walk, then her fortnightly weigh-in at the vet. And another random thought. I'm looking forward to my 'Back of the Shrubbery' project. Sometimes - just sometimes - it's rather nice to have someone else tell me what to do. I will deny ever saying this!


My friend and I have forested with our dogs, coffee-ed, and then Winnie and I picked up another load of river stones on the way back home. Now let the hard work (AKA fun) begin. But first a deeply meaningful message from black cat Buster : '9-0njmmmmmm'. She also wanted to move my folder of singing files into the recycle bin. Eek! She doesn't like my voice? More likely she is peeved with me for encouraging Winnie to pinch her latest mouse and - ahem - swallow it. Oops.


The bonfire is gurgling and it's getting cold and dark. I've had a great day, though, and my 'new project' is going well. The entry path looks much better, and is wider. I've raked out a lot more mess, and am almost ready to start on the weed removal. This may well turn into weed killing, because therein grows a creepy grass which is impossible to dig out. This is all for another day. And naturally I've wheeled three loads of small, scrappy hedge trimmings out of the orchard to add to the bonfire. Every little helps with this clean-up. So things 'out there' at dusk are a bit smoky.

 This is getting boring...
Bonfire Day Fourteen

Aargh! I've left my camera hanging on the pergola. And the orchard gate open (the ram and four ewes are in there somewhere). Oops, oops, oops.

 Flowering now!
Prunus subhirtella

Saturday 8th July

Aha! An early morning idea, quickly recorded, before it floats away. Shift the miniature Agapanthus clumps out from the back of the Shrubbery. There's enough Vinca now growing there to cover their area (and them, poor plants) with trailing greenery. Plant them at the side of the house, to curve along the edge of the stone paving path. This will be a neat, cherished look (like a little box hedge but neatly floppy, much nicer). And they'll flower mid-summer. Yeay!

Winnie and I have been for a road walk, and now I'm off to meet my friends for morning tea. Then I have firewood logs to organise, the bonfire to contemplate, and more clearing in my designated garden area. Can I call this a make-over? Almost, I reckon!

Much, Much Later...

Another great day's work. Best not mention the bonfire, which is still gurgling. I dug out the Agapanthus, and started making a space for them by the house. But lots of seedling yellow annual daisies and cornflowers were in the way, and I want to replant these carefully. Saves me having to sow seeds in spring! These are tasks for tomorrow.

By the way, the Prunus subhirtella trees are in blossom! Their flowers are the palest pink, not the fluffiest of blossom, but still absolutely gorgeous to see. Yeay! Mid-winter is past, and spring is out there somewhere, imminent.