Garden Journal 2023

Welcome, 2023, to my garden and my life in general. Please let your surprises be good ones. Please be full of good gardening, kindness, and moderation - not too much growth from all my lovely leafy trees, not too many extreme weather events, and so on. Here's hoping for lots of great gardening energy, and a garden journal that's positive, lively, and not too boring! And if you don't mind, some of 2024's journal pages will be listed here as well.

Happy New Year for 2023Happy New Year for 2023...
Happy New Year for 2023. Please be a good year! Last year I gave up on the rose I'd planted (years ago) for world peace. It looked dead, so I chopped all the canes down. Today, a tiny ray of sunshine - one short new stem with one flower. Yeay! When escaping into the garden one must never give up hope.
Easy as!Easy as!...
This summer holiday gardening lark is so easy. One puts on a long sleeved cotton shirt, grabs a sunhat, slops on sunscreen, and does two gardening sessions : first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon. Easy as. In between times, one plays the piano, works on the summer jigsaw, does some web-gardening, and re-reads Harry Potter...
Summer cricket... Summer cricket... ...
Have spent many of these last days listening to test match cricket commentaries on the radio - Australia playing South Africa in my daytime, then New Zealand playing Pakistan into the evening. Summer cricket! Yeay!
Tidy up that spiral!Tidy up that spiral!...
I love being a Facebook gardener, so to speak. A friend in Florida liked my brick Herb Spiral, and asked questions about its dimensions and plan (oops - I didn't really have one). She also asked me for tips - aha! The surest way to a gardener's heart - ask for advice!
Big, beautiful...Big, beautiful......
My garden looks beautiful. Things in the borders are getting bigger (Phormiums) and even bigger (trees). And when the space between them and me is a beautifully mown paddock-lawn, big is definitely beautiful.
Wild cats!Wild cats!...
Love my cats. Love looking after my cats. I'd like to think that they love me in return. Surely this is not too much to ask when I provide lovely food and good company?
Feature the features!Feature the features!...
As well as rambling paths, over-grown borders, and floppy dahlias, I have some interesting features in my garden : stone retaining walls, bridges, a Koru styled brick courtyard, a brick Herb Spiral, an ornamental pond and so on. I need to make features of these lovely features!
Picking up the pieces...Picking up the pieces......
What did I do yesterday? I picked pieces of gum tree bark off the gardens and lawns. What should I be doing today? Picking up pieces of gum tree bark, And tomorrow? Etc. Etc. Etc.
Flowers for the house...Flowers for the house......
What's the nicest garden activity to do first thing in the morning? Wander around picking flowers for the house. So many to choose from, though (alas) some of the mid-summer lovelies (like the Shasta daisies) are a bit stinky.
A lazy month?A lazy month?...
Goodbye January. You've been a rather lazy month - well, not exactly you, more so your Head Gardener and her Non-Gardening Partner (who has spent most of the new year on holiday). A month can't really have its own personality, I guess. But all is well, and your dahlias are gorgeous.
Somewhere...Somewhere......
Oh dear. There is a path in here - somewhere, in here... Have just been struggling to get through the shadier end of the Hump Garden. Some of the loveliest trees, like the Cercis, have put on unprecedented growth. What comes first - a tree or a path? The path might come first chronologically, but it moves when the tree grows too big.
Too hot...Too hot......
So February has arrived with a blast of hot, hot air, temperatures in the low thirties. Good jigsaw and book reading weather. Difficult to do much enjoyable gardening. Just too hot.
Good news...Good news......
Lots of good news. Firstly, the temperature last evening and this morning is slightly cooler. Only slightly, but phew! This is very timely, as my garden is so summer-scruffy. And I'm missing my cottage (it's been too hot to sleep in).
Not fair!Not fair!...
It's still too hot for me to be happy gardening, even first thing in the morning or after sundown. I am doomed (for now) to wander aimlessly around my garden in the shade, just looking. And seeing so much that needs doing! Not fair!
Two things...Two things......
If I could ask for one thing : please can I have cooler daytime temperatures? Oh - can I make that two things? Can I also please become re-energised and recharged, thus able to work tirelessly for long hours, recreating the serene, restful garden I used to have. These two requests are somewhat inter-related.
Remote...Remote......
All those pages with me moaning away about it being too hot to garden - am ashamed of myself, being so safe, well away from cyclone troubles and subsequent flooding up north. I've been rather remote from my garden these last few days...
Team Weather!Team Weather!...
Looking wistfully back over my last week, which has been dominated by the weather. We have been completely in unison. If the weather behaved, so did I. If not, me neither. Team Weather!
Looking backwards...Looking backwards......
So the first thing I have to do today is clean up last week's mess. Aargh! Such a sad, backwards-looking thing to do. Should clean my mess up at the time I make it, yes?
The longest list...The longest list......
I have just written the longest list of things that I need to do in the garden. When I say long I mean long! I divided the garden up into twenty distinct areas, with one page for each. I filled up every page with stuff to do! Then I collated and cross-checked everything and produced even more pages. Way over the gardening top!
More about the longest list...More about the longest list......
More about my huge list full of much needed garden improvements (twenty pages of detail, plus three collated master-lists) : plants to be shifted, plants to be potted up, new plants to buy, hee hee. I will be digging and shifting things for weeks.
My Great March Gardening ListMy Great March Gardening List...
Aha! Another great day spent working my way through my Great March Gardening List. Spent ages clearing the paths that lead from Rooster Bridge past the Camellias into the Wattle Woods. Love the spiky greenery in this part of my garden.
Swipe!Swipe!...
Good morning to Speckles my stray cat. We have just had early breakfast together, sitting on the cottage verandah. Lately Speckles has been behaving like an unsettled hybrid (striped Phormiums come to mind), showing a strong tendency to revert back to his hissy, wide-eyed, wild origins...
Back to the list!Back to the list!...
I promised my garden I would be really good and would take notice of my large, excruciatingly detailed March Gardening List. Shut my eyes and picked a page at random - the Hump Garden.
With maturity comes common sense...With maturity comes common sense......
No gardening today, because it's raining again. I love the rain, but I'm not going outside to garden in it. With maturity comes common sense, and patience (that's the theory anyway). My garden and I can both wait.
Back to the Hump Garden...Back to the Hump Garden......
Out I go, hot coffee, wheelbarrow, hand tools, rake, sunhat (even though it's a nearly-autumn sun). I am back working my way through the Hump Garden. This time I'll be starting at the house end, by the archway. Wonder how far I'll get?
Dogs, books, new roses...Dogs, books, new roses......
Can't believe what I've just said to my dogs, who have appeared for their first morning cuddle. Told them that I quite like their stinky-dog smell. It's a warm, living, soft, friendly smell. Crikey!
Floppy dahlia time...Floppy dahlia time......
It's floppy dahlia time again. But of course there are solutions : stake them, or build criss-cross bamboo fences, to stop them falling over paths etc. and being a nuisance. Dahlias in the middle of the border can easily just lean against something else. But of course they don't.
Nice and not so nice...Nice and not so nice......
I have big plans for today. They are nice and not so nice. One is stunning (a visit to a local rose nursery sale). Yeay! What a groovy reward this will be. I'll start off with something nice : taking the dogs around the orchard for a walk. Nice as long as Pebbles doesn't jump the fence and go into next door's paddock.
Help with the autumn clean-up?Help with the autumn clean-up?...
Would Non-Gardening Partner like to take a day off work to help me with the autumn garden clean-up? He could shred the Pittosporum branches. Don't want to put them on the bonfire - I'd much rather have mulch.
A is for April...A is for April......
Oh yes. A is for April, and April is definitely Autumn. Some colder, more snuggly nights. Merino clothing, woolly socks and slippers, collecting kindling and barrowing in firewood for the wood-burner.
Four things - four days...Four things - four days......
Four things to do - a list of four, random, and rather interesting things, a fringe list of garden tasks, if that makes sense. Item One is to carefully investigate a hole in the ground by Willow Bridge. Slimline buzzy things are flying in and out of it.
Autumn garden maintenance...Autumn garden maintenance......
The nursery down the road is open, even though it's supposed to close on Good Friday. And am I going down there to check out their sale? No! I don't need any new plants. I will repeat that. I don't need any new plants.
Buster and the bonfire...Buster and the bonfire......
Today has been a bonfiring day, with lots of dry mess, Cordyline leaves, gum tree branches, gum leaves, and so on - all needing to be burnt. Buster my elusive black cat has been spying on me - where ever I go, she goes. She watches the bonfire from high up on the top of the pergola. Silly, lovely cat.
Autumn leaves days...Autumn leaves days......
So many wonderful autumn leaves days. Such beautiful colours. Am very, very blessed. What a beautiful autumn garden I have! Yeay for me, planting all those deciduous trees, all those years ago...
II'm thankful - Part One...
Good morning. I am starting the morning by listing all the things I an thankful for. Good to do this first thing, while energy levels are high. And here's a thought - make another list in the evening and compare them, hee hee. So it all starts with my cottage (a life-long dream realised, harking back to the days when I first read The Famous Five books)...
II'm thankful - Part Two...
Here's Part Two of my 'I Am Thankful' blitherings. More? There's always more. And then some...
II'm thankful - Part Three...
Sorry about this, but I haven't quite finished. Continuing the theme of things I am thankful for, I'm going back to my cottage which started off these gushing ramblings. Last night there was a huge thunder storm. I am so thankful that my cottage didn't leak...
Spend that voucher!Spend that voucher!...
A rather fun day. We are going swimming, then having brunch, then off to the house-and-garden store. I have a voucher to spend, one which I've been saving for four months. A voucher! Yippee! I can get the new plants into the ground while it's still decently autumn.
More planting...More planting......
Twelve more new plants to plant, shouldn't take much time at all, right? Hmm. Almost certainly wrong! One minute to buy a plant, one hour to plant it properly in the garden? Sometimes it can take me this long!
Thinking ahead...Thinking ahead......
Getting ready for colder weather - collecting pine cones from the front paddock, stacking firewood by the back door. Thinking ahead for the house as well as the garden.
Roses in autumnRoses in autumn...
My goodness I love roses. They are obviously gorgeous in their main flowering season. But now, in middle to late autumn, there are isolated blooms on many of the rose shrubs. And some have saved their second flowering flush until now. So generous.
Mellow May...Mellow May......
OK. So the merry (or rather the mellow) month of May has sneaked into my garden and my life. The autumn colours are just wonderful. I love the softer mood of the garden, and the sense of relief in the plants and trees. Phew! Almost time for our winter snooze.
Five Step Plan...Five Step Plan......
Hmmm... How to get rid of Alstroemeria - the orange variety, super invasive, spreading all over the place, surplus to requirements. It arrived un-noticed, attached to some rose roots, ten years ago. Here is my five-step plan :
Remembering the naughty plants...Remembering the naughty plants......
It's so easy to remember the naughty, invasive plants that arrived unannounced, or were planted deliberately, innocently. And how embarrassing one's initial welcoming response was. For example, I really liked the orange Alstroemeria at first. Pretty colour!
Not impressed...Not impressed......
Am not impressed with this it's-nearly-winter moochy mood I'm in. So every day I must do something outdoorsy, even if it's frigidly cold or wet. Even if it's just walking the dogs. Only then I can give myself a tick for the day.
Winter at the gate...Winter at the gate......
Planting daffodils, digging out Alstroemeria, and buying merino wool socks - the story of my week! With rather talkative hips and knees joining in, oops. And winter at the gate, waiting to be let into the house and garden.
Sure signs...Sure signs......
The Phormiums look big and beautiful. The dahlias are suddenly ready to be cut down, and the Gunnera leaves have turned brown. And my wool socks parcel has arrived!
Little things...Little things......
Little things have a big impact. Like my new merino winter socks which I love. It's so easy to love socks. And the first of the winter-flowering Prunus blossom, the palest pink. So tiny, so insignificant, easily missed in a brown and green garden.
Yippee!Yippee!...
Yippee for Non-Gardening Partner! He has done some chain-sawing in the garden area where the Hump Garden meets the Shrubbery. He's deconstructed six or seven large scruffy Pittosporums, and a huge Ake Ake. It makes such a difference to this rather overgrown shrubby area - everything looks lighter, and much tidier. Ne can't see it, but I can.
What do do first?What do do first?...
Aargh! It's one of those 'What do do first? days. Sometimes when I take the dogs for their first walk around the garden I see SO MANY weeds and SO MUCH that needs doing. And I get back to the house and ask the obvious question...
Welcome to June...Welcome to June......
Welcome to June, the first official winter month, month of the shortest day and the first real frosts. The month when I get into the cold water race and start chopping back the Gunnera. Brr...
Tasks for NGP...Tasks for NGP......
So what would Non-Gardening Partner like to do first today? Continue chain-sawing self-seeded trees in the newly named Periwinkle Woods? Or dig out two semi-chunky unwanted rhododendrons from my friend's garden? They are going to fill up the spaces on one side of the Island Bed...
Brr...Brr......
Brr... It's a cold June day with intermittent drizzle, a bit bleak. The log-burner is going, so inside my house it's toasty warm. Outside it's not (it's seven degrees Celsius). Inside versus outside? Brr...
One path...One path......
One path to rule them all, one path to find them, One path to bring them all, and in the garden bind them; In the Shrubbery where the Periwinkle lies. With thanks (and apologies?) to J.R.R. Tolkein and the Lord of the Rings...
Fifteen years...Fifteen years......
Something to think about. Today I pointed at five scruffy self-sown Pittosporums in the back of the Shrubbery and Non-Gardening Partner chain-sawed them all down, taking him fifteen minutes to remove fifteen years of growth. Hmm...
The pleasure of my company...The pleasure of my company......
Good morning to my garden. Guess what? You can have the pleasure of my company all day. I have no other commitments. Yeay! I'd suggest you make the most of me. Rather than make huge plans, or write a heavy-minded list, I'm just going to go outside and float purposefully around, with my wheelbarrow full of garden tools...
Moochy morning time...Moochy morning time......
One thing about a winter's gardening day - it's often too cold to work outside before 11am. So early morning in winter is a moochy time, perfect for doing a sudoko or a crossword. Today I have done some clothes-washing, some singing practice on a quirky Josquin des Prez Mass, and am now having coffee...
The niggly hip and the dodgy kneeThe niggly hip and the dodgy knee...
Good morning. Today I am going swimming, to gently remind the niggly hip and dodgy knee who's the boss. ME! I go to chamber music (Handel is the composer de jour). And when I get back home I gently remind my garden who's the boss. First I rake the Pond Paddock...
What drizzle?What drizzle?...
Drizzle - what drizzle? It's the weekend, I don't have to do anything, and Non-Gardening Partner cannot go flying. Aha! I'm thinking shredding, shifting rhododendrons...
An exercise in moderation...An exercise in moderation......
I'm thinking that today could be another exercise in moderation garden day. It's a bit damp, perfect for scooping oak leaves on the Pond Paddock into bags. And I want to widen the Pond Paddock garden just a little. I'm allowed!
Catching up...Catching up......
I need one of those much needed catch-up gardening days - finishing off stuff in the Pond Paddock that I started some days ago. It's very soggy and damp out there, and I reckon I have two hours max before I get too wet and too cold.
An heirloom list?An heirloom list?...
So what's on my list for the refreshing of the Pond Paddock? I wrote items down on a piece of paper which got drenched in my gardening jeans pocket. It looks like an heirloom list, a historical scribble worth drying out and filing somewhere.
Damp and drizzly...Damp and drizzly......
Blast! Another damp and somewhat drizzly day, and I honestly was going to spend a lot of it gardening. I had visions of dryness, maybe some sun. Alas, not to be. For the record, this June has been very wet.
Morning coffee...Morning coffee......
Sitting on my patio table with my morning coffee. Yes! What a beautiful morning - no rain! Sunshine = happiness! I started writing down my plans on paper. A nice, old-fashioned thing to do, a lovely, positive thing, yes?
Spend my vouchers...Spend my vouchers......
Went off this morning planning to spend my vouchers on new plants. But it was too soon. The whole point of vouchers is to think, change one's mind, and think again. To get maximum enjoyment, voucher spending needs to be a long, drawn-out process, hee hee...
Collaborative lists...Collaborative lists......
Have discovered something profound. List writing is so much more fun when done together with another gardener, preferably a gently instinctive gardener who is not too bossy. For example, a lovely daughter!
Winter colours...Winter colours......
A rainy weekend, puddles in the driveway and the house lawns. The garden is very wet and wintry looking. But wait! The first Camellias are flowering. Those clever enough to be planted with frost shelter are just loving this weather. Such pretty reds and pinks in the middle of all the greens and browns.
Yet another list!Yet another list!...
Daughter, she who helps me write amazing lists, has returned. So I took her around the Hump Garden. We looked at the paths, talked about which plants needed shifting, and so on. And yes - I wrote yet another list. Surely lists are like roses - one can never have too many of them?
Treasures...Treasures......
I've had a wonderful couple of winter's days filled up with friends, music, and treasures. Mainly non-gardening ones, oops. Yesterday I had breakfast with a friend, then I found some old-school thick wooden animal jigsaws at the Op shop. Yeay! I love these.
Not a make-over?Not a make-over?...
My re-organising (am not calling it a make-over) of the Hump Garden continues. Have re-established the lower path past Rosa Woodsii. Strange rose. Suddenly last year lots of canes died. I thought species roses just went on and on for ever...
A good sulk...A good sulk......
Warning : some of the following content might be annoying for people who have little sympathy for sulkers...
Slow birds...Slow birds......
Morning coffee at the patio table watching the birdies feeding. Arrivals are very slow this year, with no big flocks of wax-eyes, and no metallic-sleek starlings as yet. But I have a blackbird by the pond who whistles the first three triplets of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Maybe not in C-sharp Minor, but very musical!
Re-defining myselfRe-defining myself...
Am sooooo embarrassed to have sulked in public. And to have broken the first rule of blogging, namely : never, ever write your journal when grumpy. Nobody wants to read about grumpy. Harden up, princess! Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don't mess with Mister In-Between...
Wet weather gardening legendWet weather gardening legend...
It started heavily raining yesterday afternoon. The rain continues to bucket down. But guess what? I am a wet weather gardening legend.
My Rain Plan...My Rain Plan......
So it keeps on raining. But I will not let the rain dictate what I do. I want to be in my garden. Sensible time limits and warm, light-weight, easily washed clothing are needed.
Being silly and random...Being silly and random......
Being silly and random can be heaps of fun, especially when one is gardening, or looking after cats. But it's not fun when one loses one's wallet...
Semi-Mature Winter GardenerSemi-Mature Winter Gardener...
Please allow me to introduce myself : Mary Moosey, Semi-Mature Winter Gardener, Lover of the Outdoors in the Cold and the Wet, Expert Thrower of Tennis Balls for Winnie the Dog. Hee hee.
Hello AugustHello August...
Hello, August, and Winnie, the best ever dog-company in the garden. But what a daft Day One - a warm norwest wind is blowing and it's a warm sixteen degrees Celsius. Hey, winter! What's up? Have you got the sulks? Not that I'm complaining...
A triumph?A triumph?...
My first August week has been a triumph. I've done lots of rose pruning, lots of Phormium trimming, lots of weeding. Lots. And I have all of August to get everything ready for spring. There are lots of days in August -I am feeling very optimistic!
Which Fred?Which Fred?...
Dear Fred. Dear other Fred. Two lovely big boy cats, turning into winter house cats, easily found hanging around near the house. And appearing in the garden when the sun's out. So which is which? Have to pat their heads to find out. At the moment Red Fred has the nickname 'Scab-Head Fred'. Wonder why?
Dear Tiger...Dear Tiger......
Almost three years ago one of my much loved cats, Tiger the Tortoiseshell, was buried in the Hump Garden, with spiky pink dahlias to one side of her, pink roses to the other, Miscanthus behind her, and pretty polyanthus flowers on top.
Sorry dogs...Sorry dogs......
Sorry dogs. I'm off out again today, can't be helped, am proof-reading some important university assignments, it's what I sometimes do instead of gardening and hanging out with you two. Apologetic woof...
Fun, fun, fun...Fun, fun, fun......
Oh yes. Definitely yes. Fun, fun, fun. Winter garden can be lots of fun. Especially in a big garden with a whole lot of different garden areas...
Fingers and brain...Fingers and brain......
Weeding and playing the piano are two wonderful work-outs for the fingers as well as the brain. Yes, one does have to think when weeding - otherwise all the pretty little self-seeded flowers would be pulled out and the nasty grasses left behind.
Blurred?Blurred?...
Why do gardening days sometimes get blurred? Because one often does exactly the same things each day. And gardening years? Yes, they get fairly blurred, too. Time plays sneaky tricks on gardeners.
Gardening and piano playing...Gardening and piano playing......
A wonderful week full of gardening and piano playing - the perfect balance. And am I slowly making progress slowly on both fronts? Yes. And thoroughly enjoying the challenge.
Small scale weeding...Small scale weeding......
It's time for removing small-scale weeds - the innocuous little tiddlers which hide away under proper plants. This is quite hard on the fingers. But out they must come, and I'm not a hoe-happy gardener, preferring to get down quite close to the dirt.
From me to me...From me to me......
Yippee! A box load of seedlings I ordered online has arrived. It is one of my advance birthday presents - from me to me. Decided to outsource some of my seedlings this year to save time.
My birthday week...My birthday week......
Am loving my birthday week. So far it has felt very balanced. I am working hard at everything, doing my best in the garden, trying to be kind to my hands and fingers. Am enjoying playing my piano.
Down come the trees...Down come the trees......
Woo hoo! The tree men are here, bright and early. They are bringing down a huge gum tree at the end of the Hump. I've shifted two Rhododendrons and three ornamental Phormiums out of their way.
THE day...THE day......
It's my actual birthday day - a most gorgeously warm spring day - and Non-Gardening Partner is taking the day off work to start clearing the Oak trees. Yeay! How old am I? My element for this year is Tungsten, hee hee...
Scary spring...Scary spring......
The beauty of spring in my garden is starting to scare me. Aargh! The big fluffy blossom tree! Eek! The Forsythia in flower. Wow! Green growth and daffodils! Oh dear! Must remember to enjoy everything. Oh no! The weeds...
Wonderful and weedy...Wonderful and weedy......
Spring continues to be wonderful, and weedy. But of course one has to take the good with the not so good. In a garden, gushing for joy can easily alternate with groaning in dismay.
Really really busy...Really really busy......
I've been really really busy, and so has the wind. That blasted wind, busy blowing off the blossom on my flowering cherry tree. Me - singing, performing on piano, practicing my ballet moves...
Piles of piles...Piles of piles......
Oh boy. Sometimes the requirements of a country garden are super-sized, and I rather envy my urban friends, whose biggest struggle is to fit everything into their green bins. Most country gardeners I know don't have green bins. They have piles of piles...
Busy hedge trimmersBusy hedge trimmers...
The local hedge trimmers have been busy - on a drive cross-country we passed lots of sharply defined shelter hedges, and quite a few smoky paddock bonfires. Alas, we've joined the party.
Inspirational  or unrewarding?Inspirational or unrewarding?...
Good morning to my garden, to my cats and dogs, and to my bonfire. Am going swimming, and when I get back we can all work on our relationships with each other. Some are inspirational, others a little unrewarding...
Stupefy!Stupefy!...
Gardeners cannot spent all their time barrowing mess to bonfires - it stupefies the gardening brain! Variety keeps the mind alive, and there must be some creativity in the gardening week. Right? Right!
Oh no!Oh no!...
Oh no! I just looked at the calendar. September has ended, pouff! Gone! Just like that. It's been a whirlwind of a month. Having thirty days always catches me out. I'd love some extra secret September days, just to help get the early spring tasks done.
Just weeding?Just weeding?...
Aha! Today I just weeded. Just weeded? Humph! Since when does a gardener 'just weed'? To be more specific, as well as pulling and scraping weeds out of the garden with my hand tools I squirted nasty secret stuff on the sprouting Alstroemerias. Shush...
A gardenerA gardener's weekend?...
How's this for a gardener's weekend? Oops. The garden might have to be patient and understanding. Work in the shearing shed, then off to a three hour dress rehearsal for my ballet performance. On Sunday sing in the Stravinsky Mass, then go to a Dog-Birthday Party. Big Brown Escher is twelve years old!
Promises, reality...Promises, reality......
Promises, promises. Here's what I wrote at the beginning of this week : Every day I will take more tree mess to the bonfire (not my favourite garden friend). Then, if it's windfree, I'll light the blasted thing, without grumping. I will play my piano...
Back, ever so slowly...Back, ever so slowly......
Last week my big spring gardening push totally lost momentum, thanks to a cough and cold virus. I was doing so well! But finally my mind (and body) are turning back, ever so slowly, to the great outdoors. I've even done some weeding.
Well, almost...Well, almost......
Well, well, well. My first day without going back to bed in a sulk. I am almost well again! And it's raining, wonderful wind-free rain, so the garden immediately looks refreshed and recharged. I've walked the dogs four times - have apologised to them for being THE most boring human ever, last week.
More bonfiring...More bonfiring......
Oh joy. Have been working hard all day barrowing mess to the bonfire. On it puffed, flaming merrily, and off I plodded to get load after load. So one has to clean up a garden, in order to enjoy its beauty. I know that. Though one could have the beauty with someone else's hard work...
The yellow Banskia roseThe yellow Banskia rose...
The yellow Banskia rose is blooming at the moment. It is gorgeous. But it is a gorgeous thug, and the fate of this current version is sealed. When the flowers are finished, all the sprouting canes are coming off. This monster rose, not content with bringing down a huge plum tree in 2016, has now brought down a tall fencepost and half my washing line.
Dithering in a cream top...Dithering in a cream top......
Am dithering inside, wearing a creamy-white top - the perfect item of clothing in which to dither. One does not go gardening in creamy-white tops. But one can certainly hang the washing out and check on the Banksia lutea (which is destined for the chop, so to speak).
Buster the Gardening CatBuster the Gardening Cat...
My beautiful black cat Buster has transformed into a gardening cat. She appears, silently, slinking through the forget-me-nots or peeping out from the greenery. She is always watching me gardening.
Goodbye OctoberGoodbye October...
A lovely, lost weekend - my big Saturday ballet performance is over (I wobbled a bit, but oh boy did I have fun). My big singing Sunday is over. And October is almost over - just two gardening days to go. So what to do first? Some watering.
Welcome to NovemberWelcome to November...
Welcome to November. There are so many wonderful new things to see in the garden, and quite a smattering of early roses. November is a rather beautiful month. No, make that a very beautiful month...
Working in the Stumpy Garden...Working in the Stumpy Garden......
After a couple of really rainy days (nice for the garden, maybe not so for the gardener) the sunshine is back. Am enjoying the lighter look of the Stumpy Garden now that those silly Oak trees have been removed. The big rhododendrons that grow there are flowering now, and they are so beautiful.
Visitors...Visitors......
Took some nice (but unexpected visitors) for a wee garden tour this morning. Oh boy! Should have been oh joy! Heard myself making excuses, justifying my garden mess. The lawns needed mowing - but you should see how beautiful everything looks when I've trimmed the edges... And so on and so on...
Goodbye, Forget-me nots,,,Goodbye, Forget-me nots,,,...
It's high time I pulled out the old Forget-Me-Nots. This is serious stuff, and I have already made my first mistake - wearing my good woolly socks. Oops. Spent fifteen minutes last night slowly picking off the seeds.
Pretty clever...Pretty clever......
I'm spending each day cleaning up mess while making lots more. At the same time, hee hee. Pretty clever, eh?
Still digging...Still digging......
Am still digging out Alkanet and Campion. I've been working my way into the Hump garden underneath the rose arch where Autumn Sunset is providing the beautiful colours of an early summer sunset. Pink Grootendorst is gorgeous, and the hybrid rugosa David Thompson is oh so floriferous. He just pushes the pink Campion aside.
So many roses...So many roses......
Something has just occurred to me, something that should be glaringly obvious. I've been busy taking photographs of the roses. There are so many! Not too many, mind you, but lots and lots of pictures. Wow! So many!
Welcome days...Welcome days......
Some days I am a so-so gardener. Some days I am just slack. And then some days I am absolutely fired-up, committed, and I keep on going. If it's too sunny, I just move to a shady place. I garden with my heart and soul, giving one hundred percent...
Another wee list...Another wee list......
Allow me to present another wee list entitled 'Things I Am So Glad That I Did'. Such lists are a good balance for the 'Oops Why Oh Why did I Plant That?' ones, of which I have quite a few.
Just in case...Just in case......
Good morning. Am embarrassed to report that my weekend choir sing-outs were a raging success with respect to sharing Covid as well as sharing the love of jazz music. Pretty sneaky virus. So this week I am keeping myself to myself, just in case. That means I have all the time in the world to finish weeding out the forget-me-nots. Right? Hmm...
Crikey - ItCrikey - It's December!...
Crikey - it's December. Have spent a day and a half in bed with Covid. Nasty virus. Got up at lunchtime today to do some gardening. Nice to be out in the garden again. Will take it easy.
A regular gardening weekA regular gardening week...
Finally a chance to have a regular gardening week. No shifting heavy firewood logs, no processing and burning of tree rubbish, just sliding around in my shorts feeling dreamy, reacquainting myself with the flowers and the beautiful greenery.
More edges and weeding...More edges and weeding......
Oooh - how exciting. Late yesterday I helped Non-Gardening Partner lift the big irrigation pump back into place by the pond. And now he is testing out all the whooshy sprinklers. I just love the sound of them. Pretty silly! But it's summer now and the garden needs its moisture content boosting.
A grab and run session...A grab and run session......
After thinking and planning and writing lists for weeks, I finally zoomed off to the home and garden center to spend some of my vouchers. Left the lists behind. Didn't even think about locations. Enjoyed one of those wonderful grab and run sessions. Hee hee...
Two exciting things...Two exciting things......
Two exciting things are happening. Number one : I'm creating a vocal arrangement of a Miles Davis song for my jazz choir. So What? That's the name of the song, hee hee. Number two : the brown dogs are coming tomorrow for a Dogs' Day Out and Sleep-Over! Oh joy! Super exciting!</p>
Over-growth?Over-growth?...
My garden goes into over-growth when I'm not being attentive. Or perhaps I've taken a day off. And if I take two or more days off? There can be an alarming growth of shrubs, weeds, roses, and lawns. Oh dear.
Ready for Christmas?Ready for Christmas?...
Oh dear. Is my garden ready for Christmas? No. My garden is never ready for anything. Am I ready for Christmas? No. But I have wrapped up Winnie the dogs's present. Guess what it is? A pack of brand new tennis balls.
A gardening elf...A gardening elf......
What do I want For Christmas? Aha! A gardening elf - a cheerful chap who will go outside after I've finished, collect all my stuff (including old coffee cups), empty my wheelbarrow, and stash it by the back door. Without having to be asked.
Christmas weeding!Christmas weeding!...
Good morning on this calm, slightly overcast Christmas Day to my house and garden. Aargh! Have just wandered around with my camera - it's a great idea to document the garden on this special day. Yes?
Merry Christmas SpecklesMerry Christmas Speckles...
A conversation on the cottage verandah between me and Speckles the stray cat, after dark late on Christmas evening...
After Christmas...After Christmas......
Boxing Day is our usual Christmas Holiday celebration day. But this year we didn't have Dogs' Day Out at our house and garden. We left our dogs in their kennels and visited the brown dogs.
Delightful...Delightful......
Am doing lots of delightful gardening each day. And the week between Christmas and New Years is in itself delightful - it's mid-summer, and the days of the week all feel the same. And Non-Gardening Partner is on holiday, ready to be organised.
The end of 2023...The end of 2023......
Some hot days to end 2023 - too hot for conventional gardening (digging, weeding borders, trimming and so on). But perfect to get into the water race and clean up the banks. Cool, fresh, running water, and lots of shade - a real treat.
Happy New Year for 2024Happy New Year for 2024...
A brand new year to have lots of garden fun in. To make (and break?) gardening resolutions. To work hard and enjoy the results. All the best in our gardens for 2024.
So Far So Good...So Far So Good......
Ha! So far so good. I've started the new gardening year pretty well. Mindful of 2024's New Year's Resolution (Why do I do this? There's only one, but I will be ignoring it by the middle of January) I have stuck to one thing and tried to finish it. Well, sort of.
Breakfast Bach...Breakfast Bach......
Good morning Bach. Am going to plod through a bit of you before we go swimming. Need to use my early morning hours more creatively. The first cup of tea, accompanied by the first Bach English Suite, that sort of thing.
Tougher!Tougher!...
Am getting sick of trimming super-sized Phormiums. But I am just as tough as they are. Tougher! And I can last just as long. Longer! Have decided that my garden itself isn't too big - just maybe some of the plants in it are.
Shifting the orchard roses...Shifting the orchard roses......
The orchard climbing roses are getting sadder and sadder as the Hazelnut trees block more and more of their sun. I have spoken to Non-Gardening Partner about shifting some of them, together with their archways, out. But where to? To where?
2024 Dogs Day Out2024 Dogs Day Out...
I've taken one day off from gardening - just one. We've had our New Years Dogs' Day Out, with dogs, babies, small people and wonderful others to talk to and have fun with. I've floated around smiling, eating, ignoring the garden mess. NGP had mowed all the lawns just before the visitors arrived, so all my borders looked beautiful (from a distance, anyway).
Little things...Little things......
After any gardening session, short or long, it's really nice to see an improvement. But there's not always a correlation between in-put and end-product. Poke at something little for an hour and the results can look amazing. Work for five hard hours at something big, stand back and aargh! Looks just as messy.
Big mess...Big mess......
I do a big clean up somewhere. I'm a bit tired, so I leave the mess behind. Next day - big mess. Aargh! Finally I shift the mess to where-ever it needs to go. Then I dive back in and make more mess. The Never-Ending Story of Big Mess, hee hee.
Too many Phormiums!Too many Phormiums!...
Every time I go out into a garden area to do some dreamy, lightweight gardening, what do I see? Messy, overgrown Phormiums clogging up the border, flopping over neighbours, blocking paths, and so on. Please can I have a Phormium-free day?
Small and slow...Small and slow......
Many things I do in my garden involve shifting heavy loads and doing lots of plodding here, there, and everywhere. The tasks are easy in theory, but they're big. I am small and slow, and my mind plays tricks on me : you don't need to clean that up. Just leave it there. Clean it up tomorrow...
Messy JanuaryMessy January...
Mess. Mess. More mess. This has been the messiest January on record. And I've been very busy making even more mess - almost on an industrial scale! Not fair - I always thought that February was the messy month in my garden. Aargh! Dread to think how that will turn out!
Details...Details......
It's true - paying attention to details stops the Messy Garden in January blues. Like noticing and removing any plant that is sulking. Trimming in advance anything that is spreading too far. And planting things in gaps! Yeay! The recipe for instant gardening happiness.
Bumbles and BugsBumbles and Bugs...
IStarted off in the garden with the best of intentions - to clear the Hump Garden's main path. Things always get a little crowded here in summer. Had to stop work because of the bumble bees.
Messy and Scruffy...Messy and Scruffy......
My lovely garden. My messy, scruffy January garden, soon to be my messier and scruffier February garden. Because February is supposed to be a messier and scruffier month. Eek!
Free-Spirited...Free-Spirited......
The weather has been very free-spirited, with huge variations in temperatures from day to day. No wonder natural gardeners, who are deeply in harmony with the weather, are so random. Ha! We have the perfect excuse.
Dull?Dull?...
What's dull about a driveway border? Nothing should be, when it's full of pretty foliage shrubs. I've just spent four hours today weeding along its edge, and it was a very dull experience. Sorry about this!
In disgrace...In disgrace......
OK. I have just been for a late afternoon garden stroll taking photographs. This should have been an inspiring experience. It was not. My garden is in disgrace. As is its one-day on, two-days off gardener. Make that three-days?
A mini make-overA mini make-over...
Oh dear. The gardens around the house back lawns all need mini-makeovers - particularly the perennials garden around the Herb Spiral, and last year's (failed) potato patch. It's soooooo much easier doing a mind-make-over : shifting this and that, digging out something else, organising the plants - without actually doing anything. What a great idea!
Poor Pebbles...Poor Pebbles......
This week I have been preoccupied with a sick dog - Pebbles. She has been very ill with acute pancreatitis, likely caused by eating rotting animal remains.
The Hump Garden path...The Hump Garden path......
It's not been the most relaxing gardening week - I do NOT trust my dogs at all. Last week their noses got them into big trouble. But finally I have done some gardening. And I have finished clearing the Hump Garden path. Yeay for me!
More plans...More plans......
A drizzly day - perfect for making plum and rhubarb jam - and garden plans. Fix this, shift that, clean up this other bit, and so on. So easy! I'm still obsessed with shifting the roses around...
The Periwinkle Path...The Periwinkle Path......
Have started clearing the periwinkle path which circles into the Shrubbery. This is a yearly task, pretty easy to do, and I love periwinkle. Well, I think I do.
Plant shift...Plant shift......
Surely it's time for the big plant shift. A famous local gardener, Barbara Lea Taylor, called it 'The Waltz of the Wheelbarrow'. Mine might be more like a stately Sarabande. But certainly it involves the roses.
Nervous...Nervous......
Over the weekend I've been cleaning up the Herb Spiral garden while listening to the cricket. Oh my goodness! Nerve-wracking. A five day test match, New Zealand playing Australia and who knows? We could lose (we usually lose). Blast. But we could win. Wow. The cricket always makes me very nervous.
Moving into AutumnMoving into Autumn...
The Shasta daisies have finished flowering - a sure signal that the garden is moving into Autumn (a delightfully muted, mellow season). I reckon there are about three hundred daisy stalks to trim. Only three hundred - not a problem! Wait until the autumn leaves start dropping, hee hee...
So much to do...So much to do......
Absolutely all the areas of my garden need clearing and weeding and trimming. There's so much to do! I love it. And there's so much beauty around - roses, crisp green foliage, leaves just starting to change colour, lawns that need mowing. Oops. How did that sneak in?
So silly!So silly!...
I am so silly. When we first meet I love self-spreaders (ground covers). I even encourage them. Darling things, filling up my garden for me. I forget about them for a few years. Then - oh boy! Oh joy! They turn into nuisance super-spreaders.
Autumn work...Autumn work......
Thinking about how much Autumn work there is this year in my garden. Shrubs and trees are huge, paths don't quite fit. But how lucky am I to have a big garden? It's never boring. If I get annoyed with one area I can move to another a million miles away. Well, sort of.
Path versus Azaleas...Path versus Azaleas......
Yeay! Some busy days re-routing the brick path which leads into the spiral courtyard. To shift the path or give the deciduous Azaleas a major trim? That was the question. The Azaleas won by a country mile.
Good morning AprilGood morning April...
Good morning April. It's definitely autumn here in my garden, while my gardening friends in the northern hemisphere are enjoying daffodils, tulips, spring blossom. Ah! Those will be the days... Good morning April Title Good morning April y! Some busy days re-routing the brick path which leads into the spiral courtyard. To shift the path or give the deciduous Azaleas a major trim? That was the question. The Azaleas won by a country mile.
Digging in...Digging in......
Autumn is digging itself in, spreading its roots further. Amidst the muted colours, bright dahlias and roses still pop their heads out of the borders. Look at meeee! And a few more autumn leaves flutter slowly down...
The cat came back...The cat came back......
Speckles my stray cat is back. He will probably claim that he never went away. Obviously Autumn is not such a good season to be ranging far and wide, so he has decided to sleep overnight in his cat basket, eat more, and bulk up for winter.
The start of the 2024 Gunnera trimThe start of the 2024 Gunnera trim...
Eek! It's that time - when all the huge stalks and leaves of the Gunnera get trimmed and stashed in piles under the hedges to dry out. And the sharp spade is needed - some roots are close to blocking the water race completely. This is what Gunnera does. I know this. Oops. Naughty Gunnera. Naughty gardener...
More Gunnera trimming...More Gunnera trimming......
A beautifully cooler night, with Speckles the stray snug in his cat-box on the verandah, Minimus snug on the cottage bed. Again had my early cup of tea with Speckles. To protect my elbows from being bitten or scratched by his paw, I now adopt the squashed-in-a-budget-plane eating position, elbows stuck firmly to my sides. Minimus would never behave so badly!
Cat company...Cat company......
Have been very family preoccupied over the last few days. I need to get back into my garden. But what to do first? I'm honestly not sure.
Irises and Dogs...Irises and Dogs......
Just getting into a good autumn rhythm, weeding along the bottom Hump path, when my friend arrived with some irises. Just some? Many - lots and lots. Enough to fill two wheelbarrows...
Pond Clean-UpPond Clean-Up...
The Pond Paddock is suddenly thick with fallen oak leaves. I love the crunching noises they make as I walk back and forth to Pond Cottage.
Moony MinimusMoony Minimus...
Whenever there's a very bright moon, my cottage cat Minimus goes all 'moony'. All night she wants to go out, then she wants to come in, then out again. And so on. And because I love Minimus so much I can't ignore her scratching at the door. I get up out of bed...
Goodbye DahliasGoodbye Dahlias...
Have I said this before? Oh yes, bound to have. The joy of having a big garden - there's always a new place with new views in which to work. And seasonal surprises, like the dahlias suddenly drooping, cut down by early frost.
My dogs are rude...My dogs are rude......
Have just walked around with the dogs to take some autumn tree photographs. And what did I find on the Frisbee Lawn? Yet another disgusting 'thing' that the dogs must have burgled from next-door and stashed under a hedge for future chewing. Aargh!
The autumn morning routine...The autumn morning routine......
Settling into the autumn morning routine of lighting the log-burner and reading (or writing) until morning tea time, when temperatures outside are less bracing. The frosts have certainly killed off all the dahlias, though a few brave roses are flowering - mainly the Flower Carpet varieties, and the Icebergs.
Good morning MayGood morning May...
Good morning to May, and to rain, perfect for the dry ground. Beautiful autumn leaves are all around (the oaks are nearly bare, the dogwoods still leafy). Autumn is the best season to be thoughtful and thankful, with wonderful sounds and beautiful sights.
First May gardening day...First May gardening day......
So this is my first May gardening day - rain, ballet, and family visits have filled up days one and two up very nicely. I have a rather detailed list, which (as usual) I may or may not adhere to. Read on!
Agapanthus obsessed,,,Agapanthus obsessed,,,...
My big clean-up continues. But as soon as border areas are cleared, all I can think of is mass planting Agapanthus. Am Agapanthus-obsessed.
Stop dithering, buy new plants...Stop dithering, buy new plants......
Brrr... A two degree (Celcius) frost, and I have been sitting on the cottage verandah chatting with Speckles the stray, hands clasped around my hot cup of tea. A chilly way to start the morning, and slightly daft, I guess. I've been thinking about buying some new plants for the garden.
Off!Off!...
So the fire restrictions have finally come off, and I have piles of dry mess to burn. Mainly gum bark, Cordyline and Phormium leaves, and shrub prunings. Mess, mess, mess. Non-Gardening Partner has promised to help me. I hope he remembers!
Plant the new plants!Plant the new plants!...
This is my 'Plant the New Plants' week. Buying them is easy - grab, wheel the trolley, load the boot of the car, unload proudly by the garage. But what about the planting? Walking past the collection of pots every day, occasionally remembering to water them. Oh dear.
Into the water...Into the water......
Seize the day when the water race is running low. Put on my tall gumboots (plus merino long-johns and shorts) and wade down the race slicing through Gunnera roots and trimming the spiky stems and leaves. Ouch!
Early winter, late autumn?Early winter, late autumn?...
More cleaning up, more bonfiring, more planting, more digging and trimming, more mulching - more early winter work in the garden. Or should that be late autumn? Same thing? Depends on ones state of mind I guess.
Colours...Colours......
Colours of late autumn AKA early winter - grey and brown, mixed in with greens. But there are bright bursts of colour from flowers, the odd rose, the crabapples. And the white flowers of the weedy potato vine which always seems to be blooming.
Drippy and DrizzlyDrippy and Drizzly...
Yeay! Another stay-at-home late autumn day. It's really wet outside, having drizzled and splattered rain for most of the night. Puddles! I have lots of puddles! And lots of wet autumn leaves, perfect for raking into bags. Aargh!
Nearly 30 years...Nearly 30 years......
Silly me. Have just asked Non-Gardening Partner the following question : 'How many years have we lived in this garden?' 'Garden?' he queried. Oops. Of course I meant 'house'. Or did I? I'd been thinking about all our cats.
Brown and green...Brown and green......
The garden has suddenly turned into winter, colour-wise. Have just been out for a dog walk to take photographs. There's very little out there that isn't brown or green. But that's OK. Brown is beautiful and green is gorgeous.
Misplaced? Mislaid?Misplaced? Mislaid?...
Keep losing (misplacing? mislaying? Leaving behind?) my hand tools. Then finding replacements for them, just as the fence-line rubbish gets thrown on the bonfire. Then losing the replacements. Today my sharpest breadknife and my orange secateurs have disappeared. Hmm...
Contemplating...Contemplating......
Have developed a new winter habit. At the end of the day I take time for reflection by the bonfire. I sit in the damp grass with my water bottle, staring at the flames (and just a little smoke), thinking about all sorts of random things.my orange secateurs have disappeared. Hmm...
A mini-challenge!A mini-challenge!...
Today I have set myself a mini-challenge. Is this a good morning to drag out all the gum bark from the Hen-House Gardens? It will have be done by the armful - the bark is difficult to handle and to balance on a wheelbarrow.
Blame the jeans...Blame the jeans......
Beautiful weather, clear winter blue skies, no wind, the sun doing really well so low in the sky. I was sitting happily with my morning coffee on the patio, dogs in attendance. The perfect day to do some gardening? Nope. It wasn't. And the reason? Simple - I couldn't be bothered to change out of my good jeans.
Hard work, sore shouldersHard work, sore shoulders...
Nothing magical or reflective about today's bonfire, and no dreamy moments spent contemplating life while gazing at the flames. Just stinky hard work and sore shoulders from raking up gum leaves.
Garden-lazyGarden-lazy...
It's been a damp, grey week, not at all conducive to gardening. I've been very garden-lazy. Have thought a little about getting wet in the water race, or getting muddy weeding. But have these ideas transformed into actions? Nope.
Redeemed...Redeemed......
My goodness, I feel better after spending a good chunk of time in the garden. I am successful, purposeful, and complete again. My time has been spent valuably and properly. Wow! I have made up for yesterday's disgraceful behaviour. What a difference a day makes...
Worthwhile...Worthwhile......
I've done it again! Spent ages in the Pond Paddock raking up more leaves. I empty a bag of leaf mould into the garden, then immediately refill the bag. Very efficient. Am so pleased that I've finally managed to create some leaf mould. It makes all the bag-filling efforts worthwhile.
Silly...Silly......
What a silly billy I am. It was drizzling again, so I drove off down the road, determined to go for a morning swim. Changed my mind after five minutes, did a safe u-turn, and trundled back home. Made an instant drizzle-gardening plan.
Damp, muddy reality of winterDamp, muddy reality of winter...
Have been thinking. I am going to try and record my winter garden in all its damp, brown splendour. Maybe take a few selfies of me in my drizzle-gardening clothes. Search out the beautiful winter things, celebrate the season for its damp, muddy reality.
Almost finished?Almost finished?...
Easy to miscalculate the amount of work needed in order to finish something. I honestly thought I was close to finishing raking up the Pond Paddock leaves. I wasn't. I also thought I'd trimmed at least half of the Aconites in the Apple Tree Garden. I hadn't.
Seven years...Seven years......
I hope that seven year cycles don't apply to snow. Looking back through my journals, my garden got seriously snow in the winters of 2003, 2011 and 2017 (average difference of seven years). In between, just a few inconsequential flakes.
Weather-wise words...Weather-wise words......
OK. Some weather-wise words. Work with the weather. It is what it is. Be thankful the rain hasn't been extreme (like it's been in the North Island). Stop mooching around blaming the weather for mooching around. The weather is not out to annoy you. Nothing personal.
Gnomes versus bathrooms...Gnomes versus bathrooms......
Some lovely friends are visiting, and they want to look round the garden. I have a choice - clean the bathroom? Or check all the gnomes by the pond, making sure none had fallen over?
Wattle Tree down...Wattle Tree down......
Oops - in the last week of June my glasshouse was smashed in half when a huge Wattle tree crashed down. Planning the clean up - what to do first? Organise Non-Gardening Partner with his chainsaw, obviously.
Toughen up for JulyToughen up for July...
The rain and drizzle have returned, but I'm doing my best to keep working in the garden. Have deliberately been taking my morning coffee and lunch outside, whatever the weather is doing. July is going to be my toughening-up month.
Arondo by the Water Race...Arondo by the Water Race......
Today I'm going to try a focussed list - everything needing to be done is on the banks of the water race. Every few years or so the foliage plants along the edges need serious trimming - or even digging out. I will work in one place, and not wander off. I will not lose the kitchen breadknife.
Frosty...Frosty......
Today I got up to find the wood burner in the house blazing merrily, and a note from Non-Gardening Partner - 'Gone skiing'. Blast! I had such plans for him! But lighting the fire was a great idea, since there was a pretty heavy (for us) frost.
Ready for the Olympics?Ready for the Olympics?...
Have just become aware of all the sport going on in the non-gardening world outside. The Tour de France. The Euro semi-finals (go Spain). Wimbledon (such a tradition). And almost the Olympics. Eek! I need to get the garden ready for the Olympics?