Hints of spring...

The garden starts to hint at Spring. Frosts hopefully bring death to bugs, while the clear sunny days which follow bring joy to the gardener. The pruning and chopping and cutting back is completed.

Friday 4th August

I have decided to be a more factual and informative diarist, and to talk more about the garden and less about ME. This week there have been several 'good' frosts. The area over the water race frosts very heavily. There are plants newly planted over there that I'm not sure of, like cannas, which may need more neighbourly shelter.

 These two are frost toughies.
Frosted Hebe and Flax

There is some magical colour in the garden. There's warmth and life in the small red flaxes. There is a pinky-red hybrid Coprosma in a decking pot in front of a big dark-brown flax. Again the effect is heart-warming. A few isolated daffodils are in bloom, too, reminding me how beautiful are the small scale things. Then the huge wattles in the Wattle Tree Garden are in bright yellow flower, high above the greenery of the garden.

Saturday 5th August

Back to ME now!!! I am about to go into the garden. What shall I do first??? This is THE MOST exciting feeling, and 50 year old gardeners (who work) experience it every weekend...

 Jolly daffodils.
Spring by the Water

Spring Mood

Now I in a good spring mood, writing apres-gardening and apres-the-rugby (which we lost...) I've been burning all day - prunings and gum tree rubbish from behind the hen house. I've also collected 2 bags of firewood and weeded and tidied the back lawn garden, making it just a little bigger (hee! hee!). Pity about the rugby though...

Sunday 6th August

It's 8am and I'm READY!!! What shall I do first?

8 hours later...

I have burnt loads and loads of gum tree rubbish, and tidied up around the hen house. I finished stoning the path there, and thought about building up the state of the soil and planting some Pittosporums. I have worked so hard today. The vege garden is weeded and most of the roses are pruned. The Wattle trees with their bright yellow flowers are inspiring.

I think I'm O.K. about the rugby now.

Saturday 12th August

Today has been hard hard work, and it's easy to lose confidence. I am doing a great dig along the water race, extending the dog-path where no dog has gone before. The clumps of grass have to be sliced out horizontally - perhaps my shovel needs sharpening? I managed a metre in two hours.

Red Cordylines :
I love these red hybrid cabbage trees - super stylish.

I also cleared a wee spot for the last two unplanted roses (they are apricot coloured fundraising roses for NZ Dressage), and there now is a little connecting path with steps down to the Dog-path seat. I transplanted pansies from the driveway and poked in some succulents under the seat.

I rescued three red Cordylines, lying down in their pots, from the local bargain bin. I am a heroine!

Sunday 13th August

I thought that since I now have no outstanding roses (in a need-to-plant sense that is) I might be allowed to have a very small peep at a rose sale. It's the same one I disgraced myself at last weekend... but they say in the paper that they've got 'new stock'... Anyway, I will now go forth and continue the dog-path. Perhaps it could be a reward - a rose per metre. I have just read a great book called 'A Garden, a Pig and Me' and that author (Jenny Ferguson) has planted over a thousand roses... Ha! I can blame her!!

Oops - I am back almost immediately with seriously frosted fingers. It might be just a little early - time for a coffee and a seed catalogue order form (hee hee)


I have finished one of the dog-paths, which now ends in stone steps by a much manured new garden with 3 pink roses (oops!). Now I am sitting in the late afternoon patio sun, apres-gardening, feeling very much in control - except the 'small red hybrid flax' in front of me has considerably upsized itself. Hmm...

 All my best friends are gathered around.
Feeding Time at the Zoo

Monday 14th August

I have thought about my garden all day. I would like to try not working, not being a teacher. I wonder what it would be like. There are so many details that I miss, while I am at work. And my cats and dog would like the company!

Friday 18th August (night time)

This is really terrible! There's a southerly outside, rain and wind, and I am already planning a huge gardening day tomorrow. My new gardening books are inspiring me, and I want to shift plants around and get more favourites divided and potted up - the Limelight Stachys, for example. There is a Miscanthus to shift, and Macleya roots to dig up and organise. I have a lot of seeds to start and have a bag of seed raising mix just in case there is disappointment (8 degrees and wet wet wet).

I wonder if I could just be a gardener... My glass-house would certainly be tidier, and I would have time to collect things (not quite sure what - possibly things like pine cones?). Till tomorrow then...

Saturday 19th August - Tomorrow

Humph!!! It is raining. I am off to the glass-house with a list of cuttings to be got and started (like early shoots from delphiniums, etc. - the sorts of things that full-time gardeners would always remember). I also have a permanent black pen (for labels), loads of old cat pottle containers, and seed raising mix. A full-time gardener would happily spend a whole wet day in the glass-house, so this will be a good test for my retire-from-teaching plan. Hee Hee!


Yes! I have worked hard for six hours, first in the glass-house potting up plants for the decking and sowing seeds for spring, then weeding and planting by the extended dog-path. I've edged the new connecting path with Limelight Stachys. Also three of the pergola posts are erect. After a quick trip to check out the bargain bin I have 10 little light green stripey flaxes and one large red one, which can go at the end of the extended dog-path, thus indicating that the path has ended, even though the water race goes on.

I have passed the retire-from-teaching-test on a particularly unpleasant rainy cold winter's day (hmmm... spending $70 on posts and $40 on bargain plants...)

 There is a small red flax in each part of the garden.
A Small Red Flax

Sunday 20th August

Before I start today, I have been thinking about the 'small' red flaxes.

'Small' red flaxes

Since none has ever had a label warning of possible dimensions when mature, I am simply going to call them "large red flaxes" and see how that feels.

Much later...

I have had such a good day! I've planted some of the bargain bin flaxes. My big hit of the day was the Apple Tree Border. I've tidied it and put pea-straw on , and laid a border of stones at the bottom. I quite like this, and the edge of the border will be much neater.

Ligularia :
This spotty Ligularia is often called the Leopard plant - wonder why?

I've cut down 2 Pseudopanaxes which were too big - they will of course sprout immediately from their stumps. I've removed quite a lot of Acanthus seedlings, and the spotty Ligularia will be going next weekend (there will be far too much sun now that the tree Lucernes are gone). In fact there may well be some room for more roses...

I am not even going to mention the rugby.

Wednesday 23rd August

Ha! Another weekday when I got 2 hours in the garden! My seeds arrived in the post, and I have done first sowings of most of them. I must look after them.

Saturday 26th August

The weather is as follows - grey, medium drizzle, not too cold - a small inconvenience, and I am off outside. Such days fit well into the continuum of a gardener, testing the suitability of their plans to retire and garden full time.

I have run out of seed raising mix.


I did lots of pots and seeds, with cat company in the glass-house. I allowed myself to buy two new roses (Crepuscule) because I know exactly where they are going to be planted (pergola - tomorrow). I have always admired that rose! The pergola sides will be attached to the posts tomorrow if not too rainy. I also bought some (more) rejected red Cordylines and Pittosporums from the bargain bin. The Cordylines are now in pots, and I will try to remember to 'take steps' to ensure they are not eaten by whatever eats them. I am already looking forward so much to tomorrow, and it's only 7pm. Crazy!!!

 This is Jerome sitting on a post over the water race.
Cat Company in the Garden

Sunday 27th August

Sun!! It's 7.30am - no time for rambling on today. All that's needed is a sensible list of things to do and a photo of a cat.

List of Things to Do

Off!! (7.40am)

What an amazing day! The pergola is up, The Crepuscule roses are in, and I also cleared in the rugosa border and shifted Stachys out to the stone edge. About half of the things on the list are done! I guess I concentrated on encouraging of the pergola builder.

Back!! (5.45 pm)