Tree damage...

We suffer tree damage in a big wind storm, with enough resulting firewood to fill two wood sheds.

 Next winter's firewood.
Stumpy on a Broken Bough

Saturday 14th October

Sorry - I know that I've missed a weekend out. And I have been back at work a week - Hmm...

This Thursday parts of Canterbury suffered quite a severe southerly storm. We were lucky, just several large branches of trees came down - many of our neighbours had much worse damage.

Today we have been chain-sawing the mess up. The rose Fruhlingsmorgen which used to climb up the old apricot tree has lost its climbing frame (the old apricot tree!). It's so close to flowering that I'll leave it be. A wattle self-amputated itself, almost crushing the Everest rhododendrons. A large branch came down from Sifter's scratching tree.

Looking around the garden today, I can see huge changes. Many of the self-sown Aquilegias are flowering, there are new rhododendrons in bloom (pale pink!) and a lot of green growth on everything. The small path through the JAM Garden seems to have disappeared, covered with forget-me-nots and self-sown foxgloves... not a problem! There are very strange tulips in very strange places. It seems that in a week the daffodil flowers have shrivelled up and turned brown.

And we are in the final of the cricket knock-out tournament. This is very exciting. Tomorrow I will get up super early and do lots and lots of things.

Sunday 15th October

I did so much weeding that my hands are quite sore. Also I moved plants from the glass-house to harden off, and moved pots outside. There'd better not be any late frosts!!

I went around noticing things :

And wondering about things... like retirement (hee! hee!) and possibly getting two more cats...

Saturday 21st

It's happening again - the garden is rushing things! Perhaps a semi-retired person would be able to keep up with the changes better, and not miss anything (like the cherry blossom trees, or the new yellow irises). While a fully retired person would fully appreciate...

Today I have big plans, expansive plans (reflection of general mood?). I saw a garden on TV last night and decided that my garden is not yet big (or expansive) enough. My plantings need to be larger - less "poky" - and I have to see further, sweep wider, reach deeper...

Who wrote all that? Someone who obviously has a tractor and a ditch digger and hired help... Humph... OR... Someone who has FULLY RETIRED from working!!! Ha!!!

Later that night...

A gardener has to think big and weed small. Facing this, I organised a circuit of alternating big/small things to do.

 With a crab-apple blossom tree in the background.
Spring Flax

The Big/Small Circuit

Filled barrow with small weeds - dumped them by gums, refilled with large gum rubbish - dumped this on fire, proceeded to stone-filled trailer - filled barrow, edged more border with stones - planted some annuals by stones, filled the barrow with small weeds, etc.

And things GROW! The path of the sun CHANGES! Shadows turn into heat spots (roasting the self-seeded ligularias and cerinthes), while in the nearby greenery lost generations of plants struggle for the smallest share of the light.

Sunday 22nd October - 8.45am

And it's quite warm and a bit foggy. I am off to grapple with the big/small gardening dilemma (and to do the edges with blunt edge clippers, which may well become the greater challenge).


I had fun! I decided to 'develop' the area by the pump house, and have cleared the path and organised a natural semi-wild planting. Got a trailer load of cow poos mixed with rotten sawdust, and spent ages wheeling barrowfuls onto the sandy soil borders.

Monday 23rd October

The pump house plantings are finished, with variegated (hopefully!) honesty seedlings and hebes. I also planted some ghastly grasses which grow huge in a season, figuring that the light shade and greed of the nearby gum trees will curb any excesses.

 Rhododendron foliage and buds.
Middle Border Rhododendrons

New Rhododendrons?

Today I have been thinking about rhododendrons - saw a beautiful one called 'Whitney's Apricot' at a local garden - Hmmm...

And I have done normal things like watering the glass-house seedlings and planting the irises (special offer by mail order). Eventually they might get their own iris walk - for now they are in the new rose garden to bulk out. I decided to throw all the labels out, too, as this will make me become more observant (?)...

The pergola has sheep netting sides, and New Dawn has been sprayed for rust for the second time. Rust never sleeps...

Saturday 28th October

October is nearly over! What shall I do first today? The local golf club has a plant stall to visit, then I'm going to plant out all the Cerinthe seedlings, all the Tansy seedlings, and all the pansies, and hope that the weather stays cloudy. I love my garden. I am borrowing some rhododendron books from a friend - I'd like some large ones growing big in the grass on the side fence-line (they'd need to have grass-free planting circles).

I am NOT going to send Stephen in to chemical weed over the water race. The planting out of many many punnets of pansies etc. will require HAND WEEDING. It's part of the 'think big / weed small' philosophy. I have faced up to temptation, and hopefully have passed the test.

Sunday 29th October

Humph... Yesterday I 'weeded small' for 5 hours, and got more and more depressed with the 150 years worth of broom and gorse seedlings, nasty creeping grass, etc. At dusk I returned and spent 20 minutes pulling purple honesty out of the Pond Borders - this of course had an instant effect, and made me feel a bit better. It's now 6.30 am and I am about to go outside. Today I will try some more 'weed big' experiences (e.g. removing some forget-me-nots) to balance the depression caused by 'weed small'.

Gorse :
Such a pretty flower, such a ghastly shrub.

If I pull out, say, close to 1000 gorse and broom seedlings, then there are 1000 less in the garden. This has to be progress (it is exactly what I have just done). And the number of rogue potatoes in the new rose garden is obviously finite, and easily reduced to zero. Time for well deserved coffee, then back to do some 'weed big' activities and ponder the mathematics of gardening. We are going to visit some garden tour gardens this afternoon... hmmm...


I've had a good day. We saw rhododendrons and rhododendrons in the gardens in the tour - only visited four of them. I wonder how big my rhododendrons in Middle Border will grow???

Came home rejuvenated and spent another two hours watering and frenetically planting tomatoes and lettuces in the vege garden. Wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. I forgot to say that many of the roses are starting to bloom. Gertrude Jeckyll over the water race is amazing.