When will these hot days end?

Temperatures remain hot - the garden and the gardener both suffer. When will these hot days end?

Thursday 8th January

Today I am going to work, work, work. Really hard! There's no time for rambling on in this diary. I have bags of horse-poos to distribute, Gum tree rubbish (lots of huge strips of bark) to clear up, roses to shift, rhododendrons to water...

 These are busy flowering in the vege garden.

I'm back after two hours, having done none of the above. However I have cleared the little garden by the laundry, chopping out things and removing the two strangled Abraham Darby roses. They were in a sad state, though some would argue that things have now got worse - as they are sitting in a bucket of water, severely pruned, ready for replanting, and it's mid-summer. If they don't make it, so be it - roses are among the toughest shrubs in the garden. Unlike the Gunnera, some of whose leaves have been burnt by the extreme heat of last week.

I'm back after another productive session, in which the unlucky roses were planted in the holes left by the rhododendrons which I bravely moved a few weeks ago. They will look beautiful (if they survive) with their soft apricot and peach blooms dangling over the water in the water race. Now I am apres-gardening, and it's only 2:30 pm. However, I am on holiday and there should be no guilt. I love my garden - even sitting inside just thinking about it gives me the greatest pleasure.

 One of the items on my Good-Things list. This is a New Zealand native with small rich brown leaves.
Blue Hydrangea

Friday 9th January

I am noticing some garden casualties of the heat. The edges of the Gunnera leaves are really badly burnt. A flax in the Stables Border also has burnt leaves - this is most unusual. It's another hot (mid-thirties) day - apparently we are getting this hot weather blown over from Queensland Australia. Humph! I probably won't do much gardening today - we'll see - maybe just a little hose shifting. I'm scared to go into the Hen House Garden - this area desperately needs water as well as cooler temperatures. Maybe I should be bold, take a hose over there, and start a serious recovery programme.


We went into the mountains to escape the heat. It was raining, and there were small waterfalls everywhere. The New Zealand bush is forever wet. Maybe tomorrow, inspired by our day out, I will be a better gardener.

Saturday 10th January

Ha! I've worked for two hours in the semi-shade in the Hen House Gardens. I have clipped the sprawling Lavender, weeded, and totally shifted the end of the path. It looks so much more sensible now - and it is in a much more sensible and artistic place. Who wants to brush past cutty grass spikes while trying not to tread on Bergenias? Now the path merely pushes its way gently between two modest flaxes, wiggles around some hostas, and emerges under the Oak tree. Brilliant! A path is born.

 This is the end of one of the Dog-Paths.
A Path is Born

Sunday 11th January

What am I waiting for? It's past 9 am and already temperatures are rising. And I deliberately left all my tools by the Hen House yesterday. The water race is flowing again, and hopefully the pond is full. I must get outside and get some watering sorted for the dry spots in the Hen House Garden. I am off.

I am back, two hours later. I have cleared the top of the Wattle Woods - an uninspiring task, but well accomplished, and sensibly in the shade. Now I am watering the Hen House Garden, and I will return over there after a reasonable break to do more work and to shift the hoses. Today it's hot but cloudy.

Monday 12th January

I did return to the garden yesterday, and worked very hard clearing around the Oak Tree seat and the gardens which encircle Ducklawn. I cleared one of the Dog-Paths which ends at the lawn, but looked long and hard at the other. What am I going to do with it? It is way too narrow, it is leaning down into the water, and there are huge rushes blocking it. The Hebe hedge to one side looks fine - this marks the end of the plantings in the Oak Tree garden, and isn't inherently linked to the path at all. Maybe have no path?

Oak Tree Seat:
The Oak Tree Seat is a favourite cat seat, though humans can get wet feet.

Then I would need some sort of access across the water to Oak Tree seat, which is its destination. You can't have an unattainable seat - sort of ridiculous, really, and I'm not leaping across the water race at my age...

Today is another day, and I'm going to return to Ducklawn. I intend to further weed out its borders, and enjoy the ambience. The ducks hate me being here, though, and run squawking from me as if I were some sort of duck-devil. This could lower a gentle gardener's self esteem. I like Ducklawn.

 This is the view of the Elm Tree taken from Ducklawn over the water.
View From Ducklawn


I'm back, a summer gardening legend - although I have to confess I had a wee lie down on Ducklawn and drunk a bottle of cold light beer. This was to celebrate the reprieve of the second Dog-Path - I had dug vigorously and removed the clump of rushes which was blocking it. I may return later this afternoon to slice the surface and relay the edging stones. Ha! I think one of the Astelias is flowering, or fruiting - with small psychedelic orange berries, and the dark leaved Corokia has the most beautiful little cream flowers - easy to miss.

I'm back again, having semi-organised the Dog-Path, but I came up with a huge problem. How can I maintain the sides of the water race to keep them weed free? I spent half an hour pulling grass out of some ferns, got totally demoralised, and came inside to sulk. I need some sort of rationalised plan. Humph... To cheer myself up I will make a positive good-things list about what's looking good in the garden.

Good Things List

Not many items...

Tuesday 13th January

I think I have decided to hand weed along the water race. So far today I have done some exploratory weeding, between Middle bridge and the Plank. All sorts of cute things are growing on the bank - for example some ajuga, some pansies, and small rosettes of Verbascums which will hopefully flower next summer.


I have done two more hours weeding. My feet got a good wash! I can do this - it will be my week's big project. And I managed to persuade Stephen into helping me clear up the mess I'd made - it's actually quite nice having human helper company (Jerome the cat was there, but she won't empty the wheelbarrow).

 I quite enjoyed bossing him around.
Stephen Helping

Wednesday 14th January

I have been remembering back in the years when the side of the water race was covered in long clumps of grass. However much its current state is depressing me, it is so much better than before! Today I will return to continue my watery weeding, and listen to us winning another cricket match (hmm...)

Right! I have weeded down as far as the very large flax almost opposite the glass-house. I am now apres gardening feeling very pleased with today's progress. It also looks like we will win the cricket. A most satisfying day.