Spending up large...

The early autumn garden nursery sales continue - and I'm now spending up large (oops) buying plants for the Moosey garden - including new roses. I'm sick of being frugal and careful with money - it's about time I went on a new rose-buying spree.

 These are the lovely bright pink Flower Carpet roses, which flower late in the season.
Pink Roses - New Camera!

Friday 18th March

Last night I finished planting my new Pittosporum forest (with added flaxes and carexes) in the Hump. I am really pleased with it - go, you New Zealand native plants! Be tough - kia kaha - and survive! No problem - see how simple life can be!

Today should be just as easy. My timetable is as follows:

What shape should the new rose garden be? (I know, I know - but these things take time)

I am excited about the new memorial rose garden. The three extra roses need to be big, dark coloured ones, possibly climbers to cover the water tank. When the digging starts, I might just dig planting holes for now - roses in the grass for a start. I need to incorporate the seat into the general plan now. I've asked my live-in gourmet cook (in whose honour the new birthday rose garden is being created) if she would like to have some 'input' into the garden. She thinks I mean 'digging' and has gone very defensive - suddenly needing to vacuum her room. Hmm... I meant design input...


Did I think it would be easy? Gardening is mental (I don't mean to imply that gardeners are mental), it's 4 pm and I'm still in the 'thinking about the shape of the new garden' phase. I've been peering at the water tank in the long messy grass, and trying to be really thoughtful, intelligent, and visual.

Garden Plans:
Paper plans? I sometimes try and draw them, but never follow them through.

I've been thinking about all of the following to plan the new garden - angles of sun (summer and winter), prevailing winds, the seat (construction and view), the stile over the fence (access, and the resultant path), the nearby gum trees, tractor access, well maintenance (redevelopment of the bore, pump maintenance), pipes and cables, trellis around the water tank for the climbing roses, possible irrigation - an impressive, but very daunting thinking-list. And ultimately I am such a hopeless visualiser and planner. The plant-as-you-dig garden philosophy has quite some appeal. How wrong can I get it?

Don't answer that! I am about to revisit the proposed new garden area. I will pace around with the puppy and check for afternoon shade. Maybe sit in the scratchy grass and try to get the feel of the site. Back soon.

 This is one of my beautiful warm pink and cream flaxes, which grows near the house.
New Zealand Flax with Roses

Tea Time...

I am in deep trouble! Firstly, the water tank is a lot closer to the gum trees on the boundary than I originally thought. Secondly I have found two other places where a new garden with roses and standard olive trees could work rather nicely.

One potential new garden area is the lawn area between the garage and the stables. It would be a major digging exercise - and could even link the Stables Garden to the water race, just opposite the Willow tree. The second area is the back of the Willow Tree garden itself. In my mind's eye (very dangerous) I saw the boundaries of this garden hugely enlarged. Now I am feeling totally dazed and confused - I will have to ask for serious input from Stephen. It is not too late to redirect the rose garden. Oh boy! The plans are halted - for the moment.

Saturday 19th March

I am in serious deep trouble! The Moosey Digging Machine has lain, dormant (like a sleeping volcano?), for some months now. Then, all at once, I have not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR potential major digging ideas - four radically new garden areas, the digging of which will have me shovelling and wheel-barrowing until Christmas. And there's more! I seriously cannot afford to buy any more plants - let alone trees (hmmm) and cobblestones (hmmm) and a garden seat (hmmm). This could take some time explaining - but I'd better lay all my swirling garden thoughts on the table, and try to rationalise. Blast this sudden explosion of ideas. I should have been content doing edges and pruning Hebes after flowering...

Bear with me - several of these garden design plans are inter-related.

Some months back I thought I needed a cobblestone path leading off the decking, connecting with the side path and thus the laundry door - a sensible way of avoiding wet grass, and giving cleaner foot-access to the house via the decking. There are no verandas, so the transition from outside to inside is rather sudden.

 Looking rather guilty - I blame the ginger kitten!
Puppy Digging Under the Decking

There is also an over-large flax in the small corner decking, next to a large Mutabilis rose. It is time the flax went, and the rose was trimmed - the house windows are being blocked from the light (and the house is soon to be painted). The problem has now been exacerbated by the excavations of puppy, playing with the ginger kitten and digging large holes at the edge of the decking. There are mounds of soil and gravel - rather a mess. Any indoor-outdoor flow has well and truly been messed up!

This simply cannot have any roses in it. There is no shelter from the southerly (our stormy rains and cold winds). The water tank is far too close to the fence-line gum trees. There is no immediate automated irrigation possible - it will have to be buckets of water, by hand. There can be a garden here - but like my recent plantings in the Hump it will need to be full of tough New Zealand natives. The ambience is rough and tough - gum leaves, gum bark, dry orchard grass. No rose garden would enjoy this.

There are two possibilities. One is quite exciting, and it will include planting on the house-side of the water race. The unbroken access down one side of the race will be blocked - by beautiful ornamentals, and some dinky little trees (new - aargh!). The second idea merely involves a total enlargement and re-alignment of all boundary curves of the Willow Tree Garden. A huge new area could easily be created for the roses and standard olive trees, and plants from the coming Easter weekend sale (which I technically cannot afford).

Aargh! Enough. I am off to confer with my technical adviser.

 It may look beautiful, but it
An Outsize Flax

Much Later...

Really good news - it is OK for me to create both the new garden sites above. The sheep (who occasionally come into the Frisbee Lawn, when we have lambs) can be fenced away from any new gardens between the Stables and the water race. There is also no problem enlarging the Willow Tree Garden - as long as the big hedge trimmer can fit between the edge of the garden and the shelter belt trees. And the path from the decking to the side of the house is also considered a very sensible idea. Stephen has suggested large paving stones in the grass - I will think about this.

The Flax is Almost Down

Flax Clearing

I've been working all day clearing the large bronze flax out of the decking garden (the kittens have enjoyed chasing the flax leaves). I have taken a sequence of photographs (on the new camera) for the Moosey archives. Things now look so much better! The surrounding rooms have much more light, the rose Mutabilis has had a long overdue trim, and for now my pot collection can hide the flax stump - until I find the axe.

I am about to slouch on the couch and watch some TV. I deserve it! I feel a bit gloomy, but only because I'm tired.

So all my convoluted planning is on the right track! My new ideas are sensible, and easily accommodated. The birthday rose garden will work! I have exactly one week to get it started. I still think it's a brilliant present - I'd love to be given a new rose garden for my birthday! Hee hee hee...

Sunday 20th March

Scary stuff - today is the day where I lay out the boundary of the new birthday garden with stones, place an old garden seat (for the moment) in position near the water, and position the roses and the olive trees. There is also a nice spot for my new Ligularias (purple foliaged Brett-Marie Crawford, by the way). The proposed area of new garden is huge! Therefore, trying to be financially rational, I have scouted around my assorted pot collection - there are several promising tree-shrubs which can be liberated into real soil. And a rogue rhododendron which somehow got into my car with the olive trees from the nursery sale.

Puppy Photos :
I love taking photographs of Rusty the puppy.

This is all very scary - like my new camera, which I am now using lots. At least I have got used to the click of the picture-taking operation. But can anyone tell the difference? I feel that I should have upped the intensity - or the subject matter - or something.

A spider, discovered lurking in the flax stump? Fantails in flight - tails open, beaks full of insects? All I have is an albumful of red dahias, and puppy with exactly the same adoring face staring up at me.

 Wonder if the red colour looks better?
Red Dahlia - New Camera!

Yeay! I have just realised that our daylight saving time ends this morning. That means (psychologically) an extra hour of gardening. I feel quite nervous - I need some motivational music as I stride out to start the new garden. Eek! I think I need the decisive influence of garden friend Pumpkin (Stephen has already suggested this). In her visiting presence I made up my mind instantly to remove large flaxes I'd been dithering about for years!

Apres-Digging, Early Afternoon...

Digging is hard work. It is not particularly gratifying work. It is slow-to-see-progress work. One also gets covered in dirt and dust, and cannot sit down anywhere inside to drink a cup of tea without a total change of clothes. Carpet walking is definitely out.

Laying out the new plants, with stone curves on the grass, has been very helpful for me, a hopeless visualiser. Now I need to persuade Stephen to dig the holes and plant the Olive trees - perhaps some flattery would be a good idea (oh - you're soooo good with trees...). One flax and one native conifer tree (a larch), ex-pots, are planted and watered. At this stage I am digging all the garden area properly - so far so good. Six days to go until the birthday!

Ha! My web-master is now saying that my new camera photographs are, and I quote: "beautiful, focussed, artistically inspiring images". He seems to like the centre of a yellow daisy. My self esteem is suddenly re-sprouting, just like a tough old Moosey Cordyline - it doesn't take much!