Finish pruning the roses!

This weekend I must - must - absolutely, definitely must finish pruning the roses, including all the house archway climbers. As a responsible rose grower I need to become more pro-active in providing good, healthy conditions for these noble shrubs. Sounds serious!

Saturday 20th August

First of all I am going to continue my rose inventory - counting and writing down the names - of all my roses in all the gardens. Consider it a work in progress! Then I have a special planting ceremony to attend - the first Hazelnut Orchard rose arch is sitting in place near Smoocher's flowering cherry tree, lonely, waiting. It seems that my weekend is looking rather rosy! Ha! Garden humour!

 The small daffodils are always the first to flower.
Nearly Spring! Miniature Daffodils

Spring Sights, Sounds - and Smells?

I'm in a super-confident mood - there are incredibly mild pre-spring temperatures, the air is richly fragrant with flowering Daphne (and eau-de-puppy, who has rolled in spring duck-poos), the big plum trees in early blossom look magnificent, the water race is burbling and gurgling past the shining Moosey flaxes... How very lucky I am that I have such a lovely space to garden in, with cats and a fragrant puppy for company!

And nice weather, nothing too extreme - no typhoons, hurricanes, floods, severe snow storms - everything is so moderate and gardener-friendly. But this is all rather sentimental stuff. Wait until the middle of a Canterbury drought, when I am desperately sneaky-watering every day for six hours plus, and the dry nor-west winds have sucked all the goodness out of the soil and blown all my plants over!

Pink Cistus :
Cistus shrubs are not supposed to be longlasting - often in my garden they die for no apparent reason.

Another good thing - I am enlarging the boundaries of international horticultural knowledge, and might have an unusual type of Cistus in my garden! I am rather embarrassed, since most of my Cistus plants have come from scruffy places, or have been thrown onto sale tables at nurseries, pot-bound. It could just be that New Zealand leads the world in Cistus shrub-building?

Back to today. Puppy and I have had our morning zooming and bouncing walk, I've fed the cats - Tiger Puss, whose inappropriate pet-name is 'Little Puss', finished off everyone's bowl. I've had two cups of tea, and discussed the unfolding day's events with Stumpy (my journal-writing lap-cat). It's time for some serious, gloved, secateured garden action. But before I do...

Tiger Puss - aka Little Puss

Tiger Puss is the oddest shape - like a furry toy rugby ball, with short stubby little legs and white paws. I used to think her legs were the problem - far too short, out of proportion with her body. Then I decided that her head was too small. Finally I've realised - it's that squishy part of her between head and legs which is too big and too fat - her body!

 Still flowering strongly.
My Baby Pink Camellia

Much Later...

It has been the most beautiful day - twenty degrees warm! I have picked fresh Camellia flowers for the house. I have done lots more serious weeding along the back fence, underneath the Mermaid rose - ripping out a huge mass of iris confusa plants whose roots have become riddled with creeping grass. I've finally re-planted the daffodil bulbs I left lying on the surface here after my last weeding session.

I have hand-pruned a lot more roses, including Graham Thomas, and have supervised the pruning of the house archway climbers with a scary big rotating blade (thank you Stephen). And I have raked up all the mess. Oops - I do have rather a lot of roses, and I am about to plant some more! My hands are sore, but I have had the best day!

Sunday 21st August - Early

I'm back from my early morning 'I-am-so-lucky' walk with puppy. We passed ceremonially underneath the lone completed rose arch, through Hazelgate, and then - shock! - a change in our routine! We turned left and went up to the Willow Tree garden where I tried out my new edging shears (they work!) and picked new daffodils for the house (strictly speaking the Moosey Office, where I hang out more and more, quietly resting, apres-gardening). The Moosey Office is where I read, do large jigsaws of English Cottage Gardens (in lieu of visiting them in person), and attempt to paint daylilies. Humph...

Inspired By New Garden Shears

Today the new shears have inspired me - I can happily finish all the edges of the gardens over the water race, as well as doing my rose thing (that's pruning). I have a new Willow Tree garden bench which is still out of position - artistic design installation decisions must be made. It is going to be another mild-mannered day - my aim is to still be floating in my I-am-so-very-lucky bubble after four solid weeding/pruning/edging hours. I must check on Taj-dog's memorial Almond tree, too - it should soon be budding.

 The very nicest of early spring shrubs.
Daphne Shrub in Flower

Stephen is away overseas for two weeks and already puppy and I are missing him - for very different reasons, though. Puppy is sitting forlornly by the bicycle in the garage chewing his toy stork (bright orange legs sticking out of dog-mouth - it's not a good look) - waiting. I have discovered that all the lawns over the water race desperately need mowing! Right. Out, to enjoy the balmy pre-spring air, smell the wafting Daphne, and do some gentle gardening!

 These grow on a shady garden edge behind the Stables.
Purple Heuchera

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

What a beautiful day! I have been rather rose-less and random, deciding instead to do some serious digging - I've finishing off the shape of the Birthday Rose Garden and the Stables Garden opposite. Puppy has spent three hours jumping in and out of the water race chasing small stones, and I've spread bags of old leaves and newspaper onto the new garden.

I've pulled a gift Heuchera to pieces, trimmed it, and stuck the newly cut pieces straight into the ground. The new Garden Bench immediately across the water still looks silly - I need to take out a cup of coffee and a book, to give it a proper test. It's not how a seat looks, but what the sitting there-on feels like that matters - isn't it?

I've also been talking with puppy (as one does) about dropping work altogether next year. I could! Hmm... OK, my coffee is ready - I'm off back outside to do the edges, sore hands and all. I don't understand how my knuckles are getting really rough, even though I now wear gloves all the time. This isn't a hint, but I could be the most useful consumer field trialist for heavy duty gardener's hand cream!