It's now the third week of January, and finally we've had two really hot summer days. Just two! I am ready to do some extreme warm-weather garden watering.

We are back from a short two day tramp in the mountains. We camped on the Bealey Spur bush-line at 1250m and climbed to the top ridge at 1550m. What a view! I totally stopped thinking about my garden. Great food, great company, blue sky, 360 degrees panorama of beloved New Zealand mountains, one sore foot, no keas to vandalise our tents - pretty perfect! I can't do much plant-talking about our trip, though - oops!

 Head gardener and Stephen staring down the Waimakiriri Valley.
Camping in the Mountains

The Return of the Gardener

But the gardener is back! I am going to limp (slightly) around all day shifting the hoses. I might not do any gardening. Or then again I might! Sloshing down the water race weeding the edges might be a preferred garden activity (and soothing for the sore tramping foot). Finally it actually feels like a summer holiday - so don't expect too much! I might dead-head more of the Moosey roses. The two hot days have rather spoilt their flowers.


Brilliant! At last I've done some summer gardening - firstly in the shade by the Wattle Woods Stream (since I spend so much time getting the water in the wee stream to flow, it seems only logical that the stream is weeded and planted appropriately) - then in the water race weeding the edges. I am feeling so refreshed and very summery. Go the gardening shorts and white legs!

Rusty the puppy now likes the water race, and gets right in it to bounce (when shallow) and swim (when deep). He will even put his head under.

The approach to one side of The Plank has been washed away. Technically the wooden planks which form this heritage water crossing are now too short. My resident gourmet cook stepped on The Plank and fell into the water - naturally she immediately reported the problem. Rusty the puppy has been refusing to walk on it for weeks - perhaps he knew something...

The resident bee swarm (possibly now doubled in size) that is nesting? hiving? inside the house between floors cannot stay. Nor can they be captured easily, unless Stephen takes the side of the house off. They all buzz at the constant frequency of Middle C - how odd - makes me want to make a musical drone joke...

 The bright pink rose is a Flower Carpet one. I take this same photo every year!
Summer Lawns and Gardens

Monday 17th January

Go my gardening shorts! Summer style in the garden continues. What shall I do first today? I will quickly do a mind-scan of the needs of my whole garden.

The winds will be gusty, so there can be no rubbish burning (blast!). The lawns are covered with strips of gum bark - I could rake them. Hopefully my wee stream will still be running - I could check, and do some stream maintenance. I could continue clearing in the water race (lovely cool refreshing water) - I am down to the large flaxes, nearing Rooster Bridge. I could organise the re-installation of The Plank. I still haven't mulched the water-side gardens by the willow tree. I could weed in the shade in the new native garden.

 These roses have two distinct flowering flushes.
White Flower Carpet Roses

I could dead-head more roses, and I could spray them rather belatedly for rust. Could, could, could...


The end of the water race is weeded! I've chopped off old flax leaves and thrown up stones and mud to try and suppress the next weed-generation. It's absolutely delightful working from the water on a real summer's day! The hot gusty nor-west wind is blowing noisily. Now I am apres-gardening in my new two dollar flower blouse, and new two dollar blue gardening shorts. Actually I have quite a selection of new two dollar apres-gardening clothes - I could change every hour... hmm...

Tuesday 18th January

Today I intend to systematically water my garden. Hoses will be on the three following garden areas:

The hoses will be shifted along every hour. Also the house patio and decking pots will be watered at least twice, generously, with the blue plastic watering can.

 Well watered today at least - this rose is in a house decking pot.
Striped Miniature Rose

I have already done an hour and a half gardening, pre-breakfast, and I've burnt the rubbish before any wind starts up. Yesterday the gusts were very strong - lots of my hollyhocks were blown down, as were some of the (unstaked!) dahlias. There are gum tree bark strips and leaves over all the lawns, and in all the gardens. Eek! This is not a good look. Right. Back I go.


So far so good - my watering system is working. I've also staked the tomatoes and beans (oops) and dug up some potatoes. The garden is suddenly sad and dry, and the lawns are no longer green. Blast! This happens whenever the nor-west winds blow - yet still takes me by surprise. How fleeting are the true moments of visual gardening joy! The big irrigation system may have to run tonight - that means that my blue delphiniums by the Willow tree will get flattened - in a good cause, I guess.

I intend to go semi apres-gardening - which new shirt will I wear? My blue flower blouse? Blue vertical stripes? Or blue checks? Plain blue linen? Then I can elegantly shift the hoses throughout the afternoon.