Inspired by Jack's Autumn pictures in the forum, I am off into my garden with my own eyes wide open. When I see pockets of golden and red colour from shrubs and trees, I am going to stop, look, marvel, and enjoy - maybe even photograph!

Monday 10th April

Lately I've spent whole days in one restricted garden area, head down and bottom up, forgetting to walk further than the burning heap. This morning I peeped from the upstairs windows - the Oak trees are turning red, the Dogwoods are too. These are delights I must not miss, or take for granted. Non-retired gardeners dream of the time when their gardening eyes have time for everything, missing nothing.

 I love the pale straw colours in Autumn - as well as the bright reds and yellows.
Autumn Leaf Colour

Today I plan to have my biggest burning session of the year. But I also plan to wander around, and take in all the changing colours. I'm also going to look for the fungi that lurk in lawns and underneath the trees at this time of the year. And work-wise I am digging out and shifting most of the New Zealand natives in the ill-fated little Water Tank Garden. The hoses will be on all day.

Working on the Welcome Garden has been fun, but it's a bit close to the road for my idea of independent-cat-safety. I enjoy finally having two light coloured cats - Fluff-Fluff (the palest ginger) and Beige Puss (almost completely white - oops) are easy to spot in the trees and long grass. Whereas Tiger the Tabby-Tortoiseshell has the perfect Autumn forest camouflage fur. Right. Enough cat-chatter. This should be my longest burning day on record. Farewell.

Late Morning - First Rest Stop

Burning Time:
Nearly three hours.
Rubbish Details:
Eight loads from near the Welcome Garden. Eight return trips with wheelbarrow full of mulch. Two random loads from the Hump - Aargh! The Hump is chock-full of rubbish. Four loads from the Wattle Woods.
Anything Finished?
Not quite - but there will be at the end of my second session.
Anything Interesting?
Hand tools found, saved from fire.

I have found two of my hand garden tools in separate rubbish piles - a good little digger and a sturdy hand rake. Ha! I wondered if this was a sign, and I should do a bit of gentle hand weeding around the roses, or something nice and girlie...

Burning Garden Rubbish :
I've written a definitive article about burning in an attempt to join the ranks of terribly serious gardeners who write about sensible things.

Well, it's incredibly interesting to a person who has been trudging around with a wheelbarrow and burning rubbish for three hours! Add a red border collie who just can't resist 'helping' by pulling any side-pointing flax leaves off the wheelbarrow.

Remember, too, that every flax leaf thus dumped on the grass has to be then picked up, lest it wrap itself around the lawn mower blades and cause a dreadful mechanical failure. Then the Moosey lawns would get mown less than they are at present, and the gardens would look even scruffier. Aargh!

Enough sequencing! Living for the restful moment - Bach's Goldberg Variations are tinkling away on piano (played by Murray Perahia, my piano hero, the only musician I've ever heard who 'does' Bach the way I hear it). And this coffee is the best I've tasted all year! Another cup, then back out there! Aargh!

Mid-Afternoon - Second Rest Stop

Burning Time:
Two more hours.
Rubbish Details:
Five more loads from the Wattle Woods. Two more from the Welcome Garden, plus a load of hedge trimmings which missed the chipper's visit. Pouff! Up in flames!
Anything Finished?
You bet! The Welcome Garden rubbish pile is no more. The paths in the Wattle Woods are cleared. The area by the Pump House is cleared.
Anything Interesting?
Home grown apples.

The apples on the tree I plod under to get from the Pump House to the burning pile are very yummy. They have little superficial black spots which I am ignoring. I hope this is sensible. And it may be my last rest stop for the day, unless I am prepared to change out of my clean, in-house clothes. And anyway, an enormous cone of ash is gurgling away - it's rather large, and I'll need to hose it down and dig it out. Hmm... Five hours of burning isn't too bad, I guess. Pretty repetitive, though. C'mon, Rusty Dog - let's race around the country block! Two wheels versus four legs...

 Over the water race by the Willow Tree - which is fast losing its leaves.
Red Flower Carpet Rose

Tuesday 11th April

Eek! Am I suffering already from burn-out? I have woken up feeling rather 'out of puff'. What will I do today? Perhaps some replanting, or weeding - I could even do the lawn edges. Now that's something I haven't groaned about for a while!

The Garden Club is having a Learn-To-Make-Hypatufa day. I have decided not to go - I'm simply not well enough organised or equipped. And I rather fancy making a large, shallow-scooped birdbath, and a huge alpine-type sink. Neither of these objects seem very easy, and neither is small. They'd need to be built in my own garage, rather than me having to womanfully struggle to carry them to my car and home.

So, with the above lame excuses, today needs to be super-productive! Right. I think we (that's Rusty Dog and me) can manage a mulch-wheeling circuit for starters. Then I can dig out and soak all surviving natives by the Water Tank, ready for their new home in the Welcome Garden. The new coral peonies can be planted. There is definitely enough to do to keep me happily occupied all day, in lieu of hypatufa-ing.

 Easy to grow, cheap, and absolutely lovely!
My Favourite Native New Zealand Hebe


What a great morning, so far! So far garden-wise I've weeded the Birthday Rose Garden and planted the peonies - for the record, they are named Hawaiian Coral. Nice. The sun has been shining, and Rusty Dog has been my constant gardening companion. He agrees with me - this is much more fun than slopping around with hypatufa in someone else's garage - particularly as we've had time to cycle around the bigger country block. Now I need to get back to the mistress plan, which involved a plant rescue mission. I'm off. Nice coffee, by the way!

Pittosporum :
I use Pittosporums a lot in my garden. They are very tough shrubs.

It's now late afternoon, and I've been done more productive things than wrestling with hypatufa in a bucket - but not quite as social! That's been my gardening day. Good news - all the Pittosporums (plus two lucky flaxes) are shifted and watered in their new garden. There's not much more to say, really (for once).

 A red and green Phormium.
Jester Flax

Thursday 13th April - Nearly Easter

Oops - no gardening these last two days. But I am getting mentally prepared for the Great Easter Sale - this is where I find at least thirty good looking Pittosporums on the one-dollar sale table, and no-one else is grabbing them (so I don't have to be too pushy) - and then I spy a Claret Iceberg rose for - let's say three dollars.

But There Are More Bargains!

Then there's another bargain bin full of fat-potted hostas, and little coloured flaxes (Like the Jester), and cute adolescent treelings (preferably Dogwoods) - all of which need to go to a good country home. And loads of super-cheap and super-tough Agapanthus, interesting colours please (like deep inky blue), which can edge the new Welcome Garden.

Then there are more roses - new David Austins that I've dreamed of getting - surely the sign says 'three for ten dollars'? Sounds reasonable - and they'd make lovely birthday presents. Finally, maybe five or six huge healthy rhododendrons - they could be five dollars each. That's OK. Hee hee. Happy Easter, fellow gardeners and dreamers!