October's Resolution...

October's Resolution - I must stop expanding my garden areas and concentrate on good maintenance (weeding and raking paths) of what's already there. All individual plants, even the small and humble, are to be heard.

 Well worth growing.
Variegated White Honesty

Sunday 8th October

Strong words, since I am about to lay newspaper and mulch on a wee bit of the Pond Garden (which has - ahem - been enlarged slightly). But that particular expansion started weeks ago, and can be finished today, so my October's Resolution can come into place. And note that there is no ban on buying new plants (hee hee).

The Tempo of Spring

Spring has such strong movement - and the plants, bless them, have their own sense of tempo. I've been peeping at the aquilegias each day now - long stalks, a few buds, but nothing floral as yet. Aquilegias are symbolic in my garden memories - they were the plant I always missed, when I was working.

All the rougher borders are filled with purple and white flowering Honesty. The newest rhododendron in flower is delicious, sitting proudly by the water race edge - thank you, snow storm, for giving me the courage and reason to remove the large neighbouring flax. The little blue irises are so magical - and visible! What good sense to plant them near the grass path!

So the first thing I will do today is organise that new garden (oops). It's right near Haru the pet lamb's paddock, and she's down to one bottle feed a day, so I'll do the garden immediately after I've fed her. Dear, brainy little lamb - surely the brainiest lamb in New Zealand! Next weekend is shearing time - Fred, our pet lamb from last year, is absolutely huge, hopefully with wool. Haru can go down into the back paddock with the shorn flock.

Dog Discipline

Rusty the dog is responding well to his dog 'boot camp' (he's on a strict discipline regime). On our bike ride yesterday only one thing went wrong - he didn't come when I called him, choosing instead to roll in what looked like vomit. Aargh! It was a rather spectacular way to end a very good run.

 Beautiful late spring flowers.
Pansies and Forget-Me-Nots

Much, Much Later...

Like the dog, I have had a brilliantly disciplined day. I have finished things. I have packed up all my tools and put them carefully away. I have watered the seeds and plants in the glass-house. London son will be proud - I bought two red cordylines (that famous Regent's Park red) from a little roadside stall. They are in pots flanking the new garden bench. This seat is the cause of the garden expansion behind the pond, and today I had lunch on it with three of the cats. Fluff-Fluff wanted to sit and smooch, while Jerome the Grey sat at my feet with her 'I adore my mother' face. Tiger was up to something catty behind the Ballerina roses, and Haru the lamb was snoozing in the sun just through the fence.

Gardening Cats :
Cats and dogs are great company in the garden.

Naturally I got into one of those gushy 'I am so lucky' moods - the gentle company of animals, a sunny day, hot coffee (naturally organic), and the big cherry trees in full fluffy blossom. Then Stephen mowed almost all the lawns again. A quality control complaint had been made last weekend - rough edges and pieces missed completely. So I zoomed around with my edging clippers, to show my appreciation. I shifted logs, sowed coriander and sweet basil seeds, and took some cuttings - dwarf Hydrangeas and the shrubby Lavatera Barnsley. I cleaned out the chook house, and laid in some fresh new barley straw.

 The view from my new garden seat.
Cherry Blossom

Monday 9th October

Last night it blustered and rained. This morning the garden is very wet, but the lovely sun is shining. The newly mown lawns, with their newly trimmed edges, look magnificent. These simple cosmetic, superficial things create beauty out of chaos. No-one (except the faithful) gets a visual buzz from a well pruned shrub, or a well mulched border.

So what exactly am I going to do in this drenched, sparkling garden this morning? I don't feel like getting wet (wimp). So that means - oh, no! That means putting on thick gardening gloves and carting firewood logs out of the gardens and into the woodshed. Not inspiring at all!

Tuesday 10th October

Hee, hee! I had a brilliant day weeding in the Birthday Rose Garden (no weedy yellow euphorbias allowed). I didn't shift any logs though - that's today's job, as is the spreading of the compost piles in the Wattle Woods. Yesterday I had lunch again on the new garden bench. It's a really lovely spot - one gazes dreamily at the Pond Paddock gardens, enjoying cherry blossom and the new maple trees with their delicate foliage.

Choisya Sundance :
This shrub has it all - foliage, sensible growth, and spring blossom.

The Wattle Woods opposite are bursting with big colours (pink rhododendrons, blue ajuga, white honesty) and the Apple Tree Border at the back glows with sunny shrubs (Choisya Sundance, variegated carexes) and my two remaining flaxes (Yellow Wave and Cream Delight). Ha! Another attempt at descriptive garden writing - needs pruning and an application of expressive adjectives and cute creative phrases. But I tried!

Garden Club Confession

Today I have a huge confession to make. Ouch! I am supposed to be going on a Garden Club trip, to visit local rhododendron gardens. But I'm not. I have squillions of excuses - no car today, it rained again last night, there's far too much to do in my own garden, Rusty the dog and I are going biking, my own new rhododendrons are flowering, as are my first roses - Canary Bird and Fruhlingsmorgen. Then I have some more cordylines to put in pots, there are seeds to prick out, it's beautifully sunny, I need to practice my ladies choir songs, tra la la... Look, I'll even start the morning by vacuuming the downstairs!

 I love green cordylnes - but they are oh so messy!
Middle Garden from Duck Lawn - 2006

And I reckon today is the perfect day to sow grass seed on any patches of lawn which need it. There! I have fully justified my absence from social garden visiting. Tomorrow I'm out all day walking in the mountains, anyway. Retired gardeners do have to show some restraint.


I think I am a legend. I have done lots of little detailed things, such as an observant garden visitor might notice needed doing. Again I sat on my new garden bench for lunch, squinting at the cherry blossom. Haru the pet lamb came to her side of the fence and curled up near us (that's Head Gardener, dog, and a couple of cats). Now I have too many choices - should I continue? Or should I shower? Or should I do the vacuuming? Aargh!

 All finely bred merinos.
Three Lambs - Heads Down

Gourmet Chooks

My chook super-nanny (Krystina) is right - the hens adore old plain yoghurt. I mixed them a brew fortified with seeds and oatmeal - it looked ghastly, but there was much appreciative clucking. It would be ridiculous to buy yoghurt just for them - wouldn't it?

Wednesday 11th October

Again I have a change of plan - I am not going walking today. So what shall I do first in the garden? I wonder if there's anything big I could do - I've spent the last days concentrating on little things. Choices, choices... No, I'd better behave. I'll do a grand weeding sweep down the gardens over the water race. I can get a feel for the gaps in these gardens and then (hee hee) write a list of new plants to purchase. Anyway, I need to get some gardening gloves. And a swim would be nice. There - all settled!