My scruffy garden...

This week I have hardly spent any quality time in my scruffy garden. The lawns look dreadful, and there are gum tree leaves everywhere. I have huge plans for a buying frenzy at the Botanical Gardens plant sale tomorrow.

 Lovely patterns in the sunlight.
Golden Elm Leaf

Friday 17th February

All I did yesterday was rake up gum tree leaves and get despondent. Blasted big Eucalyptus in the middle of my sweeping lawns! I watered and tidied the ring of pot plants. Hardly worth mentioning!

Today, when I could have been gardening, I wasn't. First I was swimming, where a really old grey-haired granddad with sparrow legs was racing me in the slow lane - hmm... Then I was walking around the Botanical Gardens, sneaking a preview of tomorrow's sale plants. Home via work (no comment required), and now I am being totally lazy. The garden is out there, the sun is shining, and I am inside talking to my cats. And thinking about watching the Winter Olympics on TV. Hopeless.

Positives and Negatives

Very little of which is garden orientated, Actually, I should know better than to write up my journal late in the day. There always seems to be more to moan about - like my purple leafed Ligularia which refuses to be well-photographed, or my Tribute-To-Famous-Grass-Gardeners area which has the sturdiest dandelion weeds in the world. Or my daisies in the patio pots which look dreadful - even after I've dead-headed and watered them. Or the Canna lilies which I haven't shifted and which are sulking.

 One of the small hydrangea shrubs that I grow and love,
Definitely Positive - PInk Hydrangea

But my red dahlias look great! And the hydrangeas are flowering madly, with no watering complaints. And I like my new Red Fountain Cordyline in its decking pot - I saw a beautiful mature specimen in the Botanical Gardens, most impressive - it doesn't grow a trunk, looking much more like a well behaved fountain-shaped flax, and is about waist-high. Nice.

So this sale tomorrow morning could be good! I spied a couple of variegated Coprosmas I'd like, plus some Hebes. This could be just what I need - a car boot full of new plants to get excited about.

Saturday 18th February, After Six Hours Gardening...

Hmm... What a day. I seemed to need a lot of self-encouragement - there were some intense monologues concerning the need to be positive and work hard. I kept seeing things which needed trimming, weeding, shifting - and I found many suitable spots for the new sale plants, several of which are now happily installed. I bought Hebes, the lovely variegated Coprosmas with long pointed leaves, Corokias, five Tinkerbell Agapanthus with lovely striped foliage, and the cutest little baby golden conifer for my rockery.

I might join the 'Friends of the Botanical Gardens' - all the apron-clad ladies (older than me, for once) were feeling very important behind the sale tables, counting the money and making official cups of tea. I might fit in rather nicely...

Renga Renga Flower :
Renga Renga is a New Zealand native rock lily, great for shade plantings.

Then I started my garden work. I attacked the garden all day. Gum leaves have been raked up, shrubs trimmed, weeds pulled - the house gardens are so much tidier, the Stella D'Oro daylilies have finally been shifted, and I've planted the bucketful of Renga Renga along the Hen House path edge. It has been full-on work, and I've hardly stopped for air.


There was a very scary, guilty moment when I heard a loud metallic bang from the lawn mower. Aargh! Had some long lost secateurs been 'found' by the mower blades? Sheepishly I wandered over to peer nervously at its underbelly. But it wasn't one of my abandoned garden tools - the offending article is thought to be one of Rusty dog's pine cones. Funny how he didn't even get told off...

Having worked really hard all day, what better rewards than a lovely meal, a glass of light red wine, a journal in which to proudly record the day's achievements - and cricket to watch!

 These grow together in the house garden.
Graham Thomas Rose with Dahlias

Sunday 19th February

I think today I will do some freestyle gardening. I will plant all my bargains - the plan is to scatter them far and wide, in different garden areas. I will make space for some by shifting wrongly placed rhododendrons, and so on. When I arrive at a planting area I will quickly weed, trim and rake, and make immediate digging-out decisions. For example, the runty Mary Rose roses which I grew from cuttings are just not sturdy enough. Pot or burn?

Thus I will dig out any sulking patches of daylilies and canna lilies. Take the Pond Paddock Gardens - my original plantings were rocked by the wind and baked by the sun. These exposed conditions favoured sun-lovers, and very gradually the tree growth has dappled the sun. Originally the Pond Paddock was sheep-only, with huge heaps of earth and rubble, and scruffy lumpy pasture grass. Now it has spreading flowering cherry trees, oak trees, hosta gardens... and scruffy, lumpy pasture grass...

I will be pleased to provide a list of strictly positive accomplishments (for anyone interested) when I return - that should be in six or more hours time!

Monday 20th February

First some animal news. The kittens are off to the vet this week for cat flu injections and the like. Last time we all arrived speckled with disfiguring patches of ringworm, a very sorry sight. I expect the vet to compliment B-Puss on his beautiful fur and scary, cool blue eyes, and Fluff-Fluff for his incredible curved walrus whiskers. Good vets notice these little things!

Tiger :
Tiger is my lovely fat tortoiseshell cat - with really short legs.

We have some Monday Madness. Tiger (the eternal kitten) has already fallen into the toilet bowl (oops). Then a successful ambush of the Terrible Stairs Monster, in front of witnesses Fluff-Fluff and Beige Puss, who joined in the fracas. Three fighting felines, one Terrible Stairs Monster vanquished. Phew! That was close! And Rusty the puppy-dog has just successfully chased a large passenger jet plane out of Moosey airspace.

 I love New Zealand natives!
Some of My Sale Plants

Right. I have a garden to organise, plants to plant, a dog to go bicycling with, and things to get ready for work (humph). I will be back!

Much, Much Later...

Boy have I worked hard! I've enlarged the Pond Paddock side garden and planted some of my new plants. A squashed-in flax from a large pot has also been liberated. The sun has been very hot - Rusty dog has been keeping me company, but he's stayed sensibly in the shade. I have raked up lots of gum debris, and trimmed some overhanging trees. The lower Wattle Woods are very dry and littered with huge strips of gum bark. My small wriggling stream has been decommissioned - I think I'll rebuild the stream bed away from the gum trees. If I get my water system organised this area could be transformed!