I could easily lose confidence in being a New Zealand four seasons gardener - the weather continues cold, snowy, stuck in a pattern of southerly cold fronts. Perhaps I could turn to conifers for consolation...

 Almost all the leaves have fallen now.
Wisteria in the Snow

Thursday 22nd June

Northern gardeners who put up with three months of snow will be getting heartily sick of me moaning! It's just that my weather is supposed to be changeable - sometimes four seasons in one day, or at least in a week. That's why I'm grumping - anything nasty usually has a short lifespan, weatherwise! It's not usual having so many days in a row spent inside, watching the rain and/or snow.

Welcome Home!

Today all I've done is walk Rusty the dog down the road in the driving rain. Brr! A good way to test out the powers of the Welcome Garden, though - it was such a glad sight on our return! A rustic sign will nicely add the finishing touch.

The big chain-sawing session happens this weekend in the Wattle Woods. It's sad to see these noble Australians (or, less emotionally, old and solid trees) wrecked by the snow. I've done a bit more preliminary clearing up by the Hen House, too - again the Wattles are the casualties. Their strength is so brittle!

So there's nothing much else to write about, really - same old, same old... It seems an age ago that I was in England (and in Belgium) complaining about their lack of sunshine and grey skies. And enjoying those lovely forest walks! What a silly person - I should stayed twice as long!

Peony :
Peonies are such beautiful flowers - I love them.

It may be necessary, after all the sawing and cutting and stacking of logs, to reward self with some totally frivolous, girlie new plants - like lots of new peonies for the rose garden, or some beautiful flowering cherries to replace the Wattles. One small garden has to be replanted - that's the Rockery, which gets huge dumps of snow. A couple of Hebes are still submerged, and unsuitable plants not already broken by the snow have been nipped by the big frost two days ago. Conifers are obviously the answer...

 Surrounded by destruction!
The Wattle Woods Seat

Saturday 24th June

Seven hours ago I started clean-up work in the garden, with my lovely weekend garden helper manning the chain-saw. SEVEN HOURS! I stacked the cut logs, dragged out the burnable branches, and after lunch started my fire. And then I simply burnt bits of trees - on and on, load after load - until darkness sneaked in and the day was over. It's the first non-wet day in the garden for a while, now - and - good news! The snow has finally melted! I finished my super-day with a long soaking bath - interestingly full of floating little twigs. Oops.

The Wattle Woods Clean-Up Starts

Nearly all the gum trees which came down in the snow storm are now chopped and sorted. We've made a tentative start in the Wattle Woods, sawing into the mess, past the glass-house, cutting an access way towards Rooster Bridge. I am going to ask for help in cutting down some of the large waterside Phormium Tenax flaxes. The snow has ruined them - they are flat, and fat, overhanging and trailing in the water, and giving a slippery surface to the paths. Blast!

I'm looking forward to actually doing some proper remodelling and replanting - there are ornamental grasses and perennials to cut back, and a few wrongly placed plants to shift. Earlier this morning three Pittosporums and a large species flax were evicted from the rose garden. If I want little bursts of foliage I can plant some Hebes in here. Things that grow into trees are just plain silly!

 They are easier to climb now!
Fluff-Fluff in the Wattles

Ideally I will go through every garden area assessing the planting, shifting in and shifting out things, and letting some good sense guide me. Easy, old plants - for example, many clumps of Fountain grass - will be removed ruthlessly. Anything ruined by the snow - for example, the Iris confusa patches in the Dog-Path Garden - can also be dug up and chucked.

I hope tomorrow I feel as confident and energetic as today! And please, no rain!

Sunday 25th June

It's been another great, long day with chain-sawing company. It makes a huge difference to my morale when I have help. So more of the Wattle Woods are semi-cleared, and much more is burnt. I have worked out what I've been missing in the garden these last days - it's doing little, tiny things, where one small area is pottered in, slowly, and the gardener sits down to weed. She is in no great rush, there is no fire burning which needs feeding, and she doesn't have to make the most of the rainless weather.

I almost did this in the Hen House Garden first thing this morning. Problem was that first thing was rather frosty. I made some rose-shifting plans, though - and then dug and axed out two offending Phormiums. It was like a new lease of gardening life! Then the chain-saw started up and I sort of went back into my clearing-and-burning shell. My garden helper has now said three times, in a nice, encouraging tone: You don't have to do everything all at once. I know he means well. Maybe tomorrow I'll allow myself a NO FIRES day!

 By the water race.
Phormiums Being Messy

Monday 26th June

I've been procrastinating - I've tried to stay inside doing, for example, light housework tasks, to give the frost time to thaw. My rose garden planting plans involve shovels - frozen ground would dampen the spirits a little! I also have plans to cut down an extremely large green flax - possible with the sharp kitchen knife? Oops. Wish me luck.

If all the above fails I will have to start the inevitable burning. Then I'll get caught up in the dreadful supply-and-demand, and nothing else will get done. Aargh!

Tuesday 27th June

Yesterday I worked in the Hen House Gardens removing (with axe and shovel) three more floppy Phormiums and a Toe Toe, and then burnt for two hours. The Hen House Gardens are much more opened up, with space and light. One more offending flax-monster to go. Then, and only then, will I replant and shift around the roses. I have a new policy - should I need to replace the large overgrown flaxes, then I am allowed to purchase a proper little coloured hybrid. No more bargain bin flaxes which revert to the species, grow like giants, then fall and flop with the littlest hint of snow.

Firewood :
The garden provides more firewood than we can ever hope to burn!

Today my first task is to stack logs of chain-sawed firewood, deep in the Wattle Woods. It's still frosty but the sun (I love you, sun!) is shining. Then I guess I'll have yet another burning session. Progress is being made, though, and those flaxes have been annoying me for years. Finally, action!

Wednesday 28th June

Have given up and called in sick today with a heavy head cold. I have lolled with my tissues and have watched two episodes of a British detective series called, aptly, Frost, and an old James Bond movie - one where Sean Connery had hair. Then Rusty and I inspected the pond (completely iced over) and went down the road for a walk. We were a grumpy pair - I was really sulky, and he was in one of his bite-the-dog-lead moods. I am sick of being sick already.