C'mon, Head Gardener!

 One of my most successful annual flowers raised this year.
Annual Blue Lobelia

C'mon, Head Gardener, get out there in that garden! Where have you got to? The borders need weeding, the lawns need mowing, the paths need raking... Really!

Sunday 11th February

Ha! I am back, after one rather long day on a bush walk and two full days at work - just a minor glitch, nothing too serious! It was a hopeless experience - the first morning I forgot to let the hens out of their hen house, the second night I forgot to put them back in. Naturally they sorted it all out. Poor Rusty stayed patiently in his kennel two days in a row - that's no life for a country dog!

But today, I am celebrating the return of the gardener. I intend to rake the pieces of gum tree bark off the house lawns - that's for starters. Then I have more newspaper and mulch to lay in my native garden areas - both the Pittosporum 'forest' in the Hump and the Welcome Garden, full of recently planted hebes, Pittosporums, cordylines and flaxes.

Don't Forget the Chooks

But first, I will remember to let my lovely egg-laying hens out! You are what you eat, which is what they eat, and now they are free-ranging each day, those eggs are a delight!

 This lavender is my new pink flowering variety
Lavatera and Lavender


I have weeded and trimmed and pulled out Lychnis plants and axed out Verbascums from the edge of the water race. I've been outside working for nearly five hours! All around me the bright colours of summer have been glowing - red dahlias, pink phloxes and lavateras, orange daylilies, and roses blooming for the second time - the climber Crepuscule on the pergola and the pretty woodshed ramblers.

More Whites!

And there's more - the big whites! The Shasta daisies along the back fence are huge. And my favourite Nicotiana sylvestris plants are popping up everywhere - oops!

 B-Puss relaxing.
Long White Cat

I've also done boring things like rake the lawn, sweep the house patios, and tidy the patio borders. B-Puss has been keeping me company. My house garden looks so much better - I'm almost visitable! Now when I sit underneath the Wisteria with my hot coffee I won't be leaping up immediately to tinker with something.

Summer Hydrangea

What I am not doing is nurturing everything properly. I've just 'seen' my most beautiful summer flowering shrub - an oak-leaved hydrangea - bravely emerging from a tangle of rambling rose canes on the fence. There are six or seven huge creamy-white flower-heads resting on the rose foliage - how beautiful!

 My favourite big perennials.
Nicotiana Sylvestris

Monday 12th February

Today I must try and catch up. What am I catching up with? It just seems that when I miss whole gardening days I fall completely off the back of the gardening bus. Aargh! Two full days there at my old work, plus the next day at home mooching around home 'recovering'. Hmm...


Well, it is drizzling on and off. And I have been busy visiting my travel agent, hee hee! And, regarding that gardening bus - tomorrow I am off with a busload of gardening ladies, visiting two open gardens near Ashburton, one of which has its own lake! And then on Wednesday my walking group is going up the Mingha valley in Arthur's Pass - that same valley which the Coast to Coast adventure runners run down. So my gardening week is looking rather non-active. Oops.


Hmm. What have I done in the garden? I have raked up five wheelbarrowfuls of gum tree leaves. And I've done some dead-heading, and shovelled out some rogue lilac phloxes, and cut down some big Nicotianas which had finished flowering. Hardy worth mentioning, but it's taken me ages.

Tuesday 13th February

Naughty. I have decided not to go on the real bus with the Garden Club ladies. Instead, I will drive around all day in the Moosey Garden Bus, in the company of my gardening dog and my cat friends. I will rake up gum tree rubbish and mulch whole garden areas.

Waterside Stones :
This ornamental Indian rhubarb had me fooled - I thought it was a Rheum! It looks great with the river stones around it.

I will finish my landscaping work with river stones by the water race. I will not tire, nor will I get bored. If I require a break I can bicycle madly round the block with the dog. Today should be the year 2007's longest gardening day ever.

Quick Morning Tea Break

Make that hot coffee. Well, so far, so good. I clear a wheelbarrowful of mess, and on my way back to the garden I shift and stack a wheelbarrowful of firewood. I'm working in the Wattle Woods near the pond. Rusty the dog has been hanging around. I caught him pulling down a plum tree branch and eating plums off it. Poor dieting dog! Delicate issue - hope the plum stones don't cause him any problems.

At this very moment the Garden Club Gardening Bus will be lurching along the back roads of Ashburton towards the second open garden. I am ready to lurch into a different garden area to do some mulching. I am so glad I stayed home to work - there's a feeling of virtuousness - virtuosity? Alas, not quite. Anyway, if I saw a garden with a lake I'd only get jealous.

Wednesday 14th February

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm back, with extremely wet boots, from a day trip in Arthur's Pass.

 Impossible to keep the boots dry!
Crossing the Minga River

Magical country, the river valley which twists and turns, the valley sides towering high above. Waterfalls, shingle slopes, lots of wild bush-country dreaming! Nature's garden full of green foliage plants and sheltering beech trees. And lots of rocks!