More flexible?

I am going to adopt a more flexible attitude. If I garden for hours and hours and don't get anything finished, I must still find cause for personal celebration. For example, not losing any of my garden tools, or hurting any body bits too much...

Wednesday August 8th

Today I should be walking on the hills. I have stayed home to - aargh! - finish pruning my roses. Surely I can't keep finding any more... Yet irresponsibly I keep buying new ones. It's a myth, anyway, that anything in the garden can be finished.

 Flaxes and Astelias in the late winter sunshine.
Sunny Spikes

After swimming I'll visit the nursery to buy four Vietnamese pots and four red fountain cordylines. They are going into the four corners of my garden, mathematically symbolic like the four quadrants, a theme of unity. I'm saving the purchase of the supersized sewer pipe for another day... And if I buy more roses it will be because they are ten dollars each, and have interesting names. Anything with the words 'cluster-flowered' or 'shrub', whose colour I like, will be scooped up into my trolley.

The First Pink Camellia :
The top of the Wattle Woods has red, pink, and white Camellias planted together. Luckily they don't all flower at once!

Right. Let the gardening day commence. As I swim I can think about the Wattle Woods. I like the rugosa roses (pruned, phew!) and the rhododendrons, and the variegated mallows. Yesterday I spied the beautiful pink Camellia in flower - the first.

More Camellias would be nice in this garden. But I need a concept for this garden, now that the big Wattle trees are down. A 'mixed foliage shrubbery' seems a bit vague.

Much Later, At the End of the Gardening Day...

Hmm... The 'mixed foliage shrubbery' which I call the Wattle Woods has been cleaned up - hebes, perennials and a big Buddleia trimmed back, and more dreaded roses pruned. All the plants seem low to the ground, but I need to be careful - by mid-summer the Miscanthus grass will be back at full stretch, and the trees in full leaf. And the rhododendrons were newly planted only a year ago, after that awful snow storm.

 Shining in the afternoon sun.
The First Camellia

Memo to self - the following still need organising: the purple Cotinus, one of the victims of the snow, needs some drastic sawing to help it reshape itself nicely. And the old Granny Smith apple tree is desperately in need of pruning.

New Pots, New Roses

To finish my day I burnt all the rose mess. This involved collecting a barrowful of gum tree rubbish for every load of prunings. And yes - I have four knee-high Vietnamese pots crammed into my wee car, and four red cordylines sitting outside it, with four new roses - Paddy Stephens, Paul Gaugin, Just Joey, and Claude Monet (I love, love, love this rose). Hee hee. Incorrigible - and completely unrepentant.

 Pretty as a picture...
Striped Rose Claude Monet

A New Rose Book

And things could even get worse - I also have a new, magnificently large rose book to read. It's called 'Glorious Old Roses - A Rose Lover's Companion', by Trevor Griffiths, and is full of beautiful Duchesses, Madames and quite a few sneaky David Austins. There are quotes from famous rose breeders and lots of rose poetry.

Thursday 9th August

'Vision is only the ability to see invisible things..'
-Author Unknown.

I've found a fine phrase concerning 'vision', that elusive thing which random gardeners often lack:

Ha! Like ten years' growth on a cute little tree when freshly planted. Part of gardening vision is practical, involving the ability to read, digest, and apply every single word on a plant label - particularly the adjectives 'slow-growing' and 'vigorous'. And visionaries must be able to mentally multiply every dimension by a factor of 1.65, if it's the height of a David Austin rose and they're growing it in sunny New Zealand.

My Vision for the Wattle Woods

Today I will apply vision in the Wattle Woods. But first - the perennial question (ouch). Is there a place in the Wattle Woods for my new roses? I will consider sun, water, wind and paths - these will soon be fixed in place, properly covered with wood chips. I also like the Fountain grasses in the Wattle Woods, which shine so beautifully in the sun. There are many more seedlings which could be clumped together and planted in here.

 Clean green foliage - interesting in winter.
Wattle Woods Aralia

I am sure to find more pruning to do, and naturally I will have to burn all the evidence. I will also position my new pots. And so I should have another huge, energetic gardening day. Wow!

 Ready for business.
Seed Raising Mix


By the end of the weekend I absolutely promise I will have sown all my flower seeds. I have some beautiful flowers - yellow beauties like dwarf sunflowers and coreopsis to remind me of North American perennial gardens, violas and nasturtiums and cosmos, and sweet peas which really must be started. I do have my seed raising mix and my containers ready...


Oh dear - I seem to have run out of puff. The sun has been beautifully warm, so I stopped about 2 pm and sat and read more of the Harry Potter book. Accomplishments - I've planted the roses in the front of the border, well away from the trees and shrubs. I've placed all four pots in position. I've redug another path, and tipped another load of wood shavings on the main path to the Hen House.

Now I'm off to feed the chooks - twice a day, lucky hens, though they'd much rather be out of their run scratching at my new paths, looking for bugs. I just might burn the rubbish on my return.