New Zealand forests...

I am back from a short road trip to the West Coast to see the glaciers. I have finally bought a book on New Zealand forests - trees, shrubs, and wildlife - prepare for a flood of information about podocarp forests, and the two different types of tree ferns!

 Moas are extinct flightless New Zealand birds.
Tourist Head Gardener with Moa

West Coast Forest

The West Coast forest is beautiful! It's a temperate rainforest, and is different to the beech forests on my side of the mountains. The weather is much, much wetter, and there are many beautiful tree ferns of various heights. The 'rainforest' club is very classy and exclusive - and only very special forests can join it.

 It has such a beautiful texture.
Beech Forest

Wednesday 29th August

And prepare for some self-congratulatory back-slapping - for my new lawn is finished, and my new glass-house garden is finished for the moment. Today I will move in the Shasta daisies and any other odd plants that need a home. The Esk Sunset is installed (hope it didn't mind being shifted). I've run out of path mulch - which means that I've been faithfully spreading it around! My Wattle Woods paths look great. Now I need to send a busload of power-walking visitors through, to test the thickness of the surface.

The Pond Paddock gardens are soon going to need some work (since I've pinched many of their plants). And the little garden beneath the variegated Elm tree needs a general weeding. Which brings me back to the Shasta daisy clumps - these are certainly weed suppressants, and perhaps I could use them, temporarily, in this way. Hmm...

 This is a bit weedy, but it
Ground Cover

Right. August is nearly over - it's been a grand gardening month, one of the best I can remember. My garden is full of little green promises. I've tried my best to organise everything. I've almost spread all my home-made compost, and I've done lots of glass-house work (like cuttings and seeds) for spring. I think I can be pleased with August.

Haru - 2006 Pet Lamb :
Last year, on this very day, I was looking after my pet lamb Haru. She was already a few days old, and I was jolly lucky to rescue her in time.

The ewes in lamb are in the sheltered front paddock, with all lambs due any day now. I hope that lambing goes well this year, and the weather is kind. I will be checking on those silly sheep at least three times a day - it's a nervous wait...

Late Afternoon...

Today I spread more compost on the Glass-House Garden and widened its curve slightly - probably the first of many such expansions. Some gardeners just don't know when to stop! Then I weeded the Appletree Garden, and found the perfect place within it to 'dump' some Shasta daisies. I do have a slight oops - the Ballerinas by the pond have not yet been pruned. I hope they are the only outstanding roses. Then I burnt all my rubbish (mainly dried seed heads of Miscanthus, and gum leaves) and came inside to rest my sore digging foot.

 And waiting, and waiting...
No Lambs - Still Waiting

No lambs as yet - I checked twice.

Thursday 30th August

A watched ewe never lambs? No lambs this morning. After last year's problems I am determined to be more vigilant.

Eek! A second properly titled Head Gardener has written to me - such are the perils of being a blustering public blogger! Nice comments, though. The Attadale Gardens HG (in Scotland) was full of praise, much undeserved, since I was trying out a new 'Walk'n'Write' garden reporting method when I tripped (hee hee) around his lovely garden. And now an HG closer to home, from Ilam Gardens in Christchurch, has written and offered me a tour! Ha! Little people can become a little famous, in the big world of gardening... Or perhaps someone has decided I need to be taken by the hand, and have important things pointed out (and spelt) properly, like rhododendron species. Hee hee.

Today, after swimming, I am going to roar into the cheap nursery, fill my car with cheap shrubs that I like (Choisyas, Hebes, small Hydrangeas). They are going to fill gaps in the gardens by the glass-house. Then all I have to do is move in the red Maple, finish slicing out weeds (I should locate and shift a misplaced hosta clump), shift out Reine Des Violettes and the Alexander rose...

 By the Sleepout.
Cream Camellia

More, More, More...

And I mustn't forget the Ballerinas doing their straggly 'port de bras' by the pond. There is suddenly much more to do than ever, like slicing and potting up new shoots of delphiniums and lupins. New plants for free! There is also much more to look at - more things are now flowering. Here's today's list - the cream Camellia by the Sleepout, large yellow daffodils (I've picked my first vaseful), my two little pink rhododendrons called Graham, the purple Honesty in the Hump, the fragrant red wallflowers.

Much, Much Later...

In fact, it's nearly dark! Ha! One of the reasons that I am an amateur Head Gardener is my complete randomness. I parked my car by the Moosey driveway, and immediately found spaces for most of the new hebes in the Driveway Garden. Have I mentioned this garden lately? Has it featured in any of my planting plans? No. So naturally I spent the next two hours weeding it madly.

Then a sense of self-discipline returned, and off I bustled to the Appletree Garden with the two little pink Hydrangeas and two Mexican Orange Blossoms. I shifted one of the three Cornelia roses out of this garden's depths - now it's much, much closer to the other two. Then I burned all the Ballerina rose prunings. Ouch!

 He is a little sweetie!
Graham Rhododendron

Friday 31st August

This is seriously the end of August. So I have one more day to act responsibly and finish all my August work. A quick flick through all of August's lists in this journal would be wise - what a scary thought! How many undone things did I say I'd do? Aargh! The rose in the wine barrel, for one. Shifting the old standard roses - that's two. This isn't fair - I've had a positively busy month, a huge digging month, but still I'm falling short.

I will invite my walking friend (who doesn't walk much anymore) over early next month (i.e. this weekend) for an inspection of all the good things I've done - the new path surfaces, the new gardens dug, the new plantings, the tidy flaxes, the pruned roses with exciting new growth, the Camellias and bulbs in good spring health. Ha! I feel better already!

 One of the many flowering now.
Spring Wallflower


Eek! Percy the kitten and B-Puss the White Wondercat are both trying to sit on my computer - they are both insistent that my (clean) hands and face need washing. I am trying to type and drink a supersized cup of tea. This is the stuff that insurance claims are made of, and I'm still red-faced about the cat-pee which ruined the brand new fancy TV.

Ah - much better! Well, I've finished my last August gardening day. I think I am a legend - maybe I missed out moving the standard roses, but I've done a lot of other great things. Goodbye to August, the pre-spring month, during which there's no real hurry to finish anything. Hello September - the month when things must be finished, and the month of my birthday. What do you get a mad gardener who has nine cats? And what are these 'things' anyway, finished or not? Hmm...