A few low-key adventure plans...

A is for April, and Asters, and Autumn, and Adventure. Sitting snug on my new garden bench, reading too many travel books, I have a few low-key adventure plans. That's as well as gardening!

 My favourite April flower.
Blue Asters

Tuesday 1st April

Should I start the new month with a new list? Oops - I only quarter-finished the last list for last month. I'm not even sure what gardening I'll do today.

The trouble is that my travel reading has distracted me. Now I have silly plans for more gourmet cycling to cross-country cafes, building up to my pedal circumnavigation of the whole island. And I'm planning some serious walking trips, too.

 A favourite resting place while reading.
Blue Chair by the Pond

I'm spending four days next week on the Cape Campbell Walkway with a gardening friend. The age of the Pay-Money-Get-Your-Bags-Carried hiking has officially begun! The track is across tussock-land and along the coast, and we are promised hot showers and quaint lighthouse accommodation en route. A comfortable adventure...

Gardening Goals

So it would be sensible to set some gardening goals, to be achieved before I wander off into the bracing sea air. Right. C'mon, head, think quickly! Two easy questions: What do I want to do? What do I need to do?

Hopeless. All I can think of is 'Buy more flaxes' - and this is nothing like goal setting. The label on my new upright Golden Ray flax hybrids is the problem - well-behaved vertical interest, growing to be one metre tall, perfect for brightening up dark spots in a New Zealand country garden...

 Just waiting for a good country home...
Golden Ray Flaxes

Much Later...

Oops. I've just cycled around the block with Rusty the panting dog. I realise that I do not feel like doing any gardening at all - I just feel like eating. This is not a good way to start a new gardening month.

Wednesday 2nd April

Ha! Today I have been out walking on the Peninsula. I feel all creaky and tired after a brilliant day out in the fresh (brr...) air. So still my April garden sits, waiting, anticipating, after last night's 15mm of rain. Tomorrow, I promise there will be much spreading of compost, and gentle weeding...

Thursday 3rd April

I seem to be building up very slowly this month - today I weeded in the borders around Duck Lawn for maybe a couple of hours. I found lots of new gorse seedlings. I found lots of sorrel and clover weeds, and a tenacious ground-cover violet has decided to take over all nearby clear patches of dirt. Aargh! Do I pull it out? Do I leave it until spring?

It's interesting to look at plants on a small scale again. A peppermint pelargonium has survived wintering outside last year, and the species Phormiums are sprouting again. A lone yellow dahlia was fun of flowering suns. The spiky thistle-plants are looking brilliant - their dead lower leaves are easy to pull free. Wish I could remember what they're called!

 What a beautiful colour!
Yellow Dahlia

Duck Lawn was alive, but not with ducks! Histeria the tabby was my cat-company, the hens 'pook-pooked' on the other side of the hedge, and rooster crowed raucously. Rusty the dog stood in the water race just in case something exciting came floating past him. It didn't. I've rewarded his patience by taking him for a cycle ride around the big country block. Good dog, Rusty!

Good Garden Bench News

By the way, the new courtyard with resident rustic garden bench is a lovely spot to have afternoon tea. It's sunny and still, the plants in the garden look great, and there are inspiring views out over the lawn through to the Driveway Garden trees. The bench is comfortable, the armrest wide enough for a cup and a book, and most of all my cats can easily find me. I only need sit for a couple of minutes before a cat strolls over.

 With pots of cordylines and red pelargoniums.
The Patio in Autumn

Friday 4th April

I still haven't gardened properly this month - I've spent too much time on the house patio, my head full of older-lady adventuring. The older-lady cyclist whose travels I'm still reading considers cycling on an island claustrophobic. Blimey!

When one has lived on an island for - eek - fifty six years one expects and respects the sea as a boundary and barrier. The word 'claustrophobic' makes me a bit cross - surely it's all in the mind, and not in the maps?

Mind you, first time intrepid garden-travellers from New Zealand find borderless Western Europe quite puzzling - well, I did! If it wasn't for those little cell phone messages 'Welcome to Belgium, France, etc...

But there's no reason to let literary distractions stop me from emptying the compost out of the trailer, for example. It's needed - tomorrow we're getting the barley straw for the hen house, enough chook bedding for another year. Anyway, I do not, ever, emphatically not, never ever want to cycle across China. I might go there one day on a slow-coach grey-gardeners botanical tour.

Right. Now that's been cleared up - how about the trailer? And I have just a tiny bit of tweaking to do to the new stone wall - I need to change the initial curvature, which lunges too abruptly from the top of the Hump, and slightly spoils the view from the upper house balcony. Hee hee - that means just a tiny bit more garden.


I have fixed the wall, and emptied compost and horse manure behind the re-laid stones. I need now to 'borrow' the back corner of the ram paddock for a natural finish to the new shrubbery shape. The adjoining fence is impermanent, just sheep netting strung between warratahs - hmm... And I'm only talking about a small slither of land...

The Moosey Pet Lambs :
I remember when Fred the Fattie grew up in here - as soon as he saw me moving in the house he'd jump the fence.

The ram paddock is really only used for pet lambs, anyway. At the moment a friend's pet merino ewe called Bella is 'visiting', and is stuck in one of the back paddocks with Fred and George the wethers and - ahem - Charles the ram. Bella is a lovely sheep, and I wish her all the best at this delicate time.

More delicate news, this time of a personal nature. I have been trying to slowly and sensibly trim down the Moosey 'middle mass', and today - success! My favourite gardening trousers kept falling down. Snacking on fruit and those smoked salmon lunches have finally paid off.

Important note to Non-Gardening Partner - the waterwheel refuses to turn. His engineering expertise is needed.