Typical Canterbury weather...

Aargh! It's been raining now for two and a half days - real rain which is collecting in driveway puddles and causing many of my plants to flop over. Typical Canterbury weather - after weeks of semi-drought, we are getting all the rain at once.

 In the Hen House Gardens.
Renga Renga and Cordyline

Saturday 16th February

Naturally I want to be outside gardening. I have huge plans for shifting roses around, and NGP (Non-Gardening Partner) needs to be taken to the nursery to look at (and measure up) some rustic garden furniture - two benches and a coffee table. He has been commissioned (by me) to make a set for the Moosey Garden.

 Always one of the last dahlias to start flowering!
Cerise Dahlia

I've had a very dozy morning. Firstly, I have discovered (duh!) that farmers' markets do not operate in the rain (we drove off cross-country to visit one). Then I've been working on the Christmas jigsaw, a typically scenic scenery scene - lake, fir trees, flowers... The foreground is a mass of red tulips, none of which have blown over or lost their petals. Extrapolating - should I buy in some new stocks of spring bulbs? Hmm...

Wet Gardening

How wet am I prepared to get? It's quite cold for a summer's day - only ten degrees (Celsius). Perhaps half an hour in my thermal underwear cleaning up the Island Bed - I could surely pull out the last Lychnis plants and dead-head the dahlias without getting too muddy. Cleaning up inside the glass-house does not appeal.

Eek! The rain is really noisy. I might just sink into a fireside chair (the log burner is blazing away) and look at my gardening books.


Yippee ! We are going to two nurseries. Choisya Ternatas are on sale, and I'd like to buy some for the garden at the end of the Hump. Several relaxing cats have rediscovered the log-burner.

 His fur has regrown now.
Rusty the Bored Dog

Rusty the dog is sooooo bored. A ride in the car, however, is better than nothing, and well-trained dogs know their place on the family ladder. On the bottom rung?

Sunday 17th February

I have been in my garden for - wait for it - seven hours. That's seven hours wheeling, digging, bending over, raking, weeding... I am totally tired, - do I have the energy to brag? I'm going to. I love being random. Some of the things I've done today have been very spur-of-the-moment. The very best gardening is often thus done.

Firstly I cleaned up the Island Bed - everything except for an old un-pruned apple tree whose branches are hanging down over the Dogwood. I shifted out the Corylus rugosa rose and planted it in the new garden at the end of the Hump. Then I dug out three pink Grootendorst rose survivors from the Hen House Garden - they, too, were planted lovingly in this new garden, with another green coarse-leafed carex and some Bergenias (the beautiful Bressingham ruby variety).

Waterwheel Causes Flooding!

Then I collected stones from the interior of the Hump to edge the Wattle Woods paths. This is when I discovered - The Great Flood! Aargh! The Moosey waterwheel had decided to become a super-revolving show-off. With buckets pouring at the speed of light (well, almost). The water flow in my stream was fast and furious, and the pond where it was all supposed to end was obviously just the beginning.

My lower Wattle Woods path was completely under water, as well the area fence-side of the pond. What to do? Easy! Emergency earthworks, with much energetic digging and more stones to dam the sides - I whispered a hurried goodbye to the path, and turned it into pond. My new enlarged pond held and the floodwater drained away.

Now I had two paths which lead to a pond and nothing else. Oops. Lilli-Puss the grey cat, chased by brother Percy, leapt into the water by mistake. This would not do! I quickly remodelled one path-end, turning it over the stream past the hebes (doing a quick shrub trim) - and removed the shorter path-end completely, turning it into garden. Ha! No more cat confusion.

 A great filler shrub.
Perennial Lavatera

My day finished gently, trimming and planting Yellow Jasmine, flaxes, and shrubs. On my last trip to the fence-line to dump rubbish I did a little light weeding in the Birthday Rose Garden.


Oh dear - I found lots of large green fleshy weeds and healthy little clumps of clover. The theoretical owner of this garden has a March birthday, and this year's birthday present plants will need to be fitted in somewhere.

Monday 18th February

I think I need a recovery (i.e. lazy) day, after yesterday's high work-rate. Unfortunately there are - eek - twenty-one bags of horse manure all lined up by the garage, thanks to the eagle eye of NGP (passing the horse farm while towing the trailer).

Garden Frogs and Furniture

I have good frog news - tadpoles have been spied swimming around in the bathtub by the old Dog Kennel. These should with luck turn into beige-and-brown tree frogs. And great news about the building of the rustic furniture suite. NGP is taking me to the recycled building supplies yard next weekend. He says the benches and table 'will be pretty easy to make'.

Non-Gardening Partner :
NGP has specific tasks on the fringes of the Moosey Garden. He does pumps, pipes, fences, lawns, hedges, and non-organic structures which include stylish bridges. Hmm...

Sometimes I wonder about NGP. Faced with the alternative of having to make a hybrid bridge-gazebo with a fancy concave roof, I suspect he has gone for the easier option - straight cuts, heaps of right angles, rustic (that is, reasonably rough) fit... So if I want him to do a particular garden project, I should get excited about something even more difficult? Hmm...

Trembling with anticipation I've just sneaked up silently on my new enlarged pond. Ha! It is still the right size, full of water, with no flooding or overflowing (and no swimming cats). Yippee! As soon as I've drunk my coffee I'll go back outside and potter in that Birthday Rose Garden. I'm sure it's not big enough.


It's done. Some of the Stella D'Oro daylily clumps at the border's edge are flowering. I've removed lots of large Verbascum seedlings, and a wine coloured fat-leafed cordyline which was sulking in a sea of wine coloured Ajuga. The Gunnera seedlings I allowed to grow on the water's edge are knee high, and the wine coloured Ligularia has produced many smaller plants. I'm happy with this garden - it's the perfect size, taking one hour to weed and trim everything. So no size tinkering will be allowed.