It is a leap year, isn't it?

It is a leap year, isn't it? So there's an extra February day to - ahem - leap into the garden. I've got so many new projects on the go that I don't really want this month to end.

 I wonder sometimes if these have the wrong label.
William Shakespeare Roses

Tuesday 26th February

Like the Moosey waterwheel, which I've just wandered past en route to the hen house. It's whizzing around, surrounded by ferns, the buckets tipping out water at a great rate. I can empathise with my waterwheel - some days it's really slow, other days it sloshes around at super-speeds, showing off.

Like Gardener, Like Waterwheel?

Some days it's laid-back and relaxed - no reason to hurry. Some days, even though the water is burbling by, the wheel grinds to a watery halt and refuses to budge. Hmm... Waterwheels are like gardeners?

 Beautifully green.
Summer Ferns

Today I am really going to work hard. The only distractions allowed are a trip to the library this afternoon, and some rattling Albeniz at lunchtime (piano practice - though I'm not really practising for anything).

Rules of the Rubbish Fire

The fire ban is off, so yesterday I had my first rubbish fire. It was dreadful - who was the lazy gardener too slack to separate out the wetter green waste? My fire gurgled and smoked on into the night, and the house smelt like a smokers' haven. I know not to burn indiscriminately! I know that the rubbish fire is for gum tree rubbish, flax leaves, cordyline leaves, dodgy weeds and non-shreddable prunings. Enough said, and I must do better.

 These yellow daisies definitely need staking!
Floppy Perennials

So today the plan is modular. I'll burn the heaps of bark and leaves which are decorating (?) the Moosey fence-lines. I'll clear the Hen House Garden of gum tree debris and wheel out the loads for the fire. I will also spread the remaining horse manure, and harvest plums, potatoes, and beans. I will collect seeds of magenta Lychnis and variegated mallow for my friends - see, I've remembered! I should stake the yellow daisies which are flopping all over the house garden - but I fear it's too late.

Planting Plans

I will also plant all the pots of greenery waiting for homes, and now will list them, in order to be mentally organised: two Euonymusses (oops - plural?), two variegated flaxes, the ornamental grasses, one Rosemary, a fat-leafed red cordyline, and an emerald green flax rescued from the depths of the Hump. I will pot up all rescued roses - and rescue the ones I abandoned in the Driveway. I will not leave one plant unplanted.

 Spot the legs...

I will do all of these things without grumping or sulking. I will try to finish the day in the same cheery spirits as I start. Ha! I have a spring bulb catalogue to order from, as a reward for good behaviour. I will be really nice to Rusty the dog - cycling and walking.

Tree Frog Tadpoles

I will check my tadpoles for leg growth - the bathtub is full of what I hope will be tree frogs. My friend who knows about frogs calls them 'whistlers' - this is their West Coast pet name


Hmm... Lots of words up there, now to be followed by action. Let the gardening commence!

Rest Number One...

I've had a cup of coffee, a soft-boiled egg, and ordered daffodils, tulips, and purple pennisetum grasses online. Hee hee. So far, so good in the garden - five barrowloads of gum tree rubbish burnt. Aargh! Gardening with gum trees... While I remember, apologies to the black hen for rudely swiping three eggs from underneath her feathery bottom. And to Rusty for me being so boring, in the dog-sense of the word.

 One broody black hen is missing...
Orchard Hens and Rooster

Now I'm off with the potting mix to rescue the roses. They're all no-names, nine dollar roses which I bought at the end of the selling season. One gets what one pays for, after all...

Thursday 28th February

There are two February days to go - my goodness I have much work to do! Sometimes I wonder about my modular approach - a little bit of this, then that, with nothing actually getting properly finished. I could have, for example, two marathon burning days and clear the fence-lines completely, before March. I would end up in a shocking mood, though.

Private Garden Visiting

Yesterday I went to visit a private garden at Orari, in the South Canterbury foothills. It was a treat, a garden in a gully with a real footbridge passing high over the stream. There were beautiful shaped garden beds with rock walls, immaculately mown lawns and clipped box hedges, and a large stand of native bush behind the house. And not a gum tree in sight to drop leaves and bark on the ground below.

Dreaming Again :
The Head Gardener is dreaming again. But it's better to be inspired by other gardens than bored by them.

Hmm... I would love to have a gully, and a piece of native forest, and a decent vegetable garden where native bellbirds could eat the strawberries... And a gardener to help five days a week in spring, down to two days a week in winter...

Back to reality, a poky little vegetable garden over-run with self-sown Nicotiana Sylvestris plants, and gum tree leaves everywhere, spoiling the house lawns and the driveway. But wait - when it rains in the hills my water race doesn't flood and erode and endanger my house. C'mon, Moosey - be thankful, be thankful, for small scale mercies. Enjoy your modest pond, and the little waterwheel which fills your little stream.

Nicotianas in the Vegetable Garden

Today, after swimming, I will continue my End-Of-Month Clean-Up. If I am very very good for the next two days I'm allowed to visit the local nursery first thing Saturday morning (with the trailer} to peep at their March sale. Yippee!

Later, Early Afternoon...

Blast! After two hours, it's just too hot to stay outside. I've half cleared the driveway of gum leaves and chopped down an old woody Banksia. I've watered my patio pots, poor things, and am going to relax inside for an hour. This was definitely not part of my plan...

Even Later...

OK. I've cleared more of the driveway and I've burnt the heap of gum tree leaves and I am horribly hot, cross, and mildly bothered. I hate burning! The hoses are on, too - all that rain two weeks ago and now the garden is drying out again. Humph.

Take no notice of my grumbling. If the truth be known, I have to go out to a women's group dinner tonight. Aargh! What to wear? I'd much rather stay at home and talk to Non-Gardening Partner and the cats. Another humph. I will wear my house jeans and a white apres-gardening shirt in a silent (but clean) protest.