On the upper house patio...
Rusty the Dog

The rain has really kept me out of the garden this week (apart from picking flopped-over flowers) - but I've certainly been thinking. Can I persuade Non-Gardening Partner to give me another tiny slice of the ram paddock? It's the perfect spot for my new old-fashioned roses - and it's already covered by the big irrigation, so he will not be further inconvenienced.

Thursday 3rd December

It's a walking day on the peninsula with my oldest friend - farm tracks, paddock hills, native bush, and an old (by New Zealand standards) stone hut called the Packhorse Hut, where we will eat our lunch, oggle at the views of the harbour, and discuss our plans for Long Distance Footpath walking in Britain.

Boring For Dogs

Sorry, Rusty - I've been a very boring gardening dog owner these last days. But I have been thinking - I'd like all the new roses in one spot, but three of the rugosas can pop into in the Driveway Garden. This garden is shrubby and springy, but does get really sunny at this time of year - and rugosas will happily fill the gaps.

Friday 4th December

Oh boy! A day of home rest after yesterday's six-and-a-half hour plod (well, much more like a climb) up Mount Bradley from the base of the Kaituna Valley. Please note the words 'base' (implying near sea-level) and Mount (short for mountain, implying way up there). Enjoy the views, and spare a thought for a Head Gardener with overused knees.

 All the way up there!
Mount Bradley

For today I do have gardening plans. And - oh boy - just when I think I've turned the corner, and become a sensible gardening being, I go and do something totally daft. I have 'bought' four Agaves for fifty cents in an online plant auction, without knowing exactly how big they are. The catch is that I have to dig them out and stuff them in the back of my car. I have a rather small car. And Agaves are prickly. I've already got two. So suddenly I am collecting a family of them? This is not rational behaviour, though I am a self-confessed lover of spiky foliage...

A New Garden Gnome!

More sensible things to do today involve planting the new peonies and Camellias, weeding some more, and picking up a new garden gnome - with eyelashes...

 He's tiny!
Spot the New Gnome

Much Later...

It's delightful summery, with stillness, sunshine and the cricket commentary crackling on the radio. I've planted all the peonies on the edge of the Island Bed - I made it a little wider, and shifted some recently planted hostas which were lost in the interior. I've also collected a wheelbarrowful of aquilegia trimmings from the nearby gardens.

'When in doubt, don't dig.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Not sure about the new camellias - when in doubt, don't dig. Good, positive(?) self-advice. I've come inside to click through and marvel at yesterday's mountain climbing photographs.

Was I really all the way up there? Wow. What a legend - 884 meters!

 Still green - phew!
Summer on the Frisbee Lawn

Rest in Peace...

On a sadder note, the three monster Cabbage trees that Non-Gardening Partner helped me dig out and drive across town with don't look happy. That's an understatement - they look deceased. I've been watering them, but... There is definitely peril in shifting mature Cordylines, and I knew that. But somehow I thought I'd got away with it. The ones I shifted into the Frisbee Lawn are OK.

 Munching some dried cat food.
Grey Cat Lilli-Puss

Saturday 5th December

Today we are off to a local farmer's market, and then I'm going gardening. But I've been seriously thinking - I am not going to plant the new Camellias just anywhere. They can go with some other Camellias. Good (if unoriginal) thinking.

Later, Mid-afternoon...

I've had a great day weeding and trimming Aquilegias around the Frisbee Border. Lilli-Puss my reclusive grey cat was hiding therein, and popped out of the greenery, overcome with cat-passion. I love my mother! Smooch, rub, claws, purr, miaow - over and over, as if she's missed me for a week.

Whatever anyone else says about Lilli ('odd cat' is Non-Gardening Partners main phrase) she definitely has her own style. Unlike Minimus (who squeaks in a tiny treble) Lilli's cat-voice is a buzzing, low contralto - and she continuously 'talks'.

 Oh dear...
Watering the Roses


Now we are going to get the new roses, and I am quite nervous. I've been thinking about this trip all week. There has been much deep soul-searching. I've thought through the suitability of the accommodation I'm offering - will I be a good enough gardener to get these roses off the ground, so to speak? It's late in the season to be planting - they will need much extra watering, and so on, and so on...

Eek! Twenty-Six New Old Roses Later...

I'm back. I bought 26 of the roses, and they're all unloaded and watered. I'm making a list. I am pretty much overwhelmed, and am retiring to bed early with my rose catalogue and my huge Botanica's Roses book. Oh boy. Speechless for once...