Aargh! And eek!

 Two more happy little chaps.
Yet More New Gnomes

Aargh! And eek! All this month's money spent on new spectacles (and garden gnomes, but they don't really count) - and suddenly it's like I've awakened the wallet monster. Spend meeeeeeee! That's my Visa card shrieking, thinking about the nursery down the road.

Tuesday 24th May

So to make myself feel financially better I'm lighting wood fires in the house if I'm cold. And no more food spending - we will eat potatoes, silver beet, and eggs, plus the contents of my tiddly little freezer, until the end of the month. Right. Off to the nursery I go.

Three Hours Later...

Eek! A duck crisis. It is the duck shooting season, and though I don't have a sign up it's understood that I offer sanctuary, albeit with a duck-chasing dog. A duck-group (not mallards) has just attempted to float down my water race. I've been working alongside it, my dog in attendance. What a commotion! A pale ginger drake honking his head off, two slender browns running like the wind through my garden, escorted by Rusty the flying red Border Collie. He had to go in his kennel while the family sorted itself out and floated away downstream.

 With Rusty the dog over the water race.
Spiral Courtyard

Anyway, this seemed like a good time to get some late lunch, write up the morning achievements, and tank up on energy for the afternoon session. I've planted four little Emerald Gem Hebes around the base curve of the brick koru courtyard, and a golden variegated Pseudopanax across the diameter. Golden plants always look hope-filled to me. I've also given the adjacent bit of the Dog-Path Garden a quick, slick make-over. I've dug out and replanted smaller pieces of Marjoram along the stone edge, and split and replanted a variegated Scrophularia. Out come the weeds, on goes my home-made compost. Do I hear 'On go more weeds?'

 A Sorbus tree behind the garage.
Late Autumn Leaves

As soon as I've had coffee I'm going to plant some new recycled roses in here - names unknown, but tall and fragrant. Non-Gardening Partner beware - I'm slowly building up a chain-sawing order for this coming weekend. First all the arm branches off the Willow tree stump, and now the self-seeded Buddleia in this newly rosy part of the Dog-Path Garden.


Wow! I've worked in the garden for six hours - that's pretty good. I didn't race around trying to start ten things - I just finished the rose-planting and compost spreading in the Dog-Path Garden. Then big Fluff-Fluff the cat came and sat with me on the ex-rustic garden bench - by which I mean that it's been repaired. We talked about the brick courtyard and the meaning of the koru, and how beautiful the bricks look. I swept one bagful of sand into the gaps.

On the Level?

The courtyard level undulates a tiny bit, but we decided this could symbolise the frailty and imprecision of random humans (and cats). Although Fluff-Fluff wouldn't pose for me in the middle of the spiral, he does agree with me that we are lucky. Well, he would, wouldn't he? I feed him...

 On a beautiful early-winter's day.
Up the Dry Acheron Track

Wednesday 25th May

A small, disquieting thought. I heard myself muttering to Non-Gardening Partner that 'all my friends are getting boring'. Hmm... So what about the woman-gardener in the mirror? I need to get out more. Today I'm going out with the walking group up the 'Dry Acheron Track'. It's a wiggly river valley, possibly muddy, and I hope the weather stays OK. But I am prepared!

Except I do hope the others aren't still talking about THE earthquake. There comes a time after an 'event' when the backward-looking talk should stop. If it hasn't, I'll just smile and say nothing, and try to look pleasant...


Aargh! The earthquake was THE topic of conversation. I am being unkind here? It's ten months back to the first one, three months back to the aftershock which did the city damage. I've built my small garden memorial quietly, privately. Now the whole experience has for me become a private one. Nothing more needs to be said.

Alas - reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five stories in Pond Cottage by night (I'm up to book seven) and collecting garden gnomes by day does not necessarily make me a good conversationalist. I don't read many newspapers, and I take minimum notice of the TV news. Head in the sand? The cats and the dog have never complained...

Thursday 26th May

Sorry about being super-critical up there (taking myself far too seriously, as usual). And it was a marvellous day trip. Anyway, at home I'm spoilt for good, interesting conversation. All my cats and my dog are (naturally) interested in Deep and Meaningful Gardening Analysis, Roman Britain, groovy mathematical things like Vector Spaces, and the piano/keyboard music of Bach, Brahms and Albeniz.

 One of many in colour at this time of the year.
Winter Flowering Hebe

Did I have the nerve to say that all my friends are getting boring? I will vacuum the downstairs of the house as penance.

Much Later...

Oh dear. While waiting for a friend (not a boring one) I found a new bookstore to browse around. For me brand new books are rather a novelty, since I'm usually to be found scanning the bookcases at the Charity shops. The dollars - oh dear! There were no books by Ken Druse (who writes such good gardening books the price wouldn't matter).

So I ended up buying 'A History of New Zealand Gardening' by local author Bee Dawson - it had lots of period photographs and paintings, and 'felt' serious and important. It would put me in my place, so to speak. Back in the car, working out how many Hebes and Phormiums I could have bought instead...

Today is raining steadily and rather gloomy, and from my seat by the log-burner I can see the Crab-Apple tree covered in shiny dark red apples. I'm not venturing outside - I'm going to do some web-gardening.

Friday 27th May

I am escaping the garden today, going on another daytrip back up the Dry Acheron track (up the Rakaia River) with my friend. I think she'll really like it, and this time I want to take my camera. It might be drizzly, but that doesn't matter. What does matter is that my hiking pants seem to be quite tight. Oh dear. Must be those layers of thin tucked-in merino? I don't think so.

 Just a little stream, really.
Dry Acheron River Valley

Much Later...

Another great day, walking up a stream through two high country stations - I loved it! A scruffy pastoral landscape, never-the-less very beautiful, and not a person or a cattle beast in sight. Just rocks and grass and a few remnants of native bush. And my best walking friend. Nice.