Being away, being back...

I'm back, enervated, invigorated, refreshed, and revitalised, from three days hiking on the Awatere Tussock Track (my third visit to this remarkable place). But this time I didn't take my camera. I thought I'd left it hanging it on a tree in my garden. Oops. The thought of rain made me rather nervous...

 Up the hills on the first day.
Awatere Valley
Awatere Photographs :
Have a peep at my last trip on the Tussock Track.

I loved being away, and I love being back. I've promised myself to be a proper autumn gardener, taking heart from the wonderful native bush I've been walking through. Alas, I have no mountain views to get all dreamy about.

Just small-scale views of autumn mess. And (phew!) I can take photographs again - my camera was safe and snug in the garage all the time.

 Phormiums and trees along the water race.
Autumn Is Here!

Tuesday 2nd April

Aha! A triumphant list, I think, to start the month off in style.

Gum Leaves on the Lawn

1. I've raked more gum tree leaves. The goblins who live high in the fork of the gum tree have been hard at work in my absence, and there is a fresh carpet of Eucalyptus leaves adorning the house lawn. Look - I've even taken a photograph to show you. Aargh!

2. I've cleaned out the Wattle Woods pond and stream. The river pumps were jammed with willow branches (thanks to the person upstream who thoughtfully let them float down to me). So mud on the pond bottom was exposed, able to be scooped out.

3. I planted the Hydrangeas. They've sulked for a year and a half in the Island Bed, and have spent the last few weeks wallowing in a big blue plastic paddling pool ( a great gardener's accessory for temporary plant housing, I might add). They are happily planted in the Apple Tree Garden.

 Red Cordylines and green shrubs galore.
Garden Behind the Stables

Now, finally, the big irrigation can go on overnight, because I didn't leave my new camera hanging in an unknown tree. In my mind's eye there were an embarrassing number of candidates.

 The prettiest colour.
Autumn Chrysanthemum

Wednesday 3rd April

Eek! There's no time to lose. It's been a 'farmer's wife' sort of morning so far, helping organise Charles the merino ram for his coming winter's activities. He's now in the front paddock with four lucky ewes, numbers 443, 445, 503 and 509. Lucky? Hmm...

Much Later...

Yippee! I've done four hours autumn clearing - nipping things, raking leaves, trying to bring some order to the garden. There is much to be done, but it's a time of transition - too early to completely cut down dahlias, possibly still time to deadhead some roses for late reblooming.

I love the roses that continue to flower, their colours so much deeper than before. Such generous shrubs - I can't imagine gardening without roses, though I know many people do.

I finished my day potting up some spring bulbs for the cottage. And, while on the subject, my friend has rung me with an alarming bulb tale to tell. After handling some hyacinths at the nursery her face and hands became unpleasantly hot and bothered. When she cooled off she rang the nursery - apparently every gardener knows that hyacinth bulbs do this to people. Well, not me!

 Even the birds ignore them.
Yellow Courgettes

When The Cat's Away...

While I was away lots of nasturtium seeds germinated in the herb spiral, where the parsley is extremely huge and happy, surrounded by new bright orange calendulas. Those ghastly bright yellow courgettes are still growing strong, but I've designated them as ornamentals (they taste rather insipid).

The garden does look rather autumnish - no, autumnal is the proper word. It looks messy but friendly. The light is definitely much lower than I remember it, and all the borders feel different.

I reckon gardens know when their owner-creators are away, and they get up to general accelerated mischief. Nothing too serious. Over the course of four days autumn trees have suddenly gone red and dropped their leaves, the Aconitums have decided to flop over, the Nicotianas have suddenly go to seed. Those sorts of things.

As I said earlier, I loved being away and I love being back. So I get the best of both worlds - nice!