Feeling good...

Aha! Day six of the big clean-up and I'm feeling good. I love that inspiring song - 'birds flying high, sun in the sky, you know how I feel...' Today I'm tidying up behind the pond, trimming around the fallen pine tree. Ah! That fresh, heady pine aroma again! And I'm going to do more clearing behind the Stables and collect all the pine cones. Pine cones! Aargh!

 It reaches all the way to the pond.
Fallen Pine Tree

Monday 16th September

What is not so good is that we (Emirates Team New Zealand) lost one of the big catamaran yacht races (The America's Cup) in San Francicso - badly. I only want to watch us when we're winning! What sort of fan am I, then?

Late Lunchtime...

I've been bonfiring for four hours, doing a circuit. I have three points of collection - the piles of mess extracted from the Willow Tree Garden, the driveway by the Stables, and the pine tree which has fallen over the pond. I'm getting hot and bothered, but I'm making progress. Yippee! And I'm plodding past the most beautiful garden sights. The Koru brick courtyard is shining and sparkling, ringed with daffodils, reminding me that spring, the time of regrowth, is here. My garden looks beautiful, and I am blessed. Even if I am, reluctantly, super-bonfire-woman. SBW. Hmm...

 One large leaning pine branch still needs removing.
Garden Behind the Stables

Right. Back outside I go. More of the same, but every hour makes a difference.

 A Jonquil? Not sure.
White Daffodil Cluster


I've removed all the pine logs from the Willow Tree Garden. Now my plan is to let things be for a few weeks and see which of the shrubs will flower. Many remaining rhododendrons are bent to the ground, and can do without me pulling at them to see if they're still attached. With measured sadness I've burnt rather a lot of their broken branches on this afternoon's bonfire (which, of course, is the continuation of this morning's). I have also been collecting pine cones. Just because there's so much burnable stuff, doesn't mean that I should change my gentle little habits.

And now, my reward. A hot cup of tea and some chocolate truffles. And I know that 'we' win the second of the America's Cup races sailed this morning, so I'm going to watch it on TV and cheer loudly, without any of the scary apprehensive stuff, hee hee.

Tuesday 17th September

This morning I have a special treat - after my first clean-up session I'm meeting my friend for sushi. Quick - there's no time to lose! No burning until I get back. A responsible gardener does NOT leave her bonfire and duck off to a shopping mall. But a responsible shopping mall visitor does not sit at the little sushi cafe wearing rough clothes stained with pine sap, and the clunkiest gardening boots known to woman. Hee hee.


I've mentioned before that with my overwhelming pine tree fragrance I smell like a freshly cleaned toilet. Today there is a slight modification - stale bonfire smoke in clothes and hair. A designated smoking-permitted toilet, perhaps? My sushi friend was too polite to say anything...

 So pretty!
Brunnera Jack Frost

I've worked really hard clearing down the driveway side of the Hazelnut Orchard. Non-Gardening Partner has already done some preliminary chain-sawing, cutting the heaviest, thickest branches into manageable sized pieces. Allow me to present my one-woman no-power-tools system for dealing with big tree mess.

 An unknown seedling.
Pink Camellia

The Strictest of Rules...

There are three separate piles, for shredding, burning, and firewood. But there are the strictest of rules - for example, all the smaller gum pieces go in the burning pile. Everything in the shredding pile is parallel, fat stems to the right. No large pine branch goes onto the firewood pile without all those annoying little branches being trimmed first. These are left on the ground, and are raked up into the wheelbarrow, but only when the bonfire is going. The loose pine cones are thrown into nearby buckets. Good shot!

The Gardening Ipod is set on 'shuffle' so the musical accompaniment is varied and unpredictable. This afternoon it seemed to be stuck on Bach's Contrapunctus. This may sound like something rather unpleasant, but it's only JSB showing off his fancy organ counterpoint skills. I can lop and saw to that!

Another Camellia has survived behind the Stables, and there are more and more daffodils flowering. The little blue Muscari are up now, the Brunnera is flowering, and the peony shoots are nearly knee-high. Spring bounces along like a frisky lamb. I'd love to do some proper spring gardening - maybe tomorrow. Please, please, pretty please....