Down Come the Pine Trees...

Most of the boundary pine trees are down now, so conditions in the top of the Driveway Garden are suddenly super-sunny. The deciduous Azaleas are in shock. Eek! Ouch! Where's my dappled shade gone? Add in the rather excessive day temperatures of late (thirty degrees Celsius of dry heat) and there's good reason for distress. Many shrubs have burnt leaf edges. I've put the hoses on them, but I will need to think about relocation.

 Lots of new garden area for me to plant in...
Tree Grabber in the Welcome Garden

The beginning of the Driveway Garden used to be always semi-shady, with maybe an hour or two of full sun. Now, mid-summer, it gets seven hours plus. Eek! Life for its trees and shrubs has totally changed. Change the planting scheme, perhaps? Now let me think - can you guess the name of the shrubs which satisfy the following two conditions?

  1. These shrubs love sunny spaces.
  2. I love, love, love these shrubs.
  3. There's always room in my garden for more of these shrubs.

Aha! You guessed it! Roses!

Earthquake Anniversary

Today was the anniversary of the big February Christchurch earthquake, and I floated some white Jacqueline du Pre rose petals down the water race in remembrance. I have my earthquake-brick features to help focus my memories of that strange, shaky, sad day. I give thanks that my family and friends (and me) were kept safe.

 Such a talented cellist.
Jacqueline du Pre Roses

I've just had a thought - maybe the ailing deciduous Azaleas would like to move to the Koru brick courtyard? The resident Copper Beech tree is now so big that dappled shade is provided for the garden around the brick edge all summer. Hmm...

Sunday 23rd February

Aargh! A water-crisis. Now several large Lemonwoods (Pittosporums) are showing signs of stress with their new growing conditions in the Driveway Garden. That next-door pine plantation was huge, and close, and tall, and blocked out an amazing amount of sun, light, and wind. So I've put the hoses on again, even though the weather was kind enough to drizzle overnight. Just nine pine trees are left on the boundary to come down now. Kerthump! Aha! A song...

Nine big pine trees
Growing tall and straight
One got pushed over
And then there were eight...

Dog in Disgrace...

Rusty the dog is in disgrace. Last night he did battle with a hedgehog under the hedge. The little animal was unharmed, but Rusty got a bit bloody - those quills are sharp! Completely disobeying Non-Gardening Partner (his best friend and master) he kept on fighting and barking. Rusty then completed his bad-night-out by rolling in something very, very dead. My job this morning is to 'freshen' him up. NGP is not speaking to him.

 No clues as to what he has done.
Rusty the Dog

So what to do first in the garden today? So many gum leaves to rake up. It seems to be their worst year ever. So just make a start, why not? Rake all the mess off the Hen House Gardens (say hello to Monsieur Tillier while there) into stacks and piles underneath the Leyland shelter hedge. OK. Set a good example for Rusty the dog. Do what you're told. Go rake some leaves.

 Leaves everywhere...
Gum leaves in Gunnera Leaf

Two Hours Later...

I remember raking these leaves (well, not exactly the same ones) before - surely less than a month ago? Raking is quite symbolic of Life, really. I understand that I'll never rake absolutely every leaf up. And that while I'm having a break writing this, maybe a hundred more will have fluttered down. But perfection would be so boring, and the point of 'it' all is to keep on trying. So, as in Life, I do my best and have fun. The Nepeta, the Agapanthus, and the Centranthus plants which grow in the concrete tub are all neatly trimmed.

Much, Much Later...

I am the Leaf Raking Queen. For I have also raked the house lawn, which has subsequently been mowed, and looks beautiful. I also have a trailer full of 'garden mix' (which I think is a mix of topsoil and compost) to put on my new garden areas. I have been shifting the hoses around in the Driveway Garden, much to the delight of the shrubs in there. And the Pittosporums on the fence-line have had a bucket of water each.

Next door's tree-grabbers aren't working today, either. And one has parked itself on my little front lawn by the road. Wow. What a big thing. These machines seem to need fixing a lot - NGP says they have very complex hydraulics systems, and 'lead a hard life'. Aww.....

 So generous!
Queen Annes Lace

Monday 24th February

Good morning. I have a trailer load of garden mix to spread. It is a beautiful sunny morning, and not too hot. So why have I been lurking inside watching a third-rate historical soap on TV? This will not do. I'll take Rusty the dog for a walk and plan my gardening day.

Much Later, Much Better...

I have been good. I've been tidying the gardens around the back lawn. First I trimmed the Marjoram, Bergamot, and Clary Sage in the Herb Spiral (the eagle-eyed will note that these are all 'herby').

Then I moved onto the next garden, pulling out all the Queen Anne's Lace (it's not perennial, is it?), trimming the Nepeta, and digging out self-sown rogue potatoes from underneath the big Phormium. I haven't made much of a difference but it's taken me three hours. Perhaps I'm just super-slow today.

 The big whorly flower is Clary Sage.
Sages and Marjoram

One of next-door's tree-grabbers has broken down again and men have been crawling all over it. For a complex thing with difficult hydraulics there is an awful lot of basic clanging and banging. I'd expect the maintenance to be more subtle, with maybe some gentle nudging noises. Anyway, there are now seven pine trees left on my boundary. Yippee! More of that song!

Seven big pine trees
All cones and sticks,
One got sawn off at the knees
And then there were six...