Out, out, damned black spot!

Out, out, damned black spot! I've started a tidy-up of the orchard roses. But the more I try the more puzzled I get as how to train and prune climbers. Take Parkdirektor Riggers, as an extreme example. His canes are so straight and stiff, and he is simply not interested in draping himself anywhere near his curved archway. A round peg in a square hole? Or the other way around? Hmm...

 Three years ago...
Parkdirektor Riggers Rose

Monday 17th March

OK. I've just watched some groovy youtube videos by Paul Zimmerman. I think I understand what to do. Every two or three years he takes an old cane out of a climber at the base. He demonstrates with some old tea roses. And he uses the word 'rejuvenate' rather than 'prune'. Good man - thank you. I can do this. Look out, PD, look out! This may not be exactly the correct time of year, but it's my autumn, I'm suddenly confident, and I have a plan. Yeay for Paul Zimmerman!

Tuesday 18th March

Oh dear. I haven't had one of these moochy days for weeks. It simply will not do. So I've had a shower and made a pot of large-leaf tea. When in doubt, have a cup of tea, I reckon. And then think of two small, easy-peasy things to do outside. Mine are to drive down the road to get some bags of horse manure, and to deal to another climbing rose in the orchard. After removing the bags of horse manure, of course. Back not so soon.

Two Hours Later...

The orchard roses are not in good shape. And whose fault it that, exactly? Don't answer! Archway Six's so-called Abraham Darby is now well over two metres tall. So did I get the name right, or wrong? Hmm...

Teasing Georgia :
Teasing Georgia started off being a pretty, easy-care rose. Have a look at her early photographs.

The David Austin rose Teasing Georgia on Archway Seven is so sulky I've removed her only long cane at the base. She can jolly well grow some new ones. I'm so disappointed with my lack of rose care. These thirteen archways are a feature of my garden, and need to be well-presented at all times. Some of the roses (Mme Caroline Testout and Gloire de Dijon) are now nearly bald. Humph.

 Look at that black spot!
Madame Caroline Testout

Anyway, watching that rose pruning video has given me a new surge of confidence. Hope I don't mess up!

Wednesday 19th March

Ooooh goodie. A muted 'goodie', though. The fire ban has been lifted, and I have piles and piles of gum leaves and general dry mess to burn - plus the remains (oops) of the climbing roses which have been euphemistically 'rejuvenated'. Paths in the Wattle Woods need raking (those gum leaves again), and I need to start lopping bits off the huge Wattle tree which fell down.

 Taken with the zoom lens.
Fantail Bird

So let the burning commence? Regretfully, for I do not enjoy this concept. However, given the size and location of my garden, plus the Eucalyptus debris the trees produce...


I've just had lunch on the patio, in amazing silence. It's nice when the big tree fellers next-door stop clattering, and the wind stops roaring, and my daft dog stops barking at the birds. Not that any of these sounds are overly annoying - they are country noises, after all.

Barking Mad Dog

Actually Rusty's barking can be a bit over the top, particularly as the little fantails squeak and follow me around in early autumn (I stir up insects for them). Rusty cannot tolerate them flittering in and out of his head-space. Alas, it's also the time when they cheekily fly inside to check out the house for flying insects, hotly pursued by salivating house-cats. Tiger can be alarmingly acrobatic at such times, legs flying through the air as she throws a sequence of paw-punches. Careful, senior fat-cat!

 Talking about you, dear cat!
Tiger the Tortoiseshell

Now that next-door's pine forest is down, the increased amount of light and blue sky is just wonderful. The remaining gum trees I can see from the patio look so beautiful. I can't believe I just said that!

 The first of the autumn.
My Bonfire

Much Later...

Well, my bonfire has been burning for seven hours. That seems rather a long time to be bending, raking, throwing, and poking at a fire. I'm cleaning up the rose clippings, as well as the rubbish behind the pond. The bonfire is nicely layered, so the burning of the rose canes is fast and furious.

I've also barrowed out the piles of mess under the hedge by the Hen House Gardens. During my last manic session I removed a lot of two Chevy Chase rambler roses. Their archway is on a rakish lean (a combination of too much rose and gale force winds) and need to be fixed.

Good news - I recovered my very good lost pair of secateurs, which were seconds away from being tossed onto the bonfire. Thankfully they were red. Phew.

Photographs? Not of me, one of MacBeth's mad old-lady witches, red-faced, hair full of greenery (plus the odd benign beetle and bug), shirt messy with dirt streaks, flowery shorts ripped by rose thorns, arms and legs covered in friendly little scratches... Yes, yes, we get the picture! Far better to forget this not-so-pretty image and enjoy some of the Japanese Anemones flowering at the moment.

 Much prettier than the Head Gardener.
White Japanese Anemones

And finally, a burning song, to put you completely to sleep...

On top of my bon-fire
All covered in flames
I threw some more gum leaves
And thorny rose canes...