Think 'pre-autumnal'...

OK, March, here's an idea. You should be thinking 'pre-autumnal' - calm days and a glorious second flush of roses, cosy nights with an extra blanket on the bed. But still you're persisting with heat, heat, and no rain. It's rather difficult for the garden.

 By the water.
Late Summer Garden

The irrigation has to run every night, watering everything - the front gardens, the back gardens, the Hazelnut trees in the orchard, the paddocks, the gums and hedge trees, and so on. Down the road lots of Eucalyptus nitens have died, suddenly, in the last week.

 A favourite.
Pretty Pink Dahlia

So how's my garden coping? Not too badly, thank you. And in many ways I'm just so lucky to have ready access to water. Non-Gardening Partner simply flicks a switch and can pour 50,000 litres of water on the garden in 4 hours or so. Wow. And I can scoop two buckets a minute from the pond. Some good, steady, serious rain would be better, though.

Thursday 5th March

The first of the transition-seasonal nursery sales has started, and after pondering for days I'm ready to buy. This is so exciting! It's tough shrubs I'm after - no pansies (oops) - though I wouldn't mind something flowery and colourful to plant in my two tall terracotta patio pots. Standard Exchordias which are suffering in them at the moment are weeks, maybe months past their flowering. These Brides need to be banished behind the glass-house and brought out in their white frothy finery next spring.


Aha! My under-gardener friend arrived, full of energy. And so we cleared and weeded in Henworld, underneath the huge gum trees. We took turns throwing Winnie's tennis ball.

Gum Leaves :
Aargh! It's now the major gum leaf-dropping season, and I'll soon be raking the house lawns twice a week. Hmm....

My friend has a good sense of the time and scale of country gardening. Gum trees (so beautifully majestic) are always a practical nuisance, dropping their leaves onto the gardens. I apologise that this cosmetic clearing is a rather never-ending task. But does she say anything like 'Oh, if it was me, I'd get them all chopped down'? No. She sees their beauty - and she brings me sushi for lunch...

Friday 6th March

Today I watered Henworld, which looks so good. It's amazing what a touch of the cosmetic can do.... I finished clearing the paths, and made my way along the borders. I trimmed Oak tree and Pittosporum branches, and raked up gum leaves. I've had a good idea, too. I'm dumping everything on the no-privacy no-fence boundary. My rubbish can block out my views of the neighbours. Is any justification needed? It's as good a place as any, and I sound like a cow with a bad attitude, hee hee.

 Wonderful late summer annuals.
Pink Strawflowers

My mess-barrier will also act as a safety deterrent for Winnie the puppy. With no proper fence it's too easy for her to pop over next-door. Hopefully next time I'm dreaming my way down to the hay-barn to feed Lilli-Puss in the hay-barn I won't look up to see some random bloke in a bright orange vest. Not that he'll be doing anything useful (said with a sniff of disapproval). Next-door's big mountains of 'slash' are less intrusive than the people are, for a shy, dreamy gardener.

Saturday 7th March

Yippee! The first of the my March money sprees... I'm back from the nursery with the most boring boot-load of shrubs, namely Choisyas and Viburnums, perfect plants for a road-side council plot.

 Let me out of here!
Car Boot - Shrubs and Dog

I do, however, have two cerise-pink Alstroemerias called Louise (for the pots) and an interesting (to me) Weigela with wine-red leaves. That's going in the Septic Tank Garden - the plan is for it to flower at the same time as the beautiful once-flowering rose Constance Spry. Hopefully. If I've got 'it' right. They might even intertwine...

Tuesday 10th March

OK. It's the time of reckoning for the gardener who grows perennials (Shasta daisies, phloxes, etc.). I love them flowering strongly in mid-summer, and now they need to be trimmed. This is time-consuming. But hey - most gardening things are. I'd rather be trimming Shasta daisies than doing house-work.

Perennial Mess...

And so over the last few days I've dumped ten barrowfuls of perennial mess onto my fence-line barrier, which is impressively gaining height. I've dead-headed lots of dahlias and roses, and weeded out yet more clover. So much clover... A puzzling amount of clover.

 Nearly six months old.
Buster the Black Kitten

I have never been gardening alone. Of course the dogs are always in attendance. I've thrown thousands of tennis balls for Winnie the puppy (actually, I mean a thousand throws of several tennis balls). Every fourth or fifth throw is claimed by Rusty the older dog. But he is a 'Drop it? No way!' dog. So Winnie simply finds another one and 'plop' - it lands neatly at my feet. She's getting rather good at this.

 Nearly six months old.
Tiddles the Tabby Kitten

The kittens Buster and Tiddles follow me faithfully each day. They are my best gardening friends at the moment. Big Fluff-Fluff, usually in attendance, is rather too busy hunting in next-door's messy front paddock. Compared to gardeners, cats see the landscape in quite a different light. For me it's not a view I'd ever wish to 'borrow'. For him it's a joyous playground full of tasty morsels-on-legs. Mice and rabbits, beware!