Autumn again...

 Starting to glow red.
Little Maple Tree

Autumn is in the air again - there's a sense of change, and the garden seems rather relieved that slower days are coming . The Silver Birches by the cottage are turning golden, Dogwoods and Maples are reddening. The autumn sun is magical, transforming leaves into flowers.

Tuesday April 12th

The autumn weather can be so unpredictable and unstable - hot then cold, silent and calm one minute, blustering with wind the next - four seasons in an afternoon, some days. Today is a bit rainy and damp, but I may launch myself outside later to do some cleaning up. Probably not the bonfire, though - that would be far too smoky.

Already the dogs and I have been to the dog park, and we've walked around the garden barking at birds, planes, distant animal noises... My dogs don't care about drizzle. I don't think they even notice. Muddy wet paws? Not a problem!

 Waiting to do something.
Collies in the Driveway

Yesterday the sun was full of promises. So my friends and I went off on an intrepid hiking trip. Alas, it had to be abandoned because of a 'blow the old lady over and send her hurtling down the gully' wind. At one stage, bent over low, holding on grimly to trekking poles, it whipped my prescription sunnies off my face and over the tussock. Aagh! Then the slightest of lulls, and a mad scramble to safely retrieve, before the next blast.

 The reddest so far.
Berberis Leaves

Exciting and Thrifty!

A most exciting and thrifty day - almost being blown off a ridge by a howling gale, and saving $500 (the cost of replacement of sunnies, hee hee).


I thought a lot about the importance of shelter - there was a large rock up on the tops, where we hunkered down for food and a drink, feeling suddenly a lot safer. Pond Cottage is my own calm shelter from the whooshing busyness of my day (retired older ladies are terribly busy, you understand). When there's cold driving rain outside, the fireside chair with three dogs and some cats (all trying to be the closest) is a rather dynamic shelter. Brown dog Escher usually wins because he is the biggest, and the squashiest. So heavy!

Wednesday April 13th

So, autumn, you've decided to be calm and sunny today. So when we get back from the dog park I'll try and finish the autumn bonfire. I say this in all innocence, because I've cleaned out the piles of flax leaves from underneath the hedge, and I think the path around the back of the pond is likewise clear. Wait! Now I've remembered the Wattle Woods, and the Hen House Gardens, neither of which I've worked in for weeks. OK. Cancel the word 'finish'.

Much Later...

I have had a wonderful day. I've made a huge start in the Hen House Gardens, which are in desperate need of attention. Pittosporums are suddenly far too big, blocking the sun, and the little shrubby Corokias - did I say 'little'? - are really, really tall. I trimmed these down waist-high, cleaned up the Phormiums (there are always Phormiums in my gardens), and raked up dry leaves. So far, so good, but of course nothing is remotely finished.

 Near my bonfire.
Yellow Flower Carpet Roses

I might order some weekend chain-sawing of the gangly Pittosporums. They're evergreen, and so the light is much compromised at this time of the year. After being chopped off at the ankles they're welcome to re-sprout.

Friendly Weeding

In between all this serious sorting-out and burning all the rubbish I zoomed out to my friend's garden up-country, and did a concentrated hour and half speed weeding. The bonfire is now smouldering away in the dark. I am so proud. What a groovy day.

Thursday April 14th

Yippee! After a coolish double-duvet night (three degrees Celsius), another calm sunny day. So after the dog park (Escher is ready to go, sitting by the back door) I'm going to - ahem - 'try to finish' - such a sadly hopeful phrase - slips so easily out of the mind and through the typing fingers - so difficult to put into realistic practice...

Hen House Gardens :
You can pay a visit the Hen House Gardens. But you won't find any real hens, sorry.

As I was saying, I will try to finish the Hen House Gardens. This time I take my saw and my shovel as well as the little scrapers and nippers. Balance the large scale with the small scale - the secret of a good autumn clean-up. Plus the bonfire, to remove the evidence.


Yeah. I worked for five hours. I dug out a leaning Phormium, sawed down two large Pittospotum branches, raked barrowfuls of gum leaves, made a good start on clearing all the paths, and scooped up loads of gum bark. Everything went up in smoke (and flames) on the bonfire. I did try to finish, but simply ran out of daylight.

 The brightest red is a Dogwood.
Early Autumn Leaf Colour

I've reacquainted myself with shrubs long forgotten - species roses (what sorts?), a variegated green and pink Maple which now has lots of head-room, a pretty Pepper tree (Horopito). I found the cutest clump of Pulmonarias, cleared the rubbish off patches of irises (no wonder they didn't flower last spring), and trimmed dead canes off the rugosa roses.

So, on a scale of one to ten, how boring is this list of accomplishments? Best not to answer that...