Axe that Flax

 Recycled, name unknown.
Red Rose by the Water

What a gardening fraud I am. A visitor has asked to come and see my 'beautiful garden'. So of course I've said yes. This morning, after replying, I raced outside in the heat and started pulling weeds out of the driveway in a 'first impressions' frenzy.

But what about the second, third, and fourth impressions. The lawns? The paths? The borders? The over-sized flaxes? The obviously dead rhododendron in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden? Ignore the fact that in the time it took to write that down I could have dug it out. Hmm...

Monday 21st March

I've put a lot of major cleaning-up on hold until the fire ban is lifted and I can start bonfiring. Anyway, that's my excuse for paths that are overgrown, gum tree leaves that haven't been raked and disposed of, perennials like the summer Phlox and the Shasta daisies awaiting their old stalks being cut down. And my Axe that Flax crusade is taking hours of my time. It's the sad result of me just not keeping up with sensible, consistent, yearly maintenance. Aargh!

Well, it's just too hot today to start attacking another monster flax. But what I can and will do is some less energetic tidying along the water race. I do this standing in the water, and therefore keep cool. I'll throw all the mess up on the back lawn, and later I can collect it in the wheelbarrow. I'll wear my short shorts. See - no detail is too trivial to record.

 Autumn will soon be here.
Winnie by the Water Race

+10Tiny thought, needing small font. I can't find Histeria the tabby. A bit of a worry - she's not been herself lately. Where are you, Hissy? Please be OK. Please don't disappear on me. I have fresh meat and pet milk for you.

 Edged with ferns, grasses and Phormiums.
The Water Race

Three Hours Later...

Oh boy, I am good. Good. GOOD. GOOD. I think we get the message. I've been in the water ripping out weeds, grasses that shouldn't be there, dead flax leaves, and so on. Winnie has been leaping up to catch my muddy offerings as I've flung them onto the grass - as a consequence she is rather grubby. Escher has been staring down at me from on high, looking puzzled.

And good news - phew - Histeria just came inside, and ate a jolly good meal. I'm trying so hard to build up her strength. Oh dear. Now Escher is man-barking at something or someone next door. I never know who is supposed to be there, so I just let him bark. Escher is brave. He is warning me, keeping me safe.

Tuesday 22nd March

I'm about to go back in the water race to continue the great clean-up. But this time I need to be more careful. Winnie crashed into me late yesterday (it was an accident) and I've been hobbling around all day with a very stiff knee. Also I've just shampoo-ed all three dogs, and I want them to stay sweet smelling. The long-haired collies get a bit stinky in the heat, and Escher has rolled in something disgraceful. He's a dog who really does like closeness and cuddles (ridiculous, since he's so big). Quality couch-time with a large smelly dog before going to choir practice - I'm surprised anyone wants to stand next to me. Would a singing friend be brave enough to tell me I smell like a dog?

 After a spot of rain.
Stella DOro Daylily

Wednesday 23rd March

Yesterday afternoon I worked for two hours in the water, chopping out coarse green Carexes, and trimming straggling waterside ferns. I haven't done this type of clean-up for maybe six years, and it shows. The nice thing : after I've removed much of the offending greenery the water race looks much, much better. Visual improvement! I will hold onto that thought as I approach today's ultimate challenge.

Today's Plans...

For here are today's plans. Firstly, wash Escher's bed. Unpleasant wafts of hot stinky dog are emanating from his kennel dog box. Secondly, go to book group. Do not ring up with a lame excuse. At least this time I have read the book (Illuminations, about the life of Hildegard von Bingen).

Thirdly, and this is the big one, come home with a huge heart and take a big breath. The monster of all Phormium tenaxes (which makes the waterside dog-path impassable) is to be chopped down, fleshy roots left to resprout. As is its apprentice, the fountain shaped mini-monster next-door. How long will this take? Hmm. I'll let you know. Three cheers for the kitchen steak knives, by the way.

Mid Afternoon...

OK. So far so good. But I've tackled the apprentice flax first, rather than the uber-monster. And I've scooped up yesterday's mess. The dogs have had a wonderful time 'gardening' - that is, snuffling around. Escher has been snorting and cavorting, with his nose burrowing through the vegetation. Unfortunately he has lost his collar.

 Hee hee. Intrigue, by the cottage.
Will You Accept This Rose?

So here's the idea. I have a cup of tea and I watch The Bachelor NZ (oops). Then, fortified with the essence of mind-numbing, matchmaking-romance, I return to make a start on the big one. This may not get finished today.

 In the water race.
Escher the Dog Cools Off

If I get bored, I think about a Seniors Bachelor with a wealthy silver fox and a batch of sad old-lady Bachelorettes with too-much make-up, too-white teeth, and too-wrinkly cleavage. Then I thank my lucky stars that I am not one of them. This should keep my spirits up, hee hee...


Ha! Saving the Bachelor for this evening, I went straight back outside and spent an hour working on the big flax. The dogs spent an hour barking. Fantails were flitting around poor Rusty, tormenting him, and Escher and Winnie kept hearing 'things'. Then it got late and started raining. I'm inside warm and dry, a pork casserole is gurgling in the oven, and - foot bliss - I am wearing my new socks! Escher is lounging around, waiting for his 'couch cuddle'. I am waiting for Non-Gardening Partner to arrive home with some fruity cider.

My garden visitor probably won't notice my water race improvements. I haven't taken any 'before' photographs of the mess. But the important thing is that I know. I know! I know how much better it is. 'Oh, you should have been here last week to see the overcrowding in this garden. Flaxes blocking the paths, squashing the roses. You couldn't even see the water. What a mess!'