The autumn leaves are now starting to fall. Their choice - they've decided that it's time. So lovely to be patted gently on the head by red-brown oak leaves. And so much nicer than snow. There's no reason to be grumpy (not that I am, you understand) in autumn.

Wednesday 26th April

But autumn gardening can be a little functional and uninspiring. Like yesterday. I collected and burnt another trailer-load of mess, and it was hard work, and not very rewarding. And it took ages. But I did it. Yeay! Forty-eight to go - that's a rough, scary estimate for the amount of rubbish left in the Hump which needs collecting and burning. Ouch.

 The oak leaves are falling.
Autumn View from the Cottage

Tomorrow I'm spending a day in Auckland at the 'Pop Up Globe' Shakespeare theatre. So I've organised myself to be totally garden-committed today. No swimming, no coffees, not even a visit to the library! There is much autumn beauty to enjoy - the falling leaves, the late flowering roses - and the lush green lawns newly mowed by Non-Gardening Partner. But first, maybe the shortest of trips to the dog park with young Winnie.

Poor Old Rusty

Rusty has had a whoopsie - a 'turn'? A little 'stroke'? Oh dear. Things are not so going so well for our old dog. Winnie and I have been gardening, but Rusty didn't feel like joining us. Each time I came back to check on him I first looked for evidence of breathing. Dear old dog...

 Margaret Merril, Michelangelo, Whiskey Mac
Shifted Retro Roses

I've done something rather sensible, which I should have done some years ago. I've shifted some retro recycled roses out of the Stables Garden, where they've been struggling. The irrigation doesn't reach this place, and I keep forgetting to put the hoses on. When I dug them out their soil was completely dry, and there were hardly any new roots. Oops. So now they're planted in the Allotment garden, where the soil is, by contrast, extremely moist. Names : Whiskey Mac, Margaret Merril, and Michelangelo (the striped MacGredy version). We'll see what happens. Better a dead rose than a sad, struggling rose. Oddly this activity alone took over three hours. I guess that means I've been really thorough.

+10I've also had a short, smoky bonfiring session (I'm trying to have one a day when the weather is OK), and I finished my day stacking a whole trailer load of firewood in the woodshed. Rusty is very slow, so one of my dog park friends is kindly coming over to visit my dogs tomorrow lunchtime, let them out of the kennels for a wee time, and check on him. He's spent today rather disengaged, just lying in the house snoozing.

 Detail from the promotional poster.
Shakespeare - Henry V

Friday 28th April

Back home - yeay! A great day out, though, met by well-booked taxis at every turn, and a groovy experience. Henry V as a play seemed rather peculiar to me - it (or this particular production of it) lacked balance, wobbling from rude farce to serious, bloody intent, with dollops of the old-school philosophy of war. Not wanting to miss any of the battle action, that sort of thing.

I know, I know. Shakespeare was producing popular stuff for the patriotic English masses. Not for me, the compulsive analyst over-analysing things, as usual. Still, I had lots of fun. Live drama in a Globe replica, with lots of audience interaction with the 'Groundlings'. My friends and I sat in the Middle Gallery, surrounded by old wrinkly greys...

Albert Park

Had a wee wander through Albert Park (small, inner city) before the show and took photographs of colourful things that would not necessarily be still flowering way down south. Shrubs which I've 'lost' (Mexican Salvia), huge Canna lilies (mine I grow for the foliage alone - there's hardly enough of a warm season for flowers), swathes of the tractor seat plant (a Ligularia), fat leaf texture plants like (I'm guessing here) Banana and Agave. The gardening climate in Auckland is rather different to mine.

Today's plan is to get back in touch with the garden. I'm going to clean-up down the driveway first. Weeds, perennials that need a trim - look out. Rusty came to the dog park this morning. He seems better, and definitely 'faster' - who knows? Anyway, he zoomed around like a silly billy trying to catch Winnie's ball.


Oops. The wind sprung up from nowhere, and rushed around creating swirls of autumn leaves. My driveway mess (dumped on the bonfire) re-ignited, so I have stopped prematurely to deal with this. No more collecting of debris for today. I've pulled out some rogue oxalis weeds (and bulbs) underneath the Buddleia, which I've trimmed, along with the underneath branches of the spreading conifers. I haven't made much progress. And now I'm off for a swim.