In the water...

Today I am putting on my so-called 'frog-suit' (waders), finding my sharp spade (ha ha), and getting into the water race to continue cleaning up the Phormiums, Carexes, and Astelias. I love spending a sunny winter's day working in the water. It's peaceful and rather spiritual (if a little cold).

 An Astelia on the back left of me.
Me in My Suit

I love my neoprene waders. Being designed for man-hips, it's a bit of a wriggle for me, a non-man, get them on and off. It can take up to ten minutes to insert and/or remove myself (even the feet are rather tricky), so privacy is required.

 Working hard in the water race.
Head Gardener and Rusty the Dog

Much, much later...

After suiting up I spent five hours in the water race (snow-melt, pretty cold). I was extremely snug and comfortable (except for my hands). I sliced out clumps of ferns and lots of overgrown green Carexes. I trimmed tough as old boots leaves off the tough Phormium tenaxes. I tidied up the big green Astelias. I sloshed up and down and made a huge pile of mess. Yeay!

Miss you, Rusty!

And I reminisced about my old dog Rusty. I miss him when I'm working in the water. He was the perfect 'back-stop' - he'd stand in the water behind me and stop any escaped vegetation from floating off downstream. My current collies aren't interested at all when I get into the water. They just want me to throw the stick.

The serrated kitchen steak knife again was my best tool performer, slicing easily though fern roots and general muddy mess - and not breaking or getting too blunt. The spade and the axe just didn't cut the mustard...

 Does that water look cold? It is!
The Water Race and Some of My Mess

But I haven't quite finished. I now need to dig out the new Japanese iris patches, and replant them further downstream, in open sunshine. Its a necessary shift - in summer Gunnera has been blocking their sun completely, and I can't remember any flowers last year. The purples further down the water do really well in the sun.

 Along one edge of the water race.
Japanese Irises by the Water

Goodnight from a very satisfied gardener.

Friday 9th August

Good morning from that same gardener, refreshed and ready to go. Today is a designated bonfire day. Rose prunings, dead leaves from those Phormiums and Astelias, bits of this and that - all need to be burnt, efficiently, before the nasty weekend weather. I have piles of mess ready for the bonfire, but in order to get it flaming hot I need to add super-combustible gum tree debris.


I've spent a couple of hours raking dry mess out from underneath the big Eucalypts. In the process I created a rough path through the ornamental grasses (Anemanthele) and Agapanthus. Nice work! But I found another over-sized green Phormium cookianum. This immediately posed a problem for an instinctive, reactive gardener : Should I have stopped what I was doing, dug it out, and divided it into pieces? This would take me at least an hour...

 Some divisions from the last green P. ccokianum I dug out. Still not planted. Oops.
Phormium Divisions

In gardening, one thing always leads to another - the word 'exponential' comes horribly to mind. For everything I half finish I always see twice as much that needs starting. Hmm... But finishing something always brings a sense of achievement. So I decided to stick to the bonfire.

Mid afternoon, coffee time...

Four questions, and four straight answers.

  1. Am I sick of this bonfire? Yes.
  2. Is my clean-up finished? No.
  3. Am I going straight back outside? Yes.
  4. What about that Phormium? No.


Done. All done. So proud. And now I have an evening gig in town, playing the piano for my blues singer friend. I am all tarted up in my swirly paisley skirt and black lace top. Nice. Well I think so, hee hee.