This headline is a serious double entendre, possibly a triple entendre (pretty sure triple is not the French word for triple….looked it up, it’s “trois fois”, so therefore a “trois fois entendre”, doesn’t sound quite the same…)

Whatever, the Blast could well stem from the Summer heatwave that keeps on blasting us on March 10th. It could stem from the fact that this blog has left the last one for dead on lateness ( I have a really good excuse for this…all to do with changing computers, internet and more) or it could be an allusion to the horrifying events unfolding in Northern Europe (that one could be slightly off subject for an old fashioned rose blog…) There is also the Blast we got from cyclone Dovi! which flattened dozens of trees all over our fences and surrounding roads and powerlines. What a blast that was, and not a drop of rain accompanying.

Anyway, take all that nonsense as an apology for missing February altogether. If you didn’t miss February yourself, you may like us , have got super excited by the drought breaking week we had near the start of the month. If you live in the South Island you are probably reveling in the wettest Summer on record (or something like that according to my sister who lives on Banks Peninsula) but in our stink drought corridor which I more often refer to as paradise, the one rain event was definitely a short term saviour, but now a thing of the past. The nightly heavy dews and a couple of pitiful showers have kept parts of the paddocks greenish, but the exciting February grass is all eaten and the tractor is working overtime feeding baleage to the cows and horses.

The roses got a real lift from the rain though as I’d already been giving them the odd drink, so they hadn’t really started to suffer, tough beasts as they are. Now the highs are only in the mid to late 20’s instead of the 30’s and they think it might be autumn (we’ve had the odd autumnal night) they are producing gorgeous flowers again.

Foolishly, after the February rain, I decided we could host an Autumn Open Day as the garden was all happy again and we still have a lot of plants to sell before Winter. Then it stopped raining and the sun came out again and again and again, so now its back to non stop sprinkling and hosing trying to keep things flowery till April …Such is life, its very handy for getting the washing dry!

A paragon among paragons…Triomphe de Luxembourg flowers on thru the extreme drought with no special care

I spent a fair bit of time in February putting in Summer cuttings. It’s rather a thankless task as most will die very quickly, but I was doing it in a way that was tidying up and trimming the roses, which improves their Autumn flush. Added bonus is some will grow, and at this time of year they tend to grow or die very quickly, so I should have a few roses to plug the gap between now and Spring. I’m hoping some of the Teas will take, as they seem to be coming more and more popular as people see the light and realise how well they do in the heat and dry of the Summer, not to mention that they also , for the most part. stay growing and flower in the Winter, at least in the warmer parts of the country. What paragons they are!!!

March is marching on and I haven’t finished this blog. As usual I’m having problems with my illustrations…so,… I got me an i phone and have taken select photos to go with this text, but I can only presume it’s the new computer which is refusing to find the photos and import. I really am not a suitable person to be carrying out this missive mission as I am so retarded at IT. I’m going to have to trawl the archives for a picture…again. Very frustrating.

In the meantime the drought goes on, we have definitely hit new levels of dryness as things I’ve never known to suffer before appear to be dying. Natives are definitely in the water necessary category, many of my Hebes, Carex etc are looking decidedly unwell, but wouldn’t expect African plants to give up the ghost…Plumbagos, Gazanias, Pelargoniums, even Arctotis are not going to make it if it doesn’t rain soon. I joined all my hoses together and spent some hours in the Shrubbery down the front giving select plants a small drink, but I can’t keep everything alive. Of course the Roses mostly look fine, but it is possible I tend to those more assiduously…

There is rain on the forecast! ….again…always on the forecast, never on the ground, but here’s hoping it really comes to us this time!

Alstroemerias survive drought very well. With no water they may hibernate till the rain comes, but a small amount keeps them blooming
Fragaria Lipstick is extremely drought tolerant and continues growing and blooming throughout the driest Summer. It does stop setting fruit, but makes a great colourful groundcover.

2.5 weeks to go till the Open Gardens and Nursery. I’ve been very busy repotting the perennials which grow so fast and lushly in this endless Summer (as they get watered every day!) so hopefully we get a good turn out on April 3rd. Soon after that I’m planning on becoming a Granny, as my daughter is getting increasingly rotund and something’s definitely happening there!!! That will be an excellent excuse for missing blogs in the future!