Mixed Blessings coming from the Heavens

June is possibly the most unreliable month of the year. Some years it can be a beautiful extension of Autumn, almost still Indian Summer. I remember a June (about 30+ years ago) when I had to buy water. I had 2 babies at the time and had to do a lot of washing… I don’t run out of water here, as besides 2 tanks we have 2 lovely bores on the property. beside the point this June as the tanks continue to overflow every time it rains, same as they have been doing for 2 entire years now. This is no joke or exaggeration…the rain came with beautiful regularity all through Summer and Autumn, making it seem the best season ever. But drying out in Summer is the natural way of the world, and prepares the ground to accept winter rains. Our little dam below the house usually shrinks down to a smelly puddle in summer or Autumn. This year it stayed full and overflowed every time we had major rain. Result=trees on the border having very saturated roots…big wind=TIMBER!       Sadly the giant at the other side of the pond is in a similar situation and will crash as soon as the wind direction is right.   

Trees, like the weather are real mixed blessings. When we bought this little farm of ours about 10 years ago, the plethora of trees were a real attractant. Such a beautiful selection of deciduous and ever green, both around and in the paddocks. The house was completely hidden from the road, nestled in a veritable forest.

Well that is certainly not my scene…I have always lived on high sites looking out over the world, this, my first try at valley life. Living snug down with trees blocking the light and sun and filling the house with wetas was certainly not an option.

So down came the trees surrounding the house and blocking the view, and down came the trees near the house in areas which became gardens. Trees and roses don’t really mix, unless we’re talking tough ramblers etc.

Around the farm over the last 10 years, probably half the trees have been either cut down or fallen. Quite a few have been planted too, but of different varieties. The huge gums were too much a danger around small paddocks with horses in residence, and had to be felled. The huge macrocarpa windbreak up the hill (a row of 86!) were all slowly dying of the rust so prevalent among them now) and had to be felled. The Liquidambers split and fall everywhere with startling regularity! and the entire beautiful road frontage was growing in the power lines at too great a speed to keep up with trimming. sad but necessary. There are still many trees on our farm which will continue to fall in the storms and the floods. The price you pay for beauty…

The shortest day is approaching, it is currently getting close to 7am and there is only a slight lightening on the periphery of the heavens. Never the less, if you want to get an early start on things, you must be prepared as soon as its light enough to see, so I must pause the narrative and go and get ready to get going outside…

Oh dear, it appears I never came back from that early morning call to arms!  The shortest day is a thing of the past and June has merged into July… I blame winter temperatures for my lack of computer work! I can sit up in bed and do some minor tasks on my small cracked i phone, like answer emails and pay the odd bill, but I’m not up to major tasks like looking at the website or checking facebook… so it’s often already “late” by the time I break free of the cosiness of bed on a winter’s morning and I must hasten immediately outside to start doing stuff…The time available in the long evenings is I’m afraid totally taken up by staying close to the raging fire, so there you go. No time for computers in Winter!

So on with the show, which has fallen sadly behind schedule. As I mentioned, the Winter Solstice has passed, and with it our Winter Open Day, which was extremely successful, thanks to all you attendees. The weather forecast was incredibly bad, but we were smiled on yet again, and it cleared for the most part for the event.

Now I have 2 1/2 months to try and prepare the gardens for next Spring’s show. I have had a tractor trailer load of wool and dags delivered from Emerald Downs across the road. It is the best possible mulch/fertiliser/soil conditioner and erstwhile rabbit/possum deterrent around. All these things are very necessary in my garden at this stage. The deterrent could be the number 1 at this stage. We have a plague of rabbits and possums happening.

I’m busy planting roses and other stuff, the bareroot roses are a bit of a risk in these sodden conditions but one can’t keep everything in a pot forever or the garden would be empty, so some have to take their chances.

We did have some drainage put in behind the main border in the “Summer” which hopefully will keep waterloggedness down to a minimum.

The temperatures have been fluctuating wildly, rather “spring-like” but in general have stayed warm enough to keep things growing. The grass is still going for it and lots of the roses continue to grace with the odd delightful winter bloom. It seems all wrong for a Bourbon like Souvenir de la Malmaison here, to be flowering in Winter, but both the bush and climbing form do just that for us in the Waikato.

I must wrap up this tardy missive and get ready to face the day. Looks like wet weather gear will be the fashion of the day. Today’s mission is cuttings…I got rather behind whilst preparing for the Open Day!