Rain, rain go away…

Poohs. The weather has been very disappointing of late, we’re all pretty over the rain. I know I shouldn’t be complaining after so much mild and sunny winter weather, but somehow it seems even worse when you’ve got used to unnaturally good weather…

Unfortunately the mild and sunny June and July we had caused all the plants and weeds to think it was either still Autumn, or Spring already (not sure which) and they’ve just kept moving on full steam ahead. A poor mulch decision has added to the problem big time. We bought 40 square metres of pine mulch which was spread with many steps and wheelbarrows (and some mini tractor loads) around our gardens as we did the autumn clean up and planted things to fill the gaps. Sadly the mulch had been sitting in its mountain for too long and basically turned into soil conditioner rather than mulch. Instead of suppressing the weeds it gave them great happiness!

So long story short, we now have a new load of mulch to spread over the existing mulch, but there’s mammoth weeding to do in between. Most of the new plants and roses we surrounded with said mulch are out of sight! hidden by giant sow thistles and buttercups (and many other varieties of “wildflower”)

With the arrival of August has come more typical upper North Island weather, with rain of some sort pretty much every day. Lots of thunder storms, wind, the odd bit of hail and basically squall, squall, squall..

In other news, the nursery is humming along, nearly ready for our first Spring Open Day on September 15th. Hoping the garden will be coming into its own , this will involve a lot more weed pulling and mulching, hopefully some man power will materialise very soon to help me with the herculean task! The roses and perennials are coming on well and the bulbs are really going for it.

Whilst on the subject of weeding, its interesting talking to people about their favourite methods and tools. I’m a get down on the ground on knees or butt and use a sharp hand tool sort of girl… Extremely arthritic ankles mean getting off them keeps me in the garden for longer. However arthritic fingers have led me to my tool of choice, which is a Barnett lettuce cutting knife. Cost, around $10 or less, so you can afford to have them dotted around the garden. They weigh just a few grams, yet seem to be very strong. A slightly curved serrated blade is custom made for slipping beneath the surface and slicing through buttercup roots. Buttercup is the bane of my life in most of the garden. We have a lot of it on the farm from whence the garden was born. Once every year or 2 we shout ourselves to a helicopter to hit the broadleaf weeds on the farm, but as roses and perennials come under this category the helicopter is not allowed within cooee of the garden. Therefore its on your knees with a lettuce cutter!!! Those renunculae just love twisting themselves inside rose roots, so there’s nothing for it than to dive under the giant vicious roses and hope for the best!

More amazing uses for what I have come to look on as the perfect garden handtool are as follows…you can trim odd arms off perennials and roses as you crawl, with a pull and slice, to make a cutting or tidy things up…dead arms on roses can be lopped off, even pretty fat ones, if you saw a fault in it and then snap (can’t cut off big live arms though)…small pieces can be sawed off perennials and transplanted nearby, it will dig an ample small hole… furrows can be dug for planting seeds direct in the garden…and last but not least its even good for harvesting vegetables…including lettuces!

So there you go , a bargain find at Horticentre, I highly recommend for oldish decrepit ground gardeners!

I must away and don my wet weather gear for some more ground weeding, roll on Spring and hopefully some fine weather!