This is it!!!!!

OK! Third time lucky. This time I am really going to write a Blog and publish it…a year will be too long for a come back, and 2024 is marching on. I will start this blog for February with November’s attempt and carry on at the other end….

The Prodigal Blogger

Well here we are in November and not a word has been uttered for several months. Life got away on me a bit…starting with a chronically overgrown garden and finishing with a string of Open Days and a new baby in the family.

Priorities have had to be made and unfortunately my poor website was the loser!

I am told by “those that know these things” that we are going to have a terrible drought again this Summer, but as it’s still Spring I guess, it’s been raining a fair bit still. On the other hand we’ve had lots of glorious days, including last Sunday for our big November day. Despite the continual inundations for pretty much a whole year, the plants that didn’t die are looking pretty good this season. The soil is rather impacted in places, continuous underwaterness has taken it’s toll, so replanting has involved a lot of extra work. First removing the acres of very happy buttercup, then forking the soil and adding some pumice and sheep manure to try and return the soil to its previous friability. Overall I seem to be winning, and the new plants are going for it.

Gorgeous Centifolia La Rubanee

I have lost a sad amount of roses this last year. Some are old grafted plants and I think all the wet tipped them over. Others have died for no apparent reason. If I have a cutting grown plant well and good, the original is replaced, but unfortunately there are many I have never managed to cajole into growing their own roots, and these may well be lost forever as so many of the old varieties are no longer available.

Glorious rosacious November gardens

It’s not that I haven’t got enough roses…at this time of year, I can look out absolutely every window in the house, big or small and see some rose or many flowering its heart out!

Nevertheless its sad to lose old friends…We live and learn, some of us more slowly than others! The lesson I have learned relatively recently , is to keep a cutting grown plant early on in the proceedings. What appears to be very vigorous and easy to grow can weaken and no longer provide good cutting wood.

Intriguing single Gallica, La Belle Sultane

and so , on with the show…February MUST be published! and every month there-on.

The alleged drought has made for the best Summer garden weather you could ask for. Sure, it’s a drought compared to last year as we’ve had lots of hot (often too hot for me) sunny days, but interspersed with rain events that have kept things growing like bejesus. Hay and baleage production has been unprecedented, all the farmers have grass coming out their ears and like many in the district, the men folk here have spent a lot of time on tractors topping paddocks to try to get some control of them. And the weeds in them!!! Like the gardens, the paddocks got overrun by weeds in the big wet last year.

The gardens have thrived this season past. The roses put on a great show, as well as the Irises. Currently the Hydrangeas are spectacular, although mine are all bluer than ever, even the pink and white ones, which indicates I should spread another dose of lime with the Autumn fertiliser.

My gardening duties are constantly waylaid by events…I broke my foot in the New Year, tripped up the steps in some unsuitable footwear…I currently have a nasty headcold which I caught by foolishly leaving the garden for long enough to go shopping. This has slowed productivity down too.

Speaking of productivity, the vegetable garden is a hive of it this season…currently preserving tomatoes left right and centre. Great potato crop brought in, ditto pumpkins and the cucurbits are waaaay out of control. Thank goodness for non-gardening visitors and hungry chickens!

Other than coping with veg surplus, my present obsession is finding/making places in the garden to plant the odd new rose…Having learnt that Tasman Bay roses, with young James at the helm, is moving, to start afresh nearby, I decided to make a really big order as there will be none available for the next 2-3 years from them. Hence, quite a few new, or replacement roses for me, and a lot of grafted plants available in the nursery this Winter.

The roses and perennials are really going for it this Summer. Lots of new basal shoots at last to boost the older weakening rose bushes, which is very good to see. It bodes well for strong cutting wood in the Autumn. The Salvias have great happiness and along with the Asters are filling the gardens with colour. Over in the “Hot Garden” the late Summer/Autumn perennials and annuals are huge and making a big bright impact. The sunflowers have been particularly impressive.

One side of the Hot Border in December

So that is about what you can get for the first blog in a while. It is imperative that I publish it and not save to complete or it may never happen!!! After a Summer break from full on Open Days, we are planning one for the end of Feb. The nursery is bursting and we have a lot of interesting roses available. Adios

Perennials and Sunflowers reaching for the sky with some old drip spoiling the pic…