Sunday, May 8, 2016

Putting the Garden to Bed

Officially the season is over and it's time to put the garden to bed, but it has been hard to believe this as things continue to grow and blossom.  I lingered at the hardware store and couldn't resist putting in a few more seedlings which may well be blasted by a frost when the weather finally becomes wintry. I found a bird's nest in the garden while I was doing battle with the ever resilient oxalis and was interested to see that the birds harbour no prejudice towards synthetic materials when creating their nests.  The maker of this nest had diligently woven a very long strip of plastic through the base of the nest, no doubt pleased to have found such an excellent building material. It must have been rather cumbersome to carry back to the building site because of its length though.

The oak leaf hydrangea which I planted recently has coloured up beautifully and is looking suitably autumnal and I think for long lasting interest in the garden it is a star, because not only are there the pyramidal pannicles of blossom, afterwards there are the bronze coloured leaves to enjoy right until the end of autumn.  It is probably time to cut it back now but I can't do that yet, because I want to enjoy the look of the leaves for a while longer.  

The vine which colours up so beautifully has scrambled up into the plum tree and is putting on a good show, though this week its leaves are starting to lose their scarlet and fade to pink and drop onto the grass beneath.  

Still the pansies are blooming though, and if they are dead headed regularly they reward us with a lot longer flowering season.  Though these pansies I embroidered on one of my crazy quilts seemed fantastical at the time I worked them, they are nothing compared to the actual colours I am seeing on the pansies in the garden at present. It would be good to achieve the veining and shades of colour seen in the real blossoms one day.

Walking around the neighbourhood this weekend it was odd to see that the narcissus are already blooming in some places.  I think the warm weather may have tricked them into early blooming as though spring was already here.  Then on coming home I realised that the succulents in hanging baskets are putting on buds too, which surely isn't right.  Hopefully they will manage to put forth a few flowers before the cold weather arrives, and not waste their efforts.  

This weekend Mr and Mrs Peaceable hosted us at a delicious dinner to celebrate the beginning of duck shooting season.  The intrepid hunters had only managed one duck in their first day's hunting and I suspect most of the enjoyment comes from spending time in the maimai and indulging in all the rites which have become associated with the occasion.  (For instance, playing poker and using ammunition as "chips" and trying to win your opponents' ammunition off them, and use it for yourself.  Mr Peaceable had very cleverly resorted to the trick of using a "lady's" weapon, reasoning that nobody else would have one and therefore wouldn't want to win his ammunition from him, which was very ingenious of him.)

Some more happy hours were spent this weekend gluing bits and pieces together for another crystal sculpture for the garden, but as yet there is no suitable base so it will have to lie around cluttering up the place for another week, until we have the right thing to anchor it in place.  I can see that the sculptures will eventually need a little washing and it could be that outdoor housework will be the order of the day in springtime but I realised last weekend that it was becoming a bit labour intensive, working in the garden, when I resorted to hosing down a plant to rid it of all the bird droppings which had accumulated on the leaves.  That really is taking things too far, note to self, let the garden look after itself more.