Where did June go?
My goodness! Where did June go? Looking back, I should now have every garden border weeded, cleared and mulched. It's much easier to garden in the warm expanses of the mind than in the reality of frosts, southerly storms, and feeble winter sun.
Saturday 2nd July
Yippee! It's July! That means the days have definitely lengthened - by a couple of minutes, but hey! It's the thought that counts! Today, the first day of my July gardening for the year 2005, is going to be sensible, reasoned, and successful. I now have two regular suppliers of old newspaper, and the broken lucerne hay bales in the barn to use as a final cover.
Several exciting things are happening this morning. We are going to get three almond trees (they've been ordered), one of which will be planted by dear old Taj-dog's grave in the small sheep paddock. I'll be able to see the spring blossom from the house.
Roses and Rockeries
Then we are going to a proper rose nursery nearby, where I intend to up-style my manner of rose purchasing. There are no old fashioned climbing varieties at the supermarket - funny, that (though I have found some peonies). Some gardeners just have no class! We will also collect more horse-poos in the trailer.
Miscanthus in the Winter Sun
Then I want to realign (that means dig and expand) a curve in the small Dog Kennel Garden. My rockery in here is a shambles - the carexes and hebes are huge, and I could easily run a spot-the-rock competition. Oh well - as a first time rockery-maker I just didn't have the patience and vision to think small. Again my budget plant purchasing plans (that is, spend almost no money) are to blame...
This morning was quite frosty, as orange dog and I walked our orchard circuit. Seeing Rusty charging through the rows and leaping over the smaller hazelnut trees was heartwarming (hand-warming was definitely another issue - thermal gloves would have been nice). Dogs in the country are lucky dogs - with zig-zagging scent paths of overnight rabbit visitors to follow, smelly things (original identity unknown) in corners of paddocks to roll in, neighbour's black and white cat to check for in the hay barn, ducks flying overhead to bark at and chase furiously...
Rusty is quite fixated on bird pursuit - he even 'chased' an aeroplane the other day. No wonder the Moosey rooster has fled to roosts unknown (well actually to some trees on next-door's fence-line, from where I hear him faintly crowing in the darkness of winter mornings). I can indulge in sentimental thought about missing the Moosey rooster, knowing that I will never have to clean his chook-poos off the house decking again...
Smoocher in the Driveway
And Concerning Cats...
Last night Smoocher the ginger catlet purred in his cage all the way to the vet, and all the way back. In three weeks time he has THE IMPORTANT BLOOD TEST - go Smoocher, orange climber (non-rose!) of trees, loved companion to the orange dog, possibly the best walking and gardening cat ever!
Right. I have much to report. Firstly I have some climbing roses from the rose nursery - even though they were on the bargain table, I am happy. I bought two Parkdirektor Riggers, one Sombreuil and one Meg (they are going to share an arch), and two Ghislaine de something-or-others which are soft apricot and thornless.
- Taj-Dog :
- Taj-Dog will never be forgotten - his spirit lives on in the garden.
Secondly the Almond trees are planted - one in Taj-dog's paddock, one by the new birthday rose garden, and one in the Hazelnut Orchard to herald the very beginning of the proposed rose avenue. Three ceremonial plantings in one morning!
Thirdly I have weeded and mulched and re-dug the edge of the Dog Kennel garden, with brilliant cat-company. Orange cat Smoocher has slightly lost his appetite (the cat-chemo drugs are pretty potent) - hope he is OK. I even sneakily cut up one of the Moosey House Guest's ribeye steaks for him to try - not really interested. Then we walked down to the hay barn, Smoocher purring and zooming in and out of the hedge, suddenly full of cat-energy. Life goes on!
Now I am having a hot cup of coffee, before returning to get another load of lucerne hay mulch. How simple the satisfying gardening life is! One's requirements aren't technical or complicated. I am so lucky to be a gardener, with cats and a dog, and someone to build and erect the new rose archways (hint).
I went back outside full of big ideas, and did some energetic digging at the back of the Stables. I've planted nerines, my supermarket peony (Sarah Bernhardt), and the - arum lily bulbs? - acquired from a friend's garden clean-up. They have spotty leaves shaped like trenching spades (very descriptive - I'm sure all readers know exactly what I planted). Now I am inside dressed in stylish apres-gardening black ready to watch the rugby test. Go the All Blacks!
Sunday 3rd July
The All Blacks won! New Zealand is smiling again. Now to the garden - last night I checked my big rose book, and decided I might like a couple of Paul Transon roses (the flowers look lovely). Meg and Sombreuil might not go together after all, looking at the colours of these two roses - but does this really matter? Hmm...
Frost on the Plank
A beautiful frostless good morning now to Stumpy the cat who has arrived for today's first journal-writing and grey-cat-bonding session. Smoocher is much better today - we've just returned from our orchard walk, with orange cat and orange puppy both bouncing through the longer grass. A brave fantail accompanied us down the drive to the hay barn - Rusty the puppy chases birds, while Smoocher (naturally) thinks of killing and eating them. Aargh! I tried to discourage by flapping my head-gardener arms, which bird was all the more delighted by - all the more insects getting stirred up for him in the early winter morning air!
Gardens Without Animals
Last night by the fire I read the local gardening magazine's article about the Chelsea Flower Show. There were lots of lovely pictures, but they were people-less (taken officially on the official photographs day), and obviously all the images were cat, dog, and rooster-less. All those gardens photographs without the beating heart of a single little creature (or person)... Hmm... Perhaps I have done too much gardening with cat-company and dog-doings. Or maybe I take far too many photographs of the cat-company and the dog-doings in the Moosey garden!
- Mutabilis Rose:
- Mutabilis is a beautiful old fashioned rose.
Anyway, it's time I did some old-girl-gardening. I'm going to finish tidying the house borders first - I can see the weeds waiting from here. The big Mutabilis rose (which half blew down in a storm) is still sprawled on the ground. This is all very scruffy stuff for a house garden - there's nothing Chelsea cute about this little patch of paradise next-door to down-under!
Monday 4th July
Yesterday I worked slowly clearing and weeding the house gardens. Mutabilis is up, and the Island Bed is now tidy - though the Toe Toe in the middle gets more and more ragged (it's never quite recovered from the last dump of snow), and is probably due for a replacement. The trouble is that I love the stiff seed-heads - they are very sculptural in the middle of winter, as the garden design books say. I've pruned back the scruffy trees which overhang the big pink Azalea, and finally I've remembered to dig out the stylish dahlia Bishop Llandalf. Apart from possible frost damage, it was getting the squeeze between a variegated Miscanthus grass and the thematic Yellow Wave flax.
A Yellow Wave Wave?
There seems to be a Yellow Wave flax in every garden border - I blame the nursery sale table which had over a dozen in pots for two dollars each, just a few years ago. If Yellow Wave ever goes out of Moosey fashion there will be huge holes in the garden! Right. I have the whole morning, and the weather is very mild - I should be able to achieve excellence. Ha! That sounds like a school teacher speaking! What should I do first today? The best way to get started is to start...
I have been clearing out the Septic Tank Garden, trimming back the Hypericum and some overhanging trees. Unfortunately I have misplaced the good bow saw (which is Stephen's - eek!) so I have produced and collected only kindling wood. I will try out the fruits? seeds? of the old Banksia tree in tonight's fire. All path-side ferns have suddenly, spectacularly gone bright brown (there is such a colour!), so they too are getting trimmed. The big frost we had a few days ago has made its mark all through the garden - even the Renga Renga plants under shelter by the Hen House have been frost damaged. Humph - it's time to clean my fingernails.