The summer Moosey garden shines...
The summer Moosey garden shines. What a colourful place it is to sit in, with a good book and a cat for company. And what lovely vistas one sees, lounging on chairs inside, peering through the house windows at such a beautifully watered, nurtured garden!
Friday 11th January
Yesterday I had a whole day off from gardening. I did have two Catch-the Poultry sessions. My chooks have suddenly randomised themselves, as birds do. For weeks they've built resting 'nests' by the water tank and ranged, gurgling appreciatively, through the Hazelnut Orchard. Twice yesterday they managed to fight their way through gates and netting fences to my garden.
But I didn't stoop even once to pluck out a weed, or shift a watering hose. Six bags of horse manure sat in the back of the trailer all day, sweating in the summer sun. I blame Albeniz, Brahms, and Agatha Christie, who kept me company all afternoon!
The New Back Lawn
Today I must have some gardening plans. I must organise a productive day. But I have the strangest feeling - I actually can't think of anything major that needs doing. Hmm... This is serious. Can I spend two summer days in a row on holiday from the garden? Perhaps I should buy some new plants - naturally, they will need to be planted, and watered - something to do...
It's dahlia blooming time. Thanks to better watering (well organised by ME) this summer they are splendid, my big red country dahlias in particular. The large single whites by the house are also in excellent shape.
It's Red Dahlia Time
The daylilies are patchy, a little disappointing when I remember those mass flowering clumps I met in North America. I suspect that, like Irises, some of mine just get a little too much shade. And why don't I grow more lilies?
Roses, Roses, Roses...
And on and on the roses go - later flowering ones like The Fairy are in full flower. All the Icebergs have been completely dead-headed - I grow the white, brilliant pink, blushing pink (a boring variety) and the burgundy colours. Parkdirektor Riggers in the orchard is absolutely stunning, covered in velvet red flowers. He's rather stiff in the arms, though - not the best rose to train over a large archway. Oops.
The Water Race
Of course I found something to do - standing in the water, ducking the huge Gunnera leaves, weeding the water race bank. Since when did I imagine there was nothing to do? I had dog company. It's too hot for the cats - they've all vanished for the day.
Exciting, important waterwheel news - half the paddles are now attached. And now, for the first time, I can see how it will work! And it looks like a waterwheel, rather than a large cable drum. I now need to think about where exactly along the water race it's going. Waterwheels need to be installed right the first time!
Saturday 12th January
Good morning to Percy the ginger lap-cat, who has a black spot on the tip of his nose. Caught from one of my disgraceful roses? The cats are fed, I have made a special pot of flavoursome Sri Lankan tea, so much nicer than common old English Breakfast - and I am about to organise myself.
A Compulsive List Writer
You see, I went off lists, and list writing, some few days ago. And so for the last three days I've done almost nothing in the garden. This might be OK apart from getting lashings of guilt at tea-time. So today I am going to admit defeat, and face the facts. I am a compulsive list writer, and I can't live without them!
List of Garden Things to Do Today
- 1. Horse Manure
- To be placed (rather too a delicate word for this somewhat indelicate substance) behind the pond.
- 2. Archway Roses
- To be checked, trimmed, and watered.
- 3. Plantings
- Stray annuals (like Salvia Horminum), plus the two Choisya Sundances behind the pond, are to be inserted into the ground.
- 4. Rhododendrons
- Strike with that shovel, and shift the unfortunates.
List of House Things to Do Today
- Vacuum downstairs.
- Three hours piano practice.
- Write letters to friends.
List of Web Things to Do Today
- Organise 2008 calendars - roses, pretty flowers, and general garden.
- Finish January newsletter.
- E-mail webmaster for the fiftieth time about the Most Valuable Cat Competition.
Sorry about that. But it's all or nothing, when writing lists.
Question - should the waterwheel be placed in a more visible spot in the water race? My plan was for it to go in past Rooster Bridge, near the boundary fence. Here it is a secret, rumbling, swooshing thing, hidden the ferns and flaxes.
If the waterwheel was shifted to the other side of the bridge, then wandering gardeners, visitors, and visiting relatives could view it better, without having to make a special trip through the Wattle Woods to see where the noise was coming from. But then the wriggling stream would have to take quite a different route...
It's 35 degrees Celsius outside, so I've been busy doing my inside tasks. The hoses are on - I've managed to reach the new plantings behind the pond. Every half hour or so I wander out to do shift them around.
The waterwheel is ready for its water buckets! It has eight paddles. The height of the water race bank limits the places in which it can be lovingly lowered, so my idea is to 'beautify' the piece of garden through which the water will start flowing. I might screen out the dusty, dry next door's paddock, and shift my scruffy piles of composting mess.
I have grave doubts that my tree frog is still living in the bathtub - I haven't heard his night-time noises for a couple of weeks. My green pond frogs continue to plop into the water and hide whenever I approach to check them. It's been a few summers since I had any pond frogs to check and enjoy at all.
Sunday 13th January
I have had a brilliant day - first walking around the Botanic Gardens, then playing the piano (I am improving!) - then a power gardening afternoon behind the pond listening to the cricket. I now have a little path through the new shrubs - two Choisyas, a small-leafed rhododendron, an apricot and cream flax, two bargain bin Camellias called Cinnamon Cindy, and an Aralia - and I've divided up some Renga Renga and planted it alongside the path edge. Immediately the path has a proper look. I should shift some Lychnis plants into the sunny section for colourful flowering next summer.
The whole area is well spread with horse manure, and tomorrow I'll cover this with wet ash, newspaper, and shredded mulch. One of my hoses reaches in perfectly for watering. Wow! Everything seems well thought out, and I'm paying particular attention to soil improvement. If all goes to plan, in a couple of years I will have THE most beautiful reflection pond ever!
More water news - all that's needed for the waterwheel are eight little buckets to lift the water. It's only a matter of days now. There will have to be an official unveiling - perhaps a ribbon cutting ceremony, photographs of the triumphant engineer. How noisy will it be? And how much water will the little stream have? I am so excited - my very own waterwheel!
Tiger the Cat in Dog Bowl Disgrace
And another cat disgrace - this has been happening on and off for a few months now. Today, again, a cat had piddled overnight in Rusty's stainless steel dog bowl. I'm certain that it is Tiger the cat, whom I do not trust, after her pantry piddling exploits. Poor Rusty - he races into the kitchen, full of dog-bowl morning anticipation, then skids to a puzzled halt.