A big day...
It's a big day, in which the Head Gardener thinks back to her very first summer in the Moosey garden - and three ridiculously special hebes, the first mass-planting... How keen and green I was back then!
Petunias and Green Goddess Cordyline
Monday 14th January
The Beautification of the Moosey Pond continues. Today I am going to finish the soil improvement - wet ash from the burning heap goes over the horse manure, then damp newspaper to suppress the weeds, and finally the top layer - pine tree shreddings as mulch. I will transplant some more Renga Renga in to act as a path edging. The overhead trees will give these plants frost shelter in winter.
Once Upon a Time there Were Three Little Hebes...
Three old woody hebes live in the space next to my new shrubby pond garden. They were my very first pond plantings, and have taken these last thirteen years to outgrow their position. In those very early days I didn't take photographs - there was nothing but a paddock, and a scooped-out irrigation pond with mounds of sandy dirt dumped behind it. I wish I had clicked my camera!
Out With the Old, In With the New...
Today those three hebes are coming out, to be replaced by three younger models. It's the way of the garden - life and growth, old endings and new beginnings - quite a sentimental moment. That first summer, back in 1994, I was so keen, so green - and honestly I don't think I've changed all that much!
Hebe and Clary Sage
A self-sown seedling alder is now a huge cat-climbing tree, and the three knee-high green Cordylines I planted tower up into the tree branches. And the three hebes, dug out of the nearby grass and transplanted, were my first attempt at country garden mass-planting. Triangles of plant greenery to start filling up the huge gardening space I had. Obviously, I'd read that planting in groups of three was the country thing to do...
Last night we finally became responsible summer pet owners and dosed all the cats and the dog for fleas. Almost like magic, Percy the ginger cat has perked up, and seems much happier. He's been a bit slow, and off his food these last days. But it's been rather hot...
Ginger Cat Out Hunting
Right. I'm off for a morning swim, and on my way home I'll purchase three five dollar whipcord hebes. It's the end of an era - on the whole, cats and dogs have a longer life span than these little shrubs.
I've just spent nearly three hours poking around preparing the ground, so to speak, for the new arrivals - and I need a rest. Honestly! No stamina. It's that age old gardening problem - I love the idea of the finished product, but not the work required to get there. Sentimental gardening may not be my forte - nothing that an hour or two thrashing Brahms won't fix!
The Moosey Pond - Summer 2008
Tuesday 15th January
All the cats are happier, more bouncy, and much more purry. My two ginger gardening cats are back on light duties. Important memo to self - dosing cats for fleas in summer is very important, for their health and happiness.
The log-splitter has come for the morning - firewood, firewood, and more firewood. I've been swimming and visiting a friend who - aargh! - broke her upper arm falling off a ladder while painting her pergola (which is incidentally covered with a Banksia Lutea rose). My friend is absolutely brassed off, and being an older lady knows that recovery will be slower. There is nothing humorous, she says, in breaking ones humorus!
It's a timely reminder to myself to observe sensible safety gardening rules, which I sort of do most of the time. Here goes. Always wear gloves, and covered shoes, even in the height of summer. Be firmly balanced when sawing anything. Treat the back with respect. And the eyes! Not to forget those Brahms-bashing fingers. And the obvious for the English rose complexion - hats and sunblock. All of the above are much more important than the style and colour of the gardening shirt. And never, ever trust a wobbly ladder!
Right. I'm off to do some more mulching. My hebe removal ground to a bit of a halt yesterday. There is much to do...
Yes! The hebes are out from behind the pond, and I've spread yet more manure and ash and mulch around. I've had the hoses on all day. Mid-afternoon the siren started up at the local rural fire station, just as smoke started drifting over the front paddock. A bit scary! Another rogue grass fire, quite a way away, and soon under control.
I've trimmed the edges of the back house lawn. And picked the first little beans from the vegetable garden. And most of all I've been cheerful and non-sulky. I'm going into the mountains for the day tomorrow as a reward.
Friday 18th January
I'm back. Well, I was back late Wednesday, after a twelve hour day. We had a wonderful trip in the mountains - up the Andrews valley on the flood track to an old shelter called Hallelujah Bivouac, then back via the river bed - safe when the river is low and a hiker feels energetic. Sloshing through Andrews Stream, scrambling over boulders, up onto tiny pieces of riverside track, and then spilling back into the river again. For me it was a huge day, and I absolutely loved it.
Yesterday the Moosey legs and ankles had the gardening day off - I shifted a few hoses, watched a bit of tennis, went swimming, read the newspaper... Today, as I said, I'm back - in the gardening sense. I'll start with four fragrant bags of horse manure, which must be removed from the house patio and spread behind the pond. There's a lot of gum tree bark fallen on the house lawns, ruining the ambience. I'll put the Archway rose drippers on, and set up the hoses again. This hot, dry windy weather sucks all the moisture out of the garden, and many of my most recent plantings (like the little ornamental Maples) need a bit of help.