Cat's Tail Carex
Finally, the mid-winter solstice day, and my gardening spirits are blue-sky high. I've never been busier, and my head is full of plans - like getting a garden shed, and building a dog agility course. Who cares if it's too cold to garden out there!
Saturday 21st June
According to reputable sources (the TV weather) this is the shortest gardening day of the year. Others, equally reputable, have it sharing this dubious honour with tomorrow.
Yippee! Even though our coldest winter weather tends to arrive in July, I'm very happy. I've explained to purring Percy, ginger gentleman cat, that there will be lots of good catty gardening for him today. I'm just waiting for the sun (go, you golden orb, go!) to do something useful - warming up the land and air temperature would be a good start.
Oops - several Echeverias and Sedums, in pots nestling against the house, have been frost-burnt. This position is obviously not sheltered enough. All the giant Gunnera leaves are now browned-off and today one of my jobs is to start cutting and bending some over the fleshy pink Gunnera crowns. Others will be sliced off completely.
What else can I do? Hmm... It's not the most exciting task, but nine bags of fresh horse manure sit outside, waiting to be spread in the Shrubbery. If I feel hands-on and creative I could remodel part of the Willow Tree Garden. But how cold and frosty will it still be over there?
I'm procrastinating! Let it be recorded that, at 10 a.m. on The Shortest Gardening Day of the Year 2008, the Head Gardener at Mooseys did go outside with her green wheelbarrow, accompanied by at least one faithful gardening cat and a cream and orange dog. And with her camera slung across her woolly shoulder.
Three Thirty in the Afternoon...
That's enough gardening for the shortest day! The only break I've had was a quick trip to the feed barn to buy new supplies for my hens. I have been weeding and replanting and rationalising the part of the Willow Tree Garden by the new bridge. And yes - it does look better! I removed an oversized flax, shifted in two roses, and pulled out a sprawling patch of Iris confusa.
Pale ginger Fluff-Fluff kept collapsing in cat-ecstasy right where I was digging. Now he is serenely squashed into his small cardboard box behind the computer. He has indeed been my best friend for today, whereas Percy, for whom I'd had such high hopes, decided to stay inside and check that the lounge was warm enough.
Rusty the dog totally enjoyed his gardening day - he was on concentrated dog-duty. Several large planes (and some smaller pigeons) were successfully frightened with big barking and chased out of Moosey airspace. Some naughty green weeds, floating down the water race and thus into someone else's garden, were caught and returned to their owner. Phew!
Now I'm going to 'chill out' (oops - an inappropriate phrase) and read some of my gardening books. 'The Eccentric Gardener' has been a bit of a disappointment. The people in it have been excessive rather than eccentric, and not really gardeners (except for Miss Willmot), so I'll give 'The Passionate Gardener' a go. That sounds more my style...
Sunday 22nd June
Good gardeners should always listen to the weather forecast? I'm sure that gloomy gardeners do - six cold fronts are arriving, starting tonight, and the dreaded S-word is being spoken of in hushed tones. Aargh! One, two, three, four, five, six chances of getting snow! And here was me, casually planning a productive working-in-winter-garden week - four hours per day, stylishly colourful in my cheerful yellow, blue, and red checked gardening shirt. I will have to do a week's worth today.
Aargh! A list!
- Spread bags of horse manure.
- Get trailer-load of stones.
- Build another new path in Willow Tree Garden.
To rhododendron or not to rhododendron? Is that the question? The proposed new Willow Tree path will curve around underneath the Scarlet Oak tree, where my silly row of Escallonias was. Standing by the shelter belt facing this semi-sunny garden, I can see space for new rhododendrons on the right, as a few random roses shift in with the perennials (clary sages, penstemons, lupins and daylilies) to the sunnier left. Is this too organised? Hee hee...
Warm Pink Rhododendron
It's all a con, this pretending to ponder on the intricacies of garden design - a giant excuse to buy more plants! The other rhododendrons in this area have fruit salad colours...
Six Hours Later, Apres Gardening...
My new path is brilliant! I only had to shift one rhododendron. I sawed down a Pittosporum, dug out a large upright Phormium and all the Escallonias. The garden curve is a tiny bit bigger, and several roses have shifted out into the open by the new path. I took my lunch out to the blue garden seats, listened to the water rushing past, and thought about what a great winter I'm having. I haven't grumped once this month.
The New Stumpy Garden Path
Monday 23rd June - Apres Mid-Winter
Today should be noticeably longer - by a few seconds? I've been helping my friend build a path, since I am an experienced, expert path consultant. I've had the day off from personal gardening - after nearly twelve weekend work hours I deserve a break!