I've set some gardening goalposts...
So as to finish July's winter work, I've set some gardening goalposts. Aargh! Goalposts! Rugby! We won't mention the rugby, since the All Blacks lost to Australia last night...
Go the All Blacks!
Mulching to Mozart?
I will not be listening to uber-analysis of this shock loss on my sports radio station while gardening today. All talk of the rugby is banned. I'll try and find some uplifting, mulching music - perhaps some dribbling Mozart and clattering Vivaldi.
Sunday 27th July
For there is much mulching to do, and not much of the month of July left in which to do it. I need to mulch the new Shrubbery - I'm talking here about the final layer of damp newspaper and rotted hay. Maybe I can also finish weeding and mulching (base layer) the orchard climbing roses. Throughout the day I must not sulk about New Zealand's national game.
Much, Much Later...
I've the best gardening day (I know I always say that). I spent the whole morning sort of rambling around on a circuit, trying to feel timeless. I cleared in Middle Garden where my Golden Hop runs rampant in summer, severely pruning a Hypericum shrub and a Pittosporum. I shifted the magenta rhododendron - so quickly that I'm sure it didn't notice - and now I have a path which connects with the water's edge. Nice, nice, nice!+10
An Honorary Hen...
But that was only part of the circuit. I pruned the Dog-Path Garden roses on the way to getting a load of mulch which I put on the orchard roses. Then I became an honorary hen and weeded around another rose arch - my silly hens potter quietly underneath my kneeling body watching for grass grubs, while rooster stands back (too close) and crows (too noisy). Hen company - hmm...
And finally, when so much work had been done, Non-Gardening Partner (bless him) helped me burn all my rubbish (Mr. Diesel helped too). Then we went off to buy a boysenberry ice-cream as a reward. It was a truly splendid day - another day in winter gardening paradise.
Monday 28th July
Aargh! My cat-rescue friend has just visited for morning coffee, hoping to say hello to my three ex-wild cats Histeria, Percy and Lilli-Puss (of whom I am soooo proud). She saw Percy peeping around the door, and Histeria (often quite friendly) racing outside. I bless my aged, creaky grey Stumpy cat, who did the lap-sitting welcome, and Tiger the tortoiseshell, kitchen cruising, who allowed some visitor-patting.
As well as hoping for cat company, she was hoping for coffee. I'd completely forgotten that the power was going to be off, so we had to make do with coffee icing on the muffins. However, she liked all my new paths (we had a compulsory garden wander). And she commented on how much lighter the gardens by the house were - a noticeable result of major tree-felling last year. See - it worked!
I might not do too much gardening today - it's drizzling and I don't feel like getting wet. But I do need some more river stones to finish off the edge of the Willow Tree Garden, and for the new waterside path in Middle Garden. A trip to the river, perhaps - how energetic am I feeling? How energetic is my dog? Silly question!
Tuesday 29th July
Today I will work hard in the garden. I have a new load of rotted sawdust and horse manure to spread. The round bale of rotted hay will do more good on the garden than looking quaintly rural under the fence-line trees. My dog is slumped in his armchair, bored. Seven of the thirteen orchard rose archways are weeded and mulched. Please, please, please - do I have the stamina to get these finished by the end of the month?
WInter Flax in Sun
Hmm... I sound gloomy. I don't think I'm gloomy - just feeling a little thoughtful and slow. But I can stop this! Maybe with a little bit of Self-psychology - a list of today's rewards.
Rewards for a Good Gardener
- 1. Books?
- Enjoy a pleasant country drive to the library to get a whole lot of new books - yippee!
- 2. Food?
- Sushi for late lunch - if I've been really good...
- 3. New Plants?
- A specimen tree for the Shrubbery...
- 4. Bach?
- Some late afternoon piano playing.
- 5. Visit the Supermarket?
- No way - this is not a reward. I hate the supermarket.
Right. With a loud 'hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh76!', a profound cat-message from ginger Percy (who has just leapt upon the keyboard), I'm off on my gardening journey. Firstly - to the river, with my dog.
Cat Drinking Water
Nearly Two O'Clock...
It's started raining, so I've come inside for a hot coffee. I've planted some new roses in the Dog-Path Garden, right near the water's edge, and spread heaps of organic matter. I've used up all the stones. My retaining wall by the water grows taller - and taller... I love being in my garden. Now let me be rewarded...
Much Later, Apres Library...
The Moosey animals are mad. Picture this. Mother Moosey (me) is kneeling on all fours weeding in the orchard, one very tame black hen underneath her weary body. The rest of the poultry watch from a more appropriate distance, and this worries the sheep-dog inside Rusty the Border Collie. Aargh! The poultry pack is split! So Rusty carefully herds the black hen back to the rest of the feathered flock, while Fluff-Fluff the cat, curious (there's food in that soil?), takes up the place vacated by the hen. Black hen flits around and reappears underneath the best (beakless) bug-catcher in the garden-universe (me). Fluff-Fluff, who doesn't happily share his personal space with poultry, wanders off. Aargh! Now here's Rusty again, crouching eye-dog extraordinaire...
Rusty the Dog
An hour and a half of animal farce, running in a continuous loop. Add in rooster crowing, Mother Moosey weeding madly...
Wednesday 30th July
Right. I'm off to gym and swim. Huge rain is forecast as I write - this will be brilliant for my newly mulched roses. So today might get really gloomy - the weather, that is, not the gardener. I can sit on the breakfast chairs, peep out at the Shrubbery with its beautiful stone wall, and read.
Well, the huge rain has been delayed, so I've been doing a spot of rose pruning and weeding by the glass-house. This garden area hasn't quite settled down and decided what it wants to be. At the moment it's full of roses, perennials, self sown pansies and spare little shrubs.
I've planted some of my potted bare-root roses nearer the lawn's edge - Auckland Metro, Paul Gaugin, and Serendipity. I've moved the beautiful David Austin rose, Teasing Georgia, into the orchard - she's medium-tall and arching, the perfect rose for an archway! I've done some more orchard mulching, much to the delight of tamest hen (who runs at me, legs flapping, pook-pooking, as soon as I appear). Oh dear - I seem to have a new best friend...
I'm being very serious with my rose pruning this year, aiming for that minimalist look. I remember reading that normal bush roses enjoy a jolly serious chop every third or fourth year. Hope this is right. It certainly adds to the magic of the rose - how could anything so beautiful possibly grow from two or three stubby little stalks growing out of a knobbly bottom bit?
Those Were the Days...
The Last Day of July
Just for personal interest I've been re-reading my end-of-July journals, to see what I was up to. It's got me worried - I seemed to be a lot funnier back then, gurgling with delight, super-charged and random, passionately planting and writing silly lists. 2008's Head Gardener is semi-serious, mainstream, and dull by comparison. Eek!
Mid-Garden Life Crisis!
I suppose some gardeners might run out of Life oomph (that's 'Life' with a capital 'L') - particularly when they've said all there is to say and done all there is to do in the garden. Eek again! This could be the start of a mid-garden-life crisis. I might run completely off the rails, cut out all my flaxes, plant rows of cypresses, and turn my riotous Wattle Woods into a Japanese garden...
But all is not, like my gardening-youth, lost. I have wonderful flower-blooming news. The very first spring bulbs are 'out'. The pink Azalea is flowering in the Island Bed, underneath the first pale pink spring blossom. I love these little colour patches. Nice! And I'm sure my garden looks better, for me being more sensible in it. Ha!