I shiver as I write down that horribly down-to-earth phrase: 'Pride comes before a fall'. For, apart from one slightly moochy day (only two hours gardening), I am very proud of my January efforts. My garden seems so easy to clean up...

Hmm... It happens in a flash, with a path trimmed and raked and the Lychnis pulled out. All so easy, and all therefore too easy? Nope! Moods of garden positivity must, must, must be celebrated.

Monday 10th January

I sincerely hope that my quoting of the above epithet does not pre-empt a real older lady 'fall' in my garden, wherein, lunging to scoop up an errant weed, an ankle or a wrist is sorely broken, thereby causing great anguish, and taking six months of hobbling garden-time to heal... Aargh! Silly sentence construction, by the way - a natural result of my Georgette Heyer Regency Romance summer reading.

 Taken from across the water.
Pond Cottage

Today while swimming I need to think seriously about the furnishing of Pond Cottage. For the bed is organised, and now I am seeing a tray with a jug, cups, and a coffee plunger - a shelf for spare blankets and pillows - an ironing board? Oops - that just slipped in, legacy of motel rooms I have known and loved... I do think I need storage shelves, however...

Much Later...

Aha! I've been walking around the local Botanic Gardens with my friends, showing off my plant naming knowledge. Then I (discretely) nipped off tiny side shoots from two shrubby Salvias, a beautiful purple-magenta Monarda, and a Eupatorium. Hee hee - the perennial border plundered by a normally very moral gardener. Hee hee? This is sneaky disgraceful behaviour, and I blame my naughty friend who was holding the plastic bag inside her picnic bag.

Two Adirondack Chairs

The Adirondack chairs are finished and in position, up on the edge of the lawn looking back down to the house. Wow. They are breathtakingly beautiful - mainly because Non-Gardening Partner built them (even if two chairs have taken him two years to build). Thank you, NGP.

Tuesday 11th January

Brilliant! Trying to put paid to the theory that one person (me) can't do everything they like to do in one day, so far I have done the following: played Schumann on the piano, gone swimming, read my book, sat down on some garden seats, talked to two fat cats (Fluff-Fluff and Tiger), and done some gardening (trimming shrubs, weeding, and raking in the Jelly Bean Border). About the only things missing: I haven't been hiking in the mountains or done any train travel.

 Tiger and Fluff-Fluff.
The Two Fat Moosey Cats

Overheard by my friend at the Botanical Gardens yesterday - the perennial border actually had flowers which were attracting bees! Really, this just wasn't good enough, and so unsafe for visitors. You'd think in a public garden they'd know better, wouldn't you. Hmm... Obviously I am not trivialising allergies to bee stings. I'm a lucky gardener - no allergies, no hay-fever...

Bumble Bee :
I deliberately grow plants in my garden that the bees will be attracted to.

Further to my fleeting visit to the dangerous, buzzing gardens, I was very impressed with some of the pink phloxes. I could grow more summer phloxes - they flower at the perfect time, between rose flushes, and they're tall. It's a thought for next year.

Fluff-Fluff loves the new wooden Adirondack chairs. He can balance on the armrest, together with a cup of coffee, reading glasses case, and a bottle of sunscreen - without falling off. Now every morning when I first wake up I'll see these chairs up the back of the house lawn.

 In the sunshine.
Golden Roses

Wednesday 12th January

This morning I am off trawling the second hand shops looking for furniture for Pond Cottage. It now has (possibly) a groovy arched cane bookcase and a mirror (most essential). My list of requirements continues thus - a soft indoor sweeping broom, a comfy chair, perhaps a standard lamp to read under (actually, a power supply would be nice), tea-making equipment - and a bed with pillows. I am going to make a patchwork bed cover in shades of garden green.

Much Later...

Hmm.... I bought a tray to put Pond Cottage's tea-making things on, two gardening books (Penelope Hobhouse's 'Flower Gardening' and Trisha Dixon's 'The Country Garden), and a grunty bow saw. And when I got home I zoomed outside to tidy up the Welcome garden and the Cordyline grove in the end of the Hump.

Minimus :
Minimus is an oddly disciplined gardening cat - she stays in her garden position unless I bring her inside.

Out came more Lychnis plants, and click went by shears on overhanging Pittosporums and Olearias. I raked the paths and shifted three barrowfuls of mess. And then - whoosh! In blew the cold wet southerly, necessitating a retreat with all garden tools and little Minimus the grey cat, a hot shower, a woolly winter jersey and socks. And on went the heat pump in the big lounge room - in mid-summer! Brr...

Thursday 13th January

Something random to report - would I like to offer a good country home to a bachelor peacock? He appears to be benign, is obviously decorative, and his owner has simply 'got sick of him'. It's a thought. Apparently this peacock doesn't eat the vegetable garden (I don't believe it) but makes a mess 'pooping' on the house decking etc. Approach a peacock with caution, methinks. But now to approach my garden with enthusiasm. What should I do first? When in doubt, rake a path.

 It needs to come down.
Broken Wattle Tree - 2011

Much Later...

I've cleared the Hen House Gardens - raking ten barrowfuls out of the garden and dumping it underneath the Leyland hedge. The Henworld hens (five survived the earthquake and aftershocks) are reorganised. Just two more things - I need Non-Gardening Partner to chainsaw down a branch of an overhanging Wattle tree, and I need to reposition a garden bench. This garden area is delightful, with lots of native foliage shrubs, trees, and the running water of the water race - the perfect area for a shady seat.

Pond Cottage :
This thumbnail picture of Pond Cottage was taken in spring.

I've been scrolling through online auction furniture items for Pond Cottage, becoming more and more aware of my lack of decorating style.

Non-Gardening Partner has wisely declined to make the furniture for me. Oh well - at least I've learnt what a 'hutch dresser' is. I think I want a hybrid dresser-china-cabinet-wall-unit, and I'd love it to be oak. NGP can't get any oak wood, anyway.

Peacock Warning

I do miss having real live hens. And so I warn myself - a peacock is not a chook replacement. He could end up being noisier than my last rooster and peckier than my first one. Aargh!