Allowed to be random...
Gardeners who 'ply their hobby' in Canterbury, New Zealand are absolutely, totally, fully, in all senses of the words, allowed to be random and changeable from day to day. Because that's exactly what our weather is like this summer.
Tuesday 8th February
One day it can be 36 degrees, far too hot to garden, and then the very next day it's a chilly 14 degrees and raining. The ungenerous (which I hope I am not) try to blame Australia, claiming that's where most of our 'weather' comes from. Sometimes I envy those placid, predictable gardeners who get a whole week of one thing, then a whole week of another - or even longer.
So if the day before yesterday was too hot and yesterday too wet to garden - what's up with today? Ha! Today is just perfect - sun, and the lightest of breezes. Earlier this morning I got as far as stashing the swimming bag in the car and the dog in the kennel, and then I saw the gardening light. I've stayed at home to do some real honest gardening (I think I mean garden maintenance).
New Seedlings for Autumn
I have new seedlings (lettuces and herbs for autumn) to organise (actually, all I have to do is place them on the patio). Some special snowdrop bulbs have been gifted to me by a friend. And the paths behind the Shrubbery need checking, which will be scary - I haven't been 'in there' since the last big winds.
View from the Shrubbery
And grand news - later today I am picking up three things. One is a really old rustic heirloom crocheted bedspread, continuing my latest fad for rustic home-making (the 'new' rag rug I'm crocheting is going along nicely). Guess what the other two are? Try these clues - two males, made of concrete, pointy red hats... Hee hee. Yes - the latest gnomes 'have landed', as one of my friends puts it, and I'll get them this afternoon.
Garden visitors are coming, probably in the middle of March, to wander around the garden. So my checking of the Shrubbery paths is timely, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I've been levelling each path surface (scooping off horse manure and mulch that the birds have scattered around) and sorting out the width (trimming any overhanging Pittosporum branches that touch my face or shoulders). Hmm... So how wide is the average garden visitor? Oops...
But I only came inside for a drink. I want to finish the path network before lunch. Back soon. I love getting back out in the garden - and I've only been AWOL for two days.
Mulch on the New Garden
Proper Late Lunchtime...
In a flash, with absolutely no mucking about, I've retired one of the longer Shrubbery paths, on the 'use it or lose it' dictum. You see, I haven't (used it, that is) since it was laid between the gum trees some months ago. Fair enough. So all the log edges are piled up, and I've partially weeded the new garden area. I'd like to plant more Agapanthus in here - the plants underneath the gums are all flowering beautifully. What a useful landscaping plant for me and my 'style' - instant delight, pretty flowers, and no nonsense.
Aha! The gnomes are here. They arrived safely in their packaging. I am so excited. They are two of the nicest garden gnomes with the most expressive faces. I'm off to bed, having made the decision to stay home tomorrow and fix up that new garden with newspaper and mulch. Hopefully the weather won't have changed again into something completely different.
Thursday 10th February
Next day, morning. Aargh! It's dark and gloomy, thick rain is pelting down, and there are person-sized puddles in the driveway. Puddles! Aargh! I'm going swimming.
Well, well, well... The random bad weather cleared up and I've spent two afternoon hours gardening. What's more, I've done what I said yesterday I'd do. The not-a-path-anymore is looking great, and I'll try and get more Agapanthus plants for it. I feel terribly well-focussed, for once. I'm trying my two new gnomes out on the big tree stump in the Shrubbery. I think I've finally got the paths right, and the size and spread of the gardens is really pleasant. So maybe the gnomes could frolic in here and generally look after things. Names? Henry and William. William is the pondering chap with delicate little painted eyelashes. Actually, both chaps are wearing lipstick, which is a bit alternative...
Fluff-Fluff the Cat and New Garden Gnomes
Fluff-Fluff the cat has been following me around all day, being nosy, and getting in the way. In the house I'm slowly doing a 3000 piece jigsaw and he likes to sit in the jig-saw box. Aargh! Then he leaps out with jigsaw pieces caught in his fur.
I'm sleeping in Pond Cottage tonight - hopefully I can sneak away from him. All this affection might have something to do with the fresh pet meat in the fridge?
Saturday 12th February
I'd like to welcome myself back to this journal after two days off (in which I've played chamber music, put about 100 pieces into my 3000 piece jigsaw, continued crocheting my rag rug, gone swimming, and generally had non-gardening fun).
But today I've been behaving - I've retired another couple of paths which were just not being used, thus simplifying the garden areas far behind the pond. I've cleared the remaining path (which is now sensible, though it goes nowhere in particular). There's been a lot of gum bark to pick up, and I've also trimmed along the pond edge. Some of my garden gnomes were really difficult to see from Pond Cottage, covered up by seedling trees and grasses, and we can't have that!
I've had some interesting times in Pond Cottage, including my first mouse visitor, thanks to young Minimus the grey cat. This morning, sitting in bed with my cup of tea, I watched a sleek dark grey bird with a pointy beak 'fishing' in the pond. I've seen this bird (possibly a cormorant) before, and he (she?) is obviously catwise. He'd stand on the pond edge drying his wings, and cats Minimus and Fluff-Fluff would slowly creep around the pond towards him. Just when he was within teasing distance the bird would plop noisily into the water and glide across the pond, emerging at the maximum possible distance from the cats. He'd then continue his wing drying, while Minimus and Fluff-Fluff would start creeping round again...
Last year's pond wildlife experience consisted of me trying (unsuccessfully) to sneak up on my one bright green frog. It's much more entertaining watching a bird and two cats performing.