A good eye for terrain...
Blue Lupin Flower
I'm quite nervous. Today I'm creating the complete route for the new Wattle Woods stream and organising the little pond at the bottom of the slope. And it's not so much of a slope, so I'd better have a good eye for terrain...
Sunday 11th December
But first I have to pick some flowers - they are to be presented to guests in my singing concert this afternoon. And this too makes me nervous, since my house has been dripping with fallen rose and peony petals etc. for the last few days. My flowers don't seem to last in vases - for example, Westerland roses do not 'pick well', though they smell divine!
Picking Flowers is an Art
There's an art in deliberately picking flowers for bouquets and posies, and my instructions are clear. I am to cut the flowers really early this morning (at dawn, perhaps?), put them in a bucket of cold water (how cold?), and take them immediately in the Moosey Courier Express to my know-everything friend's house. She will turn them into suitable posies. Phew!
Oh well, better get started. This is a huge responsibility. Scissors or secateurs? Long stems or short stems? It matters? It doesn't matter?
Escher the Puppy
Much Later, In Fact the Next Day...
First I'd like to welcome Escher the brown bouncing puppy to Mooseys. His first visit yesterday lunchtime was a real success. Rusty and Puppy had fun testing each other out.
Puppy Eats Flowers!
Advice for Garden Visitors
Escher learns so quickly. This, for example, which other Moosey garden visitors might find useful. If you're small, you can sneak up and bite Rusty's dog-bottom, and then run for cover underneath Pond Cottage. You fit, and he doesn't!
Ancient carcasses of long gone birds lurk underneath the cottage, too, and finding one of these is a definite dog-bonus. Aargh!
The New Stream
And now to my stream, my stream, my stream. Yesterday's preliminary work went very well. I laid the polythene for the gently zig-ziggning route, throwing in a few river stones around to get 'the 'look'. It's perfect. I also roughly lined on the pond at the bottom - it's edged with river stones, and this morning full of shining water.
But my pond too small, scale-wise, to 'fit' with the towering trees and Phormiums that surround it. Perhaps two connecting ponds would look better. At the moment the pond is rather hidden away in the Wattle Woods, and I'd like to see it from the path behind Pond Cottage. Better to be a surprise than a secret.
David Austin Rose
Successful water engineering of in a garden definitely requires experiment. I've never 'controlled' water before - my previous streams have gurgled doen the unlined earth, with water seeping into the earth below. So today I'm buying another chunk of polythene (which is inexpensive and tough). Please bear with me while I bumble my way through this little garden project.
Oh, by the way, the flowers for the presentation were a great success, though the dye in the green cellophane threatened to run all over the long, elegant white gown of the soloist. Oops.
Monday 12th December, Much, Much Later...
The new enlarged pond is dug, and lined, and full of water. The curve by the ornamental miniature Toe Toe (sorry, can't remember its proper name) is a bit low-lying, and another edge is a bit high - I can easily fix these issues. The pond curves around an existing Phormium, and laps at the edge of another. I can see it from the path, and it is an elegant, natural shape.
My New Small Pond
It's taken all afternoon to get the Pond Mark Two organised. And this afternoon there has been huge peripheral excitement in Moosey life. The hedge trimmer man arrived to start trimming the Leyland shelter-belt hedges. And thanks to a quick-fire session of Charity shopping I am the proud wearer of a pair of old-school white cotton pyjamas covered in green frogs. My friend reckons they are perfect for Pond Cottage, so I will test them out tonight.
Ooo - The Cricket!
But best of all - we (New Zealand) have won the cricket test match, beating Australia on the fourth day by a whisker (I think seven runs).
Oh my goodness! There's more. NGP has just arrived home with his car full of large Azaleas. Well, there are four of them, dug out of a colleague's garden just this afternoon. I think I might plant them down by the new pond! What a day. I've decided to end it by drinking a glass of wine. Today deserves this!
Tuesday 13th December
Oh dear. I couldn't sleep properly last night, over-excited about the Azalea bushes. It's fatal trying to make gardening decisions at 3am - or make any decisions, in fact. I'm planting the Azaleas near my new pond (another source of fitful sleep) but I must remember the lack of irrigation - apart from trusty buckets of water - in mid-summer.
- Bellbird :
- The bellbirds drink nectar from the Phormium flowers.
Resplendent in my new frog pyjamas I await the arrival of the hedge-trimmer man. Second thoughts, I'd better put some gardening clothes on. Mozart's C minor piano concerto is tootling inside, with help from the bellbirds outside in the trees. My coffee tastes great, and I am feeling very happy with 'my lot' - even the two dodgy arthritic fingers. At least they don't keep me awake at night! It's pond-tinkering and Azalea-planting time, and I hope I am successful with both.
Spot the Hedge Trimmer
Oh yes. All four Azaleas are planted around the pond, and the pond edges are properly organised. I worked out (by myself) that the edge dirt needs a sort of shelf, upon which the stones sit securely. And hurray for the hedge trimmer man, who spent about five minutes admiring the river pumps with me. Prattling on about low-tech, I was - I'm sure he wasn't being polite. And he noticed that one of the hoses had come loose.
Leaf Slop, Not Leaf Mould...
I spent ages carting compost and horse manure in to bolster up one of the areas by the pond. To confuse the blowflies (after all, it is summer) I covered everything with a bagful of wet oak leaves. Again I'm trying to make leaf-mould, and again it's not working for me - I'm good at making leaf-slop! But I might be being too impatient...