Some new gardening rules...

I have some new gardening rules for myself. One concerns my car. When the car boot is full of plastic bags of horse manure, there is no such thing as the gardener (me) 'being too tired'.

 Such brilliant blues and greens.
Summer Delphiniums And Hostas

Wednesday 21st December

And the second rule is easy. Take more photographs of absolutely everything in the garden. Things are always changing, and what bores one person can enthral another. The third is much more personal. OK, so the fingers are a bit arthritic and dodgy. So look after them, take care when gardening, lift lighter loads, apply creams and lotions afterwards, and don't thump fortissimo piano passages. Be moderate, and don't complain. Ha!

 And some garden gnomes, hee hee...
Pond Arum Lilies

Paths and Bridges

Yesterday I organised the Middle Path and worked out the site of the second wooden bridge. It will cross the stream at a slight angle (I thought that might look nice). I seemed to be forever wheeling something somewhere - firewood, compost, manure, pots, bonfire rubbish, and bags of leaves.

But I had a brilliant day, and after the evening meal NGP and I played the Schumann violin sonata. NGP likes it because there are no sky-high violin notes to upset the resident cats, though Rusty the dog sneezed throughout (at least he didn't start howling).

Thanks, Schumann...

I feel better about my fingers today (thanks to Schumann). I warmed them up in Pond Cottage with my early cup of tea listening to the bellbirds in the trees. How lucky I am, I have decided (for the millionth time). The big pond looks gorgeous in the early morning. Flax leaves and their reflections frame a group of red-hatted garden gnomes on the far edge, and the white dwarf Arum lilies and miniature Agapanthus near the cottage are flowering.


Only three hours gardening today, and I've used up all the river stones, trying to lay them naturally along the stream bed. I've planted some species Phormiums right on the fence-line to screen the neighbour's paddock. And now the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it feels like I'm on my summer holiday. It doesn't take much - just daylight, sunshine, roses, and a good attitude.

Thursday 22nd December

If it wasn't such a glorious day, and I wasn't in such a great mood, I'd be furious! I think I thought (?) that all the old forget-me-nots with their sticky seeds had been pulled out. Oh no! The rhododendron garden area by the Willow tree stump was discovered earlier this morning full of them.

Fluff-Fluff the Cat :
Fluff-Fluff is a wonderful gardening cat, but he hates being left behind.

I've been weeding in there for three hours, accompanied by my two furriest and nosiest gardening friends - Rusty (a longish-haired dog) and Fluff-Fluff, twice-fluffy cat. We three have all come inside for lunch, and are completely covered in sticky biddi-bids.

Ouch! My new expensive gardening scissors are lost, and it isn't my fault! I suspect they dropped into the garden when I was off chasing Fluff-Fluff who was chasing Lilli-Puss the Grey. I didn't have the scissors in my hand when I returned, nor can I find them anywhere. Blast. So silly buying camouflage scissors for the garden.

 A favourite.
Guy Savoy Striped Roses

A Bit Messy

Actually the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden is in a bit of a mess. While I've been dead-heading the roses and half-heartedly clearing bits of hedge trimmings the willow stump has sprouted madly, and the tree peony is two sizes bigger. I've only neglected this part of the garden for a few weeks, but everything has gone 'bouff' (or whatever well-rained-on plants do in the summer sun). Well, I'm not giving up on this garden today. Let session two commence.


Hmm... Just two hours, spent mainly weeding and dead-heading. So many roses! The small water-side area underneath the William Lobb rose needs flattening out with a shovel and re-stoning. I started bravely pulling weeds out, then cheated a bit and sprayed some weed-killer on it. Justification - saving my fingers for Brahms.

I am definitely going through a 'need-more-river-stones' phase. After months where no part of the garden seemed in short stone-supply, suddenly I have both new projects (the Wattle Woods stream) and old places desperately in need. Weird. Me and stones, that is.

 Growing near the house.
Red Shrub Rose

Friday 23rd December

Yippee! Daughter of Moosey arrives home today for a short visit. Her first job is to concoct the food menu for Christmas Day. Oops - and help me put up the Christmas tree. I've been saving it symbolically, so we can dress it together. Or maybe I've just been too busy in the garden, hee hee...

Today in the garden I'm clearing out the firewood from underneath the big Leyland hedge and loading up the trailer. Then I need to rake all the hedge trimmings underneath. I've been trying to do this all week. Getting the huge hedges trimmed in time for Christmas hasn't been the nicest of presents...

Oh - while I'm semi-moaning, I'd like to complain about the difficulty of the Christmas jigsaw. That huge tree at the side of Dunrobin Castle is TOO HARD! I'd like to get the hedge trimmer in to fix that.

 Rusty the dog - behave!
The Christmas 2011 Photograph - Mark One


Have been trying to take a sunny Christmas photograph of the Head Gardener (me) and her dog, on the camera's self-timer. Let's elaborate on that: the red-faced, inanely grinning, looks-fatter-than-should, English-sheepdog-fringed Head Gardener (me) and her dog with the over-exposed nose. Oh well. There are some things that even Photoshop can't fix. Love the sunshine, though!


My city has had two grunty aftershocks - measured 5.8 and 6.0 - this afternoon. Things in son's house came crashing down again, but not the walls - phew! That silly brick wall will never destroy anything again. I feel a bit guilty (one instantly personalises these events) - I didn't feel the first aftershock, out in my garden rumbling back and forth to the trailer with barrow-loads of firewood. Not even an earth shimmy, let alone a shake. Ah but the second, not so pleasant.

Garden-wise I've filled the trailer with wood. On my clean-up journey down the big hedge I discovered that the hedge trimmer man's machine has got wider - what happened to leaner and meaner? It has lumbered down the side of the Hen House Garden, squashing all in its path. So I've moved the stones over and dug up squashed irises, Heuchera, and Santolina. They will be replanted today. This is not a problem - the hedge trimmer has to have first priority over the garden, she said generously. Gardeners are such nice people...