Mid-winter gardening is so satisfying, with the trimming and sawing down of overgrown shrubs and trees, the late afternoon bonfire, and warm illusions of garden improvement. Yes, my garden will look so much better this coming spring. And summer. Yes! It really will...
Sunday 27th June
All week I've been working my way along the gardens by the water race, thinning and trimming, ripping out plants that have spread too much, and planting new shrubs that I like (rhododendrons, roses). I have reached the Hen House Gardens, the very last area, and that's today's task. Hopefully Non-Gardening Partner, bless him, will do some more sawing and shredding, and then it will be done!
Good morning to the Moosey cats, who are all most attentive (there's fresh steak-and-kidney pet meat in the fridge). A cat-confrontation was averted earlier this morning - Fluff-Fluff (my big benign bully, if that makes any sense) had Lilli-Puss bailed up a tree in the Pond Paddock. I leapt out of Pond Cottage in my pyjamas to investigate the dreadful wailing sounds.
Aha! Clever cat-psychology then prevailed. If I growled, big FF would just climb up further and cause Lilli more distress. So I cooed in my sweetest syrup voice to him, tickled his chin and deftly pushed him off the branch in one motion - kerplunk! One large cat landed on the ground, and he never knew it was me, hee hee...
Update on the bird feeder - it's really wonderful for all the tiny birds. They're mainly way-eyes and sparrows, and they do need building up for the winter. I've bought some ingredients and have already made the next one myself, but am waiting for the mixture to solidify before hanging it up.
Much, Much Later...
Non-Gardening Partner is the best of the best of the best! He has helped me in the garden all day, without moaning, and so much has been accomplished. First we cut the driveway's monster Clematis montana down, down, down - the weeping blossom trees and the huge Cecile Brunner rose on the fence will all breathe more easily this coming spring and summer. I did a quick trim of shrubs in the Driveway border, pruned the roses (they'll now enjoy more light), and chopped down several self-seeded Pittosporums. Then we both dragged the whole tangled mess to the bonfire.
Histeria the Tabby
We had a late lunch on Duck Lawn's garden bench in the shining winter sun, with cats Histeria, Fluff-Fluff and Percy, and of course Rusty the dog. Then NGP surprised me - without being asked he got out the long-handled saw and cut down the dead Wattle tree branches, remembering my request from yesterday. And there's more - he then arrived with the shredder and cleaned up my piles of Pittosporums. For NGP to work in my garden all day is unheard of - usually he escapes with the dog after lunch. I am so thankful to him, and the fact that I'd posted a list of things for him to do on his Facebook wall is - irrelevant? Hee hee...
Now I'm going to make a hot cup of tea, sit by the log burner, undo my plait, brush my hair, and replait it. It is my New Mid-Winter's Resolution to have a knotless plait. Today has been brilliant, and I've loved the cats being out with me in the garden. And I've loved having NGP's help.
Percy the Ginger Cat
Monday 27th June
I have had one of those decisive gardening days where there's been no twiddling of thumbs, green or otherwise. After swimming I went off to dig out five roses, destined to be recycled somewhere in my country garden. They are white, possibly Bridesmaids (I haven't checked this yet). As soon as I got home with them I planned their position in the Driveway Garden, weeded, dug the planting holes, and popped them in - five rather bulky Bridesmaids (if that's what they are) instantly in their new country garden. Then I scooped up all the wet leaves from the driveway for mulch. And finally (oops) I zoomed off in my car to pick up two new garden gnomes. As one does.
All day the tiny birds visited their bird feeders, while Tiger the cat sunned herself in her comfy chair just underneath. She seemed oblivious to the feathery comings and goings - just too lazy and too well fed. All the other cats were keeping a wary watch on the house, in which the painter has been busy. Did I really choose such a light colour for the walls? Oh well. All the crazy random Moosey pictures and furnishings are colourful, and I have plans for a huge patchwork curtain for the bay window. And, oddly, the greens in the garden look nicer with the new paint surrounding the windows.
Tuesday 28th June
No personal gardening today for me - just a bit of digging out liquefaction from my friend's urban vegetable garden - I guess you'd call it an allotment. The sandy silt that's left can be mixed in with the dirt. I'm home quite late, though - have been leaving the painter 'to it' in the house.
My Seed Order
Great excitement! I've found a great local supplier of heirloom vegetable seeds, and have placed an order. Remember those delightful yellow cherry tomatoes I grew on the patio last summer? They are called Gold Nugget, and are in my seed order. I've chosen other smaller varieties, too - Chocolate Cherry, and Baxter's early Bush Cherry. Yum! I'm also getting several lettuces, parsnips, carrots, silver beet with red stalks, spinach, and flower seeds for Lemon Bergamot, Nicotiana Lime Sorbet, Larkspur Earl Grey, and an annual daisy called Golden Daisy Bush.
Thursday 30th June
Aha! One of the winter months already finished, my gardening spirits are high, and we are off to the Cook Islands for a short week's holiday in two day's time. What do I need to finish in my garden before I go away? Rake the wet soggy leaves off the Pond Paddock grass, check the glass-house 'winter-overers', shift anything seriously frost tender off the patios, perhaps plant some more of my waiting roses...
Yesterday I went walking - the intended trip up Mount Grey would have been too unpleasant (wet, no visibility, and a chilling wind), so we redirected ourselves to the nearby beach. A winter beach walk is extremely exhilarating, and jolly hard on the legs and feet! I had fun collecting some bizarre and beautiful lumps of seaweed. Nature's seaweed design, like frog design, is truly inspired.
Winter House - Goodbye June
However my bagful has a rather strange, unpleasant organic smell, which is fascinating Rusty the dog. For the sake of his digestive system I will have to dry it very carefully - I don't want a repeat of his bird-feeder episode. I might be using the seaweed for something best described as 'wearable art' - don't ask!
And while I remember - goodbye to June, and thanks for everything. I've had a brilliantly busy month.