In theory...

 Where I semi-live at the moment...
Winter in Pond Cottage

I am happily testing the theory that a rather random gardener, mature and keen, can have at least three amazing 'best-of-the-best' gardening days in a row - in the middle of winter. It's bound to be true!

Tuesday 19th July

I woke up to a chorus of chiming bellbirds - eyes-shut and I was in the beech forest in a tiny mountain hut. But no - little Minimus the cat brought me back to my own garden reality. What a delightful place to be at dawn! Ah, Pond Cottage - whoever thought I was mad wanting you to be built should think again. Non-Gardening Partner, I think that means you!

Now I'm off swimming, and then maybe I test another personal theory - namely that a garden gnome cannot cost more than half a leg of lamb. The last leg I tried to buy at the butcher cost $45, which is rather excessive (for roast lamb and concrete garden gnomes).


Only three hours gardening this afternoon, but well done, sensible stuff, all rubbish burnt. I've been clearing out the middle of the Jellybean Border and raking up dead leaves etc. from the surrounding lawn. I've removed the last surviving Rhapsody in Blue standard rose from the Septic Tank Garden. Three others flowered madly last summer and then appeared to die, slowly and unspectacularly. I've got them in pots behind the glass-house, waiting for official death certificates. You never know with roses. And if it's too early then that's just too bad - I've pruned several sheltered hydrangeas, and more of my roses.

TV Couch Cycling...

OK - it's time to relax, attempt the second row of my crochet ripple afghan blanket, and peep at the (recorded) Tour de France cycling. I have to catch up - haven't even got to the Pyrenees and the blokes are in the Alps. Aha! I've just TV-helicoptered over the most beautifully symmetric garden in France, on some scenic road between le Mans and Chateauroux. I'd love to visit - perhaps on a cycling tour? Get the gardener off the couch?

Morning Frost on Willow Bridge

Wednesday 20th July

Brr... There's a frost, so I am definitely going swimming first thing this morning. My garden will be off limits (that is, too crunchy) until at least 10:30am. See how lucky I am as a winter gardener? And please note I am not, not, not moaning. When I get home I'll make some bread. Dear Non-Gardening Partner arrived home last night with a brand new breadmaker - the very model that I'd looked at after yesterday's swimming, the visa card inside my wallet twitching. Phew - we could have had two of them!

 A colourful New Zealand native shrub in winter.
Red Coprosma

Good Birds

I'm impressed by how early the little birdies (all wax-eyes) are up and swinging on my bird feeder. I have never winter-fed them before. And there are so many - perhaps I am feeding the whole street. If this is the case I do wonder how the birds tell others about the food. I've always imagined birds' language restricted to the males flitting around squeaking 'Me!' 'Me!' 'No, me!' 'Me too!'

Oops. I have to stop writing - Tiger the tortoiseshell has sneaked into the pantry, either to set a pouncing-trap for my little cat Minimus or to pilfer crumbs from the dog biscuit bag. Hmm... Hard to choose which. Back soon.

Thursday 21st July

Oh my - I was so good yesterday, clearing out the garden around the Moosey pond. The large species Phormium is just magnificent - remind me never to cut it down, when I'm in one of my flax-axing moods. I get into them from time to time.

 Though it looks OK in this photograph...
The Island Bed - My Next Clean-Up

Today I am off hiking in the mountains, and if the weather 'up there' is inclement (or worse, or snowing) the plan is to walk to a deserted winter beach, where it can snow all it likes! I am so looking forward to this, having worked in my garden for days and days (it seems).

Driftwood :
Read about our last trip, in autumn, on the Tiromoana Walkway.

I'm back. My friend and I hiked the Tiromoana Walkway down to the beach and up again. Just a doddle, we thought - We didn't remember it being quite a slog! But it really is the perfect winter hike, a good length for a shorter day, tracks easy to follow, and such great farm and coastline scenery.

My debut bread in the new breadmaker has fallen rather flat. I suspect the ground linseed, which of course gives such a lovely flavour and moistness - it's still yummy! Now I have to find the energy to go out to choir, and then tomorrow - yippee! It's Non-Gardening Partner's birthday!