Something I love about August...

White Camellia

Here's something I love about my August (understanding that June 22nd is mid-winter's day) - the days have much more time in them. They are bigger and lighter, and the mornings are more welcoming.

Saturday 6th August

And August is a brilliant month for seeing the mistakes in the garden (ouch) and rectifying them (easy peasy). However it may not be the best time to shift Camellias. I have two hidden behind the garage, invisible shrubs of great beauty fighting for recognition, border space, and light.

Today we are going swimming and then I hope to send Non-Gardening Partner off to get a trailer-load of compost. I don't have enough home-made stuff (and I'm sure that its application thereon makes my garden weedy).

Later, A Personal Revelation...

Hee hee. It has taken me - forty years? Aargh! - to discover that yes! I can bake a thoroughly decent chocolate cake, as long as I follow these two simple rules.

  1. Double the recipe.
  2. Actually use a recipe.

For too long my cakes have involved tipping and mixing freestyle, then checking by a generous taste slurp of the index finger. The results have varied between chocolate cardboard, chocolate rubber, and chocolate pudding (when the offending cake is drowned in cream or milk). Time for a general family apology to all the children of Moosey, methinks! Just think - I'm now enjoying some decent homemade cake for afternoon tea, after a busy three hours in the garden.

 With droopy flowers - quite difficult to photograph!
White Hellebores

By the way, hurray for my Hellebores, which I've just tried to take photographs of - in order to keep the Moosey journal images current and genuine. There isn't much other colour in the garden now, except the beautiful greens of my foliage plants and the slightly shabby painted clothes on my garden gnomes...

 They grow by the path through the Birthday Rose Garden.
Pink Hellebores

I Love August

I've been spreading compost, then weeding a patch, then digging ash from the bonfire and spreading that, then wandering back for more compost. I've also broken some delightful purple Heuchera into new plant-pieces, all potted up ready to replant in a month's time.

I've spread possibly a quarter of the compost so far, and dear NGP keeps asking me if I'm happy - must have my I'm Sick-of-Shovelling-Compost face on. Of course I'm happy! I love being in the garden and I love August.

I'm still TV couch-cycling through France's July, however, and have nearly reached the Alps. I know I'm so far behind - le Tour finished weeks ago - but the light-green leafy deciduous forests are beautiful, and look graceful in the wind (from my helicopter view). It's so unlike the evergreen beech forest in New Zealand, with tiny leaves and blackened trunks covered in honey-dew.

Sunday 7th August

Right. I have to spread all the remaining compost this morning, so I can get another trailer load before lunchtime. For me this is hard work, mainly because I use my ladies' spade and tinker around, staying but vaguely on task - picking up a few weeds here, trimming something there. Much of my happiest gardening goes like this.

RIP Garden Bench No.2 :
Here's Garden Bench No.2 in its prime.

My friend has given me a brand new wooden Adirondack garden chair, which is arriving tomorrow afternoon. I've given her some Bergenias. They look scruffy in their pots but they are Bressingham Whites, with beautiful ivory-cream flowers. I hope she's as pleased as I am! Oddly, Non-Gardening Partner backed into one of my oldest garden benches yesterday and trashed it - he never usually runs over things (phew). So the new chair is an instant and somewhat serendipitous replacement.

OK. My bread will be ready in three hours. Out I go. I've even brushed my hair (thanks, Rusty the dog, for lending me your best brush).

A Few Hours Later...

Ha! In middle of congratulating self on new, tough attitude to winter gardening, in blew the noisiest southerly storm. I had just that moment dug out a Phormium by the Willow Tree path, with huge plans for building up the stone wall next to the bridge, and adding compost to get the garden higher. This in turn would have meant digging and replanting the roses. Even before the rain started, I decided it was too scary-noisy for meaningful gardening.

 Like snow. Snow! Aargh!
Winter Flowering Viburnum

But I did spread the compost, I have another full load on the trailer, and hopefully later this afternoon when the southerly blows away up-country I will return. It is raining now - big, blobby rain, which looks really cold - and my house is cosy and warm. Hee hee...

Much Later...

A legend! I went back outside when the rain stopped, and worked for another three hours. The cold wind whipped past my ears as I carted stones and compost, head-down, fixing up the little garden by Willow Bridge. The Hebes by the path have been ruthlessly cut down to ankle-height ('pruned' is rather too gentle a word), and I tried to dig out all the nasty grass. I pruned the Blushing Iceberg standards, and all the other roses - including the ghastly single red Flower Carpet rose (which is super-prickly). Ash, more compost, and a top layer of shredded mulch completed the new-look garden.

 Even shy of the camera!
Percy My Ginger Cat

And now I'm going cycling, off to the Alps with my crocheting on my lap (and probably an annoying cat or two - they love the feel of the woolly blanket I'm making). By the way, thanks to ginger Percy for providing a modicum of weekend cat-company. But, Percy, it's not scary when the Head Gardener slowly stands up. She is still the same as the low-down, kneeling version.