I usually wake up thinking 'Garden, Garden, Garden'. I slurp my cup of tea, scribble a stern list, grab the gardening shirt de jour and off outside I go. Except in January, mid-summer, when 'first thing in the morning' lasts a whole lot longer!
I linger over the tea, gaze adoringly over at the sunny reflections in the pond, smile at any visible gnomes by the path. No lists - I'm sure to find some nice gardening to do in the shade somewhere. It's that old summer holiday feeling (so enjoyable even when one is a happy retiree). My mid-summer musings - which book to read? Go for a swim? Work on the Christmas jigsaw? It's a rustic old castle in rural France, just the sky to go...
Opulence - Red Roses in a Green Garden
Aha! The real worker here, Non-Gardening Partner, is on holiday. He needs to be organised, quickly, before he escapes, and before it gets too hot to do anything outside. What day of the week is it, anyway?
Monday 7th January
What a virtuous day! NGP hired a local log splitter and we 'did' all the firewood. Even with two keen helpers it still took seven hours. And so the woodshed is now full, logs neatly stacked, ready for at least two winters, picture perfect... Oh - you actually want to see a picture? Really?
Lilies in Pots
Wednesday 9th January
And so I've enjoyed two more super windy and super hot days - not so suitable for a Head Gardener with a pale, English rose complexion. The garden holds its breath and goes into survival mode. Each day I've dead-headed dahlias and roses primly for a couple of hours and then flopped, red-faced, under a tree. A staple of my summer fiction diet - re-reading old Agatha Christie paperbacks, trying desperately to remember who did 'it' and what the important clue was.
But I've had fun weeding in another garden. Weeding, in mid-summer, fun? Oh yes, particularly in a smaller urban garden where (in theory) it's possible to catch absolutely every weed in a couple of hours. My friend has a lovely garden, with lots of prettiness and colour. And I collected some dwarf blue cornflower seeds. My taller cornflowers get far too floppy in the wind. Aargh! The wind! So noisy, and even more gum tree rubbish has blown down onto the lawns. I need to do some raking. And some watering.
Thursday 10th January
The big irrigation has been running most nights, but these day-time winds are so hot and dry they suck most of the moisture out. And my big gum trees are dropping large pieces of bark (and the odd branch) all over the house lawns. But...
I Love Summer!
But I love summer! And I am sticking gamely to my new gardening resolutions. I've been pottering in the shade, and sloshing down the water race. I'm enjoying the summer phloxes (even the lilac ones), and my pots of newly acquired lilies are just gorgeous.
Fluff-Fluff Cat in the Jigsaw Box
Summer for my cats is just too hot, though, with furry tummies desperately needing to be aired. Big Fluff-Fluff 'suffers' the most, though why he insists on squashing himself into the Christmas jigsaw box is beyond me.
+5Tiger actually goes outside in the heat - what a strange cat! She then spreads herself underneath the wheelbarrow (I have to check that I don't run her over). Little Mac just flops in the middle of a doorway, any doorway, oblivious to any feet that might trip over her. This cat definitely trusts her people!
Yellow Flower Carpet Roses
A Groovy Circuit...
I've had a groovy circuit going today. There are piles of smaller firewood logs to be wheeled over to the woodshed.
So I've filled my wheelbarrow with a load, wobbled over the lawns to the woodshed, stacked the wood (ever so carefully), then on my way back I've filled up the wheelbarrow with trimmings and dead-heads from roses. I dump this by the fence-line, and collect my next log load...
Each round trip takes about half an hour - why so long? Shrugs shoulders. Too many roses, I suspect. The large clusters of Sally Holmes have now finished, and all the Iceberg roses are ready for dead-heading. Then there are all the low growing 'Flower Carpet' roses, which the vigilant dead-header shouldn't ignore. So I don't! Bend, creak, groan...