Garden Journal 2017

Oooh, goodie! A new year, another new if arbitrary beginning, and another chance to change this and that in my garden, plant new shrubs amd flowers, and write all about each gardening day. As in my gardening, I will try to be deep and meaningful in my writing. I will try to make every day count, and not be boring in the retelling of it. I might even find some new, fresh adjectives with which to describe the roses. Promises, promises! So here's the Moosey Garden Journal for 2017.

Happy 2017Happy 2017...
Happy New Year! Oh joy - no New Year's Resolutions for me in 2017. I am simply going to follow my nose. Not that there's anything unpleasantly fragrant in my garden. I am going to trust myself to know what needs doing. I am going to listen to what my garden asks of me...
Early morning thought processes...Early morning thought processes......
I don't know which early morning thought process I prefer. Waking up thinking about the garden and knowing exactly where I'm going to work. Or waking up in a vague garden daze, with no clue or inspiration as to the Task de Jour.
More of summer, pleaseMore of summer, please...
More of summer, please. What's the story about all the cold rain - and the hail that's forecast? This will not do! I have a garden to weed.
Moosey the Moocher...Moosey the Moocher......
Only the seventh day of the year and I'm feeling garden-petulant and moochy. An emergency list, quickly : Sweep the patio and the decking. Tidy all the pots. Stack stray firewood logs, pick up old plastic planting pots. Rake the weeds off the driveway. Take pleasure from the mundane.
Lightweight...Lightweight......
It's been a lightweight gardening week - nice visitors, swimming, forest walks (with Winnie the young dog) and relaxing on garden seats reading detective stories, snacking on cherries and raspberries. Summer fruits - yum! Summer visitors - yeay! Summer days - nice and lazy!
Summer weeding...Summer weeding......
Never, ever assume anything concerning a random gardener. These last days have super hot. So I've been weeding, all day. No sore hands, and I haven't become bored or grumpy. And no sneaky tricks (like the reward of the pensioner's pub roast) needed. Summer weeding. Just like that!
RewardsRewards...
Need a reward for working hard all day in the garden? For me, the anticipation of a tasty evening meal works the best. OK. Here's today's deal. Work hard, then enjoy a pensioner's country pub roast tonight, with a glass of Merlot...
Another new plan!Another new plan!...
The last gardening week of my January has been groovy. Each morning I've been out exercising myself and the dogs, and in the afternoons I've done maybe three hours weeding in the garden. I have a new Personal Management Plan (must be a January thing, like joining a gym hee hee).
Back into the Wattle WoodsBack into the Wattle Woods...
The Wattle Woods are lovely, criss-crossed with winding paths, not deserving of gardener neglect. When an area in my garden is messy I tend not to visit it much, out of guilt. And self-preservation...
Overflowing with wind...Overflowing with wind......
My garden is overflowing with wind. So I've been partially gardening, sneaking back inside when the big trees become too noisy. But the garden still looks beautiful in its summer colours. Pink and green. Apricot and green. Anything and green, I guess!
Disheartened? Me?Disheartened? Me?...
I am banning the word 'disheartened' from my garden journal ramblings. This word describes how I sometimes feel. It is a word to be fought off, and if possible knocked out, by lots of well-organised hard work. No garden should make its gardener feel disheartened. Not should gardening magazines and books!
Balanced...Balanced......
Balance in the garden means more than staying on the bridge, not wobbling off to land in the water, or (worse) the spiky Gunnera. One needs to balance one's gardening speed. One day, work ferociously fast. Then stand for half an hour and do some hand-held watering of the roses - gardening in the slow-lane!
Almost half-way!Almost half-way!...
February is almost half-way through - things move so fast! Early mornings are noticeably darker, and the midday shadow angles look different. Aha! The sun is beginning to shift in the sky. Things are changing. Summer is slowly sneaking out.
Visitors!Visitors!...
The mid-summer garden visitors (flowers, I mean) are slowly packing up their things and moving on out. This morning I said goodbye, wistfully, to the miniature Agapanthus flowers which ring Pond Cottage's wee garden and the nearby path around the pond. Well done, my pretty blues.
A sad story...A sad story......
Life is a bit sad without Tiddles the Tabby (with too many toes). My beautiful polydactyl cat has now been missing for six days. Each day the dogs and I wander around the orchard - her favourite hunting ground. But I'm calling to nothing. I don't sense her being anywhere close.
Quality dog-timeQuality dog-time...
Remember my New Year's Resolution? Oops. It's nearly two months old now, and already I've forgotten all about it. I was going to be 'kinder' (obviously to all my humans, etc) - but specifically to my dogs. It's nearly two months old now, and already I've forgotten all about it.
No slowing down...No slowing down......
Eek! It's already March, the third month of the year, and my garden is slowing down for autumn. But I am not slowing down - no way! It's the perfect time for planting - Aha! New shrubs! And shifting the existing ones around.
Elastic hours...Elastic hours......
Sometimes gardening time goes all stretchy, full of elastic hours, with no definite scale or measure. Suddenly, after what feels like a gentle pottering session, insignificant time-wise, I see that it's five o'clock. Eek! I started work mid-morning...
My non-gardening journalMy non-gardening journal...
Over the last days we've had nearly sixty mm of rain. It's fallen steadily and soaked into the dry ground. Phew! The garden, the orchard, and the paddocks have all needed this wonderful moisture. I've done no gardening - just some drizzle photography.
The bonfiring season begins...The bonfiring season begins......
I declare the season of the autumn bonfire open! Yeay! Yeay? Some things are 'awfully' necessary, as is burning all the dry rubbish in my garden. Perennial trimmings, debris from the huge gum trees, Cordyline leaves...
Soft-shoe shuffle...Soft-shoe shuffle......
Most years I'll declare : 'March is marching on'. But this year March is dancing the softest of soft-shoe shuffles, with the slightest hint of autumn colour, the lightest touch of chill in the mornings. Lightly, spritely, so delightfully...
e-dog is visiting!e-dog is visiting!...
It's a drizzly weekend and Mister Brown is back! Escher the brown dog (e-dog is his new nickname) is staying for a few days. He's been running madly around the garden with Winnie, while old man Rusty plods along by my heels.
Good autumn friendsGood autumn friends...
Right. The bonfire beckons. Well, maybe not the word. The thought of a sentient bonfire yelling - 'Yoo hoo! Over here!' is rather bizarre. But we are still in a relationship, good autumn friends, me and my bonfire.
The Bachelor...The Bachelor......
Hee hee. It's the 2017 TV season of New Zealand's 'The Bachelor'. Perfect timing! For Beau Ram, our handsome (and intact) merino bloke, has just been 'introduced' to some lovely ewes. Beau was last seen being chased around the paddock by the girls...
No fool like an old fool...No fool like an old fool......
Eek. April has sneaked into my life and my garden. There's no fool like an old fool? I sailed (well, 'gardened' might be the better word) through the 1st of April, April Fools' Day, without even knowing. Perhaps I was tricked ten times and didn't have the wits to notice?
Rain and sun...Rain and sun......
Rain, more rain. Blobby rain with serious intentions. Puddles in the driveway! I have had to reinstate my gumboots, and the dogs and I go for wet walks around the gardens and orchard. I think deep thoughts about the concept of shelter, and how annoying wet shoulders and wet feet can be. The dogs don't care about wet necks and feet at all...
Evasion tactics...Evasion tactics......
The weekend. There we were, Non-gardening Partner and I, discussing his trimming of the fastigate Oaks, which he hadn't finished properly. When does that Miscanthus finish? he asked, pointing to a large ornamental grass shining in the sun. NGP, correctly identifying a Miscanthus? And interested in it? Evasion tactics, for sure!
A water non-feature...A water non-feature......
When is a water feature not a water 'feature'? When the water isn't flowing and the surrounding gardens are uber-messy. Ha! My wriggling little stream in the Wattle Woods is getting a major autumn clean up.
Ouch...Ouch......
Ouch! But you want to hear about the garden, right? Patches of clover weeds in the garden alongside the water race. Aargh! When did these weeds get so fat and healthy? That blasted trailer load of top-soil has a lot to answer for!
CouldnCouldn't resist......
I gave in. Driving past the big Easter Nursery Sale after swimming this morning, I just couldn't resist popping in. Just to satisfy myself that the nursery's sale prices would still be far too dear for me, you understand.
The autumn clean-up?The autumn clean-up?...
This concept of the autumn clean-up (singular) just doesn't ring true for me in my garden. At the moment, after four early-autumn clean-ups I am enjoying the third of my mid-autumn ones, to be followed by at least a couple of late autumn ones. And then - yippee! The first of the early winter clean-ups, I think we get the point. Clean-ups plural. I am always cleaning up.
A sheepish thing...A sheepish thing......
Self gardening discipline is a sheepish thing. Sometimes, on the most perfect of autumn days, it escapes out the gate, and blunders down the road, like a random ewe in search of - what exactly? A paddock with no fences? The perfect ram? The meaning of life? I don't think sheep worry that much about the meaning of life. And nor should gardeners...
Falling...Falling......
The autumn leaves are now starting to fall. Their choice - they've decided that it's time. So lovely to be patted gently on the head by red-brown oak leaves. And so much nicer than snow. There's no reason to be grumpy (not that I am, you understand) in autumn.
Love autumn...Love autumn......
Autumn races along. Last week - wow! Look at the scarlet oak trees, beautifully red against the blue sky. This week - oh dear. Much crunching underfoot. Time to bag up the fallen leaves. And I love it. I love autumn doing its own thing, at its own pace. I love every moment, every day, every week...
An almost-frost...An almost-frost......
Two nights ago we had the first almost-frost, desperately close to the magic zero (Celsius). It was nose-nippy walking the dogs, and I tried to imagine long-distance running across Siberia in winter. I'm reading one of my extreme travel books - it's a seasonal thing, hee hee.
A sad day...A sad day......
Today is a sad day. Rusty our old red Border Collie dog has been lovingly laid to rest in the Ram Paddock. He was nearly thirteen years old. He has been a huge part of my country life. Gardening days, bicycle rides, walks, trips in the car to forests, the river, the dog park...
Ready...Ready......
I'm ready for pre-winter apres-gardening. Good kindling, bags of pine cones, dry firewood for the log-burner. Merino layers, fluffy mohair jersey, and my Ugg boots - wonderful slippers. A super-comfy dog couch to share with the cats (oops) in front of the fire. And yet another library book about Queen Elizabeth 1st... Content
Black as midnight cat...Black as midnight cat......
Scary Buster, black as midnight cat! The household is (understandably) feeling a little sensitive about its animals at the moment. Buster is missing for breakfast. This is awful. She's in trouble? She's lost? No - she's just out hunting in next-door's weedy paddock
WhatWhat's more boring?...
Two deep gardening questions : 1. What's more boring than spreading ten wheelbarrowfuls of mulch? Answer : Raking up ten bags of autumn leaves. 2. What's more boring than raking up ten bags of autumn leaves? Answer : Spreading ten wheelbarrowfuls of mulch.
More questions...More questions......
More questions. How can I con myself into gardening for ages on a cool winter's day, and achieve meaningful, noticeable results? To list or not to list? Coffee first, or later? Decisions. Coffee first. And then a skeleton list, or better still - a set of instructions, plain and easily followed...
Love, love, love...Love, love, love......
I love winter-gardening. I am tough, a fully hardy perennial. I've got good, garden-rough clothes, woolly warm socks, and good garden boots. And a warm house, with the log-burner going, and my Ugg boots into which to retreat if necessary. I love my Ugg boots. And anyway, it's not all that cold...
Welcome winter...Welcome winter......
Aha! Welcome winter, don't be shy. Come on in, stop on by. But please don't be noisy, or rude. Winter - be a chill, cool dude! Hmm... Poetry aside, it's the first day of official winter (southern hemisphere style), and so my official Great Winter Garden Clean-Up can begin.
June gardening...June gardening......
June winter gardening... Cold days (brrr), a warm house (yesssss), short days, morning frosts. The cats still hunting, bringing in mice, rats and headless rabbits (no idea which cat does this, but definitely not Tiger). Taking Winnie the dog for lots of brisk walks. The puffy jacket! Woolly gloves! Merino layers! Hood up, head down...
Ideas...Ideas......
Some ideas are lofty, maybe inspired by an inspiring picture in a glossy gardening book. Others are downright mundane, and small-scale. And these are often the ones with the most spectacular results. So how sensible is this latest idea of mine?
Little things - and big things!Little things - and big things!...
It really does pay to keep the gardening eyes open at all times. And not just to avoid tripping on Winnie the dog's abandoned tennis balls. But to notice all the little colourful things, precious little gems amidst the functional dull greens and browns of my winter garden.
Dancing around the bonfire...Dancing around the bonfire......
The hedge trimmer man has left behind swathes of Leyland branches. Some are large enough to cut up for firewood logs, others will neatly fit in the shredder, and then there's the little scrappy stuff. That's bonfire material. And there is sooooooo much of it!
The winter solstice...The winter solstice......
The winter solstice usually marks the start of extreme morning twittering in this gardening journal. Not because I have cosmic thoughts to share, but because until 11am it's usually too cold outside. But how lucky am I that this is my typical mid-winter's gardening day! Itching to get out, and stuck inside for only three daylight hours. Dear, dear me...
Puff out your chest...Puff out your chest......
I'm watching the birdies at their feeding stations. Half apples in hanging coconuts for birds who like privacy, peaches in syrup for the nectar drinkers, bird seed for the finches, and a so-called 'bird-bomb' from the butcher (pure carbohydrates) for the energy guzzlers.
Mid-winter balance...Mid-winter balance......
To balance my gardening life I need some hands-on plant tasks, as well as burning the hedge trimmings. So it's time to write a list of plants that need shifting. Mid-winter is the perfect time, frost permitting. And everything that comes out must have a pre-planned destination. Not just shifting for shifting's sake.
Hello July...Hello July......
Oops. How time flies! Hello July, another winter month, rose pruning and fern trimming month. And - aargh! There are still hedge trimmings to be shredded and burnt - the other side of the big Leyland hedge, and the Deodar hedge down the side of the Orchard. In the spirit of silliness I am taking a photograph of each day's bonfire...
A new project...A new project......
I need a project with which to surprise Non-Gardening Partner, who is going to Canada for a few weeks. Once before he did this, and I built a substantial stone retaining wall in his absence. When he arrived home and saw it he seemed to be a little underwhelmed. Maybe I went on and on about it a little too much...
Winter weeding love...Winter weeding love......
I need to spread some winter weeding love around my garden. It's time to scoop up armfuls of the cute little green things which are popping up everywhere. The nice thing about weeding a large garden - one can have an instant change of scenery, if one so desires.
Snow...Snow......
Snow. Snow? Snow! I slept inside the house last night, and I didn't hear a thing. But there was no wind - just snuffly, silent snow falling. Wow. Not so much snow, yet. But quite enough for me. Please feel free to stop at any time... No, honestly, just a tiny helping is quite sufficient.
Over the snow...Over the snow......
Now I have lots and lots of snow photographs. Ho-hum? Well, not really, for me. Snow doesn't happen very often. And it certainly isn't supposed to settle, or hand around for too long.
Blue sky, green lawn...Blue sky, green lawn......
Phew! Pouff! went the snow, with two days of half-decent winter day temperatures, and so I've got my garden back, complete with blue sky and green lawns. Now comes the supreme test. Remember all that weeding and digging I really, really wanted to do when the snow stopped me? Yes?
W-words...W-words......
What to work at in wild, wet, winter weather? Weeding? Well yes, there's always weeding, and I have done a little... But all those W words are rather off-putting. Seriously, it's just been too wet.
Welcome home...Welcome home......
Yeay! Non-Gardening Partner is home from his North American (summer) holiday. A wintry welcome home, NGP. What would you like to do first? A little light shredding? Collect more stones for the path edges? Fix the river pump? Take a load of Phormium leaves to the dump?
New resolve!New resolve!...
August - I am here, ready for you, full of new resolve. Forget my unproductive behaviour over July - that was totally out of character! A new month, a new leaf, a new me, getting the garden ready for spring.
Nosy!Nosy!...
I'd like to welcome (not) my first head-cold of the year. Such a nuisance - so minor in the scale of health and happiness, yet so annoying. So the weekend's gardening has been rather sniffy...
What to do?What to do?...
Humph. My garden is soggy and winter-messy. Wadges of wet brown leaves cover little green things (like patches of daffodils). The original wooden sheep fences, around which the house gardens are 'built', are coming to bits. What to do?
Renewed hope!Renewed hope!...
A stunning revelation. Slightly longer daylight hours, sun a little higher in sky, warmer, fuller light = a more radiant, warmer gardening mood. Yeay! There are good reasons for renewed hope. A spring garden lurks amidst the garden maintenance, the trudging of barrow loads back and forth, the pruning and trimming...
Uber-Wormy...Uber-Wormy......
I have dispatched Non-Gardening Partner to pick up lots of bags of local horse manure for me. It is the wormiest, rottenest, sweetest-smelling horse manure I've ever had, and let's hope it also turns out to be the least weediest!
A gardener of gravitas...A gardener of gravitas......
More rain, followed by gentle spring-like daytime temperatures, and guess what? Weeds! Pretty green things, some starting to flower. I need to get real. Become a gardener of gravitas who solemnly weeds and mulches with dignity. Sounds rather serious...
Nearly! Nearly!Nearly! Nearly!...
Yeay! It's nearly spring - nearly spring! And how do I know it's nearly spring? Spring weeds! The first morning walk with Winnie the dog takes us ages. I keep lunging into the dirt to remove pretty parachute weeds, while she waits patiently for her ball to be thrown. She understands!
How weatherproof?How weatherproof?...
Exactly how weatherproof an I feeling? I have already welcomed the arrival of spring - New Zealand gardeners are impatient, and don't bother waiting for the equinox. But the weather has not obliged, sending down a heady mixture of rain, drizzle, and coldish wind.
Birthday weedingBirthday weeding...
Spring! My birthday week. Spreading rotten horse manure, checking spring lambs, pruning the last roses, trimming ferns... Plus many happy, happy hours of 'woosie' weeding. Or should that be 'wussy' weeding? 'Woosy'? 'Wussie'? I think I've made the point!
PebblesPebbles...
Pebbles our new dog has arrived. She is lovely, but seriously nervous. Just now she plucked up the courage to peep around the kitchen door. Aargh! The sight of Tiger the lolling tortoiseshell, her four short little striped legs in the air, was too much. Oh dear. Cats and dogs. I am reminded of their relationships...
Early days...Early days......
Pebbles, our new dog, has been with us for four days now. When she feels secure and safe she is the sweetest dog. Same as people, really! We've been out in the car, and this afternoon we are going to try the forest walk. Her relationship with the house cats is still - shall we say - a work in progress? Early days. OK. I am prepared for weeks of early days...
So sweet is she?So sweet is she?...
Like spring, my skills as a handler of a nervous new dog are improving. And spring is getting sweeter by the day - more Camellias flowering, rhododendrons too, the fancy-pants daffodils...
Normal gardening?Normal gardening?...
Aargh! Sixty millimetres of rain in the last two days - this would normally fall in one month. A wet winter, followed by a wet spring. But today - yeay! No rain! And so the dogs and I can get back outside and have a nice, fun, normal day doing normal gardening. Yeay!
Properly positively spring...Properly positively spring......
I love it when I have a properly positive spring gardening day - no dramas or sad things, no dog misbehaviour, not too much wind, no rain or unpleasant weather events, no interruptions...
Aargh!Aargh!...
The story of my gardening life - I'm just getting into the swing of September, starting to enjoy my green lawns and the new emerging spring flowers. I even think I'm doing enough weeding. I relax the tiniest bit - and then check the calendar. Aargh! September has petered out!
Dear, Darling Garden...Dear, Darling Garden......
Dear, Darling Garden. Have I told you lately how much I love you? And what exactly I love about you? I love your plant growth, and your special spaces, and your overgrown paths. I don't love your dandelion flowers, though...
Relaxing?Relaxing?...
I'm relaxing in the breakfast chairs with the first morning cup of tea. I gaze through the bay window, admire the sweeping lawns, the tough grandeur of the gum tree, the Shrubbery's cute stone wall...
Rain, rain, rain...Rain, rain, rain......
Three days of continuous rain - splodgy one minute, drizzling the next. So good for the garden, right? Absolutely, but not good for this gardener - my garden helper (a relative) was supposed to arrive two days ago. I have been saving big muscle jobs for him...
Garden baddies...Garden baddies......
Written on a page in a garden journal, 'Cleavers' is just a bland noun with a silly s on the end. But in my garden, oh my goodness! It's transformed into a cartoon garden baddie, covered in scary sticky fingers, out to get me. It's menacing, sneaky and annoying, with an unpleasant personality. Blast Cleavers! Delete! Backspace! Delete!
A good spring...A good spring......
So spring chugs on through October, hot days followed by cool days, a smattering of roses, the later cherry blossom just beginning to flutter down, the ferns uncurling their fresh new fronds. Soon the mid-season rhododendrons will be in full flower. There are swathes of blue forget-me-nots in all the lawns...
Firsts, middles, lasts...Firsts, middles, lasts......
Firsts, middles, and lasts. The first peony bud (a coral show-off) has opened. The first rugosa roses are out. The middle-season Willow Tree rhododendrons, big and beautiful, are flowering, as is the last blossom tree of spring, Crab-Apple Charlotte...
A spring decisionA spring decision...
This spring I decided not to produce any of my own flowering annual seedlings. I would save huge chunks of spring gardening time, which would be redirected to weeding. I would dominate the weeds in my garden. Oh really?
Division...Division......
Some properties have a division of responsibilities, right? Like the gardener does the borders, and the Non-Gardening Partner does the lawns. Mowing, de-mossing, and re-sowing. I have just mentioned this to mine - some areas need a top-up of seed. Isn't this supposed to be his job?
Out out, damned Alkanet...Out out, damned Alkanet......
Time to pull out more Alkanet. My garden is uber-alkanetted. It's a nuisance perennial forget-me-not, with slightly furry, prickly stems, roots that out reach underground, and seedlings for ever and ever. And the honey bees adore it. And I love my bees...
Concerning dogs and water pumps...Concerning dogs and water pumps......
Good morning, dogs. So Winnie had an upset tummy overnight (floor rugs hosed down, drying on the patio table). And a scrappy dog-fight in the kitchen (she tried to pinch Pebbles' breakfast). I tipped a bucket of water over their heads - a great way to start the day, mopping the kitchen floor. Aargh!
Noisy nonsense...Noisy nonsense......
A message for the big blustering wind. You are not putting me off with your noisy nonsense. Rude wind, blowing a fledgling blackbird out of its nest yesterday at dusk. In bed, Minimus presented me with the large alarmed birdling, while the parent shrieked and dive-bombed the cottage...
Trick and treat...Trick and treat......
Yesterday I waited all afternoon for the sun to go behind a cloud, so I could get some good photographs of the magical rose Alchymist, who tricks and treats with different coloured blooms on the same stem. And did the sun oblige? Not a jot. It continued to beam down - hot, hot, hot.
Another morning in paradise...Another morning in paradise......
Sitting on the patio with my pot of breakfast tea, surrounded by Compassion roses. The dogs are doing chasing circuits around the Island Bed - a great reason to have an Island bed in one's garden design, hee hee. My garden is noisy with music - birds squeaking, a contrapuntal sheep chorus...
Time for a clean-up...Time for a clean-up......
The Jelly Bean Border needs a big clean-up. Three years of this and that dropping down (mainly gum tree debris and cordyline leaves), plus this spring's bumper crop of annual forget-me-nots, Alkanet and Cleavers. The terrible trio!
On the edge...On the edge......
I am sooooo happy! After years of buying second hand edging shears for two dollars, and then finding them hopeless at cutting anything, I've flashed the Visa card and bought some brand new ones. And not off the budget shelf, either...
Roses...Roses......
The dogs and I are always going around the garden - with several cameras - to check on the roses. There are so many to photograph, I could fill twenty pages with their pictures. And then some.
The power of three...The power of three......
There are three gardening moods that one can easily wobble in and out of while wandering around taking photographs with the dogs. They concern beauty, mess, and the balance thereof. It goes like this - multi choice! Pick one.
A Naughty Dogs DayA Naughty Dogs Day...
Yesterday was a Naughty Dogs Day (haven't had one of these for ages). Which put me in a rather rotten mood, followed by a sleepless night worrying about how to build a fence. Cup of tea and two chapters of my detective story at 4am. Grr...
Reconnected!Reconnected!...
I've been a bit cross lately. I've grumped in the journal and glared frostily at the dogs. Really! Living in my wonderful garden with knees and hips that still work OK. I need to reconnect to the grid of human happiness.