Looking Back...

 And two guardian garden gnomes...

Yeay, 2016! I finished you off with a prolonged grunt and an expansive flourish. Just so! Weeding for six hours! With a short break for late lunch on the pale green Adirondack seats. Weeding, weeding, weeding... My last day of 2016 was spent working in the semi-wilderness area behind the Shrubbery. I cleared periwinkle off the paths, pulled out fistfuls of Cleavers and large flowery dandelion-lookalikes.

I removed mounds of old forget-me-nots, getting biddi-bids in my hair, on my clothes, and down Winnie the dogs's white chest (I'd been throwing her tennis ball). And I had cat company, too - young Minimus, my chunky little grey cottage cat, who rarely wanders this far from the cottage. Such an honour, Minimus!

Summer shade...

It's a lovely, summer-shady area behind the Shrubbery - a jumble of different leaf textures, and not too many non-green colours (apart from the yellow dandelion flowers, oops). There's Agapanthus, Genista, a variety of Pittospotums, fat-leaf Cordylines, Ake Ake, and Corokias, Olearias - all sorts of evergreen shrubs and/or trees. And lovely little paths which are now clear to wander along without being tripped up by the sweet, innocent little periwinkle. Hmm...


Looking back over the gardening year, I feel pretty proud of my efforts. Many of the gardens have been improved - plantings modified, new shrubs planted, overgrown trees removed, and so on. Many of the paths have been mulched, and I've rebuilt a lot of the little stone walls near the water. And in the middle of winter I did a major clean up along the water race edges, comfortably dressed in neoprane waders. My best buy of the year!

A lean year for gnomes

It has, however, been a lean year for garden gnomes. There simply aren't any vintage chaps out there needing new homes. Still, I do have about seventy of them, and all could do with freshly painted clothes and faces. Oops.

 Cats, dogs, flowers, garden things...
Images from 2016

The dogs have had a grand year. We've been regulars at the dog park, and I must have thrown Winnie's tennis ball a million times. In the early months big brown Escher lived here, transforming himself into a responsible country gardening dog. Two lovely black Labradors, Bear and Rosie, stayed for a couple of weeks in October. Their mother gave me a huge gardening voucher as a thank you, and I haven't even spent it yet! Oooh, goodie. My first gardening treat for 2017!

 Cats, dogs, roses...
More Images from 2016

The cat family had a major setback when big Fluff-Fluff became suddenly very ill and had to leave us. Looking after Histeria the tabby has been a struggle - her appetite has been inconsistent, and she's awfully skinny. But she's still a happy, friendly cat (the vet couldn't find anything wrong), so on we go! Leaving my gardening hats in the kitchen has been interesting. Tiger the senior cat has found them irresistible. Apparently they are cosy, warm things to piddle on. Hmm. She's just a rude old lady! The two young cats Buster and Tiddles think they're dogs. They always tag along on our dog walks around the garden.

The best ever year for the roses

2016 has been the best ever year for the roses. And I don't say this every year, honestly! Spring (back in September) was rainier than usual, so the soil stayed moist. I didn't even spray, apart from some puffings with the so-called fungus gun. I've discovered roses blooming which I've never seen before - terribly exciting! The big ramblers have been wonderful - except the yellow Banksia (not a rambler, I know) which brought its host plum tree crashing down and has been chopped to ground level. It will live to fight another day, but hopefully not to wreck anything else.


Now that's quite enough looking backwards. The new year, 2017, beckons. How about some New Year's weeding?