Edges, weeding, roses...
Edges, weeding, roses... and the long summer holiday days. There are no school timetables, few responsibilities apart from watering things wisely.
Saturday 21st December
It happened again! I honestly couldn't seem to find any gardening to do except try to finish the water race bank (which worries me because of the wee bumble bees). Then I sloshed up and down in the actual water pulling out flat stones which could possibly be used for the dog-path. Then the cricket started for the day, and I did nothing else except pick roses for the house.
Now in the cool light of the early next morning I remember that the Hump is definitely an area which needs attention. It is also fairly shaded - why didn't I think of it yesterday? As soon as the sun emerges properly I will take my wheelbarrow, tools, and cricket radio in there. At least there will be some weeding and path raking to do. I know from peeping in that the rhododendrons which were dragged from my friend's garden seem to be flourishing, ditto the hostas. I remind myself that this is the magical area which I spent ages working in last winter. It won't stay magical without some maintenance done. Guess that with the sunshine I've been drawn to the gardens near the water. But this shady area will be the perfect summer gardening spot.
One small thing before I stop writing - today I might purchase some big leafed rhododendrons (Montroseanum) for myself for a Christmas present. I will get Stephen to help with the bumble bees, and then to plant the new plants. In my mind's eye they are already installed - their beautiful glossy green leaves stretching over the rippling water. I must resist the temptation to plant anything else in here.
I spent about three hours clearing burnable mess out of the Hump, making the secret paths clear to be trodden. Strangely dusty, dirty and uninspiring work. Now that the purple honesty plants are going to seed this place is less than magical. Anyway, I filled the car trailer with the mess and then spent a hot half hour burning it. We are sure to be on a fire ban soon - usually they are in place by Xmas. Perhaps I should clear and burn the messes behind the Pump House tomorrow.
Sunday 22nd December
No way! Today I am going to start by doing all the edges that I can find, since all the lawns were beautifully mowed late yesterday. And then I will retire to the moist end of the Hump (well, I hope that the soil in there is not dry, because this is one of my trial rhododendron places). I wish to do inspiring gardening today, and listen to the cricket (which has got very scary - in other words, NZ has an even chance of winning).
We won! I couldn't listen to the last 15 minutes - it was far too scary. As far as the garden goes, I did quite a few edges and quite a bit of subtle weeding (where I get a barrowful of weeds, and the border looks just as messy as when I started). I checked out the position of the sun regarding the possible purchase of large leafed rhododendrons - the spot I have in mind for them seems not so ideal - it will get too much midday sun.
The garden looks very beautiful, with flowers and roses putting on a grand show, lawns freshly mowed and still quite green. All the flaxes have recovered from their flattening by the winter snow and are equally beautiful. In a way the borders look stronger and more interesting now that the foxgloves have been pulled out.
Clumps of daylilies are starting to feature well, and soon I'll rip out the large swathes of blue pansies and chop them up for mulch - they are well past their best. Finally the laundry lavender bushes which I chopped to the ground have re-sprouted, and are looking good. I should have more faith in my 'prune when you remember' system. I am a gardening legend again.
Monday 23rd December
A complete failure of a gardening day. It was too hot, too blustery with the norwest wind, and I was feeling completely lazy. I read books all day, then wandered guiltily outside to dead-head and water at tea time. I semi-cleared around the Frisbee Border, pulling the remaining old foxgloves out. Most unsatisfying.
Tuesday 24th December
Nearly Christmas! Today it's again supposed to be hot (26 degrees) and already I begin to doubt my gardening stamina. There are things I need to do - for example the small hoses need to run all day. I am going to purchase a Xmas rhododendron (just one, since they are a little expensive) and plant it. I will also try to replace my tomato plants which are struggling after November frost and December lack of water.
I realised last night that I am not running my usual summer holiday cat competition. With only three cats in the house this year, and an old deaf dog who doesn't join in much any more, perhaps the Most Valuable Cat Competition should have a year off. There is little interest from the felines, who all have standardised their house and garden habits, and rarely do anything out of character. I could get the family to vote each day, but this could become quite tedious...
Wednesday 25th December
Merry Christmas from Moosey, and the hot, dry, blustering, annoying norwest wind. Stephen is attempting to locate a problem in the house garden irrigation - the sprinklers keep going on (I rush out like a child to watch the water) and then off (I retreat back into the house). I have some rhododendrons to plant (my friend at the nursery gave me some cheap Whitney's Orange ones), and other things to water like decking pots. I can't find my yellow (gardening) cap, and the wind and heat outside offer little incentive to find it.
The family is quite spread out this Christmas - London, Hanover, Broome... hmm... It's too hot in the house. I might go and sit in the water race.
Friday 27th December
I've spent most of yesterday and today gardening in the heat and the wind and moving hoses. Today the weather has been hot and windless - an absolutely amazing day. The garden looks great, with a little help from the hoses. I've been enjoying very much sitting in the garden reading. At dusk I go around with the two grey cats (very slowly, but they like this catwalk ritual) and have a final look at everything. The gardens over the water race are really beautiful - a mixture of colour and texture from flowers and foliage. One of the smaller dog-paths is reclaimed, thanks to some shifting of stone edges and trimming of grasses. Much more satisfying.
Saturday 28th December
My goodness my diary lacks words this year! Usually I have far too much to say. Today I plan to be better organised in the garden. It is fun to float around with hoses and cold drinks, but I need to plant the rhododendrons by the Willow tree. There is a small amount of digging on the bank left to do, and possibilities of a nursery visit as a reward for good behaviour.
I've decided that gardening is really easy as long as one is not in a rush. That's why I could never garden for money. And the results of a small amount of work can be heartwarming. But water is the key - for example, the garden in the Hump is starting to suffer, and I am starting to take bucketfuls of water in by hand - hmmmm - and the Hump quickly loses its magical atmosphere. Everything I like to grow and to look at needs water. There are some wonderful toughies though that I've planted and been able to forget about, like the hebes and pittosporums under the hen house gums.
The garden for reject roses by the Plank is filling out nicely. I think that these roses can stay for a while - they are healthy in the sunshine with space to breathe. My favourite rose in here is Old Port (though it has no fragrance, which is such a pity for a rose of this colour). There is a beautiful white rose which looks like a David Austin but is sturdy and sensible and has fat strong flowers. Don't know what it is.
Well, I am going to try and work hard throughout today. Hopefully I can return with tales of new gardens finished, rhododendrons planted, mulch and water applied. A bit of cat company would be nice - might load my pockets with some little incentives.
Monday 30th December
I can't remember a Xmas where I've felt so much that I've been on holiday. I'm gardening a lot, then choosing a seat under some tree and reading, then listening to the cricket. I walk around each evening with Jerome just starting into borders and appreciating things. My garden has no closed in sections - some may think this a design fault, as there are no secrets, but it suits me. I am a faraway gazer by nature, and don't like to be hemmed into garden rooms or have my view directed along some straight line.
Yesterday I did more clearing by the Willow, but I don't want to disturb the native bees as they fly in and out of the last piece of mess and grass by the water. I watch them coming and going - saw one really fat bee who could hardly fit, wriggling through the small hole in the dirt. Stephen is sure they are native bees, and they don't build honeycombs.
The new rhododendrons are planted, and there is definitely space for a few more. One disappointing feature of the gardens over the race is the dog-path, and today might be a good day for levelling it, relaying the small stone wall and laying flat stones in the path itself. A path near water needs to be level - otherwise it is not enjoyable to walk on - another basic mooseypath fact which has only recently been discovered. Hopeless!
Garden Seats and Benches...
Since I have been reading a lot outside I have been thinking about my garden seats. I would like a secret clearing with a table and seats permanently in position, but would I forget it was there? Probably. The seats near water are nice. There are definitely winter seats and summer seats in this garden, too. My favourite seat at the moment is a cheap solo green plastic one chained to a post under the Willow (so it doesn't blow into the water race and float away). Odd.
Are seats supposed to look good from a distance before you sit on them, or is the view from them the important thing? I guess it is a bit of both. With these startling revelations in mind I will go and shift one of the park benches - I'll get Stephen to wheel it round until I see the perfect summer spot.