The first frost...
We've now had the first frost (of about four degrees) - any daisies or pelargoniums still left in the garden will be history! I've temporarily become a winter weekend gardener - blame the weather!
Thursday 9th June
I've been at work for the last three days. Pleasant mid-winter gardening has such a small time frame (approximately between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm), so even though I've been around at odd times of the day I haven't done anything out there. Oops!
Compassion Flowering in Winter
I've been thinking a lot, though - about new roses - and new trees in particular. I'd like to plant a ceremonial tree where dear old Taj-dog was buried, and I'd like some ornamentals to join the weeping silver pear on the Hazelnut Orchard perimeter. Some Almond trees are arriving soon - where to plant them? Now that I don't work fulltime I appreciate the spring blossom trees much more (I actually have the time to notice them!) - I'd like to get a few more flowering cherries.
John Clare Rose
It is definitely winter now, though, and the garden looks bland and dull. There are some lovely stripes of colour on the New Zealand flaxes, though, and a few random red-berry shrubs. No crab-apples (odd, that - I thought they 'appled' in early winter) - and then in defiance the pink rose John Clare has found a new lease of life and is flowering merrily in the Pond Paddock. Perhaps John Clare the poet liked writing his poetry in mid-winter! My house pergola rose Compassion is also in a compassionate mood - it keeps producing beautiful solo-stemmed flowers.
But these little bursts of colour in the Moosey garden are very subtle. I am waiting patiently to see the big, blousy, loud, summery London Chelsea Flower Show photographs. In the very middle of the shortest days I find summer pictures quite magical - and inspiring! Hint!
Friday 10th June
I'm definitely a paper-booklet rose catalogue person! I've found (naturally) an on-line catalogue from Tasman Bay roses - their list is mildly formidable. Any sane(?) gardener who was remotely technological would have her shopping cart full and her order sent quicker than a pot of tea takes to brew. Not Moosey the On-Line Wimp, who dithered for a few minutes, then lost interest after checking out Alchemist!
Red Cordyline in Pot
Trouble is that I don't know the names of the roses that interest me. I either need a pot-luck special-pack-of-six or three for $20 offer - or a terribly erudite plantswoman's list for the quasi-mediaeval healing garden. Anyway I didn't order Alchemist (you can see I didn't advance into the alphabet very far).
Today again I have to go into work, but just this morning for an hour. Yesterday it was 8 degrees - fine but a bit bleak to lure me outside in the afternoon when I got home from work. My latest book tells me (in degrees Celsius) that a nude person feels cold when the ambient temperature falls below 25 degrees, the critical air temperature for manual dexterity is 12 degrees, and for touch sensitivity is 8 degrees. Ha! There will be no nude gardening at Mooseys this month - or much manual dexterity, for that matter!
Saturday 11th June
I suspect today is a day where touch sensitivity and manual dexterity will both be possible in the Moosey garden. So here I sit, procrastinating, with Stumpy the cat on lap. What should I do first? I need old newspapers to act as half-decent weed-suppressors in the newly dug garden extensions. I need lots of spending money so I can have another go at ordering in some new roses. And trees! I need compost. And well rotted manure. And did I mention money? And I need truckloads of gardening energy, to make up for a pathetic week of nothing.
There are so many 'doing' things which need to be done - so many gardening verbs which need to happen. I need to weed, and sort out the stone edges for the new Hump path (and I can check on the health of the recently planted row of Hebes). I need to keep on mulching in all the gardens. I need to burn the rubbish pile, and then create a new one, and burn it. I need to sweep, and rake, and trim, and cut back.
The House Patio in Winter
I also need to re-pot, and to re-organise, and to re-position. I need to collect kindling wood, firewood and pinecones. I need to axe (literally) one of the recently chopped down flaxes - just one (the others are re-growing with their proper coloured stripes and thus are reprieved). I need to dig out the creeping ground-cover Hypericum which I dislike, and which never bothers to flower for me. This is serious spade-work. And have I mentioned clearing up the native garden right beside the Hen House?
And talking of hens, and poultry, I miss the rural ambience of my crowing rooster. This morning just when the sky was lightening I thought I heard him, a ghostly, faint crowing in the trees outside my window... Even the Moosey House Guest (who used to callously sweep all chooks from their roosting tree with the house broom) claims he misses rooster. Hmm...
Aargh! I am still sitting here, lost in silent chook-reverie, putting off the inevitable. Go Moosey! Go the winter gardening legend! Get out there, and deal to that garden!
Right - I have been 'doing' gardening verbs for three and a half hours. I have actively experienced the following:
- The garden by Crepuscule's pergola is now partially weeded. I've pulled out tussock and ornamental grass seedlings for my on-going nursery programme, and an old dead lavender bush is out and burnt, bringing me to...
- The old rubbish on the pile is burnt, together with five barrowfuls of new gum tree rubbish from the Hen House, which I've been energetically...
- See the above! And to continue the burning theme I have also been...
- I'm slowly replacing all the firewood log path edges with river stones. A warm winter log-burner is their destiny.
I've had a great action day, with the kittens Smoocher and Tiger being brilliant cat-company. The vet is pleased with Smoocher's progress - his next visit is now in three weeks time. By the way, today in the Moosey kitchen the discerning cat has a selection of tins du jour - turkey feast (roasted, that is), beef and heart medley, or flaked tuna. Sliced prime rump steak can get so boring!
Tiger in the Trees
I don't think I'll do any more gardening - a nice walk with puppy will finish the day off nicely.
Sunday 12th June
The first thing to do is a definite, concrete thing (well, not concrete geologically speaking - more like greywacke). I will continue edging the Hump path - out comes more firewood, in go a barrowful of large river stones. The path will look a bit silly with no path edge plantings - the stones are a clean, wintry grey. Ha! The exact colour of this morning's sky! I will then organise suitable plants to spill over and soften the stone edge.
- Willow Tree Garden :
- The Willow Tree garden is named for a large willow stump on the edge of the water.
The second thing to do is a hazy, possible thing. I have a new idea (oops) to start a huge expansion of the Willow Tree garden. This revelation came upon me on my morning walk with puppy through the gardens.
We zoomed past two little sine curved border edges - in the middle of winter all is laid bare, and these two garden areas looked over-fussy, their edge curvature too small.
Spectacular flowers at Chelsea
Listening to the ambient birdsong (the chiming bellbirds are back) I wondered if one large, gradual, sweeping curve would better reflect the expansive nature of the Moosey gardening psyche.
This would mean lots of digging, muddy knees, and a frost-free morning - like now, for example. It is then possible that I could fill the new 'bit' with new roses. Wicked! Hee hee... Right. I'm off outside to listen to the bellbirds, shift stones, and contemplate my new digging site.
Chelsea Flower Show Stories
A note to any reader who despairs of my twittering on and on... If all my sentences were as succinct as that last one my journal could have one page per month. Hee hee... And if I had some 2005 Chelsea Flower Show stories to read, and photographs from London to look at, I wouldn't have time to twitter on...
Now it's lunchtime, and I am back! Cup of hot tea, Stumpy the cat on my lap, two rewards for working hard all morning. A large gum tree branch had fallen in the Hump, so there has been much clearing, chain-sawing, wheeling and stacking of logs, and burning of rubbish. I haven't even had a chance to gaze wistfully at the Willow Tree garden. I got sidetracked with the burning pile, and ended up in a smoky daydream poking and prodding it with the rake. This does not definitively mean I enjoy burning, though...
Proof that someone reads my journal! After my throw-away comment (way, way above) about 25 degrees Celsius being the correct temperature for comfortable nude gardening, several self-confessed erotic gardeners have been in touch. Eek! Stop right there! There is nothing faintly erotic about a tending-to-old lady gardener wearing striped thermal winter underwear in her garden and getting muddy in it. Enough! What is the Moosey journal coming to? Some summer garden photographs from the Chelsea Flower Show would be nice, to regain some moderation, balance, and style...