The majestic, dignified gardening month...

Ha! Welcome to August, the majestic, dignified gardening month (according to the dictionary). I guess that means the winter gardener is poised and balanced whenever in weeding stance - the queen of the winter rubbish burning pile...

Tuesday 2nd August - The Meaning of Life and Gardening

Hee hee. Yesterday was such a great day - a visiting geographer from London (who is doing a doctorate on gardeners versus plant bio-security) came out to Mooseys for an interview. It was such fun! There were lots of difficult questions, though - and I had several mini-revelations about the meaning of life and gardening, while Stumpy the cat rolled over and purred loudly at the dictaphone. I am still puzzling over some delicate issues - such as the difference between justifying (using externals) and explaining (using internals) why gardeners garden!

 Flowering in the Wattle Woods.
White Hellebore

Yesterday, while taking my London visitor on the zoom-vroom-don't-get-your-feet-too-wet tour, I noticed that my garden is absolutely full of spikes. There are olive green flax spikes. There are shiny mid-green iris confusa spikes. There are layers of spikes - of course the deciduous trees are leaf-bare, so even they offer their spikes to the upper story. There are stiff narrow orange spikes (Libertia) and fat spotty collapsing spikes (a green Phormium Cookianum - don't know about the black spots, suspect younger son might have drawn them on as an act of visual sabotage)...

Enough! Why do gardeners need to weed? Because they just jolly well do! Why do nice gardeners have cat, dog, and occasionally other, indeterminate, live company? Because firstly they are nice people, and secondly they are gardeners! See what a morning spent answering a geographer's questions has done to me!

 Rusty the puppy showing you his wet look - crimped hair on ears, a darker shade of orange!
Wet Puppy

Most Valuable Cat Competition

And speaking of cats, dogs and others - I have just seen the new Moosey page, where my Most Valuable Cat Competition is renamed and has suddenly lurched into the global domain. Aargh! Now everyone will be able to vote for their favourite animal. Trying to be delicate, I see that pets can gain rather a lot of posthumous points, but obviously they can only gain this once. I don't want to pre-empt any mass voting, but Mugsy is looking rather frail, and is off to the vet later this week.

Don't Vote for the Rooster!

And who will vote for the poultry? I certainly won't, nor will any loyal Moosey reader! Rooster behaved shamefully, wandering off one day without a backward glance, after being lovingly fed for a year - no regrets, time to move on - great while it lasted...

Right. I saw many weedy areas while touring the garden yesterday - some I haven't visited in weeks. Hurray for the pink Azalea which is flowering in the Island Bed, also seen yesterday. I am off outside now to tackle the Wattle Woods - underneath those beautiful bright yellow Wattle tree flowers.

Much Later...

If one only does an hour of gardening, but that hour is busy, energetic and most productive, and the whole of the Wattle Woods lower path is cleared, and the surrounding gardens are weeded, then it's worth mentioning - isn't it?

I thought so.

Wednesday 3rd August

I've had a brilliant August so far - I seem to be in a positively August mood. And I've been seriously thinking (dangerous). Some types of weeding are much easier than one thinks. It all depends on the flexibility of the gardener's body, little things like not having a sore back, and laundry details - willingness to kneel and sit down in dirt, for example.

Most Valuable Pet :
My silly competition allows readers to vote for their favourite Moosey pet. I'm allowed to give bonus points.

So this morning, as soon as I've had a second cup of tea, I will return to the Wattle Woods to finish this easy weeding. At the moment it's a bit frosty, and Murray Perahia (my hero) is rattling away on the stereo playing Bach keyboard concertos - I love the way he plays piano-Bach.

It's the perfect time for inspired pre-gardening writing, communing with the cats (hello Stumpy, sitting on my lap), and ignoring the puppy (he is outdoors with a meaty bone for company).

Still Rose-Less...

So far there is no sign of my mail-ordered climbing roses. Since the visa-ed furniture items of the new Moosey office are still to be paid for, this is probably a good thing. You see, I didn't actually check the price - I just ordered twenty roses. Oops. And hurray for the Moosey office, winter warm, hosting a relaxing 2000 piece jigsaw of a summery English cottage garden. Right. It's time for action. I will do a quick check of all things beautiful and flowery (pink Camellias, pink Azalea, assorted Hellebores) then it's Wattle Woods Weeding Time.

 A very, very light pastel pink.
The First Moosey Spring Camellia


I have taken a leisurely approach, and interestingly enough much good quality weeding has been done. I've also dug out some native grasses, in the process finding roses to prune (poor things, crowded out by the grass colony). I've re-trained a rambling rose back up the plum tree, and trimmed some autumn flowering Hebes. This front part of the Wattle Woods has needed rationalising for years, and the Mountain grasses are very obliging. They shimmer beautifully in the sun. They provide many offspring which are easy to hand-pull out. And when a big grass is past its best it only needs a few stomps on my half blunt spade to loosen the roots and get it out. To sum up a most successful morning, all the rubbish I created is now burning. See - I can finish small garden things!

 Pathetic, I know, but this is almost as colourful as it gets!
Colour! Yippee! Garden Pots in the Dog Kennel Garden

Friday 5th August

Oops. Yesterday was a garden-free day (that makes two this week - this could be the start of a sad trend). The boot of my car has been full of bags of horse-poos for the last three days - I have just removed the offending fragrance. Work is over for the week, and I am ready in my new sage green gardening shirt for some action - I should blend in well with the prevailing garden colour. I saw a trolleyful of Dublin Bay roses at the supermarket for three dollars each on my way home - hmm.

Wanted! Garden Colour!

Today's garden plan is to spread manure on the Wattle Woods, then do a little weeding somewhere else. Sounds pretty vague, I know - but I'm sure I'll find the appropriate sunny place. Will any of my other Camellias be flowering yet? How I long for some dark, strong, colourful action. Go, my random collection of nameless Camellias! Do some amazing flowering for me!

Rooster News...

I think I am going to be getting a replacement rooster, with attached hen. One of my gardening friends has made an offer which I can't refuse! Except I will be properly organised this time and have an outdoor run which is puppy-proof. My previous rooster experience is tinged with guilt - you see, when puppy was new (a small, ridiculously fluffy fur-ball with the shortest, stubbiest legs) I used to laugh at him chasing the Moosey rooster and hens off the house lawn. Hmm.. As far as any Most Valuable Pet Competitions are concerned, I wonder if points from the old version of the Moosey rooster could just be carried over, so to speak?

I am getting way, way ahead of myself! Let's get that rooster run built first! And a stile erected over the fence by the water tank, and thirteen climbing rose archways installed in the Hazelnut Orchard. Hmm... I wonder if non-gardening partner Stephen reads this journal?

Much Later...

I've been weeding by the glass-house - this is where my unwanted lilac phlox used to live (please note the past tense). Ive pruned the Abraham Darby, white Iceberg and Dublin Bay roses, and lunged into the Miscanthus Zebrinus with secateurs in hand. I was a little alarmed by the length of time since I last weeded this garden by the glass-house. I am not very logical in my gardening sequence.

I've also done some plant maintenance inside the glass-house - the dark red-black frost-damaged Aeonium will now hopefully survive, with several shorter stalks repotted. All the pots of plants desperately needed water, and several of the Helichrysum Petiolare and Daisy plants had died. It must almost be time to sow seeds - I would like lots of well-organised pansies, for the gaps in the new Willow Tree Garden extension.