Verdant, lush, green...

The rosy month of November continues colourful and flowery. Everything is looking great - except the lawns. Why do I have such scruffy lawns? Here are some inspiring lawn adjectives - verdant, lush, green...

Tuesday 22nd November

Pet lamb success - this morning I sneaked away after feeding Fred the pet lamb, and after a few wavering bleats he has settled down to munch some grass tips in his paddock. Ha! A free-range pet lamb! The sheep trio specially selected to keep Fred paddock-company are, shall we say, not having much of an impact yet. That's sheep for you! George the ex-pet lamb is naturally nosy, but has a very short attention span. I am keeping eye open and ear out.

 The summer view to the glass-house, with the blue perennial lupins looking beautiful.
Summer Wheelbarrow

Yesterday my wind gardening was a great success - in a matter of an hour I'd weeded behind the Jelly Bean Border. Easily! No sore hands! Weeding is easy!

Today is rather nippy for November but the sun is shining. What should I do first today? I have the whole morning. Nice. Of course there's the nine o'clock bicycle ride with Rusty. I am getting so much better at this bicycling thing - it's never too late to teach old gardeners new tricks! I know - I will weed the back of the Willow tree garden first. It's sunny over there, and I can check the progress of the new roses. There's a lot of free space for new plants, too - hmm...


This garden area was easy to weed, too! Perhaps, finally, my efforts over the last months to be a responsible, consistent garden-weeder are paying off! And there are gaps which should be filled by - what? Foliage plants come to mind, and they'd need to be happy in winter frost. Hostas, which die down naturally over winter would be brilliant. An excuse to buy new hostas! Eeek!

There is now some pretty passive sheep relating going on in the top Pond Paddock. Fred the lamb (such a good looking lamb) seems happy and settled, and is starting to follow George the wether around. Sheep may safely graze - I can hear the suitably pastoral oboe melodies wafting through the gum trees...

Monday 23rd November

The garden looks beautiful. And why is this? Because the harsh summer sunlight is hidden above high cloud? Because it's seven in the morning and everything looks good at this time of day anyway? The white roses are all flowering now - they are the latest to join the rose wave. Scruffy lawns don't look so bad on overcast days. Fred the bouncing lamb and I have gone for our early morning front paddock walk. My friend at work yesterday pointed out the obvious - Mary had a little lamb, and Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

 One of the white Sparieshoop roses growing by the pond arch.
White Rose of Summer

Hopefully a little better than my Mary roses, struggling on their own roots in the front garden! Should I feed them copious quantities of blood and bone? Or are they fated to be spindly in stature, with pale green leaves and skinny stems? My namesake roses should be robust and in blooming health, with strong, fat stems - like the head gardener?

 Named after a throat lozenge!
Fishermans Friend Rose

Deep Red Rose

And one more random rose point - in the new Birthday Rose Garden the two David Austin reds called Fisherman's Friend are really lovely. What an odd name for a deep red rose - I don't associate this colour with fishermen.

Today there may not be much gardening. I have a morning social engagement in the slow lane (swimming with my seaside gardening friend), plus a short afternoon at work. Oh well. Since I have lately discovered how quick and easy weeding is this shouldn't matter. Should it? Half an hour after dinner with my new hand digger should do the trick...

Tuesday 24th November

Puppy and I have just returned from our morning bicycle ride - brr! It's quite chilly! Hello, summer! Why am I wearing my baby-blue merino thermal top and my cosy warm country vest? Could it be too cold to do any gardening today? Hee, hee...

Sheep and Lamb Report

Fred (the fat) lamb is now going really well! He follows his three companion sheep around the front paddock, doing what they do. Remind me never to try writing about a day in the life of a sheep. We sit down, then we stand up, then we eat some more grass, then we sit down... Fred is such a pretty lamb, too. Romneys are nicer looking that merinos, not that sheep care much for good looks. Rusty the puppy and Fred get on well. Nice.

Right. I intend to warm up my cold fingers before I even think about venturing outside to garden. I could just walk around looking at colours and picking flowers. The latest excitement - three late rhododendrons (a pale pink, a deep, deep pink and a soft, gorgeous lemon yellow) are suddenly flowering in the Driveway Garden. Each morning puppy and I zoom past them on the bicycle, ducking underneath the fluffy, fragrant Cecile Brunner rose which grows on the opposite side.

 Golden Celebration, underneath the deep wine coloured leaves of the Copper Beech tree.
Yellow Roses of Summer

Rose Worries

Each morning I stare out the upstairs windows at the woodshed rambler, and the beauties on the pergola. I keep expecting all my roses to disappear - not through lack of gardening confidence, but as a result of the passing of time unnoticed. As yet, they haven't! It's the same with the big bearded irises - some years I notice them once, then go back after a few days to find the flowers have turned to mush. I may not have haven't taken many iris photographs this month, but I am checking them every day! It's a lucky time for rose and iris lovers.

Wednesday 25th November

Four weeks to Christmas. How quickly summertime flies past! Fred the lamb had his first night 'out' sleeping with the big sheep - it went well. He now follows them all the time, and races back to the fence for his bottle, with George the wether as escort. Lamb independence! He is on his journey to becoming one of the flock.

 Fred is fun to look after.
Fred the Pet Lamb

Yesterday I was so lazy. I looked at the garden. I walked in the garden. Nothing more. Today I have plans bursting with energy and purpose. I will finish trimming and weeding the Dog-Path and the Willow Tree gardens. Goodbye, brave forget-me-nots. Hello, roses and foxgloves. I will give the carexes a summer trim, too, and may even dead-head a few spent roses. The first dead-heading day is one of the true marks of summer.

Then (oh great excitement) I have my cocktail party to get ready for. I have to provide the strawberries and cream. I will be transformed from a grub with dirty fingernails to a beautiful butterfly in shimmering midnight blue and frilly black. How long should this take? How much soaking will be required? Hmm...

Mid-Day - Animals in Disgrace

Tiger the little cat is in cat disgrace. She has been catching skinks (tiny lizards) and mice, which I have had to turn a blind eye to. But this morning she came in with a beautiful young speckled thrush. The Moosey Avian Rescue Service sprung into action. Success in the short term, with the startled bird released. Please, Tiger, stick to rodents!

 Looking rather dazed - but alive to fly another day!
Rescued Thrush

Puppy is in deep dog disgrace. On our bicycle rise he picked up a tasty piece of fresh, dripping road-kill and would not put it down. I executed a wobbly dismount and attempted to instruct him sternly. There were crunching sounds. Aargh!

A Green Border Collie?

But it gets worse. We have been gardening, clearing out the forget-me-nots from the gardens over the water race. With an eye for colour co-ordination, puppy has managed to find something deep green to roll in - his neck and cheeks are streaked and smelly. He has also rolled in the weed pile and has a thousand little sticky green forget-me-not seeds firmly attached to his fur. He has a green mane and a green spotted body - and he stinks!

Thank you to Fred the pet-lamb, grazing with George and the two ewes in the front paddock, for being so well behaved and so very uncomplicated. Some bonus MVP points will be awarded to the sheep for not causing any trouble today.