Christmas week...

The summer weather has suddenly become a disgrace. Just hours away now from the longest day - that's mid-summer, by the way - and we are having hail, cold driving rain, and ghastly freezing winds.

 And from Rusty the dog, and all the cats, and...
Merry Christmas from the Head Gardener

Friday 22nd December - Wishful Thinking

I haven't done any gardening for the last three days. I'd love to be out there, quietly getting things ready for Christmas. Or I could be sitting by the burbling water, reading - or lolling on the sunny grass surrounded by my animals, having a home picnic...

 Well past their best now.
Foxgloves Waving in the Wind

Where's Summer?

I certainly wouldn't be wearing woolly tops and winter socks, and wandering off to feed the hens in my tramping parka. Humph! The wet wind has been blowing a lot of my roses around, too. The foxgloves are horizontal, and the Wedding Day rose is misbehaving on the driveway - it is detached, blown off its supporting tree, and is wafting its vicious arms at passing walkers and cyclists. Dear rose - I've often thought it is badly named, as it doesn't have any of the attributes I associate with weddings - rather the reverse!

I feel as if I've lost touch with my summer garden. Many of the pathways are too wet to walk through, with heavy overhanging branches dripping water. The house lawn is cluttered with gum tree leaves and fallen branches.

The roses which should be blooming beautifully for Christmas day have all been blown to bits. My white Icebergs are soggy, and streaked with pink. Aargh! I suspect my weather jokes about webmaster stuck in gloomy wintry London have backfired!

 How about some sun up there in the sky?
Sunny Yellow Pansies

And imagine if my lovely friends from Europe were here - I would have promised them such a special, summery Christmas, and they'd be shivering inside in front of the wood burner! Part of global warming is global cooling? More weather extremes? Normal distributions (speaking statistically) with larger standard deviations? Ha!

Right. I'm off to feed the chooks, who no doubt will be cowering and sheltering in their house. It must be really boring being a chook in bad weather - it's boring enough being a gardener! Brr...

 There are too many of you!
The Six Moosey Cats Eating

Saturday 23rd December

Right. I have fed the cats - all at once, and I almost had them lined up like a corps de ballet (see the picture above). Now I have my woolly scarf and my warm socks on, and my little heater is puffing hot air into the Moosey Office. What ridiculous weather! I am busy printing (oh so slowly) my Christmas presents out - they are all calendars, self-made, gifts which celebrate the non-commercial side of Christmas gift. It isn't easy - Fluff-Fluff keeps jumping up to say hello and I feel guilty that none of his photographs are featured, whereas B-Puss gets two. Oops!

I have explained to Daughter of Moosey (who is getting one of these productions for her Christmas present) that each month's photograph was actually taken during that month. How many real gardening calendars are this brutally honest? So, for example, in the depths of winter (which today's weather is not unlike) the most colourful thing in my garden is my bright green wheelbarrow, which I proudly display for the mid-winter month (June).

 Taken just a few days ago, when the sun was shining and the weather was nice and summery.
Summer on Duck Lawn

Would I rather be doing some real down-to-earth gardening? Yes! But I feel like doing summer gardening, with my cricket radio crackling away - and all today's cricket is almost certainly cancelled. I'm off now to feed the hens and contemplate some action. Please let's get a little summery spirit into the weather!

Later, Lunchtime...

My friend told me about a weedy plant which chooks love - I suspect it may be called 'Fat Hen'. Usually I weed out thousands of these, so, chook bowl in hand I did a slow glide around the garden. In another of life's little gardening ironies, I found about three. They have already been consumer tested - each offering was grabbed instantly, and the lucky hen then raced away in a frenzy, munching madly. My goodness they must be bored!

Sunday Morning - Christmas Eve

Good early morning to the large hare (aargh!) hopping peacefully over the house lawn. And to all my cats who have been half fed and ushered outside in his general direction. And good morning to me, who late yesterday actually did some gentle gardening in the house gardens. Please note there was no triumphant writing up of the hour and a half I spent. But it felt so good to be a gardener again.

I am in deep trouble - I have lost all my hand diggers and forks. So this morning, in order to get the house gardens ready for Christmas Day, I will have to zoom to the hardware store. They are weedy in an interesting, unusual way - I do wonder if the compost is to blame.

Flower Carpet Roses :
There are, I think, six varieties of Flower Carpet roses now sold in New Zealand. They are oh so popular, particularly for street and traffic island plantings.

The wine barrel in which my biggest Flower Carpet rose (bright pink) lives is falling to bits. The rain has caused much droop in the Compassion roses, already reeling from being pushed around by the house painters. So my massive pruning session has the house overflowing with the flowery results. Christmas flowers! Hee hee.

Today needs a list - otherwise one could easily get overwhelmed and sulk indoors. The plan is just to clean up the house gardens and lawns, front, side and back. Keep it simple sister - here goes.

Christmas Eve List

  1. Pull out all foxgloves.
  2. Dead-head all remaining roses.
  3. Remove dog evidence from lawns.
  4. Quickly weed, and trim all edges.

And finally, at long last, the weather has returned to summer. So a few days ago we were shivering in 8 degrees (Celsius). And today's projected high is twenty. Ha! Almost as hot as Sydney!