It's fun having a deadline...

Each day I titivate another messy area, weed another border, shift something, plant something else, uncover a precious plant, rip out a poor doer - all to get the garden ready for the visiting group of choral ladies. It is such fun having a deadline, for once!

 No snails, no hailstorms...
A Favourite Hosta

Sunday 18th November

Today I am going to work hard all day in the garden. I will not get grumpy or tired, or 'peter out' spectacularly before afternoon tea. I will not then lie on the couch complaining about my sore feet and the New Zealand cricket team. Somehow I will find the inner strength (and energy bars) to do all of the following, on this uber-list which is actually a set of whole paragraphs...

One - Shift the Rhododendrons

Two of my rhododendrons cannot look sulkier than they do at the moment, in their inappropriate, oven-baking garden positions. A large scoop with the shovel, a quick trip in the wheelbarrow, then into the dappled shade of the Driveway Garden with a bit of magic sneaky watering.

 Happy in the dappled shade.
Flesh-Coloured Rhododendron

I notice that one of last autumn's rhododendron purchases has the label 'Bumble Bee'. It is hopelessly pale lilac - nothing like the colour I expected!

Two - the New Path

The new path has already been rigorously tested by the fussiest of Moosey consumers, the cats. I must remember to remind NGP (Non-Gardening-Partner) that he is a living legend for buying the stone slabs. Then I must dig out the grass and ask his help in laying the slabs flat.

Three - More Pots

I need big ones, with flaxes and cheap natives in them, to place at discrete corners of garden borders, so they look like punctuation marks, places to pause and reflect before turning and looking away in a different direction. Blimey! I'm sure that could be put in a more concise, poetic way.

And these things are only the beginning. This coming week I am going to be very busy - a friend and I are off for three days to a rose festival in Timaru, my choir has its Christmas sing-out which I need to practice for, and of course the ladies are then visiting the Moosey Garden. Confidently I have told everyone I have enough house chairs, garden seats, forks, plates and cups for - eek! Possibly fifty visitors! Foolish woman! The old heirloom dog couch from the Stables might have to come out.

Right! Let my big day out commence. I have an easily distracted NGP to organise.

Much Later...

What a grand day! I did everything on my uber-list, although my pots for punctuation haven't been properly placed as yet. I'm not sure whether they're destined to be commas or semi-colons...

 Cat-tested by Fluff-Fluff.
The Route of the New Path

And now I am about to have a gourmet pizza, cooked by my new son-in-law. The Australian cricket is on TV to enjoy, and there's even a cold beer in the fridge. Wow! The new path is expertly laid, and NGP has been extremely helpful all day. And tonight the big irrigation is going on for the gardens over the water race. Duck Lawn will turn green again!

Monday 19th November

Today - swimming, shopping, singing practice, library book changing - time for a mini-list, perhaps some gentle reminders about the garden.

'Uber-lists have uber-impact, gardenwise.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Yesterday was so - connected? Some garden list uber-revelations follow: Firstly, uber-lists have uber-impact, gardenwise. And the gardener feels ridiculously uber-good when all items on an uber-list are completed! A win-win gardening situation.

Trap Neuter Return for Cats is Back

It's the stray cats catching season - tomorrow sees the first vet trip with a female to be spayed. But the colony my friend Judith runs is full of sterile, safe, well-fed, beautifully healthy felines. And to think that I took in the last (hopefully) of that colony's kittens!

The Foster Kittens :
The foster kittens that I couldn't give away, Percy, Histeria and Lilli-Puss, are three lucky cats, something I tell them over and over again.

They are outgoing, and completely settled into their country lifestyle. They love accompanying me to feed the hens, and going for walks in the Hazelnut Orchard. Histeria and Lilli-Puss have sleeping spots in the Dog-Path Garden under the big cordyline. Percy has become a real country cat-gentleman - ornamental outdoors, a true gardening cat by day, then friendly and purry on laps in the evening.

Later, Pondering...

OK - I'm pondering! My pond doesn't look anything like the ponds in my glossy gardening book. OK, it's a country pond, used for irrigation, but the soon-to-be-visiting group of ladies will be very disappointed with the lack of edge planting. This simply will not do. Perhaps I could quickly insert a tribe of sturdy natives?

Tuesday 20th November

The water race flow has been 'switched off' - the perfect morning for me to clean the banks, do any repairs, and drag out any rubbish. On my way to feed the hens I spied two lost hand diggers lying on the stony bottom. Yippee!

Vacuuming Versus Gardening

So what have I been doing all morning? Defiantly vacuuming inside the lounge rooms, in readiness for the garden visitors. This while my garden lies weedy, paths cluttered with hoses, irises flopping over, roses sulking, a rubbish heap to burn, seedlings to organise. And a rather-too-fragrant hen house - country ambience at its worst!

 A beautiful late spring foliage plant.

The lady visitors are planning to eat their pot-luck dinner at six thirty. I had made plans for male family involvement. But Son of Moosey is currently refusing to provide the subtle dinner jazz-guitar music I'd planned. Son-in-law, who I'd imagined might entertain the ladies with tales of Arctic and Antarctic heroics, thinks he may 'be going out' that evening. Blast! NGP will be directed to take any bored men-partners on a tour of his Hazelnut Orchard and the Pump House, where they can talk about manly country things.

Performing Animals

So in-house entertainment for the garden party rests with the Moosey house animals. I can see them now - Rusty the dog smooching anyone holding a bread product, Mugsy the disabled cat climbing slowly onto someone's lap, then forgetting halfway through the manoeuvre what she's trying to achieve. Opportunist cats will be trawling the kitchen benches for food, and Tiger the will climb underneath the couch cover, look like a plump cushion, and get sat on. Meanwhile Stumpy will pee on someone's coat in the spare bedroom... Aargh!

Enough! It's a beautifully sunny day outside, with a gentle cooling breeze. My two bellbirds are singing to each other from high in the gum trees. I'll go get my sun-hat and start cleaning out the water race.

Much Later...

Brilliant timing! With the water barely trickling at ankle-height, I weeded both banks, and laid more stones to make yet another tiny dog-path. Rusty helped. It was late when I finished, I splashed my red hot face, and then noticed the water slowly rising.

Tomorrow two tree men are coming. Eek! Will I like them? It probably won't matter. There will be much chain-sawing and crashing as the pines and the gums come down. This is an exciting moment, as anyone who has had huge annoying country trees removed knows.