It's serious being Head Gardener...

Having floated around my garden for the last few days in a holiday mood, it's time to return to my serious post of Head Gardener. I can listen to the summer cricket (the game, not the insect!) while I weed and trim.

 A cheery cherry rose!
Orchard Rambler

Friday 28th December

On behalf of the Moosey Garden I'd like to welcome back the Head Gardener after her short festive holiday. Today needs a serious list.

Serious List

Weed the Archway Roses.
Knee-high weeds are not a good look in a rambling rose avenue. Nor is knee high grass between the hazelnut tree rows - suggest that the mower is needed.
Clear House Lawn Firewood.
NGP (Non-Gardening Partner) keeps stacking a wall of split pine logs, the cats keep climbing up and over it, and the wood spills all over the lawn.
Clear around House Patio.
Dead-head, sweep, water pot plants, weed borders, trim edges.


It's halfway through the day and I'm halfway through my list. The cricket is going well on my crackling silver radio, and it feels like a gentle stay-at-home summer holiday day. NGP is behaving - he has mowed the Orchard paddock grass without being asked. Nice.

 The label says Star of Holland...
Orchard Roses

End of the Day...

I'm three quarters of the way through! All the Iceberg house roses are dead-headed, and for once, cross fingers, my bright red Dublin Bay is reasonably healthy. We are winning the cricket, too, which always puts a New Zealand sports-fan/gardener in a good mood.

Saturday 29th December

Something rather exciting might be starting to happen! A large drum has arrived, and NGP, my resident engineer, is wandering around with a tape measure. Something to do with having found a piece of pipe at the local junk-yard which might be big enough for - wait for it - the Waterwheel! Yippee!

I Promise...

I promise to weed every day and never ever grump again about being tired, if I can have my own waterwheel gurgling - creaking? - turning in the water race, filling my own little wriggling stream with cool, sloshy water. And I promise to take a cup of tea into the Wattle Woods every day to sit and watch the water... Now there's one rather emphatic (if premature) New Years' Resolution!

Garden Thoughts...

I've been thinking - a gardener with a large garden and lots of cats should never get remotely bored. Each day there's a different garden area to work in, and different cats to talk to. Different sun and shade, different weeds..

We are still waiting for our family Christmas celebration - only two days to go. Of course it gives me more time to get the garden ready! Today I'll clear the firewood and do some preliminary raking up in the Hump garden. I have plans for its expansion - an easy care shrubbery, cleanly mulched with newspaper and shredded pine. It is, after all, a part of the garden visible from the main house rooms.

 In the orchard with Rusty the nearly-naked dog.
Non Gardening Partner - A Legend

NGP has picked me up some bags of horse manure - again without being asked. He is a legend - I wonder if I could get him to chain-saw behind the pond, later today, before it gets too hot? Might be pushing my luck...

Five Hours Later...

Ha! I have my brand new garden organised, planted, watered and mulched. I have worked so hard! This new little area became available as a result of one super-sized pine tree crashing down in a storm, breaking through a fence, several pittosporums, and a huge Photinia. The tree fellers finished off the tree, and I cleared up all the debris.

There's now a supersized stump at the rear, lots of light plus manure and organic matter on the garden, which curves out around the Photinia stump. I've planted periwinkle in the interior, and left the two fence posts in place - perfect features for a bully Clematis Montana or a tough rose to cover. The nicest thing is that this garden bed looks shapely and well-defined from the upstairs balcony. So far it's been shrubbed with two pink flowering Escallonias, a Coprosma and a huge green astelia-like grass. There's more to come.

 My purry ginger short-haired cat.
Percy on a Post

Cat Company

Today Histeria has been my best gardening cat, with cameo performances from Fluff-Fluff, Percy the ginger, and Rusty the dog. And Rusty's fur is finally growing after his visit to the professional dog groomer - he almost looks like a border collie again. At least he isn't porky and pink anymore!

Yippee! Daughter of Moosey is somewhere in Singapore airport waiting to get on her plane to New Zealand. No doubt she's planning the menu for our gourmet Christmas feast. Do gourmet Christmas cooks suffer from jetlag? Hee hee...

Sunday 30th December

Good morning to Percy my purring, smooching, ginger cat, half-brother of Smoocher the original. He is balancing languidly on half my knees as I write. Blame all spelling mistakes on him!

Today I'm hoping that the pile of wood stacked behind the big gum tree will be chain-sawn. I've found several more plants for the new pine-stump garden - native evergreens which have so far had potted lives, including another Coprosma, and a large bronze flax in a pot from the Moosey Nursery.

'Leave them in and make them useful!'
-Concerning Unwanted Garden Objects.

I am feeling very wise and thoughtful this morning, and wish to give some gardening advice concerning heavy, unwanted garden objects - like huge tree stumps, and fence posts impossible to humanly dig out. Leave them in and make them useful! Donate the cost of stump and post removal to a charity, to feel even more virtuous.

So the huge tree stump can be covered with a happy climber or turned into a sculptural seat, the old fence posts joined with chains or wood and used to support plant life (roses spring to mind). Think of those large remaining lumps as heirloom garden treasures. Did you really want a level grassy lawn in there anyway? Hee hee.

 Only an Iris can do this colour so well.
Indigo Iris

Irises for Christmas

My gardening friend has given me irises for Christmas - specifically two bags of pieces, one a midnight blue-black, the other maroon and gold. What a brilliant present! I want to rationalise, shift, and generally organise my irises - most had such a good blooming spring, but several clumps were in too much shade, and other clumps need dividing. I'm thinking hot and dry, and wondering whether they should all go in one garden, un-mulched, to star or flop together.

So what shall I do first today?

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

I have had a brilliant morning. My irises are trimmed into proper pieces and laid out ready to plant. All the house gardens now have neatly trimmed edges, and I've had a big lilac phlox pull-out - I do this every summer. An emergency mid-session as I heard my rooster making ghastly noises - alarm, desperate danger... I never know what's up - a rogue dog? A hungry hawk? So I dropped tools and ran. Hmm... Rooster was alone chook-wise, though the chicken run was busy with little birds, and the hen house rabbit was dozing in the sun. Rooster's water bowl was empty. Right.

I am going to rest now, and wait until it's cooler, when I will encourage NGP to continue his garden duties. What a chap! The waterwheel has been given pride of place in the car garage, and there is soon to be some welding. Yippee!