A brand new gardening year!

 Hypericum with red flax.
Summer Shrubs

Happy New Year for 2008. Wow! A brand new gardening year - and the traditional time for some serious New Year's Resolutions. Here goes.

Tuesday 1st January

Most years I have done my resolutions thoughtlessly. I've always been a somewhat flippant goal-setter anyway - even scribbling them down retrospectively. It's hard to change the habits of a lifetime.

So fiddly details like staking the dahlias will not feature this year - but hey! I did stake the peonies! And tedious, responsible resolutions which promise an hour's dedicated weeding every day are out, too. Weeding is to a garden what breathing is to its gardener - absolutely necessary for good health and life, and totally automatic. Not worthy of taking up good resolution space.

Personal resolutions have no place in this journal, either - for example I won't promise to brush my hair every morning and not use the dog's brush... And - Shock! Horror! There's a train of thought in the enlarged Moosey household that lists are in fact goals, and therefore I set goals every week, all the year long. Aargh! In order to have a goal-free year do I promise to stop writing lists? My reputation as a random free spirit is on the line here...

No way! I love lists. Here is the shortlist of my New Year's Resolutions.

  1. Organise and encourage Non-Gardening Partner more.
  2. Enjoy my garden more.
  3. Read more, and think more - and possibly plan more? Hmm... Not sure about that last bit...
  4. Visit other people's gardens more.

Right. To start the New Year in the right spirit I have a chain-sawing task for NGP, and I want to further expand the new little garden where that huge pine tree crashed down. But first, before I do anything, I must get the six smelly bags of fresh horse manure out of the back of my car. Oops - they've been in there since last year! Aargh!

 Variegated pelargoniums.
Summer Flowers

Wednesday 2nd January

Yesterday I finished digging and manuring the new garden, and spent ages wheeling firewood into the woodshed, where NGP, wisely stationed in the shade, stacked it. Then my friend arrived for afternoon tea, armed with bags of food for the hens - chook cook (frozen vegetable peelings) and the mouldiest bread. Rusty the dog was extremely keen...

 Still not looking like a border collie.
Rusty with Growing Fur

Any readers who feel this woman is a poor housekeeper, always letting her bread go mouldy, should think again. She saves her old bread for my hens, and sometimes a week or more passes before the bread changes hands. Ha!

Frog News

Ah, but she is wise! The reason I cannot find the tree frog that lives in the bathtub is obvious - in the daytimes he (she?) will hop out of the bath into one of the adjacent trees. That is what tree frogs do. I should have guessed... And I am pleased to report a positive sighting of two large green frogs in the Moosey pond. They sink to the safety of the pond bottom when people appear, pretending to be warty leaves, and hold their breath for five minutes or more. My fat green frogs don't croak, and my tree frog has a 'cricket-like trilled whistle', to quote the frog page I googled.

The Irrigation Fairy

This year I have acquired an irrigation fairy who pops up just after nine in the evening and turns all the garden sprinklers on - without being asked! So I haven't had to do too much sneaky watering yet this summer.

Scrophularia :
The variegated perennial called Scrophularia is my best indicator of dry soil.

I grow it because the bees love the little red flowers, and it's easy to propagate. The foliage looks great, too, when not wilting. I suspect it would like to be a marginal pond plant - and I do have a pond...

Today in the garden - I'm shifting in some sneaky roses (Souvenir de Leonie Viennot) to adorn the wire fence in my new garden. I have more newspaper and mulch to spread. And more manure to collect - the local horses don't stop for New Years holidays! If I get too hot I will flop in the water race.

 There, underneath the giant gunnera leaves!
The Water Race


What a day - thirty plus degrees, which is hot, hot, hot for the Moosey garden (and gardener). But check out my hot list (hee hee) of accomplishments.

Hot List

The Newest Little Garden.
I've spread more organic matter, planted daisies and a hypericum, and shifted in some corokias and the fence line roses. With much watering to lessen the shock.
The Pond Beautification Programme
Much organic matter added, planting holes dug with the help of the axe, and the Silver Sixpence rhododendrons are in.
Willow Tree Garden
Roses and perennials deadheaded, edges trimmed, honeysuckle enjoyed, small rhododendron marked for shifting.

I ended up sitting in the water race sloshing the cool water on my face, while one of my bellbirds hooted and whistled at me from above. The bellbirds follow me around quite a lot - probably for reasons of security rather than friendship...

 The roses are mainly resting.
The Koru Garden in Summer

Thursday 3rd January

So in the longest and hottest days of summer I've suddenly got a twitching shovel and the optimistic urge to shift shrubs around the garden. What am I going to transplant today?

First I am off for horse manure, some chook layer pellets, wheat, and something to clean up the little mites which live in the hen house - and on my hens. Nobody gave me garden vouchers for Christmas, but I'll pop into the nursery just in case I had one - if that makes any sense at all. I'd love to buy some more daisies for the new garden. Hmm... What about some lavender? Since the pine tree fell down this is a super-sunny, airy area (best not try speaking that little phrase out loud).

Then I must move into the Dog-Path Garden to weed and deadhead. Yesterday I saw huge patches of clover - possibly growing in the compost spread last winter? Blast! New roses are flourishing here, and it's time I admired them close-up. Even Benjamin Britten is behaving. Sorry, make that 'Sir' Benjamin Britten.

 A David Austin rose.
Sir Benjamin Britten

And there's the big question concerning the agonisingly slow death of one of the pergola Crepuscule roses. How far down should I trim? Ignoring it isn't working - nor is feeding and watering.


I've got some new bags of horse manure for behind the pond, and - whew! - I've remembered to get them out of my car. And tonight is de-louse the hens night - rooster is far too pecky to be handled in the daytime.

I've been working for three hours weeding by the water - gorse and broom seedlings seem to be the most popular, followed by clover, naughty little verbascums, and pink flowering campion. I am now reacquainted with the many beautiful roses planted in the Dog-Path and Willow Tree Gardens - the deep, dark Financial Times and the stunning red Opulence are two real favourites. Ha! Perhaps I should start a money-themed garden, with the white hybrid musk rose Prosperity added in for good measure!

 A brilliant red.
Opulence Rose

Computer generated plans for the waterwheel now exist. This is a most exciting project, and should guarantee NGP at least three months of beautifully home-cooked dinners, friendly conversation, and general looking-after. Later today I'm going to clear the stream which the waterwheel will feed, to further symbolise my part in this engineering partnership.

It's the third day of the New Year and I haven't groaned yet about being tired or bored. This is a good start...