Surviving summer...

It's already the second week of January and my garden is surviving hot summer temperatures and little rainfall - thanks to the big irrigation system. Without water there'd be nothing to enjoy!

 Unknown pinky-red roses.
Willow Tree Garden Roses

Monday 7th January

The lack of environmental sense in my gardening style is put to the test in a Canterbury summer. I have water - an irrigation canal called a water race, and an irrigation pond, currently being transformed into a Reflection Lake. I have a small pump which operates a set of hoses, and strategically placed plastic buckets. I like the look of a green lawn, and hate to see my ornamentals stressed when things get dry. The garden can do its moisture 'catch up' when the big irrigation goes on in the evenings.

But so much watering is needed to support this garden. Hmm... Tussocks in shingle for every border?

The Monet Bridge

Yesterday I weeded and prepared the approaches to my (invisible) Monet Bridge, which connects Duck Lawn to the back lawn by the house - in my mind, that is. Visiting relatives bringing me some morning tea agreed - this is definitely the place for a bridge to cross the water race. Duck Lawn is a lovely, sheltered place for a garden table and chairs. Direct access via a curved bridge would ensure that any outdoor furniture purchased and placed here would get lots of use. Hee hee... Cafe style or rustic?

 It will soon be finished - won't it?
The Start of the Waterwheel

I might be pushing my luck here, since the Moosey waterwheel is currently under construction in the garage. One thing at a time for NGP (Non-Gardening Partner) to keep focused on. I've heard metal filing and wood cutting noises so far...

Today in the Garden

Today I'll be continuing the work behind the pond, building up the soil with horse manure and mulch. I have more shrubs to plant in there (two Choisya Sundances). And while I'm thinking watery thoughts, I could shift in a couple more rhododendrons. Will they like it in here? Now that's the question - I've had some horrible rhododendron failures in the past. I'm not tough enough to prune them after wind or snow damage. One year I dumped an ailing Saffron Queen underneath the hedge and left her for dead. Naturally she thrived, and had to be guiltily rescued the following spring.

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

I've done my pond work, and weeded the little lavender garden by Rusty's dog kennel. One of the waterwheel's mountings is finished - thick, strong wood, huge bolts, exact angles and fits. wow! Though there's cloud cover it's a bit too hot for strenuous activity - like walking with the wheelbarrow. So I've temporarily retired,along with faithful gardening cat Fluff-Fluff.

 On the pond decking.

Tuesday 8th January

All of a sudden, with pianissimo trumpeting and minimal crowing, the new Moosey waterwheel is one bolt away from being installed in the water race. Also some little buckets need to be organised to scoop up the water. Either NGP is a very quiet achiever, or waterwheels are easy and this one should have been finished months ago!

Cat News

Good morning to Percy the ginger ex-kitten, whose length has increased since Christmas. How large will he get, I wonder? Fluff-Fluff has, after all, set the standard for hugeness in the Moosey cat family. Please notice that I don't use the word 'obesity'.

 On guard!

I've been monitoring the lock on the pantry door, and Tiger the tortoiseshell (AKA the phantom pantry piddler) has spent many minutes trying unsuccessfully to open it. I'm pretty sure she's been raiding Rusty's dog biscuits - when she's not busy piddling on lower level plastic bags. Now she's sitting forlornly, staring at the pantry door and miaowing. She has a seriously bad habit...

Today I am going swimming, and then I am working hard somewhere in my garden - probably behind the pond. Yesterday at dusk I tried to take publicity photographs of the Moosey pond - alas! My pond is too big to fit nicely in the frame, and I will have to climb one of the cherry trees to do better. Also a lounging relative on the pond decking couldn't be bothered moving, and kept distracting the cats - they were supposed to be in the shot, to give a sense of scale.

 Daughter of Moosey with two cats.
Relaxing by the Pond


I haven't done anything yet. There will be complaints if I don't remove today's seven-bag haul of horse manure, which I've stashed next to the house patio. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I'm feeling oddly lazy. I wonder if NGP could be redirected to get me some mulch? Hmm...

Wednesday 9th January

Oops. I left the manure maturing... But I did plant all the new iris divisions - in an area which could easily transform into a designated Iris Garden. Today I have stayed home rather than go walking on the peninsula. So I will have to work twice as hard at everything. I'll make a timetable of expectations - the sort of list one writes when one isn't writing a list...

Timetable of Today's Expectations

1. Three hours piano playing, in two sessions.
Albeniz and Brahms. No Beethoven - he is too unsubtle, too many random sforzandos. I've gone off him.
2. Four hours gardening, in two sessions.
Put manure and mulch behind the pond, dead-head roses, finish archway rose weeding, etc...
3. Two hours computer work.
I'm making some more 2008 calendars - hopefully they'll soon be finished.
4. Two hours reading and relaxing.
Summer holiday books - some Agatha Christie detective stories.

That's a lot of daylight hours - pretty much my day done and dusted! Which then reminds me - the house is due for vacuuming...

Before I start, a few mildly interesting garden-specific thoughts. Firstly, Angelica everywhere is suddenly going to seed, so I'll need to do some nipping and cutting. Secondly I'm really disappointed with a clump of Kniphofias - pathetic as pokers, and definitely nothing like red hot. Dig out and throw underneath the hedge? Then they'd flower for sure...

And although it is the height of summer I really should shift an ailing, sunburnt rhododendron. I can hose him down during the move.


So far, so good. A vote of thanks to my two Sally Holmes roses for organising their mass of blooms to all fade at the same time, making dead-heading decisive and straight-forward. And there's not one yellow, spotty leaf on either of the girls - unlike those new standard roses planted on the edge of the Island Bed.

 A tribute to peace in the year 2008.
Golden Tribute Roses

I've cleared the orchard roses, but it's hopeless gardening with the poultry. The hens are friendly and fun - they stare at my weeding hands, and then scratch at the soil, looking for grubs. Rooster sneaks up when I'm not looking, gets as close as he can, then crows loudly - aargh! Do I trust him? No!

Thursday 10th January

I'm back from swimming, and maybe, just maybe, I might be a bit lazy for the next few hours. The poultry have just been 'herded' out of my garden and back into their run - someone (me) left the Orchard gate open. I am horribly reminded that hens have absolutely no sense - I had to get human help. Obviously my garden has so much to peck at (aargh!) that there's no incentive to follow the path back to the hen house for wheat and layer pellets.

I know - I'll have a refreshing cup of tea and go upstairs to finish my calendar making. The garden can and will wait.