A funny month for flowers...

January is a funny month for flowers in my garden - I feel that I've had little input in the garden's 'look'. Dahlias pop up here, there, and everywhere, none planned or planted by me. Patches of lilac phlox still do battle with my hand digger - I don't want them!

 A froth of white, supporting the dahlias.
Summer Gypsophilia

Thursday 24th January

Earlier this morning, while at the gym lolling on a Swiss ball (Ha!), I formulated today's gardening plan. The Dog-Path Garden is to get The Treatment. A small grass path which the new lawn mower is too wide to mow is going to be sliced up and turned into garden path. The really ancient garden bench underneath the Pittosporum can stay, but it almost needs a sitters' warning. As with any truly rustic seat, it is gracefully and picturesquely falling to pieces.

 A modest rose, name unknown, brought here from my first garden.
Pink Rose

There are roses to dead-head, euphorbias to trim, and lychnis plants to pull out. Here underneath the Cercis Forest Pansy are my deepest magenta-flowering Lychnises (apologies for incorrect plural). I will need to collect some seeds.

Waterwheel News

Passing by to feed the hens I missed the noise. The waterwheel had stopped, with a piece of sodden pine tree stuck in its paddles. I am pleased to report that I easily retrieved the offender without getting my feet wet. Straight away the magical sounds - slosh, slosh, and slosh - around, and around, and around... All was well again - nothing was strained or broken, no pieces had floated away.

 With ferns underneath.
The Koru Sculpture

So - right - I am mentally organised. Which gardening shirt should I wear? I choose the mid-blue one - bright like the summer sky.


I am a legend. An ailing rhododendron has been shifted and watered in, squillions of gorse and broom seedlings have been pulled out, and my Euphorbias are neat and tidy. The little Koru Garden is weeded - I need to plant some colourful annuals in here, to give colour when the Rhapsody in Blue roses are resting. Some little white or lemon daisies would look absolutely beautiful.

I haven't attacked the grass path yet - that's tomorrow's job.

Friday 25th January

I'm pleased with Rusty's dog-diet, and as a mark of solidarity have decided that the Head Gardener and Non-Gardening Partner are joining him. HG tends to cook all of NGP's evening meals, and the plan is simple - smaller portions, and fruit for snacks.

Rusty the dog has better definition, body-wise, and his collar is looser. Hopefully the same can be said of HG and NGP in a month's time - watch this space. No photographs allowed, though...

Ginger Cat News

As an endorsement of the properties of wool, Percy my young ginger cat has pushed his way inside a bag containing a new wool bed-duvet. Silly, snoozing cat - he is deeply asleep, with a relaxed cat-smile. Fluff-Fluff my huge ginger boy is becoming more and more needy in the garden - if he gets left behind (even slightly) he sits down and squeaks pathetically. Pick me up! Pick me up! Oh dear...

 He has picked a warm snoozing spot!
Percy the Ginger Cat

Right. Enough twittering. I have eight bags of horse manure to spread. I have a grass path in the Dog-Path Garden which I'm converting to natural earth. I plan to garden for up to three hours, no snacking allowed...

Foliage-wise, it's a better summer for my ligularias and canna lilies - that's a result of much watering. My favourite stripy-leafed cannas are buried (visually) in a bed of red dahlias and nicotiana silvestris plants - but I know they're there! The Ligularias are just coming into bright orange flower.

 Perennials by the pergola.
Flower Garden

My flowery thoughts are a little less positive. The daylilies aren't so good and the roses are boring then they're resting. Annuals like my golden coreopsis are lovely, but there aren't enough of them. Blue pansies and scabious need trimming, and the daisies need dead-heading. There's not enough pink, either.

Summer Flower Power

Golly - that's a grumpy paragraph. I love the summer flower colours. All my gardens have shades of this and that brightening up the greenery. And the big Nicotnaia sylvestris plants are my very favourite. Summer flower power!

 A beautiful summer flower.
Golden Coreopsis

Later, Mid Afternoon...

Most interesting. I've cleared half of the new earth path, planning to continue its existing loop back to the lawn. The path, it seems, has other ideas, and wants to charge through the garden to the water. I'm quite keen, so I've retired inside for a light lunch to contemplate - a path which knows where it wants to go...

 One bucket in action!
Waterwheel Bucket

Saturday 27th January

I've come home from a morning out chauffeuring my broken-armed friend, and what do I find? One lone bucket is now attached to the waterwheel - a water-pouring sound mixes with the gentle sloshing of the paddles. The stream will be 'activated' later this afternoon - yippee!

NGP thinks that two buckets may actually be enough for the water flow in the stream. My friends have been busy collecting the plastic containers which are the buckets, and we have a dozen of them. Hmm... That's lots of spares!

I'm off to finish the new path. Its new route is brilliant - it curves in to the base of the Copper Beech tree, near the Koru sculpture. Here is the perfect place for a small contemplative seat, or bench - the stone koru has real clumps of ferns unfurling their fronds underneath.

Another New Bridge?

The new path then ends up by the edge of the water race, and I wonder if it should lead onto a bridge - a natural flow-on for seekers of solitude who suddenly need to return to the house. NGP is - less than enthusiastic - but he is well practised in the art of subtle avoidance. Take, for example, that Monet bridge which I've planned to connect Duck Lawn to the house lawns... Hmm...

I sound quite greedy - not being content with the most beautifully designed and fully functional waterwheel, I am now requiring not one but TWO new bridges. Even a rope bridge with planks on the bottom would be nice - just a quick way to reach the garden seat, a short cut across the water - it wouldn't need to be wheelbarrow-sized. But is there such a thing as too many bridges? I've faced the thorny (hee hee) question of too many roses - in fact, two of my newest budget rugosa hybrids are disappointing and will be lucky not to end up under the hedge with the burning rubbish.

Right. I have work to do, and quite possibly a fledgling stream to organise. Wow! Suddenly, things happen! I am really very lucky to have flowing water in my garden. Very lucky.