Splendid summer rain...

 Rusty the nearly naked dog.
Clipped Border Collie

It's raining again! This is such good news for the garden - and the paddocks and orchard, too. Splendid summer rain.

Monday 15th December

I'm inside with my nearly-naked (that is, clipped) dog and seven cats watching me eat lunch (sushi and strawberries). I've bought a Christmas tree (it's sadly artificial, but has coloured 'new growth' highlights at the ends of the branches. Sometimes in December the garden just has to get on without me - it might be one of those days.

Christmas Brahms

I'm playing the piano again - yippee for mee! A Brahms sonata in F minor (with groovy chords clanging up high on the keyboard - sounds great on a newly tuned piano), and several violin and piano sonatas (Mozart, Schubert and Brahms).

At Christmas Non-Gardening Partner transforms into Violin-Playing Partner - being nagged about mowing lawns and building garden sheds is replaced by being nagged to do some violin practice. There is absolutely no escape...

Much Later...

The sun (and the Head Gardener) came out. I've weeded the new Driveway Garden, pulling loads of horrible green things out of my mulch, and carting away all my tree prunings. The edges are trimmed and all scrawny foxgloves are removed. Tomorrow my two rescued rhododendrons will be removed from their water buckets and planted in here.

 At their very best in the weeks before Christmas.
White Iceberg Roses

White Roses

And I wonder - perhaps there's room for roses... The white Icebergs look absolutely beautiful this month - one should never ever underestimate the visual power of a white rose in summer.

Full marks to me for this new garden area - the Driveway Lawn suddenly gains shape and looks much more interesting as a result. It's that positive - negative rule of shape in garden design again. I'm sure this has been written about lots in erudite books, but stumbling on it by accident leaves a bigger impression. Look and learn!

A Non-Noisy Achiever

After my work Rusty (the colour of a pork sausage) and I went for a good-dog bicycle ride. As I explained to him, one doesn't always have to be a noisy achiever, though I have done two sessions of piano practice today. Gosh I love playing Brahms. He thunders for three bars, then skips across the bar line and coos like a tiny bird...

Tuesday 16th December

It's not that I've turned into a slightly lazy gardener this month. I reckon that I've lost my greed - for new plants, etc. That's because this is not a good month to plant anything new, mind you! And greed is what fuels the greatest bursts of energy? Oops. Anyway, today I have an elegant morning non-gardening programme - Brahms, followed by a swim, then a social engagement for lunch.

 One of my beautiful standard roses.
Blushing Pink Iceberg Rose

This afternoon I'll be repairing a slight fall on the stone wall (probably caused by a large leaping cat), planting the two Silver Dollar rhododendrons, and doing some more weeding. Rusty the bald dog won't miss out - we'll go for a cycle ride.

'Good gardeners are pro-active pruners.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Also I've started to trim the spring-flowering shrubs (Escallonias, Hebes, and the like) after flowering. Finally, some pro-active pruning - what a good gardener! Hebes in particular always respond to a correct trim, and I have some beautiful winter-spring flowering varieties in my garden.

Wednesday 17th December

Oops. It ended up being a Non-Gardening day, but I did heaps of work on the Moosey Christmas calendars - which should be ready by Easter? Hmm... And a daft piece of serendipity at the Red Cross op shop, which I left on foot clutching the hugest framed 'administrative map' of Laos ever seen (even bigger than my coronation photograph of Queen Elizabeth). Daughter of Moosey is working (for the Red Cross) in Laos until Christmas Eve.

 Following me around, as usual.
Fluff-Fluff on Willow Bridge

Rusty and I did go for our cycle ride, however - we had a great discussion about living (and cycling) in the moment. I spoke briefly about his unchanging dog-face expression, and how difficult it was finding twelve interesting Rusty photographs for Non-Gardening Partner's Christmas calendar... And now that he is - ahem - slightly ugly and bald, there's no way that a quick modelling session can fill in the gaps. Mr December is not a good look. Oops - I mean the dog, not the Non-Gardening Partner!

Today there's rain which is supposed to persist. Nice work, Mother Nature!

Thursday 18th December

Writing a gardening journal when one - ahem - isn't actually doing much gardening could become interesting (or not). Cycling with the dog, conversing with the cats, lunching with my poor hardworking friends who are on holiday, swimming and gymming, playing the piano every day... I'm far too busy for the garden! This afternoon I will remedy the situation.