All the every best...

Welcome to the Christmas week. All the every best to gardeners, and their families and friends, for the festive season. And to all nice non-gardeners, too!

 Surrounded by flowery summer gardens.
Willow Bridge

Monday 22nd December

Finally I can get back into the Moosey Garden after a week of rain and prepare things for the big day. Today I weeded down the driveway around the new deciduous Azaleas (how very kind my friend was to give me so many). Then I dead-headed and weeded in the Stables and Birthday Rose Gardens - many of the roses have finished their first flowering, though the ever reliable Flower Carpet roses are in full pinkness - and redness, and whiteness, and coralness...

Stumpy :
This is a 2008 picture of Stumpy cat waiting for her food.

Then I went out into the orchard to spent a quiet moment with Stumpy the cat. I tried to think solemn thoughts about my dearly departed pet, but I had unsympathetic company - a nosy and thoroughly pecky rooster dancing around my legs, and Rusty the dog groaning and howling at a nearby hedgehog. What ambience? I got the giggles - sorry, Stumpy, for this unseemly behaviour around your resting place!

Meanwhile Mugsy, another ancient and original Moosey cat, seems to be recovered from her stroke, and is back to normal. Well - 'normal', for her. She's certainly used up more than her nine allotted lives... And Rusty the dog's fur is slowly growing back in. His colour now looks much healthier - like a pale pork sausage that has been lightly grilled...

 Growing nicely...
Clipped Red Border Collie

I wouldn't be without these furry creatures - they bring me so much joy. And they are such good conversationalists - well, listeners, perhaps. Younger son visited me last week, and I got really excited to have 'someone who isn't furry to talk to'. Son pointed out that, unlike him, the furry things weren't human...

Things I Must Do before Christmas Day...

Now I've got three days to regain my energetic gardening spirits. The lawns need mowing - that will mean trimming edges - and I have some things to plant (a low shrubby Salvia, a Pieris, some Silver Beet, and two rhododendrons lurking in buckets of water). Also the stone wall needs fixing. Easy! I can do this. I am so looking forward to Christmas.

 Histeria is up the tree, Percy is on the ground below...
Two Cats - One Tree Climbing Moment

Tuesday 23rd December

Right. I'm off for a swim, then I buy the Christmas barbecue food, then I garden - the Shrubbery gets its stone wall repaired, and all the house gardens will be weed and dead-head free by lunchtime. Ha! If one grows lots (that's at least two hundred) modern roses, and say each shrub offers between ten and twenty blooming stalks - aargh! That's up to 4000 dead-heading operations, three quarters of which must be done in time for Christmas day.

 Some of the rosy things flowering in the Willow Tree Garden.
Dead-Head the Roses!

Too Many Roses!

Three thousand! I've never done the maths before. No wonder dead-heading turns into one of the never-ending gardening tasks. Solution - buy more roses which bloom late, like La Marseillaise and Graham Thomas? Hee hee...

Good news regarding the very new climbers planted in the orchard - building on my sneaky November irrigation, these weeks of gentle rain have given them all a great start. New varieties include Bantry Bay, Handel and Water Music - hope those two get on! And there's an unknown bright yellow with really pointy buds - they look like painted fingernails. My friend made me some mid-winter donations.


The wind has been blowing fiercely, but I've done some good gardening work. My Christmas tree looks beautiful, the presents are wrapped, and the Shrubbery is weeded. Good work! The cricket is extremely scary, finely poised, so we won't make any further mention...

Wednesday - Christmas Eve

I've been cycling with Rusty the dog and thinking - here we go... Firstly about Christmas. It's a time to celebrate the spirit of family, regardless of whether the family sadly (or gladly) cannot be together. It's not about the presents!

Yippee! A Knitted Moose!

So when the Moosey sons and daughter open their personally printed Garden calendars, they won't be disappointed... Yesterday I 'bought' myself a fifty cent Christmas present from the Red Cross shop for Non-Gardening Partner to give to me (it's a knitted moose, and is all wrapped up underneath the tree). Crikey - my friend is giving her husband a plastic shower tidy - much more boring!

 Pity Rusty's nose couldn't find that rotten rabbit!
Follow That Nose

Last night two things happened. The cricket petered out - blast! Five sports-listening days waiting for nothing - a bit like my silly broody hen, sitting in the hen house. Ha! I am the Grinch that stole her eggs.

 One of the likely cat culprits...
Was it You Fluff-Fluff?

Cat Culprit?

The second thing is indelicate, and may need some euphemisms in the telling. The younger Moosey cats are horribly good hunters, and occasionally will bring in - ahem - wriggling rabbits. In New Zealand rabbits are a serious ecological pest, so I have no problem in calling the dog to 'remove' the critter.

Well, the Moosey upstairs has been slightly fragrant of late - the tiniest wafts of smell, just enough to puzzle visitors and have them checking the soles of their shoes. I've turned couches upside down, tipped out baskets, looked under beds, even in wardrobes. Hmm... Nothing.

Last night (after a hot day) the wafting was stronger than usual, and I had to face facts - there was something rotten in the state of the Moosey upstairs! Couches, beds, wardrobes were searched again, in vain. As a last resort I dragged the bookcase out from the wall. Aargh! A very large, very dead, thing was stuck in behind! Naturally I squealed and ran off to fetch Non-Gardening Partner. Aargh! Now the upstairs smells like old-rabbit and gardenia talcum powder. Thank you so very much to the cat responsible. How terribly kind...

 A pretty, floppy perennial.
Anthemis Daisy

Yellow Christmas?

Right. I know where I'm dead-heading today - the roses in the Willow tree Garden are getting the treatment. The yellow aquilegias are still flowering - this seems rather late. There is much yellow in the garden, including some rather nice Anthemis daisies in the Shrubbery, the Oenothera self-sown along the water race, and the silly, weedy Verbascums. So it's going to be a Yellow Christmas, garden-wise.


I'm off to my carol singing performance - candlelight carols in the city centre, accompanied by a brass band with three tubas. Hee hee... Non-Gardening Partner is home alone to scoff all the Christmas cake and mow all the lawns. What a champion!