Same old, same old...

I've been doing the same garden things for weeks now - making new paths and buying and planting new shrubs. I obviously need to do a lot of walking, interspersed with textural ogling...

Monday 16th June - Five Days Until Mid-Winter

Ha! The final countdown! So I have five days in which to finish - ridiculous word, totally inappropriate for as gardener's vocabulary - my new Shrubbery extension, complete with network of well-edged paths, all garden areas covered with lashings of rotted horse manure and old autumn leaf mulch.

 An Escallonia and a flax.
WInter Shrubs

The large pine tree stump in the messy area adjacent to the Shrubbery is turning into a stump-seat, so today that messy area will be cleared, mulched, pathed, and planted. Oops. I'm repeating myself again, and again... and again...

Late Afternoon...

My new Shrubbery path is done - it's the perfect route, not too wiggly, brilliantly edged with logs from (oops) the woodshed, with lots of interesting plantings along the way. Four Olearias, one Coprosma, a Genista and two Phormiums are planted. I am very proud of my Shrubbery achievements - from scruffy mess to a magical area of greenery, almost by accident. The soil never before gardened, or even walked on by the Moosey gardening feet. A pine tree blows down and hey presto! Sudden space, light - and room for a new garden.

That's enough garden-twittering for one day. Daughter of Moosey is about to get a guided new-paths tour, then we two are off to the library. This month I will be doing all my world travel via books. Last night I cruised the Indian Ocean on a yacht for three years...

 Too wet to garden?

Tuesday 17th June - Four Days Until Mid-Winter

You can tell an obsessive lady-gardener by their early morning instincts. In the warm Moosey house this winter's morning there's a basketful of new exciting library books, it's a damp drizzly day, the piano has recently been tuned... It is, after all, only four days until the shortest day of the gardening year. A sensible soul would be giggling at 'The Eccentric Gardener', or travelling with the thrilling Dervla Murphy to the Urals, or doing slightly arthritic homage to Brahms.

Ha! I want to go outside and shovel more manure onto my new Shrubbery. There are things to buy - I have spaces for more screening Pittosporums, and I'm thinking about getting a statue of a lurking garden spirit (probably not a gnome, though I am tempted).

 Rusty the puppy showing you his wet look - crimped hair on ears, a darker shade of orange!
Wet Puppy

A Little Later...

Hmm... How wet am I prepared to get? I'm back from the nursery - actually, two nurseries, both up-market and 'up-priced'. Yippee - I've purchased my first ever deciduous Azalea, a yellow fragrant rounded beauty called Golden Lights. I also have some bargain bin Viburnums, another Genista, and an upright Apricot Queen flax for the Shrubbery. That drizzle outside is awfully light and inconsequential - it's time to change into 'muddable' clothes and work for a couple of hours.


I've built yet another little path, planted some more shrubs, and spread six more loads of horse manure. Rusty the dog valiantly kept me company - his body fur darkens to a deep orange and his ear fur crimps when he's wet. Fluff-Fluff the cat tried his best but the rain forced him to shelter, squeaking, underneath the trailer.

I timed my 'run' badly, though. Here I am back inside in the most perfect apres-gardening state (pink, warm and clean) and the rain has stopped. Oh well.

Eccentric And/Or Passionate?

I have two new gardening library books in my pile - 'The Eccentric Gardener' and 'The Passionate Gardener'. Perhaps enlightenment lies somewhere between the two. I've already found the silliest quote : 'Money makes the best manure'.

'Money makes the best manure.'
-A Dubious Gardening Book Maxim.

What rot! Vegetarian browsers obviously win the manure competition. I use free horse, my gardening friend likes cow - it's less weedy (something to do with having lots of stomachs). Money? Money is for buying bargain bin plants, and recycled timber for rustic garden seats, and sheds, and new varieties of seeds - and paying library fines when the gardening books are returned late!

Wednesday 18th June

Gardening diarists who spend a winter's day cycling in the foothills, discovering for the very first time the gear 1-1, and that, using this gear, they can cycle up a gradual hill without stopping - well, they are allowed to redirect their gardening journals, just briefly. It will be a welcome change from the mundane details of path and shrubbery making, anyway.

 On  the way to the Lees Valley.
Head Gardener-Cyclist

Yippee! My very first cycle 'climb' - which went on for ages up a metal road leading to the Lees Valley, near Oxford, encouraged by Daughter of Moosey (whose tyres are fatter than mine). We cycled up (and I mean 'up') the road for over an hour through bush, disturbing the bellbirds (who make the oddest noises - lots of cute kissing sounds, followed by a 'tch', as if they're telling us off). Then we turned around and zoomed back to a lunch spot overlooking the Canterbury Plains.

Nothing But Sheep...

Rural Canterbury is so empty. If this was a high hill somewhere in England we might be looking down on villages, the remains of a castle, church spires... But this is New Zealand, so there are fields and shelter tree belts, followed by more fields. We can see sheep close by, but nothing else is moving.

 And distant sheep...
Plains and Tussocks

Daughter of Moosey says that I did very well, particularly in that I didn't rave about my garden once.