A foliage feast?

 Big Fluff-Fluff and Lilli-Puss say hello.
Ginger and Grey Cats

Brr... It's definitely time for casseroles, stews, and pumpkin soup. And my garden, full of new shrubs, new paths, and new weeds, is a foliage feast simmering in winter's slow cooker.

Friday 27th June

Interesting. I have a horse-manure rival, a shadowy character who is sneaking off with bags of horse manure from the roadside, leaving me with none! This 'Poo-Snaffler' is causing serious delays in my soil enrichment plans for the new Shrubbery. Interesting, too, that they probably think I'm snaffling their manure!

My Cats Missed Me!

Anyway, today I'll be spreading manure - after I zoom off to the river to get more path edge stones. My garden has missed me this week, as I've been pursuing more energetic adventures outdoors. Rusty the dog has been bored in his kennel, and my cats have been super-smoochy in the evenings - I think they've missed me too!

 Off on a winter walk in the Hazelnut Orchard.
Off We Go

Time to stop twittering and start doing. I have a bucket load of Bergenias (just the plain pink-flowering type) to pick up from a friend. Bergenias are the most brilliant foliage plant, in my opinion. They are such a good contrast with all the spiky plants I grow in my garden.

 Flaxes ands grasses look magical in winter.
Downstream from Willow Bridge

Oops. I've just noticed that June is very nearly over. So the days are getting longer, and it's almost rose-pruning time. Eek!

Saturday 28th June - Too Wet and Cold for Gardening

I'm supposed to be collecting river stones and shovelling rotted horse manure into the trailer. Except that it's cold and rainy - officially far too cold and too wet to be outside gardening, regardless of the 'thermalness' of the underwear.

 On a post by the Willow stump.
Histeria the Tabby

The Moosey cats love it when their humans sit around inside. I've just tried reading the newspaper with Mugsy, Stumpy and Percy each trying to claw themselves up my legs and onto my lap. Ouch. Fluff-Fluff is sitting in the jigsaw box, just in case I feel like putting a few pieces in.

Cat Games

Every time I half-lean over Tiger launches herself onto my back, ready to play that well known cat-game called 'Fight the Head Gardener's Plait'. It's actually very similar to 'Fight the Head Gardener's Ponytail', and involves the Head Gardener shaking her head while Tiger, firmly attached by four clawed-paws, wriggles with delight. Ouch again.

Bored Dog

Only Rusty the dog is bored. He wants to be doing something outdoors - walking, running, or sneaking into the chicken run to eat the hens' food. Even a bit of slow gardening (following the green wheelbarrow around) would be better than all this sitting around.

Sunday 29th June

Brr! I'm muddy and wet! I've just spent an hour in the rain - but what a mathematically satisfying set of accomplishments I can proudly list! Here goes...

  1. Weeded - One barrowful, from the Stables Garden.
  2. Planted - Two Viburnum Tinus shrubs.
  3. Spread - Three bags of horse manure.
  4. Pruned - Four roses, in the Stables Garden.

I've also put the new Bergenias in a round terracotta pot and placed it into the garden to wet the potting mix. Fat round leaves in a fat round pot - it's a nice look!

 A quick spreading ground cover.
Purple Ajuga

Cats and Dogs

Animals play a large part in my gardening adventures. I've spent the day with cats and dogs - Fluff-Fluff, squeaking and lolling in the wet dirt, and Rusty frenetically chasing planes. Trouble is, he could hear them but not see them, because of the low rain clouds. And now it's raining cats and dogs, hee hee...

This afternoon my ladies choir has a concert, so I'd better scrub my fingernails and wash the twigs out of my hair. Hmm...

'I'm gonna wash those twigs right outta my hair...' Tra la la...

Monday 30th June

Ha! Goodbye to winter's June, which sort of could, maybe did, possibly, at a pinch, rhyme with 'gloom'. But it didn't in my gardening June life - not once! Actually, I'm very proud of myself for not moaning and groaning (too much) about frosty mornings or wet afternoons. I've been cycling and walking, too, as well as gardening.

 Daughter of Moosey with Mugsy the cat.
Moosey Adventure Consultant

Goodbye to Daughter of Moosey

A mixed sad-happy goodbye to Daughter of Moosey, adventure consultant to the gardening stars (me), who has gone back into the workforce, choosing the Pilbara, Western Australia. For a vague mother who often forgets to write this is far nicer than her working in Zimbabwe (aargh!) or Myanmar (another aargh!). I don't mean to trivialise these two countries - I can't imagine how it must be to try and live (forget the gardening) in either.

Today, although it's chilly outside, there's no rain. I have lots of horse manure bags to spread. Rusty the dog is under house arrest for recent misdemeanours (pinching the hens' food from under their beaks) but I might take him to the river to pick up some more stones. It's a thermal underwear day, but I have a super-serious all-black set. My Doctor Livingston shorts can sit jauntily over the gardening hips, with perhaps a rugged country check gardening shirt to hide unsightly bulges. What a picture! Right - now where in the garden am I going?

Three Hours Later...

Firstly, Rusty is in disgrace. It took him thirty seconds of gardener's inattention to sneak off to the hen house, where I found him gorging on cooked broccoli stalks in front of five puzzled poultry onlookers.

 Cheated out of their breakfast vegetables!
Puzzled Poultry

Secondly, I weeded in the Wattle Woods, shifting fountain grasses and ajuga, and rerouting the path edges a little. Then I loaded up the wheelbarrow with fat logs (from trees felled by the nasty snow storm in the winter of 2006, which we will not mention). I've split it all 'by hand' (not in the karate sense, obviously) ready for younger son, to warm up his flat. What a wonderful mother!

Mail from Abriachan! Eek!

Thirdly a very nice web-mistress and nurseryman's daughter has mailed me from Abriachan, Scotland. Eek!

Abriachan Garden :
Abriachan was the first open Scottish garden (with nursery) that I visited on my adventures last June. There's a web-page with photographs of my visit.

I get very twitchy about semi-official feedback. Oh dear. What did I write about her Dad's garden? Was I nice? Blogger's guilt is a strange thing, so I've meekly offered to send some New Zealand native seeds as personal penance.

Actually, I think the garden's page is OK - see if you agree with me! Abriachan is the best garden-in-a-gully that I've ever wandered around, and the nursery is full of beautiful plant treasures. Unfortunately when I was there I couldn't buy anything to bring home to New Zealand!+5

Now I'm clean and warm inside, with Stumpy the oldest, greyest cat on my lap, and Rusty sulking in his chair. Venison stew (with leeks) is gurgling quietly in the slow cooker. And do you know the nicest thing? I think I've noticed the longer day length. I am a winter gardening legend. So, no more June - roll on July, then August, then springy September.