The winter sun is back...

 Weeping flaxes like Jester get flattened by too much snow.
Yesterday, In the Snow...

The winter sun is back. All my plants are shiny and wet after yesterday's 'extreme weather event'. All the snow has gone - good riddance!

Sunday 6th July

I'm afraid I have a rather non-romantic attitude to snow. I cannot garden in snow. But today I can garden like the wind. Aargh! Wind! Unfortunate phrase...

The Ultimate Cycle Tour

I've had a reasonably silly idea (probably shared by lots of other armchair adventurers). Armed with a route map of the Tour de France, Non Gardening Partner and I could part-cycle part-drive the same roads (not at the same time, of course). Major flaw - 2008's Tour is over three thousand kilometres long.

I've been watching the first stage of this ultimate cycle tour on morning TV. It's in Brittany, it's summer, and the roads are oh so deserted (hee hee) - Brittany looks like brilliant cycle touring country. Major compromise - NGP and I would drive most of the hilly bits. Major problem - who drives the car when we both want to cycle?

Good Morning Percy

Percy the ginger gardening cat is leaning right into me as I type. It's like wearing a warm, furry, purring thermal vest! Good morning, my beautiful ex-wild cat Percy, with the 'M' for Moosey mark on your beautifully striped forehead.

Percy :
Percy is one of the much loved eight Moosey cats. Once there were nine...

Let me see - how much do I love you? A million tins of pilchards, a billion bags of French Cuisine dried cat food with olive oil, a squillion pottles of fresh hearty beef (no preservatives)...

Enough prattling on about weather, cycling, and ginger cats. What shall I do today in my beautiful New Zealand winter garden? NGP is unavailable - he's off into the Hazelnut Orchard to prune some more suckers. I need more horse manure and I need more river stones. I always need these things...

 Variegated evergreens come into their own in winter.
Bright Winter Colours

I think I'll continue my slow sweep down the gardens over the water race. The Stumpy Garden looks pretty organised, so my next garden is the Dog-Path Garden. There's a scruffy clump of Iris confusa and several extremely healthy juvenile gorse bushes to remove, and roses to shift into sunnier spots.

 I miss the bright flower colours of summer!
Daylily in Summer

Attention All Daylilies

Today's the day that all misplaced daylily clumps get dug up, de-grassed, and replanted. I think you're all going into the Dog-Path Garden where the Iris confusa was. Nice!

Late Afternoon...

First of all, I admire and love NGP. He has spent all day pruning his Hazelnut trees - one location, one activity, with no complaints - admirable! I love him because I've come inside after four plus hours doing winter gardening to find the log burner going and the house toasty warm.

I love Daughter of Moosey, my adventure consultant, but I miss her! Usually when I find items of clothing she's left behind I giggle, and grab them gleefully. Today I found her pale blue Icebreaker neck warmer. Yippee! A neck warmer for meeeee! But then I remembered it around her neck as we, two best friends, were off winter cycling together. Oh dear - I miss her! I still wore it, though, until I overheated...

And I love my silver cricket radio, which I left outside, switched on, through all of yesterday's snow and last night's wind and rain. And today when I ashamedly went to rescue it - ha! It was still broadcasting! Amazing.+5

Emotional outbursts over, I will turn my attention to today's gardening exploits. The morning was spent ripping out Iris confusa and building up yet another small stone retaining wall. I took my lunch on the nearby Azalea seat with faithful cat companion Fluff-Fluff. In this small garden another of my John Clare roses is flowering - in July! I love this rose.

 Photographed three weeks after the shortest day!
John Clare in Winter

All afternoon I continued organising the Dog-Path Garden. I cleared ferns from around the Dog-Path garden seat to make it sittable again. I trimmed back the Cotinus, pulled out random seedling Euphorbias and Verbascums, and continued my great weeding session along the water race edge. Here sit my original stone walls, and they are in desperate need of more stones.

I didn't plant any new roses, or sort out the daylilies. First I need to bury the irrigation pipe and load on a bit more horse manure. - tomorrow's jobs. What a lovely day, though - full sun, no wind - just magical.

 Koru with phormium leaves.
Symbols of New Zealand

Monday 7th July

I'm still wallowing in yesterday's gardening glory - it's so nice to be feeling positively positive in the middle of winter. Today it's raining, but I'm OK with that - my new plants need to settle in. So it's a gym and coffee morning, and maybe I'll even have the afternoon off to read.


It's funny how intelligent people can be quite unintelligent, if that makes any sense. My book is a jaunty 'travel narrative' about a journey around the coast of England. I was outraged last night when my man stopped at Bristol and motored up to Liverpool. Silly chap! He'd missed out the coast of Wales. Perhaps he was doing his trip in stages, and piecing them together afterwards (like that sneaky 'round-the-world-on-a-bicycle lady)...

He cheated again when he got up to the Scottish border, popping back up on the east coast near Berwick on Tweed. Then, and only then, did it dawn on me. He was going round the coast of England. Not Scotland, or Wales, or Britain. Oops. I was so looking forward to the West Coast of Scotland, with memories of my own journey last winter...


Rusty the dog, Fluff-Fluff, Percy and Histeria the cats, and the Head Gardener (me) have just done a tour of the gardens over the water race, taking photographs. I can show you cats on posts, cats on seats, cats drinking out of the water race, cats on bridges, cats in the grass, and cats up trees... Although it's pretty chilly out there, the sun is now trying to shine, so I might do some gardening this afternoon. My shining flaxes look magnificent.