More paths!

 Fluff-Fluff with a strange look on his fluffy face.
Cat on a Stump

I still seem to be on a path-building mission. This has to come to its natural conclusion soon, or I'll have more paths than garden borders - now that would be a funny look!

New Garden Seats

Today I'm on a purchasing mission - I need some garden seats to place with their backs to the big Leyland shelter belt - they'll look out over the gardens and water race to the house lawns and gardens beyond. These will be optimistic winter seats, places to enjoy the views and the weak winter sun. They'll become mid-spring pleasure seats, when my rhododendrons start flowering.

In autumn they'll be facing my beautiful dogwoods trees. In summer they won't be shaded, but I can always move them. There! Complete seasonal justification.

I also have two random plants to buy. Two heavy steel stakes (warratahs) are stuck in the Willow Tree Garden (they used to support standard roses). So I thought - instead of digging and pushing with a crowbar to get them out - why not leave them in? And buy a standard topiary-type plant for each... It's not sunny enough for roses, and one of my new paths (eek) goes right through the middle of the pair.

I do understand that usually the plants come first and then the stakes, but it's fun to do things backwards. Right. I'm off - and I know exactly the right nurseries to go to - suburban, consumer up-market, with gourmet cafe attached.


Firstly, I've done two and a half hours weeding in the Laundry Garden. I've trimmed the herbs and ferns, pruned the Perle d'Or rose and two Phyllis Bides on the archway, and cleaned up right along the high stone wall which runs behind the house.

Choisya Ternata :
Choisyas may be cheap, but they are so easy to look after in my garden. Even snow doesn't do too much damage.

Secondly, my search for standards. There's a moderate choice - really expensive Camellias, Garryas (affectionately called the 'Catkin shrub'), Hollies (a shrub I know nothing about), Genistas, lots of Laurels and Bays (not sure about either - the foliage looks funereal), and the ubiquitous Choisya Ternata - the 'poor woman's standard shrub'. Nothing purchased as yet.

Thirdly, I'm off now to get some sculpture for the garden - a stage set (artistically painted lengths of roofing iron with spiky-cut tops) is taking up too much backstage room, and needs a good home. The symbolically urban meets the quiet country - brilliant! I wonder what it will look like in my garden?

Tuesday 15th July

I'm off to the gym to do some mental plant shopping. Do I trust the birds with Hollies? Will it be too boring if I choose Camellias? It will certainly be too expensive - would Non-Gardening Partner like some standard Camellias for his late July birthday? Camellias like it here, and I (the resident pruner) know how fast they grow. Another temptation - yesterday on my standards hunt I found a wrought iron cafe table and two chairs - very white and pretty. It's high time I 'did' pretty. Since there's only one of me (i.e. one Head Gardener) two chairs would be perfectly adequate. My gardening cats would enjoy them, too.

 This is where the poultry are supposed to free range...
Orchard Hens

Loose Hens!

Blast - my hens are scratching around in my garden again. I'll let them be, as a special treat, chook manure gratefully received! When I get back I'm erecting my new sculpture behind the Stables - I think this is the best position. It will be visible from the blue garden seats. It has, amongst other design symbols, a large white paint-splattered letter 'O' for Othello.

Exciting piano news - I've discovered a new, gorgeous Bach Partita (as one does). It's in A minor, and has the most beautiful sequences Bach ever wrote. Now I have to learn it properly. And later today, after working hard at spending money, I'm going cycling in the Pyrenees. Ahem - it's couch-cycling, watching the last three hours of the Tour de France on the TV, hee hee...

Late Morning...

Aargh! I've come home via another trendy garden centre, where I've seen more possible standards - Photinias, Azaleas, New Zealand native Corokias and Coprosmas - plus some even-more-expensive budding and beautiful Camellias. I bypassed the regulation gourmet cafe and a gift shop - my budget rural nurseries, full of shelter trees and down-to-earth tough shrubs, represent a different gardening world altogether!

But what to do? What to do - apart from luring the hens back into the orchard, or putting up my sculpture? When in doubt, do some weeding. Blast!

'When in doubt, do some weeding.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.


I think I've decided to go for the 'poor woman's standard shrub'. I like the lightness of the Choisya leaves, and the price of the plants! This means I can better justify buying the table and seats (NGP's birthday surprise). The sculpture is - hmm - interesting - the big 'O' possibly looks a bit silly. Now if it was an 'M' for Moosey...

 O stands for Othello.
The New Garden Sculpture

I'm tired but very happy. For over three hours I've been doing hand-hurting things like weeding out clover, thinking of cute rhyming phrases applicable to gardening: Weed til you bleed, rake til you ache, chop til you drop, prune til you swoon, plant til you can't... Clever? Hmm...

Wednesday 16th July

It is decided. I am buying two Choisya standards and a white cafe table and chairs set. Before any accusations of frivolous spending, I should point out that two Camellia standards would cost as much as the table and chairs anyway - not that this mathematically justifies anything - and that the cafe set is 40% reduced. Ha! So I'm actually saving money... Yes? And I've definitely become an expert on gourmet-cafe-nurseries (in the local sense).

 Very nice.
Antique White Table and Chairs

Much Later...

Here is a list of my day's accomplishments.

1. The Sculpture
Organised, with casual pots of Cordylines for company.
2. Cafe Table and Chairs
Installed and christened.
3. Choisya Ternata Standards
Planted and tied to the stakes which started all this.

I need to thank my animals for their loving attentiveness. I've had brilliant cat, dog, and chook company all day. Now if only my waterwheel was going round - then my gardening life would be complete.

 The shrub in the foreground is a chocolate Corokia.
Muddy Water Race

Apart from a wheelbarrowful of weeding it's been rather a cosmetic gardening day, but I love the results. The garden art looks good, as do the table and chairs, which pretentiously have the label 'Antique White'. It's exciting - my very first antique white garden furniture! Hee hee.

I am so happy with my mini-spending spree, the details of which have been lovingly recorded in great detail in this journal - and oh, how I love writing my journal. So much to say, and so much time in which to say it...