Already thinking of spring...

Hee hee. It's nearly four weeks after the winter solstice, and the sun already rises ten minutes earlier. All natural things are on the move, and I'm already thinking of spring.

 Showing the exquisite artistic design of the new garden table...
Coffee Cup

Thursday 17th July

Ah - spring... My friend's snowdrops are flowering. My Camellias are in bud, and my daffodil bulb shoots are two inches high - visible enough to stop them being trampled by a weeder's gumboot.

And Summer...

I'm also thinking of summer. Approximately 5% of my roses have been pruned, and 75% of my daylilies have been divided and replanted in sunnier spots. Things are looking lighter, brighter, and up!

Percy :
Percy is also one of the best gardening cats in the Moosey House and Garden.

Good morning to Percy my ginger gardening cat, sittings on my lap - his same morning ritual, except that lately he can't stretch out between knees and table anymore (he's grown). My house is extremely cat-peaceful - amazing what a tub of fresh pet meat for breakfast will do. Morning drizzle suggests that I should go gymming and swimming. Gardeners need to be fit and supple, and it's a great excuse to buy some sushi for lunch.

 My gardening companion Rusty.
Yawning Dog

Late Afternoon...

Rusty the gardening dog and I have been working solidly for four hours! We've collected more river stones, built up yet another part of the stone wall by the water race, planted Acorus divisions, shovelled rotted manure and sawdust in, pulled pushy Iris confusa plants out...

And for the last hour Rusty has been keeping my sky safe, chasing planes and pigeons away from the smoke, while I have burnt the rubbish heap. It's taken a lot of coaxing, and more than once I had to pull dead, dry leaves off a nearby Cordyline. Now my reward - hot coffee, clean clothes, and smoked salmon and cream cheese on wholemeal crackers.

Gardening Tools Found in Rubbish

I am feeling very proud, too - during my great burn-up I rediscovered three hand tools - a digger, a scratcher, and a pair of secateurs, all with the brightest purple handles, all dropped by mistake in the burnable rubbish. Brilliant - this means that my new garden acquisition (an 'antique white' cafe table with two cute little chairs) is even more of a bargain, because now I don't have to spend money replacing my lost hand tools...

 I love creamy coloured Camellias.
New Camellia

What nonsense! But I know what I mean. It's almost dark, and time for some couch-cycling in the foothills of the Pyrenees (le Tour on TV). And I have to say it - it's been yet another great gardening day in winter paradise.

Friday 18th July

Oops. I'm having the day off. But I've enjoyed lunch on the new table and chairs, and I've been doing some serious garden thinking. Firstly, the lavenders surrounding Rusty's dog kennel. I don't like them at this time of the year. Lavenders - be warned. If you forget to flower beautifully for me this coming spring-summer you will all be replaced. Secondly, certain Gunnera plants which have popped up in the wrong places along the water race. You are getting sliced out and replanted by my pond.

 A delightful monster plant...
Gunnera in Winter

Eggs Again!

Wonder of wonders - my hens have started laying again. I find poultry quite puzzling - their randomness, for one thing. Nine times out of ten, after some illegal free-ranging in the garden borders, we know exactly how to get back into the chicken run. But on the tenth day one black hen will forget, go off in the wrong direction, and then get totally stuck on the wrong side of the gate.

Saturday 19th July

Yippee! I love my big striped hens. My super-sized breakfast egg was absolutely beautiful - tasty, and large of yolk (deep yellow). My hens are definitely forgiven for wandering into my proper gardens and pooping all over the new paths.

 Shining through the branches of a large gum tree.
Wanted - Blue Skies

Garden Challenge

This morning in the garden will be a challenge. It's gently raining, but I want to buy soft mulch for all my new paths and surface them properly. I plan to put layers of damp newspaper underneath the mulch to stop the weeds, so this is in theory the perfect day.

An old friend is coming to see the garden on Monday, bringing her dog. This is terribly exciting - a great chance to test out my paths on new feet (and paws). I am going to walk her around more slowly than I usually do, and take more time to point out views and features. So the garden should seem bigger and more interesting (to me, anyway). Usually I race visitors through in ten minutes with hardly a wave of the pointing finger.

Far Too Wet

Oh my goodness. That gentle rain is now drumming fortissimo on the house roof and it's getting really dark. It's far too wet - mulch spreading is regretfully postponed.

Much Later, Dusk...

It stopped raining, so I got the trailer load of mulch and finished all the Stumpy Garden paths. I cleared the messy bit of garden by Car Bridge where my motley collection of bronze-foliaged Dahlias are growing (all grown from a Bishop of Llandaff seedhead).

Archway Roses :
You can check out the progress of my orchard roses in this article, written late in 2006.

After a chilly lunch on the new white cafe chairs, I returned to the Hazelnut Orchard to further prune and tie in rose canes. It's not a relaxing place to work, with a rampant rooster circling and crowing. And garden-wise the climbing roses have been a mixed success - Easleas Golden Rambler simply not suitable, Gloire de Dijon incredibly unhealthy, Uetersen being disinclined to climb anywhere. Replacement roses haven't grown too well either - and they've been carefully planted in fresh soil.

But far worse than my misgivings regarding the roses was the feeling of utter shame seeing large, healthy clusters of weeds at each rose's base. Aargh! So two hours of dedicated muddy-knees weeding followed, until the daylight (and the Head Gardener) got too gloomy. Hopeless - I only managed to clear around two archways. This need to weed and re-weed is silly - I should lay some newspaper and mulch down, to suppress the nasties...

Great idea! I'll start the serious mulching tomorrow. There! A problem blogged is a problem solved.

There's no place for gloom
In a garden room
Where roses bloom...

I'm glad I sorted that out!

Sunday 20th July

Another brilliant, amazing day. I enlarged the lawn-side curve of the Stumpy Garden (again), and shifted hostas, bergenias and roses closer to the edge. This has been one of the thousand things I see that need doing every time I walk past, but I've never stopped and done. Ha! Now for those other nine hundred and ninety nine tasks - like slice out the rogue Gunnera plants (growing in the wrong place) and replant by the pond.

Pond Time

It's high time I did some tinkering by the pond. I've now got my water race gardens organised, and my in-house mulch organised (a roll of rotted hay from way, way down the back paddock, delivered by the neighbour's tractor). In-house? I can hardly call it out-house...+5

The Dog-Path Garden paths have their soft bark mulch surfaces. I've planted a couple of tiny pots of perennials. Again I enjoyed lunch on the new white table and chairs. I love sitting out in the middle of the lawn, with 180 degree garden views (they're not vistas - all angles are available). My gardening cat Fluff-Fluff followed me everywhere, squeaking, sitting on my lap whenever possible, rolling in the dirt as I tried to plant, playing on the paths, leaping into the back of the trailer load of mulch... He joined in absolutely everything. For a large (ahem - super-sized, and it's not all fluffy fur) cat he is remarkable agile and energetic.