Life is good!

Life is good! I've sneaked slowly past the shortest day, and my winter spirits are high. And I love having something (like spring) to look forward to - imagine having no seasonal changes! Eek!

Monday 22nd June

The great Internet Garden is as wonderful place, particularly for 'southern hemispherers' stuck down here in the middle of winter. Some summery Moosey photographs are popping up in a Finnish Garden magazine article on English Gardens.

 All unknown beauties.
The Magic of Summer Roses

Oops. My garden is vaguely of the English style - I did tell the editor this. I think it's my David Austin roses... Ah, the magic of summer roses...

 Safe and sound in a patio pot - just in case it gets frosted.
Pretty Hebe

I've Got Mail

I've also had mail from a gardener in Gairloch, on the wild, woolly, west coast of Scotland. Great google-map excitement - I've actually driven past Gairloch and stopped to take pictures, just me, all those squillions of miles away from home. And (miles in a different direction) my friend in South Africa is almost as puzzled about ornamental Alliums as I am. A problem shared...

Internet Gardeners at Cutting Edge

I think of it this way - internet-savvy gardeners have been tweeting and blogging and chirping at each other for years, well before the words came into use. Gardeners have always been at the cutting edge of communication - sharing plants over the garden fence long before neighbourhood groups were 'invented', and so on...

With these (and similar) grand, global thoughts of the great gardening 'personhood' (that is, brotherhood and sisterhood) I'm off for a swim. I can't garden until after morning tea time anyway.


Hmm... Too wet. Too cold. Never mind.

Tuesday 23rd June

I'm out all day on the cliff-top walk (enjoyed last week) with my oldest and dearest friend. I am so lucky! Rusty the dog not so - he'll be in his kennel. The cats - well, they won't really notice I'm gone. There is contented snoozing in all occupied cat baskets and fireside chairs - my family of ex-wild kittens, all rescued from a feral fate.

+10Percy my kind, purry gentleman cat is on my lap, leaning in on me. By now he would have been a stinky old tom covered in abscesses, his ears torn from fights, his tummy empty. My goodness these Moosey cats are lucky!

 Percy the ginger cat curled up in his favourite cushions.
Cats Love Winter

Wednesday 24th June

Good morning, spammers. Would my gardening (or apres-gardening) be improved by purchasing some Green Tea Rejuvenating Cream from you? Hmm... Watch this space...

 This is where we have morning tea on the cliff-top walk.
Cottages at Boulder Bay

Today I need to give Rusty a Great Dog's Day Out. So only I'm allowing myself to be inside until morning tea. He has been in his kennel for the last two days. Yesterday on the cliff-top walk my friend talked about the West Highland Way (a squillion miles away, in Scotland) and I want to go with her. Absolutely daft! But I could fit it in nicely with an Eggy-visit in London and a zooming Irish Gardens car-tour. Hmm... So this is next winter's holiday already planned? The walking 'footpath' is 95 miles long. Hmm...

Winter Garden Wrestling

Aargh! Back to the reality of a no-holds barred wrestle with the winter garden. Yippee, actually! I still haven't planted the new Phormiums (with the edgy name 'Black Rage', from memory - surely that can't be right?). Here's a small random list to get me going...

  1. Plant those Phormiums (predictable).
  2. Aesthetics - straighten the dug edge of the new vegetable garden.
  3. Mulch the perennial garden by the pergola.
  4. Take Rusty to the river for stones.

I wanted to build a circular stone tower this winter. I still want to - I just haven't started anything yet. Today I will have a look at the proposed site (behind the pond) and see if my inspiration can lurch into practical application. Maybe if I cleared out the foundation area, for example...

Four Hard-Working Hours Later...

I three-quarters ignored my list do traditional winter gardening, cutting back (cannas, dahlias, golden marjoram, ferns) and weeding. I've divided up and replanted the raspberry daylily in the Septic Tank Garden. This garden needs some serious work - perhaps a big replanting plan, with maybe some more roses (hee hee). It needs compost and organic fill really badly - the soil is really stony, and the more I weed the lower the level gets (funny, that). The Stachys is too scruffy along the edge, and the middle of the bed is covered with an uninspiring violet (and sorrel).

Pebble Path in Summer :
Look at those wonderful summer flower colours! Aargh!

The pebble path and the old stone path which connect the decking to the back of the house are now clear and swept. And I've laid stones on path edges near the Shrubbery, scooping up the firewood logs which were doing this job - a nice and easy substitution. The logs are stacked behind the house, ready for my log-burner. Even nicer!

+10 Rusty the dog has had a lovely day - he's raced around the garden, barked at a man-visitor (a contractor came to look at Car Bridge, which is being replaced), and had a trip to the river. Much better!

 Exhausted after a big day in the garden!
Rusty the Dog

And I've planned out the circle for my stone building by the pond. Except, for once, common sense has kicked in a little - maybe I forget the idea of towers and just build a curving stone wall. Makes more safety sense with respect to earthquakes... All I need to do now is to choose the optimum size of stone and ask Non-Gardening Partner about making mortar.

The West Highland Way

My silly plan to walk this Scottish long-distance footpath has hit a tiny snag. I'm quite stiff after four hours of climbing around, up, and down the peninsula hills yesterday. The West Highland Way is 95 miles long. That's 152 kilometers - lots and lots of hours... And I can do side trips to 'bag a Munro' (climb a largish Scottish mountain) if I'm feeling even sillier. Help - this is seriously long-distance long-distance!

Devilskin Hut :
Devilskin a small bivy (hut) in the mountains in the Lewis Pass area - warm and safe in bad weather!

But compared to hiking in New Zealand (where the accommodation is either BYO tent or rough hut) there will be a group of grey-haired Scottish B'n'B landladies ready to welcome me each evening with scones and warm porridge. And, anyway, New Zealand hikers are jolly tough...

Thursday 25th June

Ha! New Zealand gardeners, however, do not go outside in ZERO degrees (Celsius) to dig holes and plant Phormiums. They sit inside, warm and woolly, drinking hot coffee and writing new garden lists - surrounded by the gentle sounds of Bach tootling on the radio, Minimus the kitten purring, and the dog, stuck fast in his chair, burping...

Actually, there's nothing wrong with the abandoned three-quarters of yesterday's list. I will add the purchase of a memorial tree for Stumpy the cat and the continuation of winter clearing in the house gardens. But I will wait until it's at least - say - six degrees? Maybe seven? Or even eight?