Silly birds!
New Zealand Wood Pigeon

I am a foolish old woman. I garden in the frost, shivering in ten layers of merino clothing. Today is the first warm winter's day for weeks, and so (perversely) I choose to spend it mooching around town in my disreputable gardening clothes - shopping. Shopping! I hate shopping!

Tuesday 21st July

No gardening was done on my return, either - I fell asleep on the couch. In the late afternoon I changed into gracious winter lounging clothes and took Rusty the dog and the cats for a walk behind the pond. Immediately I was gardening-inspired. The pond path looked great, and I could see spare places for more rugosa roses. I was thrilled with the new New Zealand native plantings - my two dollar Corokias are looking so good...

Honestly! I'm going hiking for the next two days. Today I definitely should have been in the garden! But... Some of the shopping was for Non-Gardening Partner who is having one of those BIG birthdays tomorrow...

Wednesday 22nd July - Yippee!

Happy BIG Birthday to NGP, with chocolate cake, donuts, and pizza. Sorry I didn't get your stone folly built in time - but you wouldn't help me with the mortar. Or with choosing and carrying the stones. I get the distinct impression that my 'folly' idea is not being taken seriously. Hmm... Consider it a work in progress...

Thursday 23rd July

I've had my second back-to-nature-and-strong-hiking-boots day in a row. I've been on the Port Hills, walking along the hill tops and then looping down into patches of native bush. My gardener's eyes have seen much to enjoy. Ah, nature! You are a grand garden designer!

Astelia :
Astelias are one of my much loved spiky plants, and they grow well in my garden.

Green Astelias and tussocks line the semi-open tracks, and there are many Phormiums growing in the rocks. The bush is full of evergreens, with many healthy Pseudopanax and Lancewood trees. There's much birdlife here - noisy bellbirds, and fat wood pigeons, so heavy in flight, blundering and flopping through the trees. But hey - this non-aerodynamic bird beats us humans every time!

Anyway, I'm very lucky to have quarter-decent knees and legs that keep going (and mustn't forget the feet), and I like my boots again - I don't think I need a new pair. My friend and I have now decided on the St Cuthbert's Way as the long distance British footpath of our choice, and I have already made the smallest packing list. Items include a 'pub shirt' and 'pub socks' - too much information? Sorry - am enjoying the heady anticipation of an older-lady adventure!

I promise to do some serious gardening tomorrow. Oops - it's later, and I didn't.

Saturday 25th July

Ha! The wind which whipped through town and country yesterday has stopped whipping. Non-Gardening Partner (who has been birthday feasting all week) is off skiing. While he's away today I plan to do the following:

Things To Do

Finish the Island Bed.
Rip out all the flattened Iris confusa, shovel in more compost.
Buy plants.
Hee hee - sneaky trips to the cheap local native nursery, and the rose nursery to get some desperately needed rugosas.
Throw out NGP's biggest birthday chocolate mud cake.
He's had THREE huge birthday chocolate cakes, plus donuts and fudge, to chomp his way through this week. Where are all the birthday salads?

Am feeling slightly embarrassed, after admitting to having eight cats (at yet another of NGP's birthday dinners, last night). 'Do they all live inside'? I was asked.

A Cat Hoarder?

Oops. Heard myself blustering a barrowful of excuses, how I had to keep the three foster kittens - they were oh, so difficult to socialise - and of course the two grey cats lived upstairs, so really there were only six... I sounded like a pathological cat hoarder.

Eight Cats - July 2009

I'm a soft touch but I don't think I'm totally cat-silly - just a compulsive rescuer... And I'm jolly well not the only one - friend Riobrazos has a wonderful story to tell in the forum. This morning big, ginger Percy (ex-foster-kitten) snuggled up with little Minimus (my latest rescue, the woodshed kitten) on my lap. I drank my cup of tea (carefully) and watched them. I love them both so much! And both are splendid gardening cats. I'm blessed. So eight cats - that makes eight blessings...

Right. It's just crept up to four degrees (Celsius), the sun is shining, and my dog (who is very kind to all the cats, by the way) is bored. I'm enjoying quietly tapping and writing about nothing, but I'd be better off outside.

Five Hours Later...

I don't seem to have five hours of garden work to show for the time spent outside. It's been one of those funny grasshopper days when I do this, jump to that, and don't actually finish anything (sounds fairly normal). The details are fairly tedious, but still I'll put them on record so I can feel some sense of accomplishment.

 Old trees removed, compost and new shrubs planted.
The Middle of the Island Bed is Cleared

The Island Bed is much improved! I shifted an ailing rose (I think it's a white Iceberg), pulled out loads of the green Iris confusa, sawed down several more Pittosporums, shifted two fraudulent roses called Pimpernel which promised 'straw coloured flowers smothering the bush all season', and never, ever delivered. I planted some rooted Choisya pieces in front of the new Cornus, and spread loads and loads of compost around.

 Always with me in the garden.
Fluff-Fluff Cat in the Driveway

I've been for a wander around the afternoon garden with my camera bleating 'lack of light'. Various cats have followed - Minimus, Percy, Fluff-Fluff and Histeria, whose name has been temporarily changed to 'Pisteria, Pissy for short' after a misdemeanour in a laundry basket full of clean clothes. My dog has had a groovy day barking at the neighbour's tractor (oops). I've had a great day, too.

Chocolate Mud Cake Reprieved

Though (thinking of my unfinished list) it's now too late for any nursery visits, and I've chickened out of binning NGP's BIG chocolate birthday cake - it is reprieved. Seems a bit rude, even if I did give it to him - any bloke worth his salt would notice it was missing.