Cat company...

 Tiger is finding it a challenge to lose weight...
Tiger Cat - You Are Too Fat!

Good Morning to the lovely smoochy Moosey cats, who all love me to bits when the food bowls are empty. Cats - I feed you on the condition that you provide mobile, interesting cat company in the garden. Tiger the cat - how about abandoning the kitchen and getting some fresh air and exercise?

Feel Free to Miaow

Feel free to pop out from underneath a tussock, scoot up a Cordyline trunk, or simply rub in my legs and miaow. Or in the case of little Minimus, squeak. C'mon, Tiger...

Tuesday 4th May

Bad Morning to the nasty, cutty, Pampas grass, lurking on the water's edge by the Hen House. This morning, wearing gauntlets and strong industrial denim, I'm digging you out. I will womanhandle you to the rubbish heap under the Leyland hedge, and plant all my spare Gunnera clumps in your place. In the mud. And if I get muddy, so be it. I am not a squeamish gardener.

Just Joey Rose

And if this is all I do, so be it. There will be bandages and hot coffee standing by. Don't you dare cut my face.

One Hour Later...

I've done it, and not a scratch. There's often a twist in gardening - things I think are a breeze take forever, and things I dread doing are done in no time at all. And I'm hardly even muddy. So much for deep forward planning... The Gunnera has been planted oh so easily, and now I'm off in a puff of smoke (I wish! There's still a fire ban) to play Handel with my flute friend.

Just Joey?

It was rather nice working over near the Hen House Gardens. In contrast with all the beautiful greenery, I kept having to wander past my new anonymous roses, many of which are seriously blooming now. There's one rich apricot beauty which I think just might be Just Joey - I'd appreciate any help on this! Just Joey is a very commonly grown rose in New Zealand gardens.

+10By the way, the only cat company I got was dear Fluff-Fluff, who lolled in the ferns by Rooster Bridge and cried pathetically whenever I trundled past. I do realise that cats don't join in mud-gardening, but one out of seven is a pretty poor showing. Rusty the dog was more interested in chasing fantails around the lawn, and Tiger the tortoiseshell was camped out in the kitchen...

 An annual type of Helichrysum.
Pink Strawflowers

Hurray for Helichrysums

Hurray for my Strawflowers - is that what everybody calls them? They are beautiful, in striking colours, and they seem to keep on blooming forever. This is the very first year I have sown them from seed, and even though the flowers are stiff and look artificial, I don't care. The colours are well worth it!

Wednesday 5th May

I've had a terrible start to the morning. A bird (a starling) was trapped inside the woodburner's fire box, being watched by three fascinated cats. My rescue attempt went horribly wrong - bird flew out, avoided an athletic somersault by ginger Percy, and crashed horribly (fatally) into a window.

Some rescuer, me! I sort of improvised with a bit of gentle bird CPR, but it didn't work. I know nature has its own way, but my way failed badly.

Now I'm not sure what I feel like doing in the garden. Hmm... What's needed is a good cathartic heart-to-heart with my dog. I'll take him for a bicycle ride.

Thursday 6th May

Oh dear. I have been doing a bit too much dancing (don't ask - it's teacher stuff) and my old knees are feeling really strange, so I'm off for a therapeutic swim. And then I will do some leaf raking - a worthy autumn gardening task.

 Off a type of iris.
Autumn Berries

The evenings are now rather nippy - about three degrees Celsius - but still there is no lifting of the fire ban. I have a 'burning desire' (sorry) to start dealing to the mountains of dry rubbish. In fact it is, perversely, the only gardening task I feel like doing. But I could also be raking up the fallen oak and prunus leaves - they go into bags and back onto the garden.