Eek! It's June! It's winter! The shortest gardening day is in a few weeks' time, and I haven't finished raking up all the autumn leaf fall from the lawns. Winter leaves? I don't think so. They need to turn themselves into winter mulch.
Tuesday 1st June
Today I'm going swimming. I'm practising the piano (Bach, Poulenc, Brahms, and Quantz - the cutest flute composer). I'll have another bonfire with the dry rubbish in the Hump, and add in some trimmings from perennials and prunings from shrubs. Maybe I'll totally clean up the far fence-line by the Agapanthus.
Oranges and Lemons Rose Petals
It's still coldish and damp - this is thermal underwear weather. No point in wearing anything that cools when wet, or can't easily be washed (i.e. de-mudded). Non gardeners would probably reach for their rain jackets, woolly jerseys, etc., but a hard working winter gardener warms herself up by body heat. When things get a little nippy she can saw off some more of the lower dead pine tree branches to get warmer. Aargh!
Good Morning to June
Good morning to June, birthday month of the two Gemini Moosey sons, and arrival month (hopefully) of the new Moosey Garden Shed and more of my friend's relocating Agapanthus. The short summer holiday, too, as Non-Gardening Partner and I fly north for a couple of weeks. Right. It's time for gardening. Off comes my silly owl woolly jersey and on go my long-johns and thermal top. Visitors would get a bit of a shock seeing me in either, I regret to say!
Nearly Three hours Later...
Rusty the dog and I have plodded back and forth from the Hump to the bonfire - so many times - with my trusty green wheelbarrow. But for my last two loads I did a perennials trim (shaggy Shasta daisies and deep pink asters) underneath the Elm Tree. It's too early to prune the hydrangeas, and anyway some are still trying to flower. Then I wandered off behind the pond to pick up gum bark. Sorry about the boring details.
- The Hump :
- You might like to visit the Hump and see photographs of the area that has been properly gardened.
I could have (should have) worked for another two hours. But that's OK. My great clean-up in the Hump is making wonderful progress. I have never, ever worked on this piece of land before, so the rubbish I'm uncovering is total proof that gum tree mess does not decompose. It's had more than twenty years to do the business!
Wednesday 2nd June
Oh dear - June is already misbehaving. It's raining and drizzling again, and I'm supposed to be spending the day hiking. Or gardening, if I choose to stay at home. But what to do? I could go for a swim, and while I'm wet I can think about getting wet. Makes sense...
Head Gardener's Owl Jersey
Thursday 3rd June
Yesterday, right at the last moment, I changed my mind (and my clothes), grabbed my boots and pack and went hiking in the rain. The walk was only about three and a half hours long, through wetlands and over open hilly farm land to a rough little beach for lunch. Brr... Too wet to stop and linger - keep moving or get cold. Funny round boulder-stones sat the beach and a few delighted fantails swooped around us (humans stir up insects, which are eaten on the wing). I'm so glad I went - I felt humbled by the mixture of bleak scenery, bad weather, and good spirits.
Today will be far less extreme - it should contain swimming, shopping, burning, and piano playing. My cats will adore me (fresh pet meat), my dog will be excited (gardening - yippee!), and I will make more progress in the Hump, transforming a mess of broken trees into a serene, secret wandering place. Later this afternoon I can relax with some Brahms piano practice (his third violin sonata played non-stop in my head all day yesterday) Ha! Now I'm inspired! I'm also a bit mad?
Oops - I didn't get into the garden, but I did do everything else (the Moosey fridge is a gourmet's delight). The Brahms remains a work in progress. The more I play it the more up-to-speed I get, and thus the percentage of stutters and crashes remains the same. But I must congratulate June for providing a half-decent blue sky. Good work - now please let's have the same for tomorrow, and I promise to garden all day.
Friday 4th June - The First Frost
Well, well, well. A frosty good morning to the dog and my cats - particularly Percy, on my lap, snuggled up against my woolly owl jersey (see the above picture). And good morning to the blue sky breaking through the trees, and the Moosey Garden. The first frost! How inevitably the seasons slip and slide into each other (for a temperate gardener such as myself, that is).
Liquid Amber and Berberis
I've just crunched over the back lawn with Rusty the dog to get firewood. Since the log burner has been going at nights a lot of good path edging logs have been uncovered - they're the 'right' diameter, the correct shape (cylindrical, no wiggles) and the right weight. I'll bet you never thought that choosing wood for a path edge was so precise...
Cream Delight Winter Phormium
So the plan is simple - stay warm inside for a couple of hours playing the piano, then zoom out into the sun, lay some more paths in the Hump, clear rubbish, and burn. I can offer myself a couple of distractions - some cheap bare-root roses at a big local hardware store, and a huge nursery gift voucher which still has not been spent. Hee hee...
Good on me. I love building networks of path - it must appeal to my orderly mind? And the trees in the Hump look lovely when their trunks can be seen in silhouette. The old mess is easily cleaned up, if I just do a little a day. I wonder why I've left it alone for sixteen years? The afternoon was so sunny and beautiful I was loathe to spoil it with smoke. So I burnt my huge bonfire (eight loads of rubbish) at dusk, after a coffee and a peep at a new book I'm going to read.
Now this is terribly serious stuff - my book is scary and may put me totally off gardening for life. It's called 'Feral Future' - the blurb claims that gardening in Australia is damaging the environment more than mining - aargh! Australian plants and organisms are fast invading the rest of the world - aargh again! What about all those gum tree leaves I'm about to burn? And we do always blame Australian blowflies for any sheep-strike... Hmm... A sobering book, which is quite likely to drive me to wine and America's Next Top model...
- I found Minimus in my woodshed over a year ago - a tiny, wild, starving grey kitten.
But, before I become unintelligible, and thinking of that word 'feral', sincere thanks to today's brilliant gardening cat, little Minimus - living proof that a feral kitten can be socialised and become the most loving, person-centred gardening cat in the whole world. Mind you, I can't really be seen to show favouritism, and big Fluff-Fluff (another rescued wild kitten) is pretty useful most days...