Miss December?

 Shy and retiring!
Head Gardener - Miss December

Here I am, Miss December, your shy Gardener of the Month. Nothing glamorous or remotely saucy, I'm afraid. I'll be appropriately dressed (in blue gardening shirt and long denim shorts) for some good garden maintenance. Though as a summer month December could well hot it up a bit!

Sunday 2nd December

So far this month (two days!) I've completed the following:

Both my river pumps are working again, so I've cleared the little wriggling stream they pump water into. I've weeded, cleaned out general muck, and stopped the water dribbling out the edges. I have also managed to lose my bright red gardening scissors amidst the greenery. But hey! That's my first December loss, and I guess it won't be my last.

I've weeded the borders in the Hump. These are semi-wilderness areas, messy underfoot. A plant or shrub (like a Pittosporum) with the nerve to self-sow in the Hump stays, as a matter of principle. It's a dry, inhospitable area, surrounded by huge pine and gum trees. I found lots more forget-me-nots to pull out, which was fun. Fun? Hmm...

+5 +5The biggest and the smallest of my cats (Fluff-Fluff and Little Mac) have kept me company each day. These two, mismatched in size and demeanour, are the best of friends. They flop on the lawn to air their tummies, then the little one pounces on the big one, and a rather unbalanced cat-wrestling match ensues. But this is far too hot an activity for a summer's day, so they move apart and reflop.

 Doing very well this summer.
Jacqueline du Pre Rose

The Christmas Jigsaw!

And now, to celebrate December and the proper start of summer, I am going to start the Christmas jigsaw. The picture is a scene in rural France with an old castle, old red roses, daisies, and lots of long scruffy grass. Nice - it's not my grass!

There's cricket to listen to (Australia are playing South Africa) - and it's mid-day and too hot to garden. Yippee! Some more sure summer indicators.

Tuesday 4th December

Oooh. Yet more signs of summer! The Iceberg roses are blooming - they'll lead me gently through the December weeks with their cool white flowers. Christmas Day is traditionally their dead-heading day. Other roses which sometimes disappoint (like the delicate Jacqueline du Pres) are blooming beautiful this year.

I Love English Roses!

My new David Austin roses are starting to flower too - prepare for much 'oohing' and 'aahing' as those gorgeous strong reds present themselves underneath the equally strong summer sun. I'm also very pleased with my older, established English roses. Yellow Graham Thomas is gorgeous, as he always is. William Shakespeare is enjoying a garden pas-de-deux with the new red Darcey Bussell, named after a retired ballerina). These two roses are subtly different - as one would expect from a bard and a dancer.

 So eloquent!
WIlliam Shakespeare Rose

The garden has definitely moved on from spring, because I've started trimming all the Aquilegias (so many of them). I cut their leaves as well, forcing them (poor things!) to grow fresh new lacy green foliage for me.

 The water race is hidden below the giant leaves.

Watery Weeding

And I've started some watery weeding, standing in the water race. The water is never warm, but it's so refreshing. And Rusty the dog loves to 'help'. Yesterday I cleaned up the banks downstream of Middle Bridge, and today I'm going to start right up the other end. Sloshing up and down the knee-high water weeding the semi-shaded sloping banks is another traditional summer treat (if any form of weeding can be so described).

Summer, of course, means watering. Extra watering - buckets on the new roses (some of my striped ones are still sulking a bit), the little hoses on in the daytime (the Shrubbery always dries out at this time of the year), the big whooshy irrigation on at night. I feel as if I'm on holiday (which is daft, because I've been happily retired for a few years now). Lovely summer, please be kind to my garden.