A proper gardening weekend...

 In winter.
Cream Delight Phormium

Having a proper gardening weekend is a dream come true. Aha! I can wander around, do some weeding, and get my fingers dirty again. I'm back (I've got a job for ten days) and it's the first weekend of my June, one of THE winter months. I'm working weekdays 9 to 5 as an election officer in a public library, reading two books a day, stationary at my official desk waiting for voters. It's a strange life, just sitting, daydreaming about the garden...

Saturday 2nd June

This morning in Pond Cottage I did a leaf-and-morning-light check. Yes, it all looks wintry out there. The tree branches are bare (except that silly Liquidamber), and the coloured Phormiums (cream delight varieties, both of them) in the Pond Paddock gardens look absolutely gorgeous. Yippee for New Zealand evergreens, with their generosity of colour and pattern, I say! This is my beloved winter garden look, well and truly.

 So colourful.
Winter Crabapples

Of course the early mornings are a bit cold too, but I'm so tough I hardly notice, hee hee...


Some things are just not meant to be. We called into a big hardware store on the way home from swimming, in case there were bare root roses in plastic bags that needed rescuing. Not a sausage (meaning no roses). So now I'm off to stretch my desk-bound legs and do some serious gardening - the first time in four days. The midday sun is noticeably low in the family rooms of the house, and rather gutless. Quick now - there's little time to lose. Slurps coffee, and gathers up hand tools.

Much, Much Later...

I've been busy and totally absorbed, cleaning up from May's last big trimming session, raking up gum leaves from behind the pond, and burning the dry rubbish. And I've had lots of fun. It doesn't matter that I've only done maintenance - a garden is, after all, a living organic thing. Things never stay the same for long, and nor should they.

Tomorrow I will bag up another lawnful of oak leaves, and I must remember to put holes in the other bags already collected. I am trying again to create proper leaf mould. At work I read a Helen Dillon gardening book where she joked about running at the leaf bags with a sharp garden fork, losing all ones aggression in the process. Hee hee. A bit of gentle prodding is more my style. To lose aggression I'd rather thump some tonally challenged, martially inclined Prokovief on the piano (for example, Sonata No. 7).

Sunday 3rd June

Yippee! Something rather nice to start the second day of winter - the 500th Facebook Mooseys Country Garden 'Liker'. Whatever Facebook isn't, it's brought me some groovy new friends, and has sweetly tickled my ego - just a little, hee hee...

 Still flowering.
Golden Tribute Rose

This morning I have to be serious, because a southerly front (country of origin Antarctica) is arriving for lunch. The park bench in the Pond paddock missed my subtle forest green muster, and needs painting while it's warm enough. And all those leaves need raking up. Right. I'm off. There'll be time enough for journal prattling later...

 Little Mac at 6 months.
Kitten up the Cordyline

Four Hours Later...

I've given the Hen House Garden's wooden garden bench a second coat of lavender paint, and Pond Paddock's bench has gone green like the cottage (apologies to one little green spider). Little Mac the kitten zoomed up and down the Cordyline, keeping safely away from the paint. Phew!

Then I spent ages clearing and trimming in the middle of the Appletree Garden. I grow the big perennials Macleya, Shasta daisies, and Aconitums in here. The Acanthus is self-seeding merrily, but I think I'm OK with this. It only grows in two borders.

And Then...

And then the southerly roared in, the shelter belt trees rattled and groaned, but I kept going. Down went the temperature - I kept going. I planted the replacement Bloomfield Courage rambling rose, plus another, in the Septic Tank Garden.

Finally I've come inside, and (oh dear) I've bought three concrete garden gnomes in an online auction, click, just like that. Honestly! I am hopeless. I should have stayed outside out of trouble.

 The deepest colour in early winter.
Compassion Rose

More bad news for my wallet - Non-Gardening Partner and I have been to check out a store selling bare-root roses cheaply. Claude Monet often (oddly) pops up in in plastic bags in supermarkets and hardware stores. But not this time.

My New Roses

I did, however, rescue the following - two Birthday Present climbers, Papa Meilland, Midnight Blue, two Sharia Asmas, and LD Braithwaite - plus some potting mix for their next home. That's tomorrow's job. And the word 'rescued' has a much nicer ring to it than 'bought'...

Well, at least I returned outside in the cold, fired up the bonfire, and finished my work. And now I'm apres gardening, cooking roast pork (yum), and smiling because I don't have to go to anywhere tomorrow. By the way, I think Little Mac's kitten photos are gorgeous. Such a sweet little cat, with the softest, shiniest fur.

Monday 4th June - Queen's Birthday Celebration Day

Here's a sensible plan. Dig out and pot up all half-hardy daisies and pelargoniums, before the first real frost strikes (forecast for later this week). Trim, and line pots up in the glass-house. Think ahead, be organised, and be proud!

Later - what a legend. I cleaned up around Rusty's dog kennel, planted another miniature Agapanthus clump, dug out Potato vine seedlings, and raked out loads of gum leaves.

Rusty in His Kennel :
His kennel has a covered sleeping place and a smallish run, enough to stretch his legs.

I fixed up his pots - now Rusty has a cream delight Phormium by his entrance. I potted my roses, and some native Olearias. I lifted all my white daisies and put them, trimmed, in the glasshouse. Then my bonfire lit itself while Non-Gardening Partner shredded the willow branches (silly to burn wet wood). I went into the water race to retrieve another willow tree log and start folding the dying Gunnera leaves over the crowns. Brr... Cold toes.

A warm house, eighteen days until the winter solstice, home-made pizza, home-made wine (diluted with juice), well-fed smoochy cats, the loveliest Non-Gardening Partner in the gardening world (but he doesn't know about my latest gnome purchase), and a brilliant day to reflect back on. The best joys are the simplest. Tomorrow I go back to my 9 to 5 job at the public library - just four more days.