I love Twitter...

 Still flowering. Silly rose.
John Clare Rose

Hee hee. I love Twitter. I'm now following a Canadian 'tour operator, travel writer, and master gardener' who posts pictures of the gardens her group visits. I'm in Turkey at the moment, flickering along behind her, a shadow in the summer sun. Nice!

Thursday 21st June

My goodness, this winter gardener gets around! Only yesterday I was TV couch-cycling in the Rhone Alps, with beautiful sunshine and summer greenery. Actually I have more couch-cycling days in France coming up soon - le Tour is starting, and I'll be there (in my imagination, on my TV couch).


Brr.... Back to the depths of winter, one of the shortest days (I think it shares this honour with tomorrow), and another afternoon of my great winter clean-up. I wasn't going to have a bonfire, honestly I wasn't. I cut back some huge Calamagrostis grasses, dug out a Phormium tenax behind the Stables, and trimmed the Lemonwoods to give other shrubs more room. Then I remembered a pile of gum branches still lurking on the front house lawn. And so the ingredients of my bonfire cocktail assembled themselves, and it seemed silly not to combine and combust. These damp-day winter bonfires take ages, though, and one is forever poking and feeding the flames.

 I think this is right.
Aucuba japinoca

Silly Thought...

But I did have the silliest of silly thoughts. Wouldn't it be dreadful if a gardener's winter was only, say, two or three weeks long. I'd never get the garden cleaned up in time. Phew!

In honour of the winter solstice I've tried to take some colourful garden photographs that are not just green. Hmm... There's not so much brightness out there, but I love all the leaf shapes and colours at this time of the year.

Friday 22nd June

I slept like a log through the winter solstice night, which was frosty enough for Minimus the cottage cat to stay curled up inside. Phew - no forays out the window to bring back trophy mice. Cottage confessions: I'm now reading Enid Blyton's Secret Seven books - clubhouses, passwords, club badges, torches... Back to childhood I go yet again. But I only do it in books (I haven't filled the spare bedroom with teddy bears in home-made clothes just yet). Hee hee...

 Looking a bit watery!
Pink Winter Rosebud

Continuing the Winter Clean-Up

Now let my winter clean-up continue - digging out and/or trimming more Phormiums, and trimming shrub branches broken in the snow (I keep finding small casualties). And all the ferns around the house are sprawling, soggy and brown. Best I trim them before the new fronds start to grow.

Not Moaning

Everything in my garden is soggy. Not a problem, though. I'm not moaning about it. Really, I'm not. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm moaning. I'd never moan about working six cold hours a day in a damp, slimy, gloomy winter garden, now, would I?

Much, Much Later...

This, the second of the shortest days, has been a real gardening success. I have just outlined to Rusty the dog how good we've both been today - apart from having a filthy nose from burying two bones (Rusty, not me).


The log-burner is going, I am clean and warm in my new apres-gardening woolly jersey, and I'm watching the little birds on the patio fluttering all over their feeding bowls as the daylight fades. Snacks du jour include apple and pineapple pieces, crusty ciabatta with olive oil spread, as well as a seed ball filled with fat. I hope I am truly feeding hundreds, not just a greedy handful, all of whom will become obese, with their cholesterol levels hitting the roof.

 This is supposed to be shaped like a fountain.
Flattened Phormium

Can I quickly detail today's bonfire? I cut down two Phormium tenaxes which were almost blocking the driveway. Another which I wanted to keep (possibly the hybrid Yellow Wave) is in pieces in a pot of potting mix.

 The leaves can't be composted or shredded.
Phormium Bonfire

Burning Details

I dug out several old Anemanthele grasses, and trimmed the huge Miscanthus by Willow Bridge. Another Phormium came out, this one by the Frisbee Lawn archway. It had almost completely lost its red stripes, reverting to dull olive-green drab. I found yet more gum tree branches, and I raked up gum leaves.

And pouff! Up it all went, with the odd dried Gunnera leaf to stabilise the slippery flax leaves. I still haven't dealt to the wine-red Phormium by the water. Oops.

And I am really, really, personally happy (?) because Non-Gardening Partner (away all week) is coming home tonight. I hope he notices all the great garden cleaning-up I've done...