Random cats...

 My Stables cat.
Lilli-Puss Cat on a Post

My cats are so random! They loll inside in the warm house for days, and suddenly, for no reason, they are prepared to follow me to the ends of the earth - in other words, out into the cold winter garden. And they seem to have a cat-company roster organised. I must update their Most Valuable Pet Competition points...

Saturday 23rd June

Aargh! Minimus with a sadly slow mouse (and a roaring wind in the night) gave me lots of quality awake-time to plan my garden day. I won't be bonfiring (phew) - instead I'll keep working my way down the water race sorting out the Phormiums. I haven't had a good flax clean-up like this for ages. Actually with the gusty nor-west wind temperatures are quite balmy.

Much Later...

+10+10I've had the oddest cat-company - namely my two grey cats, Lilli-Puss from the Stables and young Minimus from the cottage, two well-camouflaged garden lurkers. They've been doing a cautious version of the 'Anything You Can Do, I can Do Better' song. One sits on top of a post, then jumps off, so the other sits on top of the post - that sort of thing.

Cleaning Up Phormiums Again

Surprise - I've been busy cleaning up Phormiums again. But I've also helped Non-Gardening Partner with the chain-sawing. I've been working for hours, with little to show for myself. But I know, deep down inside, that my garden has improved. Oh yes, it has. Today two large waterside Phormium tenaxes were seriously chopped, courtesy of my kitchen steak knife, the most perfect flax cutting tool. They will sprout again quite quickly.

My Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden clean-up has gone well. Very few of the rhododendrons had broken branches. Hebes and New Zealand Myrtles which should have been trimmed at least five years ago are now modest in size. A deadly dull Pittosporum got the chop. A Jester Phormium came out (its coloured stripes had reverted), as did a large dull wine coloured tenax species (liberating some hostas and spring bulbs). I pruned my first roses (bright pink Icebergs), though it's possibly a little early, and some are still bravely flowering.

Shift That Tree!

I've remembered I'm shifting the Wedding Cake tree, which I'll do tomorrow. Poor thing - I've never seen it flower in spring, stuck in the border with flax leaves flopping all over it. I hope I don't kill it. Aargh! I hope it isn't already dead!

 She loves me!
Head Gardener with Lilli the Cat

Tonight there's the rugby - the final test match between New Zealand's All Blacks and Ireland. But first, a quick trip to get hamburgers - the perfect reward for a hard-working Head Gardener and her NGP.

 In his winter colours.
Big Fluff-Fluff the Cat

Sunday 24th June

Yes! I am inside, apres-gardening, with warm feet, warm clothes, and a big smile on my clean face. Non-Gardening Partner did some more chain-sawing for me, namely taking down a couple of huge limbs of the Wattle tree by the hen house. And he didn't complain or say things like 'Oh, I rather liked that tree.' He helped me shovel wet ash from the bonfire, and he helped me, later, with my bonfire. He has been most attentive...

I've worked for six hours, keeping warm by moving busily around the garden. I've dealt to more Phormiums - the big wine-red one by the water is trimmed and will be left to resprout, while another Jester (reverting, like the others, to plain dull green) has been dug out. I've trimmed another huge Miscanthus grass, and burnt the bits. My bonfire at the end of the day has been a sizzling mixture of gum tree branches (I seem to have a never-ending supply), dried Gunnera leaves, and as many Phormium leaves as the fire can take without going out.


Cats du jour have been Little Mac the kitten (in the morning) and big Fluff-Fluff, yet again (taking the afternoon shift). He's with me so much I forget to mention him. Time to give thanks for another glorious winter's day, calm and still, with the weak winter sun doing its best in a bright blue sky.

 Lurking in the iris japonica.
Minimus Cat in the Greenery

Monday 25th June

All I've done today is bag up soggy oak leaves from the Pond Paddock. I have about two dozen big black plastic rubbish bags full. They have been poked with holes, and I am expecting bags of leaf mould - next spring? Maybe the spring after? I hope it works for me this time. Then I read my new Fine Gardening magazine in the sun, and it inspired me to sort out some seeds of blue Salvia horminum and Nicotiana langsdorffii. This really has been a lean, pale pastel, mooching sort of a day.

Rusty the Dog :
My Most Valuable Pet Competition has been running for years and years. Vote for your favourite pet!

I've done some serious updates on the Most Valuable Pet Competition, which the kitten Little Mac isn't a part of just yet. Rusty the dog had heaps of points missing, so did Lilli-Puss, and dear, faithful Fluff-Fluff had been completely taken for granted for months. Anyone surprised by the sudden rearrangement of candidates (Rusty has taken the lead) can be confident that every point has been thoroughly deserved. Everyone who gardens with animals is a winner - I wouldn't be without mine.