Making better progress than last year...

My winter garden clean-up continues. I'm sure I'm making better progress than usual this year, and I'm definitely remembering to do more of the little things. Ooooh - how sweet the optimistic anticipation of garden improvements...

 With a tall Cordyline, in the winter sun.
Eucalyptus Tree

Tuesday 26th June

But standards still have to be kept up, and I have to keep striding forwards. This morning after Chamber music I had the following conversation with myself.

Moosey 1: What do you want to accomplish before the end of June?
Moosey 2: Who, me?
Moosey 1: Yes, you. Call yourself a four-seasons gardener, and you're floating around wafting the rake at things and dreaming about summer.
Moosey 2: Oops...
Moosey 1: And you refuse to do all the things on your mental list.
Moosey 2: What list?
Moosey 1: The list you refuse to write down, in case it shames you.

OK. If I had written that list down for today it would have contained three items - a nice, manageable number, with good variety. They would have been as follows: cut down the Wattle tree branches with extended-handle saw, divide and pot up Anthemis, and shift the Wedding Day Viburnum shrub. Sadly, I would have accomplished just half of the first item...

 You can see the Wattle stump, with one branch going off to the left.
The Hen House Gardens

I'm Too Short!

I've done my best with the trashed Wattle trees in the Hen House Gardens. But I am too short, the rest of the broken branches are too high, and my saw is too wobbly on full extension (blames tools, naturally). So instead I did some serious cleaning up underneath the trees, and I'm really pleased with the results. This really is the sweetest greenery-filled garden border, with leaves of every possible shape and size.

I've trimmed Hebes, Phormiums, and Pittosporums, removed gum leaves from the ground, and raked the paths. I should possibly divide and replant the Renga Renga (rock lilies), but I need to start and finish this task on the same day. That could go on my theoretical list, putting it up to four items (item one now involves balancing on a step-ladder to do the sawing). Hmm...

Wednesday 27th June

Sometimes it's better (and safer) to fail, if 'it' involves sawing really high tree branches perched on a wobbly step-ladder. Never mind. Rather than feel small and sulky I've sawed down a smaller Pittosporum, dug out a Phormium tenax, and trimmed (rather than divide) all the Rock lilies edging the Hen House paths. If it wasn't such a nice winter-sunny day (see this page's first photograph for proof) I'd be burning. I'll do that last thing today when the sun goes down.

I Love Agapanthus

The interior of the Hen House Gardens is getting a proper tidy-up. I've found some Agapanthus (I love this plant, particularly sheltered underneath trees so it doesn't look disgraceful in the frost). It's going in Henworld, out of which I've dug scruffy tussocks and grasses to make space. There are a lot of gum leaves on the surfaces of the gardens - these I'm raking and carting off to the bonfire. OK, I haven't sawn down the Wattle tree, but I did my best. I'm never usually too short to do things, so self-esteem is undiminished.

Helen Dillon's Book :
I've written a short review of Helen Dillon's Garden Book.

Guess what? I'm allowed to go to the nursery and buy some tulips. I hope I haven't left this too late. I saw pictures of red tulips in terracotta pots in Helen Dillon's Garden Book, and now I want some.

No more tulips are going to be wasted by being planted into the garden (they just disappear on me). Other gardeners have probably been doing this for years. Hmm...

 Colourful in the winter garden.
Lavender Bench

Much Later...

Of course it is too late to buy tulips - silly me. Instead I bought three different colours of hyacinth (seven of each), and I've already put them into pots. It's been the busiest of days - and I even divided up that Anthemis. I did so many other little things, none of which would ever get on a serious list. And I bought a new coloured Phormium (flax) from the nursery, called 'Firebird'. It's a stiff spiky one with warm red, pink, and green stripes.

The last two hours of daylight were spent at the bonfire - I've raked the Pond Paddock properly now, and have made a start on the paths behind the cottage. While I watched, a large branch of a Eucalyptus crashed halfway down its tree (it had obviously broken off in the snow). A bit scary - and it makes me wonder if I should wear a hard hat underneath the big trees. My goodness I would look professional, if a visitor should appear. I already clump around in winter in fairly substantial boots...

Big Things and Tiny Things

Successful winter gardening operates on two totally different scales at once. There's the big - whole borders to sweep through, whole areas to tidy up. And then the tiny - little plants to rescue and pot up, small things to trim back (before they get big), and so on. It's really rather nice. One tends only to put the big things on a list...

 Still trying to flower.
Pink Flower Carpet Roses

Thursday 28th June

It's a day for discovery. Apart from the dodgy fat-laden energy food I feed my birds, they loooooooove pineapple. There's a pecking frenzy going on now around a suspended bowl of pineapple pieces, watched by Little Mac the kitten and Tiger, my senior cat (both safely visible at ground level). But it's no fun for felines when they can't sneak up on the birdies, but let's face it - Little Mac the black and white kitten couldn't sneak up on anything without being seen.

 Rusty on the path behind the pond.
Reflective Dog


Ouch - yesterday's leaf-raking and tree-sawing have left their imprints on the ageing shoulders. But I've been swimming, on the 'use it a little anyway' principle, and now I'm off into the garden. What to do first? I think I might just float around and see what I find needs doing. Big Fluff-Fluff the cat, my ever faithful companion, is sitting by my side, ready to go. No point in asking him what he'd like to do - he just purrs louder and dribbles.


No gardening has been done, because my friend arrived with some punnets of polyanthus plants - goodie! They can go in my empty, tulipless terracotta pots. So we sat on the patio drinking coffee and watching the birds feeding, while my dog chased all the aeroplanes away and that sneaky sun sunk lower and lower. Oh well. I took Rusty for a garden walk and then retreated inside, out of the chilly wind.

Time to listen to Brahms and reflect on a stack of groovy purchases from the Charity shop, which included four cat coffee mugs and two gorgeous light, woolly apres-gardening jerseys (wearing one now, despite lack of gardening). And a stack of 10 cent books: the Readers' Digest Guide to Gardening, Dervla Murphy's 'Balkan Journeys', Michael Palin's 'New Europe', Sir Edmund Hillary's autobiography, and more. What wonderful bargains!

Quiet thought - can a gardener have too many apres-gardening winter woolly jerseys? Strictly speaking one only goes apres-gardening once a day, and winter lasts for about three months. Hee hee...