A new month - oh dear!

 She still looks a bit bug-eyed - and out of focus. Sorry about that.
Little Mac the Kitten

Oh dear! It's the beginning of July. As usual, the new month sneaks in unannounced, then immediately demands a seriously new set of gardening goals. Except I'm supposed to be a free gardening spirit, above that sort of thing...

Sunday 1st July

Escher the big brown dog has been here for a sleep-over, and he loves galloping through the garden. What a good dog - he stays on the garden paths. OK, I know his nose is following scents, rather than his mind being garden-disciplined. In the house Little Mac the kitten is completely unafraid by this spangly brown dog, but the older cats are quite put out.

Fluff-Fluff :
Silly Fluff-Fluff! When he gets his mind on something he just digs in for the duration. And he knows there's cat food in the cottage.

Tiger the tortoiseshell has been 'hiding' in the grand piano (she's better not have been pee-ing in there). Big Fluff-Fluff got the sulks with a strange dog in the house and camped overnight on the verandah of Pond Cottage. There he was, staring in the window, when I went to sleep - and still there when I woke up in the morning. Aargh! No privacy!

Much Later...

Escher, the big brown non-country dog has 'survived' the following natural hazards:

Or, more accurately, his dog-sitter (me) has survived. Escher has had a wonderful, carefree day, no worries, while I've been acutely aware of all the nasty things that could have happened (but didn't). Meanwhile Non-Gardening Partner has chain-sawed the old Wattle tree down, and I've dragged most of the small stuff over to the bonfire. Surprise - I've trimmed another Phormium, and dug out two others, flat and broken. And I've made a start on pruning the roses.

 Blooming in the middle of winter.
Othello Rose


Brr - it's been cold all day. The pond was half iced over first thing this morning, then by mid-day Rusty the dog was happily leaping into the water to retrieve his tennis ball. Both dogs have been sloshing through the water race, not seeming to notice how cold that water (snow-melt from the mountains) is.

I actually enjoyed my bonfire today. NGP helped me at the end - this always revives my spirits. Thanks, July, your first gardening day has been most successful. Not grumbling, but wouldn't mind some winter sunshine tomorrow...

Monday 2nd July

I've 'sort of' had the day off from the garden. No, to be honest I've had the day completely off. But I did go to the Ecoshop where I bought a couple of great recycled terracotta pots, plus three large plastic ones suitable for single tomatoes. And I've taken a few colourful photographs - silly Othello has one rose flower blooming (just one).

And another quasi-gardening thing - I'm picking up three garden gnomes tonight before choir practice. One is a brother to Laurie, the book-reading gnome who came to live by my pond in 2009. Yes, I do keep records of their names and arrival dates. Sad, isn't it?

 Off we go...
Gnomes in Wheelbarrow

Tuesday 3rd July

OK, Ms Moosey, lazy sausage (?)... Today is THE perfect day to have off as far as the garden goes, because it's drizzling. But you decided to mooch around yesterday (a dry day, if cold) buying gnomes and knitted hot water bottle covers (from the Charity Shop, though, therefore donating to a good cause).

Anyway, this morning I have chamber music, and I might just have time for a bit of a preparatory couch-cycle in France with my cup of coffee. Oh yes, it's that time of year when I join Le Tour, watching the last four hours of every stage on the TV. If it gets too tedious I fast-forward and twice the speed. Some people!

The garden seemed really winter-brown walking over to the house this morning from the cottage. It's not unpleasant, but all the borders seem to have sunk down the colour scale. The coloured hybrid Cream Delight Phormiums look amazing on the edge of the Pond Paddock, though. It's well worth planting them edgily, even though they then need constant trimming (as required by the lawn mower).

 Colour! Even if it's green and cream...
Cream Delight Phormiums in Winter

OK. Action! My cycling can wait - I'm going to paint some garden gnomes. As one does, on a drizzly morning, before playing spiritually uplifting Bach and Vivaldi sonatas with one's flautist.


Four new gnomes painted, lots of lovely music played, and now a hot coffee and some web-gardening. Life, even on a drizzly winter day, is good.

Wednesday 4th July

Aargh! Another lazy sausage day, but at least I've been out of the house buying some more recycled gnome paint - brown for tree trunks, flesh for faces, and forest green for clothes. This is my third non-gardening day in a row, and I am really missing the great outdoors.

 Count the red hats...
Gnomes By the Pond

But it's totally wet and relentlessly dripping out there and I don't fancy cleaning out the glass-house. What else is there to do on a wet winter's day? Take photographs of puddles? Take the new gnomes over to the pond? Hmm...

Thursday 5th July

Humph - I have a heavy head-cold, and it's tempting to go back to bed for the morning - then I could decide in comfort how sick I am (in other words, how much moaning I'm allowed to do). It's still wet and drizzly outside - that's three days in a row! C'mon, weather, sort yourself out, and cheer up this semi-grumpy, sniffy garden journal writer. I'd feel better if I could be outside doing something in the garden.

Late Lunchtime...

Two exciting things have happened. First of all, I've been gardening in the rain for a couple of dripping hours. I've been pulling out daisies and pelargoniums and popping them into pots, and doing a lot of soggy weeding along the side of the house. I feel so much better! But the dripping (nose, fringe, back of neck) got wetter and worse, so I've quit while ahead.

Villers Abbey :
I loved the short time I spent touring in Belgium. Aaah - must go back again, soon.

The second involves my TV couch-cycling on le Tour. I am a couple of days behind the blokes, still cycling through Belgium, and just now, in a helicopter, I flew over a place that I recognised. Not from the name, but the shapes of the buildings. What a small world! I checked my journal. It's the Abbaye de Villers, which I visited in 2006 on my Grand World Tour. Wow. I can't explain why this is so exciting (obsessive southern hemisphere gardeners don't get out much, obviously).