Flower colours come in tiny packages...

 So pretty.
WInter Rosemary Flowers

Getting home mid-afternoon after a day-hike in the hills is tricky - should a good keen gardener leap straight into the garden to get a couple of solid hours in before it gets dark? What about tired legs etc.? Compromise and just wheel some bags of horse manure around?

Wednesday 18th July

Oops... Tired legs won, so I went for a slow garden wander with my camera and dog instead. Flower colours come in tiny packages at this time of the year - like Rosemary, whose beautiful blue flowers are hard to spot. I found a few lone narcissi blooming early, and I adore all my little Polyanthus plants - they have such delightfully photogenic flowers. I had much fun pointing and clicking.

A few medium sized tree branches in the wilderness area behind the pond have fallen down, and there's a lot of surface gum bark and rubbish to clean up. I've decided this can be my area of garden maintenance for tomorrow. The big Phormiums can do with a tidy-up, too. Pats self on back - my mass plantings of species Agapanthus in here look wonderful. Because of the tree shelter there's been no scruffy frost damage, and they look neat and beautifully green. It's nice when an idea involving free plants works out so well. Phew!

 Fluff-Fluff likes to be comfortable.
Cat Watching the Birds

Thursday 19th July

Right. I have five good daylight hours in which to make some sort of difference. Sitting by the patio table with my cats watching the birds feeding is uplifting, but the garden awaits. Just as well, though, for one little wax-eye has just fluttered inside the house (probably too full of food to notice). Three cats were prepared to pounce (Little Mac the kitten is my keenest prey catcher), but I beat them to it. Lucky little birdie!


I've come inside for a fortifying cup of coffee before I fire up the bonfire of the day. The Wilderness is a rather nice are to work in - especially with all the self-sown Pittosporums and the large Phormiums, their form and scale contrasting so beautifully. The Wilderness path now finishes with a definite full-stop (and a seat) underneath the Chestnut tree, and I'm going to shift another Phormium in to block any thoughts of formally venturing further. I've sawn down and dragged out all the pine branches that I can get to, and raked up loads of dry rubbish.

 In the warm winter light.
Phormium in Shell Pot

I love greenery. Silly thing to say, but in winter one can get rather besotted with flower colour (or its absence). Green is nature's most beautiful colour, but because there are so many evergreens in parts of my garden sometimes I can't see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

 Pretty thing!
Pink Polyanthus

Friday 20th July

My morning is running nicely late, after a ragged sleep with noisy choir songs filling my head (thanks to a spirited rehearsal yesterday evening). So I slouched in bed for an extra hour, and now, as the outside warms up with the sun, I'm breakfasting slowly to Brahms's second piano concerto. No singing allowed.

Today's plan is to continue working in the Wilderness, clearing a bit more rubbish, checking for broken branches, and maybe planting a few more evergreen natives in the gaps. Memo to self - I do need to plant Pittosporums on the fence-line to screen out the distant neighbours.

I don't want them, for example, to borrow the view of my pond. It's mine. Mine! Mine to share with the garden gnomes. Aargh! I certainly don't want anyone else borrowing views of my gnomes.

Nigel Gnome :
Nigel is one of the sweetest gnomes I have - doesn't he look kind?

Actually, there might also be some gnome face painting today. I now have several proper flesh coloured paints, and some of the finest (ahem, cheapest) brushes. I'm going to try and do some decent eyes. A gaggle of white-faced gnomes are just outside the door on the decking, waiting patiently...

Much Later...

So sorry chaps, but I have gone apres-gardening, and that disallows any gnomish activities. But I am allowed to write up the exploits of my gardening day, which has been brilliant and wonderful. Non-Gardening Partner reckons all my gardening days are thus, but that's not true. I can be quite slothful. I wonder - is the sin of 'sloth' is named after the animal, or vice versa? This may be as deep as the chicken and the egg...

 Also called silver-eyes.
Wax-Eye Birds Feeding

So Pleased...

I'm so pleased with my day. At lunchtime I sat at the patio table with my book, my camera, and three drooling cats. We all watched the little wax-eyes feeding (safely), and I took lots and lots of photographs. At least I am not feeding the local vermin, like my neighbour, embarrassed to see a large brown rat swinging happily on his bird feeder, and not a birdie in sight... Eek! I don't really like rats - either in the garden, or in the house (thanks sooooo much, ginger Percy, Supreme Moosey Rat-Catcher, for keeping me well supplied with rat-experiences).

Then I planted two of the informal, bigger new roses (Tea Clipper and Strawberry Hill) behind the pond, after swishing the axe to remove some Phormium tenax roots. I cleared out a pile of Phormium leaves dumped underneath the nearby gum trees, and also removed about eight barrowfuls of dry rubbish. I sawed down some annoying tree branches, pruned the Ballerina roses by the pond, and gave the house-side archway rose, name unknown, the most serious of trims (several of its heavy branches were cracked anyway).

I lit my bonfire, and zoomed around in the gloom gathering up appropriate messes from piles in the Hen-House Gardens (mainly Phormium leaves and grasses, cleaned up a few days ago). I can't burn these successfully without armfuls of more flammable stuff. My bonfires are like lasagnes, with layers of this and that. But it's a good feeling to be immediately rid of rose prunings. Pouff! It took an hour to burn everything, by which time it was too dark to see.

 The water level is right down again.
Stone Walls by the Water Race

Isn't it silly that such a mundane set of achievements is called 'brilliant and wonderful' by this gushing gardener? What I've written all sounds rather like tedious physical labour. Hmm... One woman gardener's personal (if foggy) idea of the happiest of days...