I need some chain-sawing done - now!

 She loves doing this.
Silly Minimus Cat!

Weekends and Non-Gardening Partner! I put on my sweetest voice (the molasses and honey one, topped with real Canadian maple syrup). When would NGP like to chain-saw down the fallen pine tree in the Wilderness? Suddenly he urgently needs to paint the spare room. Hmm...

Saturday 21st July

Sure, it needs painting, but is a-mess with spare clothes and bedding put there by me. OK. I can stash everything into the wardrobe in a jiffy, and provide copious drop sheets. And, if I was less digitally scared (piano playing etc.) and had stronger arms, I could then learn how to do my own chain-sawing. Could I? Nope, I don't want to. Blast!


Success! It must have been the maple syrup, for NGP has co-operated without moaning - the fallen pine tree branch is down and sawn into logs. It had crashed onto a Pittosporum, which was easy to prune, while the Oak and the Chestnut, providing cradles of bendy branches, were unscathed. Lilli-Puss my eccentric grey cat has been in the Wilderness supervising, keeping a wary eye out for young Minimus (who has been lurking on the pond decking, and is not to be trusted).

 Love those fairy-lights!
Pond Cottage at Dusk

I've had a major bonfire, in an attempt to burn all the remaining Phormium leaves, using the ratio of one barrowful of dry mess per armful of flax pieces. That, too, has been a success. And NGP has taken another photograph of the cottage, in fading light. Oooh - it's a magical wee place.

Sunday 22nd July

It's Non-Gardening Partner's birthday today, so he is excused all gardening duties. Happy B-Day, NGP. May your year sparkle with fairy-lights, may the winds of change lightly tickle your face, and may your chain-sawing be minimal.

 In a decking pot.
Yellow Primroses

It's been a great day so far. I spent the morning repainting Daughter of Moosey's gnomes, improving their complexions, even giving one white teeth. And good, honest, pensioner-white beards for all - none of this dithery grey or scary black. They all look - almost human? And jolly healthy, too. Hmm...

Rose Label :
Munstead Wood is one of my new David Austin roses - the colour looks absolutely gorgeous.

I've just cooked NGP some birthday pancakes with streaky bacon and maple syrup, and now it's surely time to do some gardening. So why am I sitting here in my good jeans? Where is my energy and drive? I have two more roses to plant - Munstead Wood and Midnight Blue, and a stack of magenta dahlias to find a home for. They're going in the back of the Shrubbery, where they will be slightly out of sight, out of mind - but won't be able to rudely clash with anything scarlet. Actually the Shrubbery is on my hit-list with respect to cleaning up gum tree debris. There we are - all organised.

 Please help us find our names!
No-Name Garden Gnomes

One more thing - those gnomes (a birthday present from me to Daughter of Moosey, so generous) are now ready for naming. This is a bit like babies. She (having amazing mountain adventures in Kyrgyzstan) really need to name them herself. 'Please ring home urgently, dear. Your gnomes need names...'


It's been yet another brilliant gardening day, with another great winter clean-up, and another dusk bonfire, in which I've burnt the final pile of Phormium leaves (they're non-shreddable, and cost a fortune to take to the dump). And another set of paths raked! What more is there?

Madame Leonie :
You can meet this beautiful rose in my roses pages.

The rose Souvenir de Madame Leonie de Viennot has been a bit of a naughty Madame. She has a whole wire fence-line to elegantly sprawl herself along, so perversely has decided to go the wrong way. I know she's been working on this for a few years, and now is not the time for tough rose-love (that is, the ruthless pruning and bending of canes). I promise that after she's flowered (lolling all over the shrubs in the Shrubbery) that sterner measures will be taken. Or I will provide some posts and ropes for her (there's a much more elegant word for these). It has to be said, in my smallest voice, that she's actually only growing naturally towards the sun. Oops.

 Pond Cottage again.
Sunny Afternoon Cottage

Gnomes By the Pond

Daughter's garden gnomes are now in their permanent position by the pond, looking over the water at the my cottage. I found four more little chaps under a tree, desperately needing new clothes and faces (a couple looking rather leprous). That was today's last job, achieved without painting Little Mac the kitten, or my apres-gardening clothes. Phew!

Monday 23rd July

So silly. At the Charity shop on Saturday morning I saw a half-finished flower embroidery, with the remaining cottons (?), needles, and the pattern. I have never done any embroidery before. So first thing this morning I zoomed off to rescue it. Random, hee hee. I can read mathematical graphs, so a pattern grid should be no trouble, I'm thinking. Hmm... Got it for one dollar. Oh dear. My friend (an expert) says it's a really difficult pattern for a first embroiderer, because it's on linen cloth. But the wildflowers are so pretty.

Right. Now to the garden. The first plan is to clean up the Driveway Lawn, wheeling firewood logs over to the second woodshed, and raking up leaves. They can go straight on the garden, with some horse manure for company.


The first plan has been the only plan - I've wandered around with the wheelbarrow for three hours collecting this and dumping that. It always puzzles me why this takes so long. I found mulch, too, and put the sloppy raked leaves over the top of the horse manure.

Pittosporum :
Pittosporums are brilliant fillers - they can be trees or shrubs, according to your pruning wishes.

I trimmed a Strawberry tree, and limbed up a big-leafed Pittosporum (a Lemonwood) - rather than thoughtlessly sawing it down. It was getting too fat, shading the neighbours.

I've also given the latest batch of gnomes proper eyes, subtle yet smiley mouths, white beards and eyebrows, and they look so sweet. People could learn from a well-painted garden gnome. If you look like you can see, and have a gentle smile, others will think you're a nice, approachable, thoughtful person (gnome). White beards and red hats are not necessary for this illusion.

Ahem. Now to get my reading glasses and have an intelligent look at cross-stitch embroidery. Wish me luck!

 By the pond.
Phormium Tenax

Tuesday 24th July

Aha! Good morning, Tuesday. Here's my plan for 'spending' you, so to speak. Piano practice (my flautist arrives at 11am), raking the Driveway lawn (soggy leaves again go straight onto the garden), then chamber music (Hue, Tafanel, and Bach), embroidery, maybe some planting (roses, dahlias, and Phormiums), TV couch-cycling (the Tour de France has ended in Paris and I still haven't got to the Pyrenees), dog walking (I love my dog)... This is the loveliest list I've written in ages! Oh, and I need to 'do' the hems of the new family room curtains.

Too Many Gnomes!

Too many garden gnomes! Aargh! The pond is ringed with over sixty red-hatted gnomes just going about their gnomish business - chatting, fishing, wielding spades, pushing lawnmowers, reading books (I so approve of the book readers). At this time of year the pond Gunnera is dormant, so there's no major greenery to distract the eye. It could be a nightmare if one wasn't expecting it. One staggers out of Pond Cottage in morning, sleepy, en deshabille... Eek! Crowds of people (well, gnomes) are watching.

Much Later...

Firstly, I have fallen in love with Georges Hue. He (a composer) is not alive to respond in kind, but his Serenade for flute and piano (transcribed from orchestra) is just divine. This man understands the romantic power of the perfect fifth. Simple, really.

Gardening Before Embroidery

Secondly, I had to do gardening before embroidery, because drizzle was threatening. I did lots of high pruning of the Driveway Lawn trees (with the extension saw), raked all my mess up, and collected heaps of other burnable stuff (rose prunings, yet more Phormium leaves, etc.) en route to the bonfire. Everything got burnt in time before the rain came.

'There are so many exciting new things to do in life. I hope they never run out. I hope I never run out of time to do them, either.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

But it's now late afternoon and gloomy, and my embroidery mentor says I'll need good light to see my cross stitches (the linen is very fine). So that's that, really. Now I'm going TV couch-cycling underneath summer-blue French skies. My goodness, there are so many exciting new things to do in life. I hope they never run out. I hope I never run out of time to do them, either.