Golden Smiles Rose
On good winter gardening days I feel a bit sorry for people who don't garden. They must sulk inside getting so bored, hee hee. Mind you, I garden in a temperate climate, and theoretically only snow should stop me in my gardening tracks. In practice some winter days are just too cold or wet - and then there are those days when I get in an inexplicably winter-moochy, can't-quite-be-bothered mood.
Thursday 13th June
Like today. A quick breakfast flick through a glossy gardening magazine (it's Burke's Backyard, it's Australian, and it's super-summery) and I'm immediately down-in-the-design-dumps. My style of decking adornment looks like no-style, when compared to the magazine photographs. I need to be much more pot-conscious. For example, I need to find a feature position for a beautiful large green pot (originally used to cover my dearly departed pet lamb Milly). My glossy magazine would know exactly where to put it. I don't.
Red Striped Phormium in Winter
To cheer myself up I've rescued eight rugosa roses (four Roseraie de L'Hays and four Albas) from the big house-and-garden store. I've also rescued forty yellow tulips and ten pink ones. All is well - the bulbs are planted, and the bare-root roses are in potting mix in big pots, labels firmly on. A country garden cannot have too many rugosa roses. They are tough, fragrant, and beautifully 'hippy'. And I'm going back for more bulbs and roses. Excessive? Not to a compulsive rescuer surrounded by the muted colours of winter.
Rusty the Dog
My Dog Loves Me!
So silly - I get in one of these slightly gloomy moods when I have absolutely nothing to feel gloomy about. Honestly! What's wrong? Nothing. I have a lovely warm winter house full of smoochy cats. My dog Rusty loves me, even though I'm THE most boring person in his dog-world. OK, people, beat that!
I'm couch-cycling through France's leafy-green summer forests (watching live mountain stages of the Criterium de Dauphine on TV). My jazz choir is going really well. And my dodgy hip isn't misbehaving too much. So there!
I've rescued two non-rugosa Abraham Darby roses and a whole swag of sad daffodils. You poor things, even if there were breathing holes in your plastic bags. You'll be alright now...
Friday 14th June
Today is a doing day - think 'zoomy', not 'gloomy'. But first, I'm off to the hay barn to visit Lilli-Puss in her Cat Lounge. Dare I take another of my glossy magazines with me to read? Maybe not...
Oh yes, yes, yes. I've kicked gardening butt, if you'll excuse the slang. For a while now I've been less than satisfied with the Birthday Rose Garden. Last spring the peonies were a complete flop and several of the roses struggled to bloom at all. The daylilies were a non-event, too. And as for the weeds...
Winter Gardening Scene
So what have I done? Hee hee. First of all I made the garden bigger (which might seem the oddest of solutions). Then I pulled out the purple leafed Ajuga ground-cover, leaving just a little circle (ringed with stones) around one of the weeping Olive trees. The Ajuga is now spread out by the fence line, where I want it to regrow.
I warned Rusty the dog that there might be casualties, then everything I'd rudely disturbed was carefully replanted - miniature irises, bulbs just sprouting, self-sown forget-me-nots, and so on. These littlies shouldn't notice that they've gone anywhere. Unfortunately the striped rose Oranges and Lemons lost itself (must remember to check the bonfire rubbish). Other roses (Emmanuel? Apricot Delight?) and huge clumps of peonies were dug up and replanted further forwards, away from the bulky Phormiums and grasses.
John Clare Rose
There was edge room for daffodils and a row of little English lavenders (dug out of the vegetable garden). Three of my new Roseraie de L'Hay roses were planted in the middle (where the peonies were). A beautiful raspberry daylily was shifted into full sun in the Stables Garden. Ooh, this has been so exciting! Nearly seven hours hard work, and it wouldn't look like much in a photograph, but I'm so happy.
Sharifa Asma Rose
Saturday 15th June
Today I started off with big plans to bravely garden in the drizzle for hours and hours. I planted a white peony, spread the last of the topsoil, and weeded the rest of the Birthday Rose Garden. I gathered up lots of rubbish for the bonfire. Then water started dripping down my neck. And unfortunately that was that.
I'm proud of my roses still flowering, one week before the mid-winter solstice - all this page's rose photographs were taken today. John Clare, Sharifa Asma, and Golden Smiles - thank you all for not giving up yet. You're all so lovely, and much more beautiful than the glossy kaleidoscopes of magazine colour, because you're real. Thank you.