Standing back to stare...

 The flowers are Calendulas.
Compost on the Garden

The smallest of garden improvements sometimes take me ages and ages! I reckon it's because I spend one third of the time plodding around collecting what I need, and a third on the actually doing. The last third of the time is spent standing back to stare, admire, evaluate, and so on. This is the fun bit, after all.

I've been working on the Allotment Garden for three days now. It's a narrow strip of reclaimed land between my driveway and the neighbour's. I've built up the 'soil' over the months adding compost, mulch, horse manure, and so on.

Monday 28th July

I've spent all day poking around the Allotment Garden. I've tidied up the log edging. I've dug out junior irises (grown from reject pieces of tuber) and replanted them in tidy lines. I've spread compost over everything - very slowly, by the bucketful (and not over the irises). The garden is remarkably colourful - remember, it's five weeks past the winter solstice.

Sometimes, only sometimes, Rusty the dog has a 'Small things please small minds' day. He has spent all day with his nose in the nearby woodpile. First he's checked this side, then that, then he's disappeared around the back. Deep dog-sniffing noises are interspersed with loud, rude snorts. A creature must be in there - a mouse? A rat? Rusty's nose knows. Of course he is far too well-behaved to dismantle the stack. Phew!

 Pond Cottage.
Cottage in the Late Afternoon Winter Sun

The winter sun has been beaming down on us both. The Allotment Garden get full afternoon sunshine, even in winter - it's delightful, and I am going to enjoy growing vegetables here. And flowers. And maybe some roses? Space for new roses, do I hear me say?

Tuesday 29th July

Another whole day spent subdividing up the Allotment Garden and putting in little access paths. The plan for its planting is also now formulated, and potatoes have been relocated to the normal vegetable garden by the Herb Spiral. I've also thought about a watering system, which involves using one of my river pumps. Seems possible, since the land slopes downwards.

 With big Fluff-Fluff the cat.
The Allotment Garden

All self-sown Forget-me-nots and Calendulas are staying put to flower before the vegetables are planted. The top three compartments are holding pens for spare flowers. The rest are for non-spuddy vegetables.

Wednesday 30th July

My pensioner-hood is imminent, and today I stood in my first queue, waiting to pick up the correct purple and white form. To celebrate I bought myself an old-lady's apres-gardening blouse covered in butterflies. In the past I've tried florals, but they always make me look like I've wandered off from the rest home. So butterflies it is! Nobody sells shirts with garden gnomes on, do they?

 Looking quite disreputable...
Garden Gnomes

In the garden I spent three hours barrowing loads of mulch and ash to form a weed barrier along the neighbour's side edge of the Allotment Garden. I will ask Non-Gardening Partner to perhaps do a sneaky weed-kill of the rest. Ideally there would be a fence or hedge to screen the neighbour's mess, and then his weeds would be his and his alone to ignore. Maybe sometime in the next five years?

Roger Hall Camellia :
This is Sifter the cat's memorial Camellia.

Hee hee! I've bought four more big terracotta pots to act as pleasing punctuation marks for the Allotment Garden. I'm not sure what I'm planting in them. Since it's winter-spring at the moment, I'm thinking about Camellias. Oops. So will they enjoy the full searing sun and the hot dry winds of summer later on? No way! Say NO to Camellias!

Thursday 31st July

I'm just having the shortest of breaks, honestly I am. It's an oddly hot day, with blustery dry winds - so strange for winter. I've been building the new path through the back of the Shrubbery. Alas, I reckon I've spent more than fifty percent of my time standing back and gazing at it, rather than actually working. I am feeling really, really slow today.

 Variegated with purple flowers.
Hebe Waireka

Plant Rescue!

First thing this morning my friend rang me - did I want to accompany her to rescue some plants from the big super-store? Definitely, yes! I could just imagine rows and rows of bedraggled bargain shrubs, crying out to us. Actually, all the plants looked well fed and cared for, but I still bought three smaller lavenders, two variegated Hebes, a chunky Phormium Cream Delight, seed potatoes, seed raising mix, and more potting mix.

OK. Time to get back to it. The wind is the tiring factor today.

Much Later...

I planted two Waireka Hebes and one Phormium in the big terracotta pots. I am so close to finishing the new path - I've just run out of suitable sized edging logs, but I very much like what I've done, and the path surface is properly mulched. Three smaller Choisya ternatas have been dug out (they were in the way) and are in pots. In fact, one might go in a terracotta pot.


My dog trudged back and forth with me. It doesn't matter if we are both a bit slow. The world is still turning. The days are still getting lighter. And my garden is definitely improving. And July has come to an end. Progress!