Don't tread on the trilliums..

My mid-winter month is getting very, very busy. I have design decisions to make, problems to solve, paths to mulch, soil to enrich, trees and shrubs to trim, and so on. There's also weeding, and I have to be so careful not to tread on the trilliums (invisible) or any daffodils (still mostly underground).

Monday 9th June

The hours of gardenable daylight are limited to between 10:30am and 4:30pm, and there will be morning frosts (it's difficult to dig in a frost), winter rain (I can usually last two hours, all rugged up in muddy merino), and southerly storms. Southerly means direct from Antarctica, and I can't garden in these. Too cold! And maybe, sometimes, but please not this year, snow. My garden evergreens (trees and shrubs) break badly in snow.

 The spiky Phormiums stand out.
Winter down the Water Race

There is much to do apres-gardening, too. There's web-gardening, of course. Then TV Couch-Cycling season has well and truly started. So far I have breezed through a rather chilly, wet Italy and now am making my way down the coast of California in beautiful sunshine. There is test match cricket (New Zealand is playing the West Indies), and test cricket takes ages and ages. The Football World Cup in Brazil is starting, and I'd like to follow that, too.

 Maybe the variety Tinsie.
Early Camellia Flowering

Avoid the Rain!

So what should I be concentrating on doing, when I'm not stuck in that comfy TV couch? Avoiding the rain, that's what. It's far too blobby - in other words, far too wet.

Tuesday 10th June

It's the second day of blobby rain falling, and I've been inside doing web-work. Then I re-read my outrageous claim about lasting two hours in winter rain. Suitably shamed, I put on my merino long-johns (and shorts) and started some gardening work. I planted parsley and leeks in the Herb Spiral, did some muddy weeding, and then filled the patio pot with mix and planted the new red Camellia (in honour of Sifter the long lost tabby). Body-wise things were going really well, but I couldn't see properly. Spectacles needed? Nope. It was the natural light, not the eyes, fading fast. In the time it takes to shower, wash the hair, and put on warm clothes outside was totally dark.

So I did some TV couch cycling. I've whizzed back to Europe for a cycle race called the Criterium du Dauphine, with Histeria the tabby firmly snuggled on my lap. I drank wine and ogled the beautiful summer greenery. Such a contrast to my drab green and dull brown. I have a busy schedule - I need to be ready to join the Tour de France when it starts in Yorkshire.

 Just planted in the Septic Tank Garden.
Late Red Maple

Wednesday 11th June

Hmm... It's so muddy and wet outside. But I can wheel path mulch around for a couple of hours, surely...


I did it. And by my calculations (16 wheelbarrow trips x 200 meters) I plodded for about three kilometers in the drizzle - my mulch pile and the path were on opposite sides of the property. And then, even more plodding, down the road with my dog. The roadside is interesting and gets the paws-up. Following me back and forth across the lawns is definitely paws-down!

Fluff-Fluff needs a special mention for services to winter gardening. First he accompanied me on a short camera-clicking circuit. Then he sheltered underneath the hedge by the mulch mountain, and waited - and waited - and waited. For nearly two hours.

+10When Rusty and I went off down the road he waited some more. On our return he leapt out, shook the rain off his fur, and ran ahead of us back to the house, miaowing loudly. What an amazingly loyal cat!

 Fluff-Fluff and Rusty.
Gardening Cat and Dog

The paths around the cottage look wonderful, and feel great underfoot. And hopefully any weeds are being well-suppressed as I write!

Thursday 12th June

OK - yesterday, drizzle, and today? Back to blobby rain. And I've had a brilliant idea. If I just put on my merino underwear and shorts, then cover one path with mulch per day, just one... I reckon I've got about twenty different paths, and that should take me through the shortest day and on to the end of the month. And I will have finished an important garden maintenance task, just like that!

By the way, New Zealand has just won the first cricket test against the West Indies, three balls short of the fourth of five days allowed. Yippee! And our family sweepstake draw on the Football World Cup is done for the cats (a group entry), the dog, and each of the house humans. So unfair - Non-Gardening Partner (who has no connection with football whatsoever) has drawn Brazil, while the grandbaby has Spain and Portugal. And the winner will be... Argentina? Hmm...

 Actually it should be called the Willow Stump Garden...
Stumpy Garden in Winter

Right. Today I choose the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden paths. Where's my dog?

About an Hour and a Half Later...

Done. And a spot of weeing, too, and I've dug up and replanted some ornamental grasses in a clump by the path - they looked really silly all split into tiny bits. The wetness has lightened into drizzle, but I got soooooooo muddy. And my wet dog looked all forlorn, as he watched from the wet lawn. So we are back inside, drying out, a dog-snack for Rusty, hot coffee and two mallow puffs for me.