What a funny month January has been! First the garden, then the gardening journal, and now Winnie the doglet is in semi-disgrace. Come here? Not likely! In the car? Nope. Don't want to. This way? No way! Drop it? Not a chance. Winnie, don't chase the kitten. Why not? She chases me. Hmm...

Winnie with Tiddles the Kitten

Asserting her independence is admirable, but wandering off next-door and refusing to come back when called is not. Catty aside : So when exactly will the neighbour get around to replacing the fence? All talk and no trousers, some folk.

Wednesday 21st January

Meanwhile the Head Gardener at Mooseys (me) has been - ahem - 'no talk and no gardening trousers'. I haven't done any proper gardening since the weekend. I haven't had a good gardening idea for a week, and there's been nothing much to write about. Shame!

 Shining in the sun.
Red Hot Pokers

But I've just taken the camera outside. Aha! My garden lives! The red hot pokers are in flower, and the white Shasta daisies too - pictures duly taken. All the dahlias in the Allotment garden are happy, and the purple pod peas are ripe for snacking (yum).

Not Today, Thank You

But let that lovely puppy dog lick my face? Definitely not today, thank you. First I confiscated a dead rat (by treading on its tail, aargh!) and minutes later a headless rabbit which she'd fished out of the water race. AAAAARGH! Have a reasonable constitution with respect to disposing of dead things, but had to call Non-Gardening Partner for this one. She did drop the rabbit when I screamed loudly, though. My new obedience strategy? Just joking...

 Mid-summer beauties.
Shasta Daisies


We are back from the dog park, where again Winnie refused to comply. She didn't want to leave, and the dog-treats in my pocket didn't work. I had to grab her and carry her out to the car. Hmm... Time for some gently serious (but still fun) training, I think. Lots of little sessions, walking more with the lead on, etc. I think I know what to do and how to do it. The puppy-honeymoon is over, methinks.

Thursday 22nd January

Phew! I've had my first proper gardening idea in days, and already have acted on it. My vegetable garden has been permanently relocated. So now the garden that surrounds the Herb Spiral can be completely flowery. I've already planted some spare roses and irises around the brick path. All the spuds are gone, and the garlic's been pulled out.

Lychnis :
I grow white, magenta, pink, and all-sorts of colours in-between.

My piano-duetting friend came and helped with the weeding therein. What a legend - a wise old woman of gardening. She knows the common names of weeds, and the conditions that plants like, and so on. Now I need to pop back outside and cut down the Lychnis, which is well past flowering. I'll keep some of the newer plants in the ground for another year - just pull out the old withered ones, I reckon. Lychnis self-seeds nicely.

 A favourite with the bees.
Blue Echiums

Earthy Gusto...

Apres-weeding we had lunch and then attacked the fugal section of the Schubert F minor Fantasia with somewhat earthy gusto (and dirty fingernails). But why do 'romantic' composers write such ugly, over-weight fugues?

A Herd of Elephants?

The piano sounded like a herd of elephants were galumphing randomly around the room - nothing to do with the lack of sensitivity or technique on the part of the pianists, by the way. Fortissimo octaves are fortissimo octaves, after all...

Friday 23rd January

Brilliant! I have already had a phone consultation with my friend regarding the garden by the Herb Spiral. Hellebores in the shady bit? Peonies in the sunnier strip which gets frosted in winter? Aha! Ideas!

And I have 'found' three more roses (I planted them at the top of the curved driveway, but they haven't been happy) which can be shifted in. Must remember to water everything, though. And must ask Non-Gardening Partner to put the Herb Spiral irrigation sprinkler on a stalk.

 Rusty just watches.
Winnie with her Frisbee


So I worked for two hours, thinking hard while clearing Lychnis and pulling out weeds. But then it got too hot. I did another hour weeding in the Allotment Garden, and later again in the cool of early evening I pulled weeds out behind the Shrubbery. That blasted top-soil compost mix again! In spreading it around I've introduced squillions of new weed patches.

But I am not complaining (am I?). I mention these tiny achievements only to give me a sense of good purpose. I weed, I weed some more. That's gardening life. All day I listened to the cricket (which we won).

I also spent some quality time with Winnie the puppy, throwing her Frisbee down the Frisbee Lawn, throwing her tennis ball into the pond, and taking her for walks. She is a work in progress. And it's so nice finally that the Frisbee Lawn lives up to its name. It's been Frisbee-less for fifteen years.

 Very dry.
The Frisbee Lawn

When Winnie hears the word 'Frisbee' she immediately trots out to the garage where her bright orange Frisbee is kept. Unfair to tease her, so Non-Gardening Partner calls it - oops - 'the F-word'. Sorry about that!