More to winter gardening...

 You can see her extra toes.
Tiddles up a Cabbage Tree

There's more to winter gardening life than dreaming by the log-burner with a gardening magazine. More than lists, or plant catalogues. One has to get out there and do things. Wear gloves, wear warm boots, work under cover in the glasshouse...

Saturday 6th August

More cold weather, but not a problem! I'm tough - well, at the moment I'm tough. Today I put on 'mudable' clothes and spent some hours in the glasshouse, salivating at the thought of the summery results of my labours. I potted up more Queen Anne's Lace seedlings, and divided and repotted some blue Scabious. It may not be the right time, but I've trimmed the pelargoniums and stuck the spare bits in a pot as cuttings. Winnie seemed happy outside in the sleet, dropping her tennis ball for me to throw. Sometimes I'd like to be furry...

Animal Times...

Intereresting times with the animals. This morning at daybreak I fancied a spot of Olympic TV watching with my breakfast. Three dogs and two cats fancied sitting on me, all at once. Big brown Escher won, and somehow I managed not to spill my cup of tea.

I'd already been woken early by Minimus bringing a large dead rabbit into the cottage. 'Clever cat' was mumbled insincerely, as I flung it into the pond. Then in the middle of a handball game (what an amazing game this is), an awful shrieking from the hallway - Buster the black cat had caught a huge blackbird. Bird rescued, and hopefully now recovered.

Histeria :
Histeria has her own page in my cats and dogs section.

Histeria (my aging tabby cat) isn't doing so well. Things were a little serious last month, and I came really close (teary eyes, sniffly nose, tissues) to taking her to the vet for her first, last, and only visit. One week she eats, the next she doesn't, and she's desperately thin. I haven't wanted to write much about her. I don't sense she's in pain, yet. And she still loves to sit on my lap. Put it this way : this must be her last winter.

 You can see Pond Cottage, and the Pump-House.
Behind the Pond

Right. Time to - as I said above - 'do things'. More easily said than done when it's three degrees Celsius!

 The strappy plant is Renga Renga.
Gnomes by the Pond Path

Seven Hours Later...

Right. I'm giving myself a big fat tick. For many reasons, but mainly for working through a negative patch mid-afternoon when I started seeing too many things to do (hydrangeas and roses needing to be pruned, Creeping Charlie to be removed from the lawns, etc.). I plodded around in an ever-decreasing spiral of gloom. Stop! Get back to the Plan de Jour, which was to clear the paths behind the pond and behind Pond Cottage. No deviations!

So the pond path is now level, all the forget-me-nots which were growing in its middle are in now the garden, and the little connecting path has been shifted (a straggly Pittosporum got the chop to make way). I planted more divisions of Renga Renga (Arthropodium cirratum) along the edge. I raked up as many gum leaves etc. as I could. And all the time the bonfire was gurgling. It still is, and it's dark, so I'd better pop back outside to poke at it.

 So colourful.
Winter Polyanthus

Monday 7th August

Wow. Wondering if I can match the sheer, rugged determination shown yesterday. I could have another bonfire day. Perhaps we could just plod around the fence-lines scooping up dry rubbish to burn. Or I could have an all-sorts day. After all, all sorts of things need to be done. We are back from the dog park, and it's really, really cold outside, so I am 'taking five', re-evaluating my day. I could just drink cups of coffee and watch the Olympics...


Two hours bonfiring! And I took advantage of the flames to prune a few roses - Strawberry Hill and Windemere (two rather lovely David Austins) and the Gerbe rose, with which I never know the right thing to do. Lots of its canes die back, particularly the ones I've tied onto the fence (seems rather unfair). I guess it's just niggly and old-school scruffy. Not many gardeners bother to grow it, perhaps?

 Strawberry Hill, Windemere, Gerbe Rose
Three Rose Pruned

Odd - for some time I had a complete lack of dog company. Where had they got to? There'd been no barking - often an indicator that someone is misbehaving. Then I heard the delicate stereo sounds of hazelnut crunching - three dogs in the orchard, snacking. Three dogs who had squeezed themselves through a gate. Three dogs who are supposed to stay with me. Three dogs who are supposed to be on diets. Blast!