What's in a name? Lots! I have lots of pre-winter tasks to start, continue, and finish. That's 'pre-winter', by the way - as in not too cold, certainly not too frosty, and nothing too wintry-serious. Nothing that could send a robust gardener scuttling for shelter inside the house.

 Lounging underneath a Pittosporum.
Colours - Gnomes

Monday 30th May

Typical pre-winter tasks : Today I've raked up more bags of oak leaves. They are so easy to handle when they're wet and there's no wind. I've burnt the bonfire. I've collected more bags of kindling for the log-burner. I've looked for colourful things to take photographs of - have had to settle for Calendulas and garden gnomes.

I've planted Agapanthus pieces from a smaller-leafed clump in the Wattle Woods, by the wriggling stream. They will look so pretty when they settle down. And I made a start adding to the large-leafed plants already growing near the little curved footbridge. It takes quite a time to 'prepare' a large clump - dividing it, slicing excessive roots off, trimming the foliage.

More Agapanthus

And I have rather a lot more Agapanthus to do this to. When plants are virtually free for the digging I am oh so very greedy. Yes! I'll take them all! It's enervating to think big - especially when big doesn't cost the earth. And my time comes pretty cheap, too.

And now - I'm cooking pumpkin soup for our evening meal, the perfect winter treat. No! Make that pre-winter.

Tuesday 31st May

Wow. It's been raining hard all day. We did go to the dog park first thing, and just one of our friends was there. The dogs don't care about the rain - as usual, they had a wonderful time getting muddy and chasing balls. For me this will now become an indoors day.

 Oak leaves to rake up.
Colours of Pre-Winter

I'm thinking a spot of web-gardening : checking out photographs, bringing tour pages up to date, that sort of thing. I know it's completely irrelevant to a casual reader, but rambling on about 'Roses in the Dog-Path Garden' when I've just dug them all out is - well - a serious misrepresentation!

 With a bone he found in my garden.
Escher the Dog

Thursday 2nd June

Pre-Winter-tasking again on a crisp pre-winter's afternoon. Slowly dividing and trimming piece of Agapanthus from another huge clump, while Escher chomps on an old smelly bone and Winnie retrieves her tennis ball. She keeps plopping it back in the wheelbarrow to make things easy (it's being filled with the chopped up old leaves, to use as mulch). And thinking. I must never, ever take these things for granted.

Argh! I don't mean Agapanthus, specifically. I mean being able to be outside, being able to do physical work, enjoying the company of two lovely ball-and-bone obsessed dogs. Best not to take the ability to think for granted, either. Enough said.

Friday 3rd June

This morning my Rolleston Ladies Dog Park Pack are going to the beach! We are meeting by the dunes, and then taking the dogs down towards the spit. The dog park is the hub of my social life, so you can imagine how excited I am by this little trip. I have given everyone a map, where P = Park Here and C = Coffee. It's a dog-friendly cafe, too - just as well.

 Tough annuals, there are always some flowering somewhere..
Colours - Calendulas

We are a nine piece dog pack, hee hee. Even Escher is allowed to come - by golly, I hope he behaves.


We are back! Apart from Rusty snarling at Rosie the black Labrador (she was checking out the dog bowl, even though it only contained water) and Escher nosing around everywhere saying hello to old men and babies, the dogs plus the ladies all had a grand time at the beach.

Now my plan is to potter and plant. I will change my clothes. Regarding which - guess what? I've had to take in my skinny jeans, around the hip-tummy region, again. That's the second time. Yes! And I've sewn new strips of velcro (super-wide, industrial strength, hee hee) on Escher's dog-suit, which he wears in his kennel for bedtime. Of course he has a warm bed mattress, but being a short-haired dog he needs warm pyjamas (that stay on him) as well.

Right. Agapanthus pieces, here I come. You are going down the driveway, just opposite the Allotment garden. You will have some pretty Cistus shrubs (some large white-flowering, plus some smaller pinks) for company, and will enjoy full summer sun. That means flowering!


It's sundown, and I am happy with my day. It's taken a while to do the planting but I had to weed first, then barrow in soil-fill. And silly me, living in a gardening daze - I've only just realised that it's June. In fact it is very June!

 Agapanthus by the driveway.

Just for the record, there was the lightest of frosts last night, and zero degrees (Celsius) is forecast for this evening too. Hmm. So much for 'pre'. I think it's winter.