Firsts, middles, lasts...

 The last blossom.
Crabapple Charlotte

Firsts, middles, and lasts. The first peony bud (a coral show-off) has opened. The first rugosa roses are out. The middle-season Willow Tree rhododendrons, big and beautiful, are flowering, as is the last blossom tree of spring, Crab-Apple Charlotte.

Love my garden...

I love my garden, my tiny slice of heaven, with its new colours and new flower surprises each day. Today, duck-diving over to pull out weeds, taking care to avoid the buzzy bees, I almost wobbled onto a big bearded iris. Oh my goodness! Almost ready to flower.

The Pond Paddock is now covered in fallen blossom from its flowering cherry trees. Each morning, early, I sit on the verandah with Minimus my cottage cat to smile and contemplate my day. Minimus has become awfully chunky - that definitive older-lady barrel shape. Not enough exercise and an over-indulgent cat mother, I reckon.

 Such a thin cat.

Fat cats, thin cats...

I wish that Histeria, my old and wiry house tabby, would fatten up a bit. She's extremely skinny, and has been so for the last two years. Hissy has become a very fussy eater, though, and loves to graze.

An eight hour gardening day!

Aha! Another first. Well, for the last few years, that is. An eight hour gardening day! I am soooooooo proud and tired (and rather full of the House Merlot, so shouldn't really be taken too seriously). I've been working in three separate areas, then barrowing the 'whatevers' to the bonfire which has been gurgling merrily all day.

Some years ago I laid huge pieces of bark as mulch by the side of the Stables, thinking this would be a weed suppressant. Right? Wrong! A luxurious mat of well developed grasses and weeds happily grew there-on. So I've been pulling, raking, scraping, and removing all the mess. Hopeless stuff, bark, for me and my gardening style, that is. Too many visiting seeds are happy to settle down on top and grow big and strong.

 In spring.
The Willow Tree Garden

I've also been cleaning out gum leaves and bark from the lower Wattle Woods, behind the cottage. Paths and borders are messy with mess - funny, that! I'm pulling out any Alkanet that strays over the paths. And in between plodding and pouring barrow loads of the afore-mentioned stuff on the bonfire, I've picked up some of the very, very last piles of hedge trimmings in the orchard. OK. The hedge was cut - three months ago? Blimey! Like ageing, some things take a long, long time to process...

The Aquilegias - I love them, and I'm so happy for them to self-seed. There's lots of pink Campion in different garden borders, and this is absolutely fine by me. The forget-me-nots are still looking beautifully blue. My garden's generosity (some might call it 'weediness') amazes me. And what about all the little violas? Sooooo pretty, and self-planted.

 Making huge improvements.

Monday 23rd October

First thing this morning we went to the dog park. Pebbles, initially all wound up and fear-aggressive, soon settled. As we trotted around she 'met' various new dogs - Alsations, Golden Retrievers, Pointers - and managed really well, even sniffing the odd rear end (what some dog trainers cutely call 'the dog handshake'). Well done, Pebbles.

Another huge day. I've been watering the Allotment Garden roses. I've potted some strawberries. I've weeded and weeded. I've pulled out loads of Alkanet to clear the air around the roses. Actually, I dig the huge clumps out, leaving pieces of deeper roots behind. And I apologise to the honey bees, who are busy buzzing around the little blue flowers as if their lives depended on them. Which they may well do, but certainly not at this time of the year. Trust me, bees. This way you'll get Alkanet flowers in autumn too. Yeay! And I've left lots more growing and flowering for you.

 A perennial forget-me-not.

But wait! Great news! The hedge trimmings are gone. The last lot went up in smoke late this afternoon. Yeay! A garden task has been finished.

The first peony rose is now fully open, and one white big bearded iris is flowering. The rambling roses on top of the woodshed are starting, too, and Banksia lutea is flowering (I chopped it down to its ankles earlier this year). And - a most important indicator - the House Merlot has been replaced by fruity summery cider (with ice). The times (actually, the seasons) they are a-changing.