Yeay! Non-Gardening Partner is home from his North American (summer) holiday. A wintry welcome home, NGP. What would you like to do first? A little light shredding? Collect more stones for the path edges? Fix the river pump? Take a load of Phormium leaves to the dump?
Wednesday 26th July
Or would you like to bury the dead sheep? The reality of country farming, that last one, sorry about this. And the hedge trimmings - all I've done is create more piles. Though yesterday I had my first bonfire in weeks, gathering up more branches from the back driveway (Deodar trimmings, which burn rather well).
Trim those ferns...
Some weeks ago I announced July's entrance into my garden - I think the comment was 'it's the month for trimming the ferns and pruning the roses'. Well, I am a bit behind, but the ferns around the side of the house are now trimmed, waiting in piles to dry out. Last year I left this until rather late, when the new fronds were beginning to uncurl. Well, this year I'm onto it! And being 'onto' even one task in this timely fashion makes me feel awfully virtuous.
Winter Can Be Colourful
I've also demolished a large pot-bound green Phormium, taking to it with the hammer and the axe. Re-usable parts are now split into fans which can be replanted, while the rest has gone (alas) in the rubbish. The leaves are far too wet for any potential bonfire, and they can't be recycled or composed.
Saturday 29th July
We've just had more rain - totalling 135mm over these last three weeks. Our annual average is 650mm, so this well explains why the garden has been soggy and I've been less than enthusiastic about gardening in it. It also explains why one third of the laundry ceiling fell down (a sneaky leak in the roof - another welcome home task for dear NGP).
Put off by the mud...
In the garden the mud puts me off, and even in gloves my hands get really cold and wet. Today I only collected one barrowful of ferns, but I will do better tomorrow. Promise!
And the roses. Yes, I've started pruning, but this is best done when the bonfire is sizzling. And I do have over three hundred roses - to - ahem - prune? Start to prune? Attempt to start to prune?
Winter Flowering Wattles Trees
But there are winter colours in the garden. Of course the ferns are very obviously a dead, soggy brown. But yeay! High overhead, in the Wattle Woods, one of the remaining surviving Wattles is in full bilious yellow flower. One of my favourite Australians...
Winnie in the Forest
Sunday 30th July
Right. Action. This morning I have a singing engagement, while NGP is going flying. When we reconvene - ha! Let the shredding commence! I also have to lay mulch on the paths around the dog kennels (no point in weeding paths and then leaving them uncovered for the next generation to grow). And we have to get a load of river stones for path edges behind the Shrubbery. And I need to get my firewood organised for the coming week. More work than I dare to think about.
And NGP is starting to organise the laundry ceiling. He has found the source of the leak (poor workmanship on one little bit of the roof).
Hmm... How long should it take to get a smallish load of stones, pick up the old rotting wood logs edging a path, and place the stones in their place? Best not to answer this.
Monday 31st July
And here's another question. On a half-decent winter's day, the very last day of the month, with vague sunshine, and no rain - how much gardening should a committed gardener be able to do? Oops. I've been swimming, then lunching, then the library, and the forest, where Winnie and I tried out a new wiggling path. We love walking in the forest.
Back home as the light failed we curled up on the dog couch with my new books... Oops. It hasn't been the most productive of Julys. Sorry about that, dear garden. But it has been rather wet, and stormy, and frosty...