The Year That Was

 Growing over the woodshed.
Award Winning Rose

I'm not giving out any personal New Years Honours this year. They end up going to the same contenders, anyway - I mean, who else could possibly get the 'Best Dog' award? There is only one dog at Mooseys...

But I love to do a resume of the gardening year, and pick out the best moments. Since the Moosey garden is a labour of combined love, I've asked Non-Gardening Partner (NGP) for his expertise and input.

I am hoping for rather more that sleepy grunts from the couch, though...

Best Gardening Contribution

After some gentle questioning ('there must be something in the garden that you've noticed!') NGP has chosen the rambling apple-blossom pink rose which covers the woodshed roof. It's an unknown rose which came to Mooseys with the label Cornelia (it isn't). There are many beautiful roses in the Moosey Garden, but the woodshed rambler is unforgettable - strong, densely blooming, and not too straggly.

 Chevy Chase in the orchard.
Award Winning Rose

Best Gardening Newcomer

NGP likes the cherry red Chevy Chase climbing rose which grows up and over archway number eleven in the Hazelnut Orchard. I like the coneflowers (Echinacea) which I grew from seeds. I just hope that they will not become a summer nuisance - like the Oenothera, and the Verbascums, which I cherished for their first couple of seasons. Oops.

Most Shameful Pet Moment

NGP reckons that the cat (suspected to be Fluff-Fluff) who piddled on the brand new flat screen TV should get this award, since the TV was not strictly insured for catty accidents and he had to buy its replacement. Ouch! But this incident took place in 2006, so Fluff-Fluff is spared the embarrassment.

 Percy the rabbit catcher.
Award Winning Cat

Stashed Rabbit

I think that stashing a large, squashed, dead rabbit behind the upstairs bookcase takes the cake. Particularly as it took me a week of summer sniffing (aargh! warm, rotten smells wafting through the rooms) to locate and destroy. Aargh! And when I finally found the 'thing' I screamed like a girl. Aargh again!

I suspect Percy, my young ginger cat. He is a good hunter, and always brings his trophies proudly upstairs. He immediately discards them on the carpet - many a lucky rescued bird has then flown to freedom.

 The stone wall.
Award Winning Feature

Best Garden Feature

Hurray for the new retaining stone wall! NGP agrees with me - it's a wonderful feature, beautifully proportioned, and nicely visible from the house (and couch). The garden thus retained, which I call the Shrubbery, has filled out nicely with plants. So far I've enjoyed looked at shining winter grasses, spring tulips, and yellow summer daisies which are planted along the wall.

Mind you, the new Driveway garden, created after a weedy Cotoneaster tree was sawn down (thanks, NGP), comes a close second. This garden is full of the subtleties of spring, with rhododendrons, new maples and the like, and NGP hasn't really noticed it yet.

 The Moosey garden gnome.
Award Winning Survivor

Best Garden Survivors

Ha! There are two awards for 2008. One goes to the disreputable, shabby, Moosey bachelor garden gnome, he who lay submerged for months in the watery depths of the tadpoles' bath behind the garage. He has a morbid fascination with water, and at the moment is flirting with danger underneath a giant Gunnera leaf by the burbling water race. Some gnomes never learn!

Two Silver Dollar rhododendrons planted behind the pond to die a slow agonising death, out of reach of the irrigation, were plant contenders. But first I have to check that they actually do survive their mid-summer shift! Oops.

 Mugsy the cat.
Award Winning Survivor

Mugsy the Cat

Mugsy, the orange and black cat with ten-plus lives, gets the second award, as a truly miraculous pet survivor for 2008. She is still going strong - in fact, I think she's brainier, even if the vet has put her on valium. Mugsy is fifteen years old and disabled - a while back there I thought she'd lost her last marble...

Hurray for the Vet

Hurray for the vet, too - it's been a pleasure this year to take a sick cat to him and not have to return home with a burial box.

 Hurray for the rustic gaden benches.
Award Winning Structure

Best New Garden Structure

In lieu of the non-appearance of garden sheds, trellises, gazebos, and the failure of the waterwheel to rotate (this is what wheels should do), the best new garden structure - well, the only new garden structure - is the pair of rustic garden benches. They were built in the Moosey garage from recycled timber by Non-Gardening Partner.

Oops - I forgot the new bridge by the Willow tree. Sorry, NGP. But those garden benches, in their own little recessed sandy courtyard, are just just magical!

Most Annoying Garden Moment

I've asked NGP for his help here, and I think he's being rather cruel from his couch. 'Those plastic things I mashed last week while mowing were really annoying' he reckons. Well, NGP, and what about that non-rotating waterwheel? The most annoying gardening moments of 2009 could be when I gently nag you, every jolly day, about a replacement wheel that works. Hmm...

 To Stumpy the cat for finally pulling up stumps...
Posthumous Award

A Typical Gardening Year

That's it - when I think back, 2008 was just a typical gardening year. It was filled with huge-to-medium highs, and devoid of nasty lows (unless the new weeds introduced via the horse compost are counted). There were no extreme weather events, or world tours to take the Head Gardener away from her many garden responsibilities.

Goodbye to Stumpy

Only one Moosey cat didn't make it through to Christmas - Stumpy the old grey tabby, who has provided great cat company for sixteen years. Dear Stumps gets the Best Original Posthumous Cat Award for 2008.

And Thanks...

Thanks to the Moosey people, too - best daughter and son-in-law, best younger son and partner, best older son and daughter-in-law, and best friends. And I guess I'd better give a small thank-you to the best Non-Gardening Partner in the whole gardening world, he who contributes so much, and takes such an willing interest in the Moosey Garden. Hmm...