I do battle with the Golden Hop, but lose gardening momentum as the return to work looms. I wonder what it would be like to garden full-time?

 That dreadful thug, the Golden Hop - what am I going to do about it?
a very naughty plant (photographed from a safe distance)

Sunday 14th January

Yesterday I worked very quietly. I cleared two paths, clipping back the Senecio and a Cistus that were blocking the way. Today I am off to deal to the Rugosa border. The self-seeded Californian Poppies are offering safe haven to all sorts of healthy weed clumps, and the path there is out of control.

Also webmaster son is clucking and raving on about the Golden Hop in Middle Border. 'You'll have to DO something, before it strangles someone'...

It rained again last night.

Monday 15th January

I worked well yesterday, and have reclaimed Middle Border from the Golden Hop. It needs a power pole or something major to climb up, and I am working on Stephen. Funny thing is that last year it was perfectly well behaved, and did its job of covering the tree stump, and no more.

Photographer :
My insect-photographing web-master son is obsessed at the moment.

Son Number One spent hours zooming around the garden trying to take photos of insects. I like insects, particularly ladybirds and spiders, but I don't necessarily want millions of photographs of them. What would I do with all these pictures?

I may buy a really cheap archway to attach to the tree stump for the Golden Hop.

Wednesday 17th January

I feel a lot more mellow about being in the garden these last few days. I'm really enjoying just poking around. No goals, no lists, no preconceived plans. Today I decided to clear the path through Middle Border. I pulled out a lot of flopping nicotianas and old pansies, plus an assortment of weeds, and I pushed the stone edge back to widen things. The shrubs are really filling out and the hay mulch makes weeding easy.

 This grass gives beautiful texture to a mixed planting.
Feathery Anemanthele Grass

All these timetables and lists I get caught up in creating are a school teacher thing I reckon. It's time that I let gardening things flow more. I really enjoyed today.

Saturday 20th January

Just weeding and taking lots of photos, also tidying the pots and watering. I love the red dahlias at the back of the glass-house.

Sunday 21st January

We went to visit a friend who grows chestnut trees and hazel nut trees on her property. Stephen is having doubts about the lucerne crop, and wonders if using the land for nut trees would be more fun. These particular trees are easy, no spraying, and the nuts are collected from the ground below. I quite like the idea. I could sneak in some specimen trees as well, perhaps the beginning of an arboretum (hmm...)

Sifter and Jerome photographed 10 seconds after a furious cat-fight. These two cats often keep me company over the other side of the water race.
Sifter and Jerome

Monday 22nd January

Had to go in to work. The Most Valuable Cat Competition for 2000 - 2001 is officially over (it always ends when I get bored with it, which my family claims opens the door for corruption). I will now go and add up the results.

Most Valuable Cat Competition Results :

Justice is done! Jerome is the deserving winner.

Thursday 25th January

The reason this diary is not getting written up is that I've been going in to work. This afternoon I had a gentle weeding session in the Dog-Path Garden. I pulled out a rose which was getting mildewed, and put it on the burning heap. I'm going to be tougher with the roses.

Saturday 27th January

I'm back! I have a cluster of real tough shrubs which are destined for the Wattle Woods Garden. The lower Wattle Woods Garden seat has been annoying me for months, and I never ever want to stop and sit there. It gets a last chance to prove its value, as these plants will surround it. We'll see. I am off planting.

Sunday 28th January

The lower Wattle Woods Garden seat is no more. I tried it facing the other way and still didn't like it. I have moved its construction elements to the Pump House and it will be reassembled there. The Wattle Woods Garden path is reshaped and the tough plants are planted. I feel strong and decisive, and am off to deal to the rest of the Wattle Woods Garden while this mood lasts.

Later... I dealt to a third of it.