I've transformed into a weekends only gardener again. I am doomed to rush around madly weeding and doing garden maintenance, dreaming of retirement.

 Mugsy the cat with her typical quizzical (i.e. thick) look.
Mugsy and the wheelbarrow

Sunday 10th February

My Most Valuable Cat Competition for 2002 was a flop (a bit like NZ in the cricket). There were lots of other-people distractions and the competitors never really entered into the spirit of the event. Only one (Jerome) ever bothered to come outside, though she did cross the bridge over the water race. The others preferred the ambience of Cat Lounge, with the occasional stroll to Fridge Door. Perhaps I shall go into recess.

Yesterday I did do some very serious weeding in the new garden under the new variegated Elm tree. However I did it rather crossly because I have totally lost/misplaced/broken or mulched every pair of secateurs and every hand digger. The experience was rather close to the dirt - trying to wrench and wriggle the tap roots of dock weeds out with the fingertips.

Today is proving to be equally difficult. First I have to go to work for two hours ... but that's not all... in order to get home I have to take the bicycle and bike back. My old lady knees will be groaning (it's over 15 kms and I am over 50). When I do return I have huge plans for clearing and weeding, but may just end up an aching wreck on the couch. We'll see. Gardening women are well known to have huge inner resources.

I have returned with new garden tools, and have spent a quiet two hours just weeding around the house gardens and doing the edges. Nothing too strenuous. I am trying to think back to the end of last year - it seems so long ago. Hmmm...

Sunday 17th February

I have done a lot of general maintenance this weekend, in between buying a car and making jars and jars of plum jam. The plum tree in the Pond Paddock is drooping to ground level with fruit, and as soon as I've used as much as I can I'll prune it. I've been ripping out a lot of the self-seeded white Lychnis, well past their best, and weeding and doing edges. I think the garden looks very beautiful, even if there is rampant growth and paths I trimmed clear two weeks ago seem overgrown again.

 This flax lives in the house patio border. Its colours glow, especially in autumn and winter.
corner flax

Many of the roses are having their second big flowering flush, and this gives a freshness to the fences and the archways. I find myself tying in canes (when did they grow so long?) and the pergola is almost well covered.

I can't see exactly when everything is growing. I walk around in the evenings, but it seems that each new weekend there is huge new growth everywhere (including the lawns) that I haven't noticed sneaking up on me. Oh well. Just as well we have a good ride-on mower.

Sunday 24th February

I've lost another weekend day to school work. But it's much worse - I seem to have lost track of the growth in the garden. And we've just lost another cricket match to England. Yesterday the local bulb farm had its first sign of the season out. Can it be time already for purchasing spring bulbs? I asked London son (who rang to find out the super 12 rugby score). He says he can see 'lots of white things flowering outside his flat.' Snowdrops? You wouldn't think that he successfully web-masters one of the world's top personal internet garden sites with such a limited garden vocabulary, would you!

 Soft beautiful pink roses.
Mary Rose in February

Chelsea Flower Show

London son intends to raise his profile by going to the Chelsea Flower Show and taking photos (I have suggested he could fly the writer over)... He asks what things he should 'look out for' at Chelsea? Good grief! How can a colonial ever understand the class structure of a British garden event like Chelsea? I have told him to take pictures of corrugated iron structures (colonial chic), and tussocks and flaxes (the influence of the antipodes).

Now I have to put in a huge day 'out there' to regain my credibility as a real gardener. Yesterday I pathetically half weeded the Frisbee Border while listening to NZ not bowling well in the cricket. A lot of the weeds were well into their seed-setting season. Today I have to be made of sterner stuff. So, with the impending bulb purchasing season in mind, I will make a list with rules. I am not allowed back in the house (apart from 5 minutes for making tea, checking the list, etc.) until ALL the things on the list are completed. Then I can go apres gardening and read my new copy of Fine Gardening magazine. Here goes.

Stern End of February List :


Later... (Seven Hours Later)

I didn't quite finish, but then I did things which were not on the list, and I reckon that this cancelled out the undone. I worked really really hard and I am very proud - my February weekend gardening sessions have ended on a high note. And if I actually finished everything, well there would be nothing to strive for the next weekend, would there?