It's almost Christmas!

It's almost Christmas. It's a great feeling, not knowing or caring what day of the week it is. I've bought the cats some special Christmas dried food - they'll surely appreciate it.

Friday 19th December

Today I have focused on the dry area in the Wattle Woods. I've partially cleared the path and the scruffy gardens on either side, and have a hose watering system going. If I am serious about this area I will have to make a serious decision - either I hose water it every day in summer, or I shift (for example) the Hebes out, and give up. Perhaps this whole area could have totally dry tolerant plantings (I will need to research this). The only plants which make it are the flaxes and Pittorporums, which are small and sad looking.

 This great grass was flattened by the last snowfall we had. It's growing slowly back.
Toe Toe in December

The cricket has played away in the background all day (we have been quite successful) and a friend visited me for late lunch bringing a huge punnet of assorted berries. I haven't exactly been overworked, but hey! I am on holiday! As long as I remember to shift the hoses a few more times before dark my day will have been successful (like the cricket).

Saturday 20th December

I have started my gardening day by putting on the hoses. The plan is to water the whole of the dry strip in the Wattle Woods, before thinking about shifting any plants. Maybe the path could shift instead, to make this area more watering friendly - then the Hebes could move closer to the lawn to catch the main irrigation when it's on. Hmm... Will think about this as I listen to the cricket.


My watering regime in the Wattle Woods has been moderately successful. I've cleared the grass edge of the pond, removing suckers from a small Willow, and sawing overhanging branches off the trees near the edge. It's a desperately dry area to work in, though, and this seems very odd (since the pond is so close). I've finished the gardening day off with a quick photo session, trying for new vantage points in the middle of gardens, etc. Usually my photos are all taken from the same spots, with the result that they have exactly the same subject matter. I haven't shifted anything out of the dry garden yet - will have to think about the future of this poorly irrigated area. Mustn't make for example a rhododendron mistake, seeing everything quite moist and green in early spring!

I'm really tired. It's only 7pm, but I'm going to go to bed.

Sunday 21st December

I am about to go forth to have a long hard look at the dry area by the Pump-house. It seems that flaxes and Mountain grasses are the only things which survive without hours of midsummer hose water. What should I do about the Hebes? I'll finish weeding, then make some sort of sensible decision. It's a garden area with no atmosphere at the moment.


I've come inside for a cup of tea and a peek at the cricket on TV. I've been digging in the dusty quasi-dirt by the Pump-house, listening to the lawnmower doing circuits of the house lawns. So far I've repositioned a couple of modest flaxes (with a bucketful of water each for the inconvenience) and plan to reposition the path. I've also decided to have a "line" forward of which I take responsibility for upkeep, pruning, extra watering - I may even try and create some sort of dividing fence, so my responsibilities will be visually obvious. At the moment two Hebes have been pruned, while one has been pulled out and trashed. I've cut back several more tree branches overhanging the back of the pond, in an effort to keep the sides under better control. There are many seedling trees over here, and some of them will also get the chop.

 Jerome the cat always tests out the new paths I make.
Repositioned Path

Monday 22nd December

There is one advantage in having a slow dog who is deaf - ducks. We have a family of healthy nearly-grown teenage ducks who are living in the Moosey gardens. They are a team of seven, and are always together poking around in borders, or fertilising the grass, or in the water race. And the advantage in saying no to the Mark 2 version Sifter coming to live here? Peace and harmony within the three cats, each cat in her own space, three individuals in a family. I might start up the Most Valuable Cat Competition again this year - realistically it may be Taj-dog's last one. I remember with some embarrassment the year that Sifter won it - was I blind? Seduced by his striped cat-charms? Was he consistently good enough cat-company to win this serious competition (held over at least three weeks)? Hmm...


I spent a quiet couple of hours weeding and trimming things up by the glass-house. I found some beautiful person-sized dock weeds in the Elm Tree Garden just bursting into flower. I gave the Banksia Rose a bit of a clip, pulled out all the foxgloves, and did the edges right around to the pergola, where the climbing red rose is putting on a huge display. I am going to remove the Gerbe rose from this structure now that Crepuscule and the big Red are going so well. My sneaky watering regime continued all day, and the new path by the pond Pump-house looks great. The Hebe I shifted may or may not survive - no problem. All in all a most satisfying, gently paced day.

 This is the big red climber which is having a great summer on the Pergola.
Pergola Roses

Tuesday 23rd December

I'm not sure what I'm doing in the garden today. The weather forecast is for high temperatures and high nor-west winds - so far, everything is quiet and still (the wind usually arrived about 8 am). Yesterday I decided that it would be good to visit every part of the garden every day - I miss so much with my haphazard random approach. How disciplined should a semi-retired gardening legend have to be, anyway? I'm off outside for a quick walk around.

Oops - that didn't really work - it's drizzling, rather humid rain (unusual for us). Instead I have been thundering out some Schubert (the "Grand Sonata" - his words - in F# minor) on the piano, and some Rachmaninoff - I am getting a touch melodramatic in my pianistic old age! Playing in six sharps with lashings of double sharps at every corner - should "sharpen" the wits?

Wednesday 24th December - Christmas Eve

The wind blustered all night, and now I'm waiting for the promised calm (if I can believe the weather forecast!) before I go outside. I want to zoom around doing all the edges for Xmas - as if the garden cares! One of my gardening friends has sent an interactive internet Xmas card - where you click the sky to get snow falling - eek! A white Xmas! OK, time to go outside before it gets too hot. There are still random puffs and roars of the hot dry wind - I will ignore these. If it's too hot I'll weed some more along the water race. I'd like to know that the garden is ready out there for Xmas day.

The midday sun is beaming down, and it is a little hot gardening, even in the shade. I have come in, having done boring things like cutting down old euphorbia canes (with gloves on), deadheading roses, and digging out aquilegias that are in the wrong place. The Hen House Garden is very very dry, and probably needs my watering regime to take it on. Still that blustery wind is blowing. I will go and shift the hoses. No sign of Sifter - I wonder where he is at this very moment? I wonder what he's eaten today?