Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! It's Christmas day in the Moosey Garden and gentle Christmas rain is falling. My roses are soggy, but the vegetable garden is the best ever, thanks to nature's grand watering scheme.

 Playing on the house decking.
The New Christmas Kittens

Hurray for my courgettes, lettuces, beautifully staked tomatoes, and rows of garlic maturing in the summer rain! Merry Christmas to the potatoes, ready for harvest! And the beans curling their tendrils skywards! Good morning to Stumpy the cat, sitting on my lap as I write. Blast the rain! I had huge plans - all the lawns were going to be mowed, all the edges trimmed, and I was going to take beautiful Christmas day photographs of garden borders.

 The colour of sunshine - so where’s the sun?
Summer Senecio Flowers

I've been thinking - it would be fun to do a highlights package (aargh!) of the gardening year. Best thing that happened to the garden in 2004 - here are some of the contenders:

The Best of 2004?

And the winner is...

 On one of our many walking circuits.
Puppy by the Renga Renga

The last item might seem odd to English gardeners who can take or leave Verbascums - I guess they (the gardeners?) are a bit weedy. My Verbascums arrived from up-stream, and have semi-colonised parts of the water race bank - they are a real hoot (their flower heads are all crazy and curly).

Most Valuable Cat Competition

On Boxing Day I am starting up my Most Valuable Cat Competition (the MVC). This annual event has been in recess for a few years now, due to the dwindling number of contestants (and their total lack of interest). The arrival of the kittens, however, has made the big cats rather more competitive.

Cat Status for the Puppy

The puppy, of course, acquires cat-status for this prestigious competition, which will run until the 26th January. I wonder - the poultry could probably put in a collective entry - can't imagine them getting many points, though...

Merry Christmas to the rain again - please stop!

Sunday 26th December

All I did yesterday in the garden was to quite seriously prune the climbing rose Masquerade between showers. This rose gets rust if not sprayed (hmmm). And to peer out of the house - the Wisteria's green growth looks lovely on the house pergola as it frames the view out to the Frisbee Lawn. Go Compassion roses!

 Silver sleek.
My Cricket Radio - 2004

So there's nothing of a gardening nature to report. I am still a bit sick. Perhaps today will be better - there's the cat competition (MVC 2004) to organise, the cricket, a thousand and one gorse and broom seedlings to weed, and Christmas presents (a large cabbage tree and a golden Totara tree) to plant in the Hump.

Merry Boxing Day. No rain, please! Let the summer of international cricket (for New Zealand) begin. Let that ridiculously crackly, far too small, cricket radio start doing some work (accompanying the head gardener who will shortly be out planting).

And please let the summer sun shine down on the Moosey birds in the trees and the insects in the garden. That sort of thing!


Brilliant! Three hours of gardening with the puppy - I've raked and cleared and planted the Christmas plants, pruned and sawed overhanging tree branches, and dragged barrowfuls of rubbish to the fire. Puppy has been digging, and he is covered in biddi-bids. The cricket is about to start. The sun is shining and the birds are being really noisy. Go birds!

Early Evening...

I've done edges and weeded in the Dog Kennel Garden, where I've planted some of the remaining nicotiana annuals. We have won the cricket. It's still sunny. The kittens are happy. The puppy is tired out.

Monday 27th December

Sunshine! Gardening! Cold Virus! Runny Nose! Sore Throat! But I will let a simple head cold stop me. I am going to garden today. I am obliquely inspired by yesterday's magazine read - pictures and writing about the recent Ellerslie Flower Show. Some garden pictures 'speak' - the personality of a plant soaks into the page.

Cordyline :
I grow a lot of Cordylines, or Cabbage trees, in the Moosey Garden.

Pictures of old fashioned roses make me smile - they are strongly evocative and forceful in a photograph, even though I don't grow many. Cabbage tree silhouettes always give me a patriotic New Zealand thrill - this is where I live, this is the land I am so lucky to garden on.

But back to the Ellerslie Flower Show pictures - they did nothing for me. Did I miss anything by not going? I don't think so. And the garden magazine in question? Shallower than a kitten's budget dirt box!

 So pretty!

Real Gardens...

Real gardens let their plants speak for themselves. That's why I'd never ever want an outside garden designer - we've got far too much to say, my plants and I!

So today, feeling affirmed in the heart (and woolly in the head), I am going to do serious damage (of the good and noble kind). This is the season where my Golden Hop asserts its dominance over neighbouring pittosporums and rhododendrons. I will sort it out, lay some clear boundaries, in a tough love-gardening way. The nearby water race sparkles and bubbles its way through the garden - perhaps I will continue working near the big waterside flax today.

Rusty the puppy has a zooming circuit here - along the water's edge, under the Gunnera, over the tussocks, round the path and back to the big flax - a hurtling mass of beige fur and fluff.


It's nearly tea-time, and I'm about to return to the garden. Today I've weeded in small sessions, just enjoying the sunshine and the noise of the water.

 Shining flaxes and sparkling water.
Flaxes By the Water Race

It's quite the loveliest feeling being in the garden and not worrying about a timetable. There seems to be endless daylight (see what a little sunshine does!) and absolutely no wind. I'm off to finish trimming the edges of the gardens over the water race.