A gradual and gentle return...

After a few days off I plan a gradual and gentle return to the pleasures of summer gardening this week. I wish to have a marrow-free week - I am going to concentrate on my roses, which are busy blooming again, to keep me company.

 Canna Tropicanna ready to flower.
Summer Canna

Saturday 14th February

We lost the cricket last night. So today my cricket radio will be holding huge long and complicated post mortems. This should make for interesting gardening. And I do intend to get out there - after a few days of a slightly sick break there will be much to do. I think the first plan will be to wander around and reacquaint myself with the borders far from the house. I could even take a small notebook. Back soon.

Jerome the Grey :
Jerome is one of the mature Moosey cats.

Right - I'm back after a gentle session, not too much bending and stretching. My grey cats are gross at the moment - there is a small infestation of rodents (mainly field mice) and every day I am presented with one in the house. Two days ago I 'found' (as one doesn't expect to) a dead rabbit on the carpet under the bed upstairs. Actually I squeaked out loud with the shock - it was as big as Jerome the rabbit-hunter herself, and the same colour.

Clever cats - their hunting instincts are so good. But I promise there will be no graphic evidence shown in this journal...

In my vague mooching gardening session I discovered some Molinieux roses (I think) which have taken on the most interesting colours in their second flowering. I might investigate getting more of these beauties. I also decided to take more interest in the flowers that bloom in February - it's a gardening month I'm a bit vague about.

 I think this is the David Austin rose Molinieux.
Summer Rose

Sunday 15th February

I know this is supposed to be a gardening diary. But I wish to record some local and family things - and being the sole writer I am jolly well allowed to digress occasionally!

Last night we had the scariest, flashiest, boomiest session of thunder and lightning. This is so unusual for West Melton. Mugsy the cat was very upset and had to be cuddled through the storm. And the power went down - out came the trusty lantern, covered in cobwebs and dust.

Penguin Number One

Penguins and Icebergs?

Today my lovely relative arrives back from her first season in Antarctica. I am doomed to gaze at photographs of penguins and icebergs for eternity. And today's weather is not good for evasion tactics - the rain will keep me house-bound. Eeek!

And last, but certainly not least, tomorrow I get my BIG check-up at the hospital. Good luck Moosey!


It has rained all day, so no gardening would have been possible. Everything has suddenly turned very green. What an odd climate we have - the weather is never settled for long.

Now I am going to look at rather a lot of penguin and iceberg photographs - yippee!

Monday 16th February

So far today I have been busy rescuing my vegetable garden from the depths of disgrace. I've collected seeds from the lettuce trees and tried to stake the tomatoes. The carrots are hopeless, but now clearly visible - the only things growing really well are the orange calendula and the small purple violas. My courgette / marrow plant is pouring all its strength into its single ever-expanding marrow - there are no smaller courgettes to pick at all. Blast!

As a potential potager gardener I am such a failure. And did I mention that the raspberry canes down the fence are now out of control? A set of canes is going to be shifted and planted in a proper fruit row in the orchard, but I fear I will have raspberry runners sprouting for ever and ever. How will I get rid of the unwanted ones? Will Moosey the Quasi-Organic Gardener have to shamefully resort to a Nasty Chemical Surprise? Watch this space...

Now I have been raking up huge strips of gum tree bark in the Wattle Woods, trying to clear the paths. I will think about weed control and try and be philosophical about it.

 In New Zealand this canna is sold under the name Bengal Tiger.
Striped Canna

Tuesday 17th February

It is raining, drizzly, wet, and there is supposed to be a cricket match on to watch, as a reward for a few hour's gardening. Humph... I might wait an hour, crossing my fingers for clearing weather. The only things I can think of to do outside involve getting muddy and wet - typical. Mind you, gardening is 95% hands-on (or hands-in - soil, dirt, etc.) at any time of the year.

My freshly returned from Antarctica relative has complimented me on the natural growth in the garden - it looks like it has always been there, not like I planted it. This is a very positive thing.

Ten minutes later, very wet...

I didn't get very far - just walking around with Jerome the cat taking some photos of 'natural growth' when 'natural wet' fell and we both had to retreat back to the house. It's typical that I feel full of gardening energy as the rain gently falls.

Some hours later...

The sun suddenly came out, the cricket suddenly started, and I worked carefully for a couple of hours. I cleared gum leaves and dug out the greenest of weeds. We actually ended up WINNING the cricket!!!

Thursday 19th February

Yesterday was warm and sunny and I did nothing except mooch and read. Today I am feeling much better. It's funny how a mild virus can block out all my gardening energy - today I am back! I have been weeding the Dog-path, where there is a big mess - I haven't worked here for quite some weeks. The variegated irises which fill part of this garden are starting to annoy me - they need cleaning out, and possibly replanting.

Gorse :
Such a pretty coloured flower. Such a ghastly weed.

Some nasty bracken has arrived (from down the water race) and is trying to establish itself - I've carefully sprayed it. There are also some person-sized sticks of gorse and a lot of knee-high broom plants. It's time for some serious action in here, so tomorrow I will return with loppers and shovels and thick gloves.

Friday 20th February

It's morning tea time and I've already done big things in the Willow Tree Garden - I've been spreading mulch, weeding, and planting small tussocks and grasses by the water's edge. I've shifted in some sad hostas from their far-too-sunny spot where their roots were being slowly strangled by some rampant clover. Things are looking good. And I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER!