Roses, rhododendrons, irises galore...

 My sneaky watering is paying dividends.
Iris confusa by the Wattle Woods Seat

I'm back! A proper early summer gardening week looms, with no financial distractions. Roses, rhododendrons, irises galore - there are brilliant flower displays in every part of the garden.

Wednesday 17th November

Simple truths are often the most elusive. I didn't fully realise how garden events overlap - like the flowering of rhododendrons and roses, and irises too. What did I think happened? Some sort of floriferous fashion parade, one at a time, on the catwalk of the Moosey garden?

I am back! I am writing again! I am gardening again! It is early summer! I feel optimistic, lucky, and full of energy - long may these three things last. And (applying my deep knowledge of fluid dynamics) I have got the Wattle Woods stream flowing again. The sun is shining, the hoses are watering, the rooster is crowing, visiting pigeons are cooing and the bellbird is whistling his (her?) A major arpeggio. The flax flowers are almost flowering, and the Iris confusa flowers are still going strong - at least six weeks after I first noticed them. I am definitely back - be prepared for pages and pages of garden chronicling deeper than the water in the Moosey pond!


Yes! I am definitely back! I've been doing gardening circuits all morning - you know - shift a load of pots from glass-house to decking, on return journey pull out a barrowful of forget-me-nots, shift a hose, dump green rubbish in Wattle woods, collect a barrowful of gum tree rubbish, journey past glass-house (brief stop-over to pot up more sage cuttings), dump rubbish on fire, shift another hose, return to glass-house for more pots...

 Taken in early summer.
The Island Bed

And not only am I back in the garden, I am back in glorious summer detail in this diary! But wait - there's more! I have staked a rose which fell down. I have planted some odd heirloom tomatoes in the vegetable garden. And I have baked some fresh bread which I am now eating. Ha!

 I think it is an old Ilam Hybrid
A Moosey Deciduous Azalea


It's a little early to go apres-gardening, but hey! I can always so a third session after tea when it's not so hot. I now remember what it's like to garden in summer. Between 11 and 3 it's a bit silly - unless one is definitely in the shade by water. I have been clearing out forget-me-nots by the side of the house and planning where the new roses should go. They're still in their pots waiting.

The variegated Honesty is coming out, too - but I'm stacking the plants in a pile to get the seeds when they dry. A creamy rhododendron is flowering in the Wattle woods (I have never seen it before). The purple and the magenta rhododendron are the late bloomers in Middle Garden. I didn't realise that rhododendrons flowered at the same time as the roses - I know I'm repeating myself, but I am honestly quite puzzled. Hmm... Perhaps a good book on New Zealand rhododendrons and their habits is required.

I've also been thinking about last week's visit to the Ilam Azalea Gardens. Why don't I have one area of the garden which puts on the biggest show for one time of the year? I am too greedy I guess. Like, for example, I could have an iris bed. Just irises, in a row. My garden is doomed to overlap and blur.

 Public botanic gardens I enjoy visiting.
Deciduous Azaleas at the Ilam Gardens

Thursday 18th November

Interesting - It's just after dawn (I had to get up really early to go to the airport). Rooster sounds really strident - and quite horrible, actually, crowing high in his tree in the Island Bed. I am playing Bach quite loudly to block him out. Whereas the bellbird(s?) sang all day yesterday and sounded delightful - I could close my eyes and imagine I was deep in the New Zealand bush. I understand why roosters are banned in the city. Close roosters (like the Moosey one) do rather destroy the dawn ambience.

Today - another day where I again connect with my inner gardening self. It's time I planted the potted roses in the garden. I'll put the hoses on again. I'll try and use more of my potting mix. We'll see what happens. I'll try not to run out of energy too early.

Taj-Dog :
Dear old dog! Tajdog can hardly be bothered any more.

A short note on Taj-dog - he is getting desperately old and slow and sleepy. Yesterday we really thought he was slipping away. The new puppy Rusty comes in two weeks time, and there is a brand new shiny dog-motel (size - large) waiting under the Gum tree. Will Taj-dog last that long? Where should I bury him? How much longer can he live? I am remembering to pat him every time I walk past, just in case...

On a more global note, the Moosey London Team has recently visited the famous Beth Chatto garden in - Essex? I've visited it only in her garden books - I'd love to go in person. Hmm...


My garden tasks have gone really well! The hoses have been going all day, and I've pulled out more forget-me-nots. The dark red peonies in Middle Garden are flowering (and falling over the path), as are some fluffy creamy white ones. I've discovered more Dog-Path Garden rhododendrons flowering - two purple ones which amazingly still have labels on. Perhaps all blue-purple-magenta rhododendrons are late flowering? The Crambe (a large perennial) nearby is busy building its huge crinkly green leaves - so far nothing has eaten it (last summer it was a 'holy' disaster).

 Oops - that's my arm in the background!
Red Peonies

I am also going for a second visit to Mona Vale Gardens (the roses should be flowering now) later this afternoon, as part of my compulsory socialisation programme. And the first cricket test of the summer season has started. Yippee! Cricket!