A strange time of year...

The days are getting noticeably shorter, and faster, too. This is a strange time of year, balanced delicately between summer (sun, flowers) and autumn (cool, leaf-drop). I should be digging new gardens and mulching the old, before time runs completely out.

 Kittens grow up so quickly!
Tiger the Kitten at Five Months

Tuesday 8th March

I don't understand how time can rush past in the middle of a March week, yet a Saturday in the garden can go on for ever (and usually I go apres-gardening far too early, having run out of oomph). I suspect that I might be part-time working too much at the moment - it brings in money, with no great responsibilities attached, but does it dull the gardening mind?

Take today, for example - today I go into work twice, with a three hour break. So I have a cunning plan - I will lay out my gardening clothes in the garage, leap out of the car and change immediately I return. Then I will garden like a lunatic - I have one another Pittosporum to limb up for starters. When my next work time approaches I will allow five minutes only to change back into proper work clothes and get the dirt out of my fingernails.

 The ginger kitten has the most beautiful spots and stripes.
Smoocher the Kitten at Five Months

I could wear gardening gloves, of course - probably should. My hands are still scarred with tiny wounds after the recent four great flax removals. Right. Enough. Iron a work shirt. Think of the money. Teach Probability Trees (ha! ha! - what is the probability that I won't get round to limbing up the Pittosporum tree?)... Back soon.


So I zoomed home, via the nursery - oops - but I had to buy a new hand digger - and I bought two purple-leafed Ligularias which were half-price. For the last hour and a half I have been weeding the driveway, sensibly potting up any seedling plants (like catmint and salvias) that I might use elsewhere. Weeding the driveway is no reward for zooming around the nursery like a madwoman with no spare time or spare money - in fact it's rather too mundane and - dare I say - boring! Oh well, and now I go back to work again! Today looks like being a less than satisfying gardening day.

Gourmet Tea Time...

Eek! A new camera has arrived! It is a present from the Moosey Team in London - it is rather flash, and scary. This means I will have no excuse for garden images that are dodgy (I usually blame the New Zealand wind when things are slightly out of focus). I wonder if the new camera will make the garden look better? Aargh! I will just have to be brave and get technical. I can do this! A huge, overwhelmed thank-you to the other Mooseys (now I will have to be extremely nice when I write about them).

Wednesday 9th March

Aargh! I am feeling super-shy about the new camera. I've peeped at the manual, and have done a few garden circuits with the puppy, tentatively pointing and pressing. Even the click as the image is recorded sounds scary! Oh boy! Every time I've taken a picture my hand has wobbled (with nervousness, nothing more). I am going to need a tripod - then I will be embarrassingly well-equipped.

Dahlias :
Red dahlias look wonderful in a spacious country garden setting.

So I now have a rather large series of dahlia photographs, in just about of every shade of red through to magenta imaginable (the new camera should be better capturing the reds and magentas). I also have a series of puppy staring up goggled-eyed at me, with exactly the same puppy-expression, though thankfully in different garden locations. I have found a close-up button (there is only one?). With it I have taken rather a lot of shots of the Canna leaves (this is definitely their time of the year - this time, every year, the regulation striped Canna leaf pictures come out for publication).

 THis is one of the beauties over the water race in the Willowtree garden.
Lemon Yellow Late Summer Rose - Taken with Old Camera

I have a horrible feeling that I might have to get more arty - I might even be expected to join some adult learning course. Eek! And I forgot to say (shamefully) - I've been home for most of today, but - distracted by the new camera - I've done no gardening...

Thursday 10th March

Ha! It's morning, and I have been busy for the last hour weeding the vegetable garden - in my pyjamas, as one does. I have planted 12 little gourmet lettuce seedlings (fat and juicy may they grow before the winter frosts), and removed a potful of happily growing brown tussock seedlings. These are now in a new, cherry red, fluted pot (a stylish colour pairing, if I say so myself).

 Oops - this wasn
Phloxes and Roses in the Vegetable Garden

Pyjamas in the Potager?

But this business of gardening in pyjamas is new, and rather random, even for me. A vision of pastel blue loveliness I may have been thirty years ago, maybe, but rather a vision of silliness in March 2005, with mud on the satin ribbon stripes around the leg bottoms... I've heard of older lady gardeners who regularly dead-head roses in their nighties and go outside with torches in their dressing gowns and slippers on fierce snail-hunts. Ha! I have finally joined the ranks of the mature...

Cameras, Cricket, and Chooks...

The new camera is a worry - how will I ever become a brilliant wobble-free photographer? And how can I get the kittens to stay still in cute garden-location poses? The cricket test match which starts today is an even bigger one. Aargh!

And my poultry have completely lost the chook-plot - the rooster has gone back next-door permanently, just like that, not even crowing a fond farewell. He's left behind his two dozy hens who sit hidden in my Olearia hedge all day and night - and squawk like pantomime witches whenever someone walks innocently past. This could seriously surprise an unsuspecting visitor. Oh well - never trust visiting poultry, I guess.

And Puppies...

Eek! Rusty the puppy has just returned from his morning walk with my live-in gourmet cook. He is in deep dog-disgrace. Puppy (a border collie) squeezed through a fence into a small paddock where a placid flock of black-nosed sheep were peacefully (and safely?) grazing. He then decided to practice his sheep-herding skills. With the blood of a thousand canine ancestors coursing through his border-collie veins, he herded the sheep first into one corner, then another, while his embarrassed dog-walker shouted, yelled, and roared from the road-side. Oops!

Later in the Afternoon...

I raced home from work with plans to garden and listen nervously to the cricket on my new, ridiculously bright red cricket radio. But the nor-west winds were far too noisy and horrible to go outside. Oddly the cricket was quite good (I watched most of it on the TV). So there - one just never knows how an afternoon is going to end up! Tomorrow I will definitely get out and into the garden - that Pittosporum in Middle Garden is waiting! There will be gum tree leaves everywhere again to rake up, thanks to today's gusts. Hmm...