A funny, in-between feeling...

The autumn temperatures are still quite mild. What a funny, in-between feeling there is in the Moosey garden!

 A stack of Moosey firewood ready for splitting.
Winter's Coming!

Thursday 14th April - Mid-Afternoon

I've been outside planting the fifty cent perennials from the Easter sale (yes, it does take me quite a long time to get the bargains into the ground). I've been listening to us win the very last cricket match of the season. Yippee! A patch of Perovskias (Russian sage), plus irises and brown tussock grasses, are now planted by the sunny edge of Middle Garden. I feel very guilty, but the two standard roses have to go - they are perched sadly on my burning heap ready for the weekend rubbish fire. Goodbye Old Master, and other dreadfully spindly rose.

Tomorrow is the last day of the term. I know I am semi-retired, but it is almost worth it, having to go in to work part time - just to experience the feeling of an imminent holiday. I've been reading back in the old journals - when I was full time I'd do ridiculous holiday countdowns. Then I'd zoom home on the last Friday afternoon and launch into barrowfuls of garden journal burble. All the things I'd say I'd do - I'd be making every minute of every hour of every holiday day count!

In those old journals I sound like the madwoman of West Melton. Do you know, I think I've changed. I'm either more measured and serene - or I've just got incredibly more boring! Take your pick...

Puppy with Fungus

Friday 15th April

It's early evening, and I am on holiday properly! Two weeks of gardening, with puppy and the cats for company - no timetables, no deadlines. I can get my fingernails dirty, and forget to brush my hair properly - Ha! Freedom from personal grooming! It would be a good idea to have some gardening goals, but tonight I am too tired to write anything down. I am going to watch the rugby instead. Tomorrow morning I am bound to wake up with a headful of earth-shattering plans.

Saturday 16th April - On Holiday

A lot is going to happen in the next two weeks. My garden is going to get a complete autumn make-over - every single bed and border! And I am going to try and not sound boring (or tired) when I write in my journal. Ha! The challenge is thrown down - like those two standard roses thrown onto the burning pile. I am going to celebrate rather than moan. Who cares if my knee is 'sore', or my hands are 'tired'? Nobody! What about some gushing prose to describe the flower colour in the garden at this time of year? - the smudgy blue Aconitums, the lovely hybrid dahlias, the disgustingly healthy yet completely scruffy Mermaid rose along the back fence...

April Wildlife and Animal Report

And the wildlife? The fantails are always over-friendly in autumn - they eat insects on the wing, and trudging gardeners are good for putting the food to flight, so to speak. The bellbirds are still 'singing' - they seem to be based in the boundary gum trees. I keep disturbing small brown gecko lizards - a flash, a wriggle and they're gone.

Chooks :
Those chooks need some discipline. I need a Chook Super-Nanny to sort them out!

And the Moosey domestic animal life? Humph... Would the cat who was sick on my gardening jeans please own up? Why is the Gang of Four (they're my free-range chooks, and they're back) roosting in a totally different tree every night? And where has puppy been secretly been digging? I did the rounds of the garden yesterday, peering into every border. Will I find a prize rhododendron forlornly root-bare somewhere? You can tell when a beige puppy has been digging - funny that!

Dare I write a list of things to do today? I don't want to be a boring garden writer. Do lists impress - implying a tidy, organised mind? Or do they put everyone (including the gardener who wrote them) into snooze mode? I could ask the London Team, but am I prepared for their directness and honesty? No way! When they suggested that I was 'wobbling' my garden photographs I semi-sulked for a month, and blamed the New Zealand wind. Oops! And they are complaining that puppy's nose is 'too white' in his pictures (some people are never satisfied). I can fix that - I'll only take photographs of him apres-digging...

 One of the famous Moosey hybrids!
Soft Colours in a Dahlia

I wonder how the English garden scene is unfurling, too, as it moves into real spring, looking forwards into summer. English gardeners have longer summer days than I do. Could this explain why the English gardens I see (in pictures) look so much better than mine does in high summer? I still think that my garden beats theirs hands down in late autumn and winter, though.

Gardens (and Gardeners) Are Not Boring...

Right. The above paragraphs should have cleaned out the mental cobwebs. It's time for an immediate garden focus. Three categories, I think - garden maintenance, forward gardening planning, and the enjoyment of the garden moment now. 'Maintain, Improve, Enjoy'... that sort of thing. I'm off to get Rusty the puppy up. He doesn't think I'm boring!

Garden Holiday Achievements - Day One

Right. I am finally back after six hours. Six whole, busy, red-faced hours. Six long, enjoyable hours where I did every gardening activity known to woman. I dug. I weeded. I raked, burnt, planted, pruned, and trundled hither and thither with my wheelbarrow. At least one activity came from each activity category - I refer to the 'Maintain, Improve, Enjoy' slogan.

 Scene of much autumn activity.
My Burning Heap

I have new Schrophularia and Heuchera plants potted up for next spring. The driveway is raked, and Stephen's Garden is weeded, with perennial pale blue asters trimmed. All the Achillea weeds are removed from the Frisbee Border. The remaining Easter sale plants have been watered. The small garden under the gum tree by puppy's kennel is tidy again, and I've even trimmed the Lavenders. A volcano of gum tree rubbish is busy smouldering as I write.

I probably should have written a list but I seem to be in one of my 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary' moods. Oops. And how does my garden grow? Very well, thank you! My first holiday gardening day is a complete success!

Sunday 17th April

The first morning cup of tea - delicious! The Chooks are fed, the puppy is up, the day is clear and calm. A list? No - the free spirit of the Moosey holiday gardener is not ready for such mind-organisation. I may compromise, however, and list my achievements at the end of the day. Mornings are the time for philosophical gardening rambling - the mental borders are bursting with plants and weeds spilling over everywhere, and none of the mental edges have yet been trimmed. Ha!

The Moosey Wheelbarrow :
I wonder how many garden miles (or kilometers) my trusty green wheelbarrow has done?

Gardening momentum must be maintained all day. Today would be a good day to start the pre-winter wheelbarrow journey of half-hardy plants in pots. Helichrysums and Pelargoniums can then enjoy the first frost (which must be near) in the warmth and safety of the glass-house. Right. A second cup of tea, then I'm off out there.

Garden Holiday Achievements - Day Two

My goodness I have worked hard - a five and a half hour day today - and the rubbish fire has been burning all that time. I've done a lot of clearing in the Hen House Garden - and I've totally re-routed one of the paths. Now it does a stylish wiggle around one of the wattle trunks. I've moved the stone edges, filled in the old path route with compost and horse-poos, and planted a couple of my New Zealand natives from the Easter sale. So much better!

 The peony leaves have beautiful colours in the autumn.
Peony Foliage with Flax

Then I decided to attack the creepy perennial by the rugosa roses. I have to try and get all its roots dug out - this perennial is my biggest garden mistake ever (bigger than the Golden Hop - at least with the Hop I get lovely foliage). Smoocher the ginger kitten turned up as I was weeding - what a surprise - the Hen House Gardens are a long way from the house, and he had to cross the bridge to find me. Brave kitten! Anyway, I have stashed my tools in the shelter trees nearby - I intend to return here first thing tomorrow.

Leopard Ligularia :
The spotty Ligularia is one of the funniest foliage plants I've ever seen.

I also dug out some too-big grasses by the crinkly Ligularia (Martian Invader - what a ridiculous name!) and am ready to plant the two new (Easter sale) crinkly Ligularias here. Mass plantings by the water race - very sensible! My fire is still huffing and puffing - I will go back outside soon to give it a final definitive poke.

Ha! This journal entry is listless - like the head gardener, after trudging, kneeling, bending, raking, weeding and burning for five and a half hours... Hee hee...