Frosty mornings...

 On a tree at the back of the Island Bed.
First Spring Blossom

Suddenly these July mornings have turned frosty - it's difficult to start any gardening before 10:30 am. By then I have slurped my way through at least eight cups of hot tea and coffee! Everything must be in order before we fly to Samoa for our winter-summer holiday!

Tuesday 12th July

Aargh! Another frost! Yesterday I didn't get gardening until just past 11 am - I did some trimming and decided to start pruning the thorny Mermaid roses on the back lawn fence. I tied down the canes of the Gerbe rose (which flowers on short stubby stems - this part of the fence should now come alive with pink flowers). Then I weeded and cleared the Frisbee Lawn garden by puppy's dog-motel (with slow snoozing ginger cat-company). I trimmed Buddleias and uncovered a huge patch of dwarf white agapanthus underneath a Viburnum Tinus shrub. A long slow burning session followed (the big gum tree above puppy's kennel drops leaves, twigs and branches everywhere).

At about 2:30 pm it seemed to be getting cold - some lawn areas had even stayed in permanent frost all day. So off I went on a budget shopping adventure - I bought a bagful of 'new' clothes for Samoa (two dollars per garment - I have a new blue check gardening shirt and a flowing pale pink beauty for apres-gardening). I also picked up five bags of free horse-poos, and some sushi for tea.

Frost Festival

Today looks the same - a morning frost festival - Brr! I'll bet the pond is iced over! I need to wait for the sun to rise more - at least there is sun, and beautiful blue sky! Better to have feeble winter sun than no sun at all! Today's plans are to be listed, to keep the winter garden on track during my week's absence lying on warm tropical beaches.

Winter Gardening List (to be used with Lingering Frost)

Put on new gardening shirt.
A subtle blue, black, and sage green plaid.
Spread manure, newspaper and mulch in Hen House Garden.
Remember that obnoxious creeping perennial I think I've dug out and eradicated? Best to give any root remains a nudge.
Dig, or weed, or tidy the back of the Jelly Bean Garden.
This garden now reaches right up to the paddock fence. It's another candidate for a weed suppressant plan (there have always been some ugly thistles in here).
Rake up three wheelbarrowfuls of gum rubbish from the Wattle Woods.
Burn, burn, burn.
Shower and change into new apres-gardening pink shirt.
Yippee! Stylish both in and out of the Moosey garden!

First thing, though, is the morning frost walk with orange cat and dog. I will shut my eyes and imagine the fragrant flowery rose arches as I walk slowly through the orchard. Great news - the pipes for the archways are ordered, and the bending thereof is to begin!

 This must be my most often photographed New Zealand flax!
Another Yellow Wave Flax

Much Later...

I didn't really do anything on my list - except change into my new pink shirt! I only had enough newspaper for two wheelbarrowfuls of the top mulching layer (old lucerne hay) - all of which went in the Willow Tree Garden. I did a lot of weeding (trying not to tread on clumps of emerging daffodil bulbs), then shifted in some foxglove seedlings and some iris confusa. I decided to prune the resident roses - it may be a little early, but they'll live. This took ages, I stopped for a late lunch, and then never really got going again - I didn't even burn my garden rubbish!

What a lazy, laid back day! This just will not do!

Wednesday 13th July

Different change-of-plan news - family stuff - we aren't now able to go to Samoa (we were to fly out tomorrow). I am still going to try to catch up the garden today, though. I wish, wish, wish that I could get all the smaller details of a garden border finished - all at the one time! I thought that in stopping fulltime work this pleasant gardening state would happen naturally. Humph!

So today, in a few minutes, I am off outside to do that which I should have done yesterday. It's more than discipline, I think, which finishes a garden properly. It may simply be that my lists are too vague and too generalised (Help us! I have a vision of elongated, desperately minutely detailed inventories taking over the web site). It may be impossible to get a garden to a completed, well-organised, satisfying stage without hired help.

While I have been pondering and sulking inside by the log burner puppy has eaten a whole loaf of mouldy bread put out for the birds - gross! Right. I'm off outside. I intend to move mountains today - well, perhaps little hillocks. Yesterday's list will be completed. I will shift the agapanthus plants. I will sort out the Jelly Bean Garden. And I might even get the spade under the ground cover Hypericum which I have moaned about before. Such things will be done. And I will burn the garden rubbish. I will not be random. Ha!

 In the small paddock behind the Jellybean Border.
Taj-Dog's Almond Tree is Planted


How about 25% random 75% on task? I've cleared the backside of the Jellybean Border, but I just couldn't resist pruning the big Ballerina roses by the pond - on my way to the rubbish burning pile, you understand. And on my way back I stopped by the cherry rambler on the back fence. I suspect that this might be called Chevy Chase. I have just ordered two such roses for Archway Number Ten. My big book of roses is quite discouraging - Chevy Chase is apparently a high maintenance rose, difficult to train (sounds like puppy!), with no particular redeeming features. Hmm...

Anyway, an alternative plan for Archway Number Ten is to have Gloire de Dijon (which has a mildew warning - eek!) up one side and Meg up the other. Chevy Chase may be banished to a distant fence-line where it can disappoint the neighbour's nosy heifers and the odd friendly horse. They are welcome to snack on it!

 This is the top of the front house lawn, and the top of the Island Bed.
The Winter Clean-Up Continues


Sometimes, however, being random is equivalent to showing gardening initiative. Take my second gardening session today, for example. First I re-aligned the end of the Jelly Bean Border, and shifted in a stiff red striped flax and a peony rose. I then dug out one agapanthus clump, cut it into sensible pieces with the spade and planted these along the newly dug Jelly Bean edge. Since it was far too windy for burning, I shifted the start of the path behind the pond - slicing up the weeds with my trusty spade and levelling the ground. Here, too, it will get nice and hot - perfect for the second sulking agapanthus clump. Connections! Now my hands are a bit sore - all that weeding! and my back is a bit stiff - all that spadework! Moan, groan, creak!


I'll be away for three or four days. I'm going to miss the Moosey garden!