This space should inspire me to greater creative heights.
A Quick Peep Inside the Moosey Office

The great Moosey winter mulching machine struggles on - why does it take me so long to cover so little ground? The garden make-over programmes on television don't have this problem - they can plant and mulch in hours. Humph...

Friday 22nd July

Hurray for the Moosey office! It even has a resident puffy heater - and the most beautiful view of the house lawn (messy) and the Jelly Bean Garden (tidy). It gets filled and warmed with winter sun, and I now think I want to sleep here! I have added my Nelson pottery to the shelves. Stylish!

Today's Garden Plans

Today I am going to be a high achiever - in the garden, and in the office! Below I present a list of suitable outdoor wintry garden tasks to choose from:

Then, most importantly of all, when the sun (yippee! - hello, you lovely, sunny sun!) has dried the rubbish pile - burn it! One cannot spend a sunny day in late July mooching around reading (Harry Potter!) and shifting yet more gardening magazines into one's new, stylish head gardener's office - or sitting in a new forest-green velvet chair dreaming about rose archways and summer.

Much Later...

The nursery has a nice tree for Smoocher's final garden resting place - a Prunus Shitokae (can that be the correct spelling?) with white spring blossom and golden yellow autumn leaf colour. I thought I'd plant some orange annuals (maybe the lovely small orange Comsos I used to grow) around the base as a tribute to my lovely orange cat.

 Rusty the puppy joins in the birthday celebrations.
Happy Birthday Stephen

I have spent most of the day mulching the Willow Tree garden, thanks to a generous donation of newspapers from my walking friend. I've had to weed as well, and I've planted some Iris confusa around the last remaining naked tree stump. Why it takes me so long? - I suspect that fast mulchers don't do the job properly. I've also burnt the rubbish pile.

Happy Birthdays

We have had two family birthdays this week - and my gourmet cook has flown back to Western Australia. There's a lot to think about, and more garden plans to make. I'm off upstairs to relax in the Moosey office - I think I'll sit in the dreaming chair for a bit, then get stuck into my daylily paintings.

Saturday 23rd July

I'm seriously worried about being such a slow mulcher, since I usually consider myself a semi-zoomy gardener. Imagine if I had a job making people's beds? Eek! Some positive plans for today - I need to rescue the Hebes planted deep in the Hump, and replant them closer to the lawn's edge. I must spade out that ground cover Hypericum - this is at least the third time I've announced these intentions. And there is one clump of white dwarf agapanthus still lurking in the deepest shade near Rusty's dog-motel to be shifted. Small details can make large contributions to a garden! Ha!

Artistic Announcement

My art painting has turned off the main road, and is slowly ambling down Abstract Lane. Artistic semi-old-lady painting seems as random as gardening! For example, I've got the daylily colours sorted, but yesterday I was stumped trying to 'make' the colour lilac, as in lilac Cosmos.

Lilac Cosmos :
Cosmos is a flowering annual which comes in many colours.

Does anyone grow slate grey Cosmos? Since when did red and blue make grey? Have I missed something? And a rather obvious fact has occurred to me - why don't I just get my favourite garden photographs printed on proper paper, and then put them in groovy frames?

Right - too much talk about random elements, and not enough real garden action. Out I go.


We've planted Smoocher's memorial tree in the Hazelnut Orchard to mark the beginning of the rose avenue - it's a Mt Fuji white flowering cherry. The four sad Hebes are trimmed and recovering (hopefully) in watery buckets. I've been weeding by the Stables, where new divisions of my nicest irises are planted. I've also pruned the resident roses - Bantry Bay is quite puzzling, though. It seems to be covered with short little dead bits (I pruned those) and little else.

So the Hypericum lives to fight another day (I just didn't feel like doing serious spade work). I've thrown out some Nerine bulbs (oops!) and squashed a squillion emerging daffodils with my grubby knees. Some flowery news - the little blue crocuses are flowering in the patio garden, and the baby pink Camellia at the side of the house must only be days away. Hey - I've just realised - today was a mulch-free day! Nice.

 This plant survives our winter frosts - and soon will have little purple flowers.
Variegated Wallflower Foliage

Sunday 24th July

Yippee! The sun in winter makes a huge difference! I'm up a little late (must confess to a little midnight cricket watching), and Stumpy the cat is snuggled in on my lap - blame her for my typing mistakes! Low sun is firing through the windows, splashing the walls, and covering Tiger Puss (snoozing on the back of the armchair) with bright light.

I'm on a flower colour search, too - I've already peered at the little crocuses, and I'm about to check the pastel pink Camellia. My artistic painting has suffered another set-back - yesterday in the pursuit of the colour purple I managed to create the most expressive set of browns, tans, and shades of squashed old grapes ever seen on canvas. Hmm...

'The less you judge the product and the more you value the process the better initially...'
-Younger Son on painting

Younger son has sent me an encouraging and lengthy e-mail (not all of which will be quoted here) regarding my painting attempts. This one sentence seems terribly wise. However, he goes on to say that he is 'full of horse-poos'. As should the Moosey garden soon be!

I have huge plans for today - firstly the spreading of a trailer-load of manure, then the finishing of the mulching of the Willow Tree Garden. Won't that be a small triumph - one small garden area completely weeded and mulched! The Hypericum will be removed, as will a large overgrown ornamental grass by the pond. I will enjoy the sunshine, and the quiet burbling of the water, and will work really hard (wearing gloves) all morning.

Ha! Four Sunny Hours Later...

I have completely finished the weeding in the Willow Tree Garden. Several big weedy grasses have been dug out (oops - one fell into the water race and floated off down-stream - Moosey the irresponsible weed-polluter of Canterbury waterways). Now the whole area is ready for the final mulch touches - that is, newspaper, and old lucerne hay (both of which I have run out of). I've taken heaps of photographs of the blue crocuses (complete with resident bee). The sun is absolutely gorgeous, and gives the day a truly timeless feel. I am taking a short break for lunch.

And Much Later Still...

I'm really pleased with my weeding efforts, and to make things look even better the lawns over the water race have been mowed. There were a few anxious moments, though, as the mowing was accompanied by loud banging and clattering sounds. Each time I thought the lawn mower had 'found' an old rusting pair of secateurs, or a lost hand digger, buried in the grass. I've had a really great day in the sunny winter garden.

Monday 25th July

Hee hee! I woke up, scrubbed my fingernails etc. thinking I had to go to work for an hour this morning. Hee hee! I have the whole day off! So I am super-clean, hair brushed plaited and super-shiny, perfect nails (the picture of gardening loveliness), and I'm about to spread more manure and mulch on the garden! I can scrape up one or two more barrowfuls of the top layer (lucerne hay) from the floor of the hay barn. Later I can finish reading Harry Potter in my lovely forest green office dreaming chair (in which I fell asleep yesterday). I think it's going to be another super sunny.

Aeonium :
I keep my Aeoniums in pots, and winter them in the glass-house. Oops - sometimes I forget.

I won't mention that ground cover Hypericum, which has survived yet again to moulder on, creep, be thoroughly annoying, and not flower for another day. And my big Aeonium which, although it is safely tucked into the glasshouse (unheated), has been seriously frosted. And my little orange cat who I miss very much! Go well - grow well, Mt Fuji Cherry, Smoocher's tree!

Mid Afternoon...

It's just started raining, so I have come inside. Horrible, hateful Hypericum! Humph! And humph again! My hands are so sore - I've been digging with the spade, pulling, digging with the hand digger, pulling some more. I'd say I've cleared two thirds of the stuff. The soil is desperately sandy - I should just dig it all out (soil and all), dump it somewhere, and fill in the hole with new topsoil. Hmm...

Artistic younger son says I need to stop seeing my painting models as flowers and look instead at the positive and negative space. This must feel a bit like looking at the real garden with squinty eyes.