Not up to scratch...

The lawn mowing of the Moosey lawns is just not up to scratch. The cut is rough and uneven, and there is far too much long grass by the edges. Perhaps some supervision is required?

Saturday 26th November

Yesterday was a little disastrous. I struggled for ages with two pairs of edging shears trying to cut pieces of lawn which the mower-man has missed. Either the grass was too wet, or my shears were too blunt (there is no truth in the rumour that they were left outside in the rain). Being in a scatterbrained mood, I then weeded the forget-me-nots, stylishly clad in a cute little baby-blue non-regulation top. Thousands of sticky forget-me-not seeds are now permanently stuck to the sleeves. Rusty the puppy, who helped me, is similarly covered in little green dots. See what happens when high fashion hits the garden scene!

 With beautiful fresh new leaves.
Pseudopanyx in a Pot

Today, before I complain too much about the lawns, I will ask Stephen to sharpen my edging shears. Then I will try very hard to keep both pairs properly maintained - no nights out to encourage rust. First thing I'll do is to clear up all the mess created yesterday (and left) over the water race.

The Willow Tree Garden roses are a riot of colour, and there are lots of foxglove spires in between the rhododendrons. It's beautiful with the sparkling, gurgling running water. And let's hear it for the coloured flaxes, supreme foliage plants, and the perfect summer foil for fluffy rose flowers. Yesterday I saw the first daylily flowers - the big orange species growing near the Plank. And a rose has gone completely mad, in just its second summer - Benjamin Britten, one of my new David Austin English roses. It has an odd flower, though, and since it is providing huge numbers of these, is hard to ignore. Do I like this rose? If it is healthy I guess I do! Excessive vigour is not a crime, for a shrub rose with odd flowers. Is it?

 One of the roses growing in the Dog-Path Garden.
Pink Iceberg and Flax

And as for me crowing last week about how easy my garden is to weed - remind me not to! This has suddenly turned into the season when grassy weeds thrive - in the middle of my iris confusa clumps, for example. Their removal is a delicate business. And I have found a beautiful patch of small, subtle, variegated Ajuga underneath the Cercis Forest Pansy tree which has been completely over-run with grass. Aargh!

Right. Fred the new pet lamb has been fed. The cats have had their Smoocher Memorial Breakfast (tuna and bream - gourmet, chunky). Rusty the puppy has had his first bicycle ride of the day. It's time for a leisurely, healthy gardener's breakfast - then outside I will go!

 A New Zealand beauty.
Royden Rose

Many Hours Later...

I've been collecting weeds, pulling out more weeds (five barrowfuls), and trying to trim the lawn edges. The deep blue, magenta and purple rhododendrons are the last to flower, and their colours co-ordinate well with the magenta and white foxgloves. Things are looking so much better now - I should take my book outside to sit, read, and admire these newly weeded gardens. I've planted some new hostas and a red flax in the back of the Willow Tree Garden - there's still space for more. Hmm...

The new Birthday Rose Garden is getting fuller and more colourful, as more of the new roses flower. The lavenders by the grass path are still small, but their purple colours fit with the roses. I am particularly enjoying the big butterscotch coloured New Zealand rose called Royden - it smells delicious! What a great day I've had in the garden!

Congratulations to Brian Lara

OK, this is a gardening journal, but when a stupendous cricket event happens (like New Zealand winning a match?) I am allowed to include it. Brian Lara, West Indian batsman, becomes the top run scorer of all time today. What a great man!

 There are some lovely perennials in this small garden.
The Woodshed Rambler with Delphiniums

Sunday 27th November

I am up early, wearing my merino thermal top plus a big warm wool jersey. In sympathy with anyone in Britain who is experiencing a big chill, West Melton is experiencing a little chill. There's almost a ground frost, and I've been raving on about summer... Brr...

Rambling on about Roses

Fred the pet lamb is fed, and puppy and I have inspected the new climbing roses on the archways in the Hazelnut Orchard. Eastlea's Golden Rambler looks odd - it has rather large flowers for a rambler, and I can't detect any fragrance. Meg had some black spotted leaves, which are now in my jeans pocket - must remember not to put them into the washing machine. On archway four there's a rose which I think I've already got scrambling over the woodshed. The Chevy Chase roses are definitely not the same as my back fence cherry rambler. This is a good thing.

I noticed that the paddock grass in the orchard, freshly mown yesterday, is very roughly cut. There are strips of long grass, with seed heads waving in the breeze, and the mown swathes are still over ankle height. Quality controls need to be impressed upon the mower of the Moosey lawns. An official reprimand? Perhaps later today, after fire practice.

Yesterday the sale plants trailer was out roadside - that's where I scooped up my new hostas. Maybe today I will trip down the road to buy some more of these big, healthy potfuls. I think the back of the Willow Tree Garden is the perfect hosta spot! The fierce afternoon sun is dappled here, and the ground seems to stay moist.

Sally Holmes Rose :
Have a peep at Sally Holmes in my rose pages.

Right. I've finally run out of early morning words. So what shall I do first today in the garden? I need to weed the middle of the Island Bed underneath the Sally Holmes roses. I have pansy and blue cornflower seedlings to plant. I have a red cordyline still unplanted to put in a pot. And pots to water, patio and decking to sweep, windows to clean... Hey! How did that sneak in? Sounds very much like housework!

+5 Five bonus points in the Most Valuable Pet Competition are awarded to the sheep, gained by Fred the lamb for being such an easy, happy, uncomplicated Moosey animal to look after. And has Lucky Puss's star finally risen? Some kind soul is voting for Lucky, the most unfortunately named feline in the cat-universe. Even her memorial garden rose (a David Austin red called The Prince) has been shifted rudely - and lost!

Five gardening Hours Later...

I am too tired. It's just 6 pm, I've fallen asleep in the chair, and all I want to do is to go to bed. Five weeding hours is a lot! I will watch some cricket (Australia versus the West Indies), eat and have half a glass of wine (which should push me over the edge very nicely). I love my garden, though.

 The small daisies are considered a weed. Oops.
Tiger the Cat

Monday 28th November

This morning is an airport morning. Younger son arrives back from Japan, then the Moosey House Guest departs for Singapore en route to the Maldives. I just stay home, do the garden, and look at a world map - apart from driving to and from the airport, that is! My goodness! The Moosey House Guest has offered to send gardening updates from his tiny island home in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Grass Grumblings

No world tripping for the head gardener, though - my garden definitely needs me to stay faithfully home. The edges need trimming, and as for those house lawns! The mower man is not responding to my gentle nagging and scolding. After commenting about the state of the Hazelnut Orchard he dutifully sharpened the blades of the tractor's mower, and did tidy up the paddock. Momentarily I regained my confidence as the quality controller of Moosey grass surfaces. The state of the house lawns, however, remains sub-standard.

The latest claim is that someone (who?) keeps hiding metal objects (mainly rusting secateurs and hand diggers) in the grass. If the house-mower setting is switched to give a closer, more manicured cut, then there will be blade chaos - large chunks will be taken out by lurking loppers and sneaky secateurs. I don't believe him. I don't lose that many garden tools in the lawns - they mainly get burnt in the rubbish heap or mistakenly mulched. Humph!

 Hmm... I have no idea what this new rose is called. I don
Another Unknown David Austin English Rose

A 2006 rose catalogue arrived in the weekend post. Isn't this rather early for rose catalogues? It is, after all, early summer. I've just read the introductory blurb - apparently they count their stock in October, grow on, and sell the following June. There are several new David Austin English roses mentioned, including one called Charles Darwin which has 'large, full flowers of mustard yellow'. Not the most romantic colour phrase for a rose...

Much Later...

What an odd day. I've pulled out yet more forget-me-nots, read a book, and done quite a lot of thinking. Which is not a bad thing, for a Monday! On our road walk Rusty the puppy and I 'discussed' the things that money will never, ever buy, which are important to me - energy and motivation to do things, health (like my Mermaid roses a bit of a thorny one), love and friendship, and devotion of favourite dog, pet lamb and cats. We decided:

If one had enough money, then one could build a brilliant personal life philosophy about how money didn't matter.

Tuesday 29th November

Hmm... There are thoughts far deeper than the Moosey water race gurgling along up there. Great musical news - I've discovered a lovely violin and piano sonata which the Moosey Head Gardener (me) and the semi-disgraced Moosey Mower of Lawns (Stephen) are going to practice and play for Christmas - Cesar Franck's Sonata in A major. It's delightfully big in intentions, lush and thematic - like my garden tries to be? Perhaps I can forgive the wretched state of the Moosey lawns if there is much sweet violin practice done in the next few weeks. Hee hee.

 A pretty colour combination.
Purple and Caramel Iris

A Little Garden Music?

Later today I will water the house pots and find another garden to weed - there is bound to be one. I have two more pots of hostas and two more lavenders to plant, too. Thus there will be a sense of creation as well as maintenance in my gardening day. Cesar Franck's melodies can swirl around my head accompanied by shrieking pheasants, Fred the lamb baa-ing, birds and insects twittering, and assorted water sounds - pipes pouring into the pond, rushing water bouncing over stones in the water race... Should be noisy!

Wednesday 30th November

Goodbye November, the month of the roses and irises. Today, perhaps I'll do a little light gardening in the afternoon - after I have gone swimming and had lunch with my seaside gardening friend. Lamb, cats and dog are all fed, the pots are watered, and my Cesar Franck music has arrived. Yippee! My gardening fingers are now happily piano-playing, though the music sounds much easier on the radio than it actually is in the finger-flesh. Oops. Lovely canonic theme, though. A bit like the Moosey coloured hybrid flaxes.