No more gardening grumps!

It's the third week of December. No more gardening grumps are allowed - but there needs to be some gardening maintenance done. It's time for more dead-heading, and weeding, and path clearing, and so on...

Thursday 15th December

Good morning to Stumpy the cat, who is determined to sit on my lap and smooch my hot cup of tea. Good morning to the silence of the lamb - no bleating yet from Fred the pet Romney, almost ready to be weaned off his bottle. Yesterday I caught him on the house back lawn, happily munching Photinia leaves. Oops.

 Stumpy looks cross.
A Grumpy Stumpy Cat?

A couple more faintly memorable things happened yesterday. Firstly, I got garden-muddy and weeded my vegetable garden, which was a disgrace (note the past tense). Secondly, and this is a rather delicate matter, I went to see two very small kittens. My friend is a compulsive animal rescuer, of Fred the lamb and others, and is going to advertise late next week for a 'mature good home'. I wonder if the Moosey home could thus be described? You see, one of the kittens is exactly the same colour as Rusty the puppy-dog - pale beige, with orange ears. Designer animals - a matching pair - hmm...

Today is a day of action. I've been dribbly, like the drizzly weather, all week. What have I done? I've been jewellery making (very girlie), swimming once, moaned a lot, and I've worked in the garden for two hours maximum. This will not do. I have a decisive gardening list which I will now confidently present.

Decisive Gardening List - To Do after Walking the Dog

  1. Plant potted Hosta and variegated Corokias.
  2. Pot red cordyline.
  3. Clear two barrowfuls of weeds from somewhere - anywhere - one flexible item is allowed.
  4. Pull out weedy Campion which has finished flowering in Dog-Path garden. Evidence of lack of style, allowing flowering weed to dominate.
  5. Rake the Hump and decide what to do with struggling hebes. Into pots?
  6. Plant Bishop Llandalf dahlia. Great dahlia! Stuck in pot behind glass-house. Have I spelt it correctly?

Right, Rusty the puppy-dog. We have a plan. We have a drizzle-free day. The above things will be accomplished. And we have a punnet of strawberries to eat as a reward - when every single item is completed!

Three Hours Later...

Hmm... Would you settle for EIGHT barrowfuls of weeds removed from Middle Garden and the Dog-Path Garden? I am undecided as to where to plant the Corokias - possibly in the dry spot at the back of Middle Garden. Although this is one list item which remains undone, I feel justified in having a break.

 The rose Sally Holmes fills up the middle of the Island Bed.
The Island Bed in Summer

I have removed foxgloves, cut back straggling euphorbias, and scooped up forget-me-nots. Honesty plants have been stripped of their seeds and removed, favourite blue lupins trimmed back and likewise their seeds scattered. I promise I will return and plant the pots.

I'm puzzled that the water race edges seem to be luxuriantly weedy again. I thought I weeded them just days ago. Still, it made a pleasant end to the morning, standing in the water with Rusty the puppy-dog, both of us covered in sticky green biddibids.

Now if only the summer sun would shine again on my piano playing...

Much, Much Later...

Ha! I have been extremely decisive - again! I've removed the struggling peonies by Middle Path and in their place are two no-nonsense easy-care variegated Corokias! If this is a dodgy time to dig up peonies, then so be it. They simply cannot stay planted in such a sunless, dry spot. I would still be out there but for the rain. Rusty the puppy-dog enjoyed barking at the thunder and trying to locate and chase it, up there in the sky. What a dog! Always looking up into the universe, his mind on higher things! We have both retired inside to relax, chill-out, and think about dinner.

Friday 16th December

Right. Today I will do everything I didn't do yesterday. First I will continue my great weeding session which has reached the back of the Dog-Path garden. I am prepared to get muddy. Rusty and I will go for our bicycle ride later on - thus spectacularly changing the whole feel of the day! There is nothing more to say. It is to be a 'doing' day. When I return I will write down all the little details, and bore the British pants off my site manager - she who is always telling me off for writing too much in the journal and neglecting the Moosey Gardening Forums... Hmm...

 Absolutely beautiful in the garden - and I am allowed to pick them for the house!
Delphinium Flower-Head

Ha! Two Hours Later...

Time for breakfast! Be impressed - pre-breakfast weeding! Much of the Campion is pulled out, as are more foxgloves. Small weeds, medium weeds, and large weeds (like dock) are also out. Remind me never, ever to learn the names of weeds in my garden - imagine the details paragraph after paragraph there would then be!

Flowers and roses are much nicer to talk about anyway. Like my huge electric blue delphiniums, pride of the Willow Tree Garden, subject of many December photographs. The new roses I planted in the back of this garden last winter are a bit spindly and unspectacular though - I need to check their names. One looks rather like Raspberry Ice, though it has one single blooming stalk - not a good look!

Thinking About Christmas

All my white Iceberg roses have gone pink and soggy from the last few days of drizzle. There may need to be a pre-Christmas day dead-heading session with the edge clippers. Christmas day! Aargh! Should I be worried that I haven't bought, sent, or thought about Christmas presents? Or cards? Oops - I sense this is not the way a serious, mature mother of three should behave. Is the Moosey Christmas tree (which I think is a larch) still alive and functioning in its pot? Yes - most suitable for those with allergies to Christmas pine needles, though modest in size. And will we get a new Christmas kitten? Eek!

 Self-sown  beauties.
Summer Pansies

Saturday 17th December

I feel like a real summer gardener again. Yesterday Rusty and I spent a happy hour standing in the water race weeding. He stayed downstream, concentrating on every hand movement, just in case I dropped anything interesting (like a tennis ball). Which I didn't.

Today is a most serious day. Because of the drizzle of the past week no lawn mowing has taken place. There has been both warmth and moisture. Consequently the house and garden is surrounded by a carpet of little white daisies, clover flowers with hovering bees, and yellow dandelion flowers towering above patches of long, green grass blades. This is not the flowering meadow look that gardening books love - it is a non-mown lawn mess. I am now off outside to trim the first of the lawn edges.

Christmas Gifts From a Gardener

I thought I could buy garden things for my Christmas presents, complete with little arty copper-plated inscribed plaques. These would be gifts for other people from me. Wonder if I'd get away with it? The Eldest Son Memorial Christmas Compost Heap? The Only Daughter Memorial Christmas Hose Butler? Hmm...

Nursery Plants :
All in all, a nursery voucher would do the trick nicely!

In reverse, gifts for the gardener (me) are much easier. Cartons of gloves and secateurs, truckloads of soil conditioner, hire-a-weeder vouchers - plus new hostas, roses, flaxes, pretty little perennials, and ornamental grasses (wish we were allowed to grow Pennisetum grass - unfortunately it is undesirable here and thus banned). Larger gifts could include a second pond, excavated and supplied with artistic rocks lowered into place by a crane. Then there are gifts which look to the future. How about battery powered secateurs? These would be especially designed for ageing head gardeners with potentially sore fingers - gardeners who are trying to play the Cesar Franck violin and piano sonata in A Major, full of octaves and semiquavers, for example.

Christmas Lamb

Right. Enough bleating about Christmas. Bleating! Aargh! Fred the pet lamb is not impressed with the weaning process (he's down to one bottle a day). When Rusty the puppy-dog and I go for our daily bicycle ride we have to make a mad, zooming dash past his paddock. Fred looks up, sees us, his sheep-brain kicks into action (Mother! Milk! Baaaaa!), and he charges for the fence