Ha! In past years the first weekend in February would have been spent back in the garden rushing around, trying to forget the pressures of the first week back at work. Ha! Not any more, as I settle serenely into my second year of semi-retirement.

Saturday 5th February

A serene summer gardener? Not quite the picture yesterday, as I found waist-high weed after waist-high weed in the middle of the vegetable garden. But weekends are different! It might be time for an I-am-so-lucky garden celebration. What shall I do today, to remind myself that I don't have to do everything in the garden in one weekend?

Flower Colour :
I grow Coreopsis from seed - they cannot be guaranteed to winter over successfully in my garden.

The gardens at the back of the house seem much more flowery and colourful than I remember last year. My new Coreopsis annuals are brilliant - what a great time in summer for them to flower!

One of the advantages of long weeding sessions is that one gets to know a garden intimately, but I suspect the result would be the same if I wore my specs. I could weed in the Dog-Kennel Garden, thus putting the final touch to the back lawn ambience. The small rockery by the dog kennel is looking like a proper rockery, and the annual Nicotianas I poked in are person-high and flowering. See - some of my garden projects are successful sometimes! Hurray for the Moosey Rockery!

 This summer my Japanese irises are suddenly bulking out nicely.
Japanese iris by the Water Race

Right - I have been weeding for as long as it takes the bread-maker to produce a beautiful loaf of rye bread (approximately three hours). If I had paid gardening help I guess I'd get them to do the weeding. But as a slight diversion I've been taking stones off the bottom of the water race and placing them on the mud-soil edges. The perfect, natural weed suppressant! Sloshing in the coolish water the hours have just floated by! I've also had brilliant cat-company - the ever faithful Jerome, plus rooster (crowing - aargh!).

A Gardening Legend

I've now finished for the day. What a legend! I've done heaps more weeding, and cleared one of the Dog-paths by the water race. I've built up the path at the water's edge with wet mud and scooped small stones from the bottom of the water for the walking surface. I had solo rooster company again (with intermittent shrieking and crowing) and the water burbled along - so relaxing and refreshing. I have very clean feet.

Sunday 6th February

The early (well - moderately early) morning routine - first get the kittens up. They now sleep in Cat Motel (shelves in the airing cupboard, covered with wool blankets) in the laundry. Then wander outside to Dog Motel and get the puppy up.

Good Morning - Rusty the Puppy in his Dog Motel

Then walk round the driveway (cleaning old petals off the daylilies) and inside for the first cup of tea. Then writing down the garden things noticed - for example, the big climbing Cecile Brunner rose is flowering again, while the hopeless David Austin rose called the Squire is not.

Head Gardener :
When in doubt - find a comfortable spot in the garden to relax and think deeply...

Maybe a short weather comment (it's strangely humid and misty) - without excess explanation (gardeners are reading this, not geographers). Then the best bit - the uplifting, inspiring bit - The Question - What shall I do first in the garden today?


I attacked the back of the Jelly Bean Border with my secateurs (careful of the fingers!) - trimming the Choisya, the Hypericum, and several Viburnum Tinus shrubs which were spreading sideways. I've let more air into the middle of this garden - I can now stand by the big bronze flax, peep through and see the pond.

 Which I can now see, peeping through the newly pruned shrubs...
The Pond

Then I cooled off by the water race, cutting back the huge Clary Sages and generally flashing my red secateurs at everything in sight. A Moosey Nipping and Pruning Festival - scary stuff! Tomorrow (while my fingers are still intact) I may have the day off!