Weeding and dead-heading...

Two serious summer pastimes have begun in earnest - weeding out the annual forget-me-nots, and dead-heading the roses, all of which are still looking beautiful. There is no other way to say it!

Sunday 26th November

It's gently raining. Nice. I have a choir performance early this afternoon, so I can tra-la-la with confidence, knowing that the garden won't have time to scorch and burn up in the sun. And I had such a great afternoon gardening session yesterday - weeding until seven o'clock, listening to the cricket. My clothes were covered in biddi-bids (sticky seeds) from the forget-me-nots.

 Ready to catch a floating weed.
Rusty on Water Duty

Rusty the dog was a great help, standing as he does in the water race - just in case a weed should fall into the water. Such concentration! He is the supreme guardian of the waterways.

Poultry Problems

But I am absolutely furious with Brewster the Moosey rooster. I am a very caring animal mother. I even beg huge bags of left-over greens from my friends so my chooks can always have good food. This year the Moosey vegetable garden is deliberately overflowing with salad greens. I cook up potato and carrot peelings, and I give the birds layer pellets and grain each day.

So, Mr Rooster, I decided late yesterday (out of the goodness of my heart) to let you and the hens out of your run. You could all stretch your bird-legs and peck at some fresh grass (and Hebe leaves). You could enjoy a quick scratch in my Pittosporum garden. I did not expect to be charged at by a fast and furious cockerel. When I fended you off with a stick (phew) I did not expect you to leap upon said stick to get a closer peck at me. I am your mother. Humph.

Feathers Fly in Free-Range Fiasco

Never again - my ungrateful pack of poultry are destined to stay inside their wire netting chicken run - for ever! Rural free-range roosters are supposed to poke around quietly in orchards, not take flying leaps and charge at the head gardener - the feeder, the bringer of daily gourmet treats...

 More new roses, name unknown.
Pink Roses

Right. I need to check out the roses - perhaps take some photographs. I will bucket some more water on the standard Blushing Pink Icebergs. Last night they were gasping, rather than blushing, and obviously have very poor root systems. Then I will do some dead-heading. Summer is definitely here when I start to dead-head the roses!


The rain did my watering. But I tied back the Compassion roses (such a wonderful fragrance) which the house painters had gently undone from the pergola. And I pruned the Wisteria - apologies in advance if this is totally the wrong time of year. Tomorrow I will be much more pro-active.

 My new coral coloured peonies, first season.
Peonies by the Ferns

Monday 27th November

Oh dear. My sparkling white cat called (oddly) Beige-Puss - the one I make the 'White-Cats-Can't-Hunt' joke about - has brought down two pigeons in two days. No more details are required. So B-Puss's long vigil lurking at the foot of the big gum tree is finally paying off. I've just had a thought - he hides in my foliage pots. Perhaps the pigeons, aware of my eclectic taste in garden art, think he is a kitsch concrete statue? Hmm... I could put a sign up - Beware of the Cat...

Wet, Wet, Wet

All my archways have roses and shrubs overhanging, dripping wet. And many of the peonies are wet and horizontal - time to be picked for the house. It's been a rather wet journey to feed the hens. Now I'm off trim down the aquilegias, and do random weeding.

There are yet more lettuce and silver beet seedlings to plant in the moist vegetable garden (nice) - and batches of flowering annuals which deserve to get into some real dirt. I plan to have a solid morning gardening, then a piano practice, then another training run (aargh!) for the women's triathlon. My goodness, it's hard work being a Super-Gardener AND fitting in so many other interests!

Local Open Gardens Tour

And this weekend there is a local Open Gardens Tour. Since I am successfully and pleasantly anonymous, the Moosey Garden has not been asked to open its gates. I am giving a small personal tour to a teacher friend and her mother, then I will join them peeping at the other local gardens. This is a defining moment - will my garden be so much worse than the open ones? Or will it be so much better? Hee hee - certainly the latter!

 Oops - I have already forgotten the name.
New Yellow Rose

Just you wait, forum friend Jack, when you finally open your beautiful South African garden! Perhaps I could bring a bus-load (make that a plane-load) of keen retired ladies over from New Zealand. A new career as a tour guide - hmm...

Tuesday 28th November

My vegetable garden is organised, I've painted the sign for the Welcome Garden, and I've ordered some lawn mowing for early evening. I've fed the chooks, accompanied by Fluff-Fluff, who shows subtle cat-interest and causes much clucking. And yesterday my friend and I, triathletes in training, bicycled in a hailstorm (ouch!) and ran in the rain. But we kept going, and I wasn't able to sulk too much (my friend is an extremely cheerful jogger). We are officially known as Triwomen...

The Return of the Moosey House Guest

Today I'm off for a bike ride with Rusty the Dog, before I go to the airport and pick up a very special person - the Moosey House Guest is returning! B-puss is still cautiously checking through every window for a stray house painter on the roof - now he has to cope with someone new inside his house. But the feline future is bright - the Moosey House Guest likes cats. He was a special fan (and official photographer) of my dear little ginger cat Smoocher.

 Haru (the fattest pet lamb) in her paddock.
Gardener with Lamb

I know that, being an avid fresh egg eater, he will love my chooks. I'm a little concerned that his first meal request is for roast Canterbury lamb (or hogget), though. Roast Haru (or roast Fred) is not on the menu!

Thursday 30th November

What a short month! It feels even shorter when the gardener-in-residence has had so many days off! Like yesterday, where I went walking on Banks Peninsula in the wind and sun. Talk about blowing the cobwebs out - wind blowing the tussocks this way and that, and blowing my hat off, fabulous views down valleys (at one point we could see the sea in three different directions).

 Great views on a good day...
Walking on the Peninsula

There were some stands of regenerating Totara trees, too - maybe in fifty years time these hillsides will be better bush-clad and forested. I hope so.

Poor Peonies

Today - oops. It's spitting with rain. It's been so windy - many of my foxgloves are tending to the diagonal, while my late peonies are horizontal. The house rooms are extremely colourful! The rain is great, though - as the winds we've been getting have been hot and dry, and much moisture can be sucked out of the earth in one day.

So I am off swimming, and hopefully this afternoon I can start clearing the paths and trimming the lawn edges ready for my friendly visitors. Thus my gardening month will end. It's been a great month, though - I've never enjoyed a November quite as much.