My own little lawn mower...

 Not sure. This rose is tall and thin, with an unusually dark flower colour.
Rose - Fisherman's Friend?

This is serious. I need my own little lawn mower to do the immediate house lawns and the edges. I am based here at home, in the garden (theoretically) every day, with all the time (theoretically) in the gardening world.

Friday 1st December

This morning it's still raining on and off. Of course this is good for the garden, but several of my very flowery roses (like Buff Beauty and Raubritter) are looking very soggy and bedraggled. And the lawns desperately need mowing, before tomorrow's visitors, but naturally they are far too wet.

I have many clumps of lovely startling pink peonies now in full bloom, but alas! They've all fallen over with excess water. The Birthday Rose Garden is going well, but again the water spoils any close inspection of the flowers. Have I successfully identified the sultry damp reddy black rose as Fisherman's Friend? What an odd colour to be connected with a fisherman.

Australian gardeners, desperate to garden with little or no water - please forgive my moaning! After swimming I promise that I'll cheerfully clear the paths and trim the lawn edges - and there will be no complaints about 'moisture', 'rain' or 'wetness'.

 It flowers first, before the leaves appear. I had wrongly called it a Rheum. Oops.
Waterside Plant - Darmera peltata

Oh, and one more thing. Hello December, summer month, the happy month of Christmas. What can I get my garden for a present? Shredder - second pond - shredder - second pond...


I'm off to start my December summer gardening. But what to wear - thermals? And where to begin? There is so much crying out to be done. 'Weed me!' shouts Middle Garden, full of mildewed old forget-me-nots. 'Pick us!' shout my pink peonies in the Willow Tree garden, collapsed on the damp dirt. Clean me up immediately!' demands the Hen-House path, covered in gum tree debris. 'Dead-head us!' mutter my roses. With all this communication, no wonder gardeners are so self fulfilled.

 No rust allowed!
Dublin Bay

I have a plan, which I have just explained to Rusty the indoors-and-very-bored dog. Starting at the hen house we will both zoom over Rooster Bridge and down through the Wattle Woods. There will be much quick cosmetic work - all paths, all edges, easy weeds, easy shrub and tree prunes. Ha!

Saturday 2nd December - Morning, Early...

With the rooster crowing at the break of dawn I am up, ready to finish sprucing up the garden for my visitors. Except I don't feel like crowing, or actually venturing outside - there's a very slight frost in the Hazelnut Orchard. The amount of gardening that I haven't done this last week is quite off-putting. Yesterday I started in the rain, and five hours later I'd reached the Pump House. The Wattle Woods were so weedy - I'd very much like to blame the new compost.

The Moosey Driveway :
I never linger in the driveway - so I guess I don't take the Driveway Garden seriously enough. It has its 'big moments' though - during spring blossom and rhododendron time.

Today I have edges to trim - I'll finish off the Pond Paddock gardens first. Then all the gardens over the water race (these should be quicker to tidy up). Then I'll work my way in from the driveway, as a visitor will do. First impressions, first impressions - in other words, hammer the 'Welcome' sign into the ground properly, pick up trail of discarded plastic pots, etc.

Garden Help

My garden helper has promised to burn the rubbish pile - thanks to the recent wind I have a pile of gum tree branches and leaves. Then I will brush my hair (oops - have to use the dog's brush, since mine is lost) and scrub my fingernails. I will change into a floating blue shirt and clean denim jeans (South African Jack, about to be an open gardener, hope you are reading this and taking note).

Sunday 3rd December

Straight away I will apologise if I sound a bit garden-gloomy. Yesterday was a big day, filled with frantic weeding and trimming, garden touring, and much soul-searching. Well, make that a search for a better way to trim all my lawn edges. In the dark, early hours of this morning, I was wide awake and furious with my inefficient gardening style. This morning I am still puzzling away, my head full of suitable phrases. 'It's only a garden'. Humph! 'There must be a better way'. Another humph!

 Eek! I suspect they are considered extremely weedy...
The Verbascums are Growing...

This is all a result of yesterday - I didn't get my garden preparations finished before the visitors came. Lawns, edges, paths - not under control. And the Welcome sign symbolically fell over on its face. Of course it didn't really matter in the slightest - but I was so cross with myself!

The open gardens we visited were - interesting. There was much evidence of a 'good' garden designer's hand, pencil poised - or more likely computer garden design programme loaded. Show me a row of twenty plus Burgundy Iceberg standard roses, guarded by a low clipped box hedge, With plain brown bark chips covering weed mat underneath. No distractions allowed - no other plants, and definitely no weeds! Hmm... Let's try a matching row, and let's put up five white columns to draw the eye through the Burgundy Iceberg avenue. Click goes the mouse.

 These are good old plain white ones!
Icebergs by the Water

Blimey! Returning to my lovely, rambly, wiggling, design-free garden was absolutely grand. I love it! I love that it's me, more than slightly imperfect - that it's grown as I've grown, that it's always changing, always on the move. Mind you, those Burgundy Iceberg standards were spectacular - like a stage set, erected for three weeks in December with a repeat season in March...

I would like my garden maintenance to be less frenetic and desperate, and better planned. But this then gets all too gloomy - I will end up goal setting and writing strategic plans, with signposting and scaffolding. More specifically, I'm thinking about lawn independence (my own mower), a garden tool for doing the edges (not my hopeless-with-wet-grass edging shears, not a kitchen steak knife), and a monthly weed-spraying programme for all paths and the driveway. Aargh!

 My lovely deep red flax is regrowing!
Dog-Path Garden Roses

I Love my Garden

Come to think of it, I have absolutely nothing to be gloomy about. I have experienced overwhelming reaffirmation in my own garden. I have analysed my gardening problems, and identified possible solutions. I know deep down that weeds are finite in number. I have a lovely family, brilliant friends, and I love my animals. My daily garden struggles are joyous, and I never tire of them. Well, not really. Ha! Enough waffling and rambling - I'm off to do stuff.

Late Afternoon...

I have made progress weeding and clearing the back lawn. You know, it's really all a great mind game. Neatly trimmed edges and mown lawns have the power to transform a garden grump into a well satisfied, proud plantsperson. I give up! Slight problems with collecting the eggs this afternoon - buzzing things (bees? wasps?) are swarming around the gum tree by the hen house door. Oops. There are two broody hens, and both make fresh starts every day to hatch the next chook generation.

In order to sleep well tonight, I will now write up a leisurely list of sensible garden maintenance tasks to do first thing tomorrow. And let's cut the grumping!

  1. Tie in climbing roses in orchard.
  2. Finish weeding water race edge.
  3. Dead-head roses in Dog-Path Garden.
  4. Plant the two forgotten rhododendrons.

Monday 4th December

Today I have no commitments. Yippee! No choral performances, no open gardens to tour, no official triathlon training (though Rusty the dog and I will be biking around the block). There's cricket to listen to, and gentle gardening to do. And let's keep the self evaluation down to an absolute minimum.

 Whatever it is, it is highly fragrant - for a dog!
Rusty the Dog Rolling in It

Wildlife Report - Bees, Chooks, and Cats

The honey bees continue to buzz around the hen house. My rooster continues to make threatening runs towards his big plastic food bowl - what a rotter! My cats are starting to turn up in faraway garden places - last night Tiger appeared from behind the hen house, shadowed by Jerome the Grey. Looking at Jerome now - dozing in the jigsaw box, a cute, sweet little old lady (a furry Miss Marple) - it's hard to imagine her stalking dear Tiger with so much cat-venom.

Right. Today I have a lovely relaxing garden menu to munch my way through. The appetiser is already listed - I'm off to the Hazelnut Orchard. Intrepid cats can follow, and Rusty the dog is also welcome - please don't roll in anything stinky.