No hailing on my hostas!

Summery sunshine one day, brooding rain clouds the next - what will our silly weather think of next? Don't even think of the frost word. And no hailing on my hostas! Forget any thoughts of wind, too - let's get into a nice calm summer mood.

Friday 8th December

This is terrible. Firstly rain is forecast for today. My roses will get all soggy again. Secondly I am practising the run (better to call it the jog, or the stumble-forwards-slowly) part of my proposed women's triathlon - after going swimming. Eek! A busy morning for a Sporty Old Spice... Then I have some piano practice to do. When will I get any time for the garden?

 A wonderful colour combination.
Purple and Cream Iris

Oops - its early evening, and I've had another whole day off from gardening - two in one week! This afternoon while feeding the hens and talking to them (yes, I know they're bird brains) Tiger the cat turned up again - she was hiding in the long grass behind the hen house. All visiting blackbirds, starlings, sparrows, and pigeons - be very afraid! And please do be careful!

The garden looks summery and colour-filled. The water race, expertly hand weeded, is running fast and clear, and somehow the edge roses keep on and on blooming. This may be an illusion, as they are usually viewed in the middle distance.

Summer Surprises

I'm discovering all sorts of colourful December surprises - clumps of blue aquilegias by the pergola are still in bloom, and a rather interesting bi-coloured iris is blazing away in Middle Garden. I'm certain that my flowering annual programme will soon become visible - then the garden will be colourful on a smaller scale. For example, I have planted out lots of little yellow violas. And heaps of pink annual Lavateras. Yippee for summer flowers!

 A lovely shade of lilac-blue.
Aquilegias - Still Flowering

Saturday 9th December

Aargh! It's raining again, and with a southerly (that's cold) sting. I loved the warm tropical rain in Samoa - why do we have to get the freezing stuff? In summer? Hello, Antarctic, landmass neighbour...+5

As a patriotic New Zealand sports follower I am supposed to be going to the cricket today. My friend (who shares the nickname Stumpy with one of my old grey cats) is standing by - we'll start with morning coffee at her place, and check the forecast. See how busy a retired lady gardener can be!

 On Flock Hill - aka Narnia.
Rock Shelf

And I've been trying to write about the last walking trip of 2006. We went to Flock Hill where part of the children's film 'The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe' was set. I desperately need a geology degree - or a diploma in creative writing? - to adequately describe the place. Just a colony of rocks on sloping grass?

Images of Narnia

Yet the images of this walk have stayed firm and clear in my mind for days (my dear friend Liza, I must take you to visit this strange place one day). Perhaps a photographic essay? Hmm... I could use a ghost writer...

Right. My garden can do without me for the next four hours. What a pity I didn't get that newspaper and mulch laid, for the rain to dampen. Blast!

 Lovely, lovely, lovely rose.
Crepuscule Rose

Sunday 10th December

Yippee! A new day! New weeds to pull out, new flowers to admire. And two new kittens which we are visiting this morning. My singing friend is getting two Christmas kittens. Since I really can't have any more cats (six is quite enough) I have appointed myself her official new kitten photographer. They are both wee boys, brothers, tabbies with white splodges.

New Garden Seats

And some new outdoor garden seats! These have been donated by another friend, and are lurking in the garage. They need scraping down, drying, and repainting - being at the moment a damp, peeling shade of white. I thought perhaps a subtle turquoise blue colour, if there is such a thing.

New Attitude

And a new garden attitude. Today I am going to work, work, work. I may even weed, weed, weed. Already I can see the shining sun, and my gardening fingers are itching to get going. I will be a newly energised gardener, fully recharged after New Zealand's win in the cricket yesterday.

Lunchtime... The Case of the Missing Newspaper...

Well, it's really odd. I've had friends giving me bags of old newspapers for weeks now, for my general weed suppressing and mulching programme. It's like one of those ironic laws of life - heaps of old newspaper have been lying around, making the garage and the back porch look messy. I scoop them all into my wheelbarrow, full of the biggest plans, and run out within ten minutes.

So I've had to weed the boring Driveway Border instead, and after lunch (yum) I'll try and find something nicer to do. Working beside the water in the shade appeals, but I could stop anywhere in the garden and find more weeds to pull out. Humph...

 Dear B-Puss - overexposed in yet another photograph!
Shy White Cat

Cat Love

The two new kittens were soooooo pretty! It's yet another successful animal rescue for another friend, from whence Fluff-Fluff, Beige Puss, and Fred the pet sheep have all come. She is a wonderful woman, feeding the cats abandoned in a vacant section (catching if she can, taking to the vet, rearing and finding them new homes). These two kittens were abandoned at one week, so she's been bottle feeding them and keeping them clean. Now at seven weeks they are still tiny, but so cute - and healthy! Another of those laws of life prevailed - my camera batteries were flat!

 Hostas and friends.
Summer Textures

I love all the Moosey cats so much. They all get on remarkably well, and they all have lovely personalities - even B-Puss, where the B (for Beige) sometimes stands for 'Bashful'. There's no room at the moment for any kittens, though.

Compassion Rose :
I was lucky to have such caring house painters. The Compassion roses have been carefully pulled off the house pergola, and then just as carefully propped back up again. Bravo!

Tonight we are having our first summer barbecue. We will sit on the patio with the Compassion roses wafting their beautiful fragrance around, competing with the smells of fine BBQ cooking (steaks, chicken, and venison sausages). I hope that I can relax and not see ten things that need doing and twenty weeds that need pulling out.

I don't want a perfect garden, or even a finished one - but on the continuum of garden perfection I'd like a slightly higher score!