Aargh! The very day that the Manly Garden Help is due, it rains, steadily. An anti-climax for the anxious Head Gardener, but the garden will happily wait until tomorrow. Seems a pity, though - all that fresh, home baking going to waste...

Monday 9th January

Phew! The wind has stopped, replaced by rain. Severe organisation is required today, before 10 am, when the Manly Garden Help arrives. I am off now to buy the first trailer-load of soil conditioner. I have to find the weed-mat in the dusty depths of my summer glass-house. What about stones for the new path surface? Where are the shovels? And my only hand digger is bent like a banana.

 I am looking forward to the flowers next spring!
My New Purple Leafed Ajuga

Family Vet Visit

Then there is animal organisation. We are off to the vet again. The new kittens get their cat-flu injections, Fluff-Fluff seems to have caught ringworm off Beige Puss and has spots on his face, Rusty the puppy-dog is due for his yearly vaccinations, and we'll take another cat in the spare cage. Does our vet do house calls? Hmm...

A World Gardening Tour?

Then I have some serious thinking to do. It's never dull being a random person - I am still experiencing some sudden, unexpected thoughts about travelling. The plan has escalated overnight - now I am thinking about The Moosey World Tour (on a scale comparable with the Rolling Stones). The itinerary at the moment includes Britain, Europe, and Canada - well, one needs to start somewhere! I could, for example, visit the famous Butchard Botanic Gardens on Vancouver Island, and write up a page about them - fifty acres of floral finery captured, condensed and critiqued... I've always wanted to see them.

 What beautiful flowers this rose produces!
Kronenburg Roses Close-Up

Enough. These are thoughts best saved for winter when I am truly stuck inside and it's truly too wet/cold/annoying to garden. Down to earth and off to the landscape garden place - I hope they sell straight hand diggers.


It has been seriously raining! I, however, have been wet-mud-gardening for two hours. The Manly Garden Help is not quite as rain-proof, but we expect him this afternoon when the weather has cleared. This morning he would have been accosted in the driveway by a Macbeth-Blasted-Heath-Witch-Look-Alike - the head gardener emerging from the depths of The Hump covered in mud and twigs, very wet and straggly looking, wielding sinister rake and bent hand digger.

I am glad I did not let the Manly Garden Help loose in the Hump, due to the random results of my self-seeding programme. This means there are lots of little seeds and weeds, and small-scale choices are necessary. For example, foxglove seedlings are OK, while others (including the odd spring bulb) are not. This is a super tough area - no irrigation, so nothing too fussy can live here. There's quite a lot of space for new Flaxes and Pittosporums... Anyway, I have re-routed the major path (again...) and have scrapped another path which only led through weeds to more weeds - pretty damning, if you're a path.

 Beautiful foliage plants, as well as being tough and boring...
Pittosporum Leaves

Now I am dry, respectable-looking, clean, with warm legs - Stumpy the cat (as usual) sitting on my lap providing cat-company as I write. The day looks clearer already, and the trailer-load of soil conditioner/compost is ready, poised, waiting...

Tuesday 10th January, Apres-Vet

Oops - Rusty the puppy-dog is very overweight - this is written officially on his record. The vet said that he should have a 'waist' and his back should slope down. He should not be shaped like a coffee table. So Rusty, the red border collie AKA coffee-table, is on a three month weight-loss programme. No more treats, no more pinching the birds' bread. He has had his official home weigh-in at 27 kgs and is going to lose about 5 kgs.

All animals are now on drugs for ringworm. There can be no photographs of dear little Fluff-Fluff until this annoying problem is over - his face looks sand-blasted. Beige Puss, the kitten who started the 'infection', is fine, looking more handsome daily, all fur almost completely re-grown.

Right. I am about to go out there, back into the Hump, to continue yesterday's good work. The Manly Garden Help is actually on its way as I write. Eek! I could always leave a detailed list on the kitchen table, then hide in the Pittosporums...

Much, Much Later...

I have had one of my best gardening days all year! OK, I know that's easy to say in the second week of January. The nicest thing - I have had voluntary kitten company! This is a social breakthrough for shy Beige Puss, who happily followed me and Fluff-Fluff into the Hump. Old Mother Stumpy supervised, reclining and sunning herself in/on a tussock grass.

New Kittens :
I am so proud of both the new kittens - so brave to venture so far away from the security of the house patio! Fluff-Fluff the Fearless and Beige Puss the Brave...

I like this end area in The Hump. It has dappled shade, a nice forest feeling, and the seedling trees form a great screen for gardeners, summer loungers, and book readers trying to hide from the rest of the world. I wonder if this would be a nice place for a secret table and some garden chairs?

While I cleared, and weeded, and sorted out paths, and watered in The Hump, the Manly Garden Help (so-oooooh scary! his first day!) was hard at work wheeling and spreading compost onto the New Birthday Rose Garden. He can deal to a cubic meter of soil conditioner in less than half an hour, where it takes me on average three days to empty a similar trailer-load! I can definitely get used to this. And he returns tomorrow morning for more compost spreading, with six Pittosporums. Yippee!

And Even Later, Apres-BBQ-Evening-Meal, Not Lamb Chops...

Now it's time to relax with half a glass of cheap red wine and plan more details of the Moosey Grand Gardening Tour - coming to a town near you!! Am I joking? Hmm... silly, air-head ideas can sometimes have serious consequences...

Fred Running Rampant on the House Patio

Wednesday 11th January, Apres Swimming, Gardening, and Working Really Hard

Apart from Fred Where's-My-Bottle the Pet Lamb jumping his paddock fence and charging at the Manly Garden Help it's been an orderly, non-random, productive day. The title says it all. The Hump area is larger, with more sensibly curved edges. Again the two kittens zoomed in and out of the trees as I worked. I am loving this Pittosporum area more and more - I'm sure that it could fast become be a favourite sitting spot, with perhaps a wrought iron garden bench leaning up against a tree...

My Manly Garden Helper did his thing, too, planting out the new Pittosporums. It is actually very nice to see another person garden-pottering in ones peripheral vision - it seems to increase personal stamina and certainly lessens the boredom of long, repetitive tasks. Perhaps my cleaning lady could transform herself into a weeding lady? Hmm...

 This owner is an absolute push-over!
Dieting Dog in Denial


I've just been playing around on a Fly-Round-The-World airline website. Hee hee! My Grand Garden Tour is gathering shape - I have chosen Frankfurt as my personal gateway to Europe. I could then travel on trains to London - could I? Will I do this crazy thing? Who knows! I'm thinking about September...

Thursday 12th January

Hmm... The day has started with much rain, and much feeding of animals. Except Rusty the puppy-dog who tricked his two owners into two separate evening meals last night - dieting dogs in denial can be very manipulative! I may not garden much - yet, anyway - think I'll wait for some natural drainage. The sun is shining, though - maybe I could clear the gum leaves and bark off the house lawns.

Or perhaps we could practice a bit of kitten walking, and pick some rain-drenched roses for the house. Decisions, decisions... Stop bleating, Fred the Pet Sheep!


How come it takes me absolutely ages to fill the wheelbarrow a mere five times with gum tree rubbish? At least the house lawn looks better, and I guess I did do some random dead-heading as well. And I started to dump the next trailerload of compost on the new Pittosporum garden. Humph! The more I do the more I find to do.

Exciting News for Sheep

The rest of the sheep have joined Fred the lamb, George the wether and the two boring old ewes in the front paddock - it is bottom-cleaning day tomorrow. Fred got confused by all the baa-ing and ran away. Fred - this is your family - the full flock! Get used to them!