Retirement! Next Friday I will become a totally committed, consistently on-task full-time gardener. Now I can definitely sweep the patios each morning. Cat company! Dog company! Lots more gardening! Lots less money - oops!

 I love the red dahlias in my garden - as do the bees!
Red Dahlias

Tuesday 21st February

Forgive this rather personal news flash. Finally I have done 'it', after years of bobbing around in the semi-retired work stream. Next Friday is my last day at work. I have cleared out my pigeon hole in the staffroom. I have cleared out my folders on the school computer. It is over. Hee hee.

My New Life

Right. My new life! Moosey re-evaluated. Less laziness, more propagation, more thinking ahead, growing my own Hebes, running a decent glass-house, that sort of thing. Less random craziness, more serenity. Just think of the proper lists I can not only write but follow-through with!

 This New Zealand native plant starts flowering in early summer.
Renga Renga in Flower

Today I will start and hopefully finish weeding the Water Tank Garden. I must divide some of the too-large Renga Renga and put them into potting mix. Ha! Thinking ahead already! I will also take Rusty dog for a bicycle ride, sweep the gum leaves off the patios, pick the gum leaves out of the house pots, rake the gum leaves off the immediate house gardens, and take Beige Puss and Fluff-Fluff the kittens over the water and into the Hazel Orchard for a walk.

More Plans...

I will pot up the small Karaka (it should become a tree, but is frost tender). I will pick the gladioli flowers from the middle of the Stables Garden - how very beautiful they are this year! Go, you lovely glads! And when I am out for lunch I will buy potting mix for my new thinking-ahead-and-dividing-plants programme.

 This is my latest cricket radio.
Some Tools of the Gardening Trade


Oops. I started raking the gum tree leaves, but one thing led to another - I decided to weed and tidy the house garden by the decking. This involved a lot of digging out of a weedy forget-me-not with long fleshy roots (Lovage?) that I regretfully grow, plus some inspired dahlia dead-heading, general weeding and trimming. Then, just as I was getting into a good gardening rhythm, the cricket started. As a soon-to-be-fully-officially-retired person a certain amount of flexibility is allowed. But I've remembered my bags of potting mix. The planting of the Renga Renga and the Karaka can wait.

My colour coordinated trio (two kittens plus the dog) provided brilliant house-garden company, leaping in and out of the plants. Fluff-Fluff had a fierce fight with the Yellow Plastic Bucket Monster (scary), and escaped, squeaking, into the Liquid Amber tree. Beige Puss, Big Brother Protector, zoomed up to rescue him. Result - two squeaking kittens very, very high off the ground! B-Puss is definitely turning into a SNACK - a sensitive new age cat-kitten.

 My garden is full of abandoned cups of tea and coffee!
Mug Shot

Friday 24th February

See that I haven't written up my journal for three days! This is because I have been at work. This afternoon has been my first real chance to get out in the garden, and all I've done is to put the watering on and shift the hoses around. I have also potted up some grass seedlings and some succulents.

What a good idea to retire completely! I have wasted two whole days of lovely summer February gardening weather. Tomorrow I will have to race around like a lunatic to make up the time - my hands will start aching from over-use and I will start sulking. Ha! Not for much longer!

Pond News

This afternoon I spied a sleek black floating bird in my pond - possibly a black cormorant. What on earth is it doing on its own in a private country pond? Then, just before tea-time, I saw one of the trout leap clean out of the water (I was taking coffee on the decking at the time). I hope these two events are not related.

Saturday 25th February

I have spent the morning pulling out an old woody lavender, and clearing the small Laundry garden in which it grew. A most aromatic place to work, with marjorams and thyme, Daphne in the spring, and three other huge, flowery lavenders. One was mercilessly chopped down to the ground some time ago - just what the pruning books tell you not to do - and it is fully recovered! Beginner's luck. Now, smelling suitably like an older lady, I am off to watch the cricket with my friend. A nice reward for a well-paced morning's work.

Sunday 26th February

Here I am mid-afternoon. having been pottering in the bright sun since early morning. All my new plants from last weekend's sale are in the ground, hugging the edges of the Birthday Rose Garden. I have also replanted several cut-up collections of irises - maybe too late to flower next year, but at least they are in sunny spots.

 Trust me - the water is really cold!
Rusty in the Pond

To cool off I weeded along the water race's edge - there are some rather odd looking sculptural weeds underneath the Willow Tree, possibly some kind of ornamental rhubarb? Not sure if it is madness to let them grow bigger (witness my water-side Gunneras) Hmm... These newcomers have a beautiful heart leaf shape...

Year of the Dog

I have just found out that 2006 is the Year of the Dog. Rusty has started this, his special year, on a dour dog-diet - food is just no fun any more, not being allowed to clean up the cat plates, or even lick the serving spoons. But he is slowly changing shape, no longer resembling a fur-covered coffee table. He is now down to 24 kgs! Good dog!

Snoozing Gardener :
Snoozing in the garden - there's no nicer place to be.

Right. I will go apres-gardening, put some creams and potions on my hands, and then take my book outside. The sun is dazzlingly strong - I feel like stretching out on the shady lawn, with my water bottle and some lolling cat-company. It's time I gave myself some good retirement advice - enjoying being lazy in the garden is just as important as all the hard work!

Tuesday 28th February

Yesterday I was very proud of me - finally I weeded the small Water Tank garden, while Rusty Dog raced around in the paddock chasing passing passenger jets off the property. Or so he thought! The plants, mainly Pittosporums, were a little grim (conditions have been dry, and watering has been random) and the Ake Ake shrubs looked like they were definitely in shut-down survival mode. Oops.

 Aargh! Who is allowing photographs of weeds into this journal?
Spiky Weed

Today I am home from work, ready to launch myself into some garden weeding. I have three days to go, and then... Yippee! All-day gardening! Cats, kittens and dog friends! Freedom! Time and energy! In other words, retirement! I will now transfer this rather euphoric mood into the garden, where gum leaves are waiting to be raked, Renga Renga needs dividing, and Foxglove seedlings need to be carefully moved from the middle of a path. What else will I do? We'll see!

Final February Footnotes

  1. Not only is February a very scruffy month, it is also very short!
  2. Why is a large family of quail (brown birds) living in the Hump?

I counted eight adults and seven juveniles in the driveway, who scattered as I drove slowly in. Don't they know that the resident Moosey dog is a bird-chaser?