May is here!

 Food for the birds.
Crab Apples

May is here! Good morning, mellow May, late autumn month in the Moosey Garden. From the office I can see gold tops of Prunus trees, out the bathroom window the cherry red Maples and Dogwoods in the gardens over the water race.

Tuesday 2nd May

The evergreen Olearia hedge has never looked so beautiful. Autumn trees and shrubs seem to borrow beauty from their neighbours. And the late autumn gardener searches for colour even in dull yellow hosta leaves, the reddening ferny foliage of a peony, or the rusty browns of dying perennials.

But can the late autumn gardener adequately describe such things? Nope.

I think I've worked out why. Warm flame colours on leaves that are dying, on gardening days that grow colder - very contradictory! And the timelines are quite abrupt. One week the Oak tree leaves are alive, a rich, deep red - the next they've turned dead brown.

Autumn pulls a lot of physical tricks, too. Tt seems to be lasting for ever, then snap! A southerly puff and all the leaves are on the ground. The show is over.

My Walking Wednesdays :
My walking group goes out every Wednesday - either into the mountains or on the Peninsula tracks. I love these journeys, and try very hard to write about them.

Today is raining so much that my walking group's trip has been called off. This is almost unheard of - we are hardy hikers, well equipped with the latest in Gore-tex parkas, Gore-tex boots, layers of merino. That includes underwear, innerwear, midwear, outerwear, overwear...

But back to the garden. I am going to start my gardening day by stocking up my glass-house. I will move plants into this sanctuary before the first frost. I will even make a list.

My First May List

Hmm... Neither the world's largest list, nor the most detailed. But a list should not be sniffed at just because it's little. Lists can come in all shapes, sizes, and weights...

 Pecky bird!
My Rooster


I'm back, apres muddy-rainy-gardening, with a very wet dog-friend. Dear Rusty - he chose to sit outside the glass-house in the rain, just in case a bird or a plane needed to be escorted off the premises. While I pottered with - and potted - my movable frost tender plants. Well, about half of them, to be honest.

Red Rooster

My rooster crowed continuously at me from across the water. Colourful autumn comment - rooster's comb and the Oak tree leaves above him were exactly the same vibrant shade of red! His hens were hunkered down underneath the Leyland hedge.

Now I'm clean and warm, and I've just checked my mail. Isn't it grand to have friends who 'understand' you - or should that be 'humour' you? It concerns Henworld. My singing friend has just read my journal and writes thus:

'Chook cook' refers to the bags of food scraps, like potato peelings, than my friend freezes for my hens. And Henworld? Hmm - at least my latest garden design project is being taken half seriously by someone!

 What a bright, cheerful colour for an autumn flower!
Yellow Paris Daisy


Rusty the dog and I have walked around the gardens and the Hazelnut Orchard for over half an hour, checking for rabbits and roses - none of the first, and quite a few soggy examples of the second. I so love being outside - what on earth would I do if I wasn't a gardener?

 Really rather mellow about his caging experience.
Mr Ginger Tom

Thursday 3rd May

Finally the rain has almost stopped. Of course all the house lawns look absolutely beautiful, and even the greenery in the Hump looks refreshed. I've just delivered another feral tom-cat to the vet - this boy unfortunately isn't in very good shape. I'm greeted on my return by my two gardening boys Fluff-Fluff and B-Puss - they live the richest, happiest, friendliest life here in the country, yet both were born wild little kittens. There but for fortune - there but for my friend Judith and her cat-rescue programme!

Three kittens might - just might - be coming here for fostering. Feeding time in the Moosey kitchen will then be interesting, as the six permanent residents already take up so much floor space. Fluff-Fluff the voluptuous reclines like a feline Renoir - he is now by far the fattest and heaviest cat, and this is nothing to be proud of!

Friday 4th May

Good morning sunshine! I have beautifully clean hair and (hopefully) gardening energy to burn - and I don't mean the autumn rubbish pile, hee hee. I have exciting news. Last month I gave good advice that digging was a great cure for the garden grumps. Well, that's exactly what I did yesterday afternoon, and only half grumpy. I rationalised thus:

 A blue lacecap which gets far too much shade.
Last Hydrangea Flowers

Last spring I spent fifty dollars on special grass seed, which I sowed at the end of the Driveway lawn. It begrudgingly grew tufts here and there, like patches of hair on an old Dickensian rogue's head. Yesterday, being minimally grumpy, I wandered outside after all the rains to peer at this gloomy spot. My spade was in the wheelbarrow, as were some two dollar Pseudopanax shrubs from the Easter nursery sale, still unplanted. First some general work - I divided up a small plumed grass, trashed in last winter's snow. This area of the garden is obviously bottom of the pecking order. Then I found some blue flowering Scabious which had sent its roots into the driveway.

Please bear with me, as I reveal yet more excruciating details. I noticed a squashed little Hebe with no space to breathe, three misplaced Rhododendrons underneath an ungrateful tree, and a row of little hedging Camellias which I move every year and which have hardly flowered as yet - wonder why? Oops.

What on Earth is the Point?

And my point? A simple budget balance - fifty dollars for a disgracefully patchy lawn compared to four dollars, with free plants available to shift around. Ha! So I started digging! Today I'm back outside to completely transform this area.

 Beautiful variegatons on both these plants.
Lamium and Pelargonium

Yippee! Who says you need to draw plans on paper? An experienced gardener knows the thrill of the random decision - though four hours later, tired and muddy after digging, the shine goes off the idea just a little. But as long as that same gardener wakes up the next morning full of 'it' - call it 'oomph' or 'beans' or even something ruder....

Before I race outside I need to give a huge thanks to the Moosey vet, who had the pleasure of dealing to the smelliest tomcat at his surgery yesterday. I didn't pick the cat up until after six o'clock, by which time the vet's small suburban waiting room was strongly and horribly fragrant. Hopefully that same smell will not linger in Partner of Moosey's car for too long...


So far so good. One flax and five camellias shifted in. One new path organised. Lots of newspaper and mulch laid. Have run out of edging stones and logs - I'm off to raid the wood shed. Now the Driveway Lawn is beautifully enclosed by shrubs and trees, and looks like an oasis. A green, grassy oasis. How frosty will this new garden be?

'Random garden decisions are so refreshing!'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Yippee! It's late afternoon, and I've gone apres-digging. Random garden decisions are so refreshing! I've shifted the three loitering rhododendrons and one Hebe, newly planted last year. I've raked leaves off the driveway to add to the rotting hay mulch. I've created one path and decommissioned another. 'The path is dead, long live the path' - that sort of thing. Now I'm warm and clean and Rusty and I are about to go for a twilight walk down the road. This is his reward for gardening with me all day. I am tired, but I feel so good about this May day. I love my garden!

The test - two of the Moosey household will be home in about an hour, and each will drive past my new garden. Will either of them see it, edged with new stones and newish rhododendrons? This will be a test of observational skills - usually my new gardens are only noticed when lawns are being mowed. Oops - now where did that grass go?


'I told you grass wouldn't grow there' says Mr Know-It All. Oh yeah?