Eek! It's three weeks until my Semi-Grand Global Garden Tour. I'm starting to do a lot of pre-trip visualisation - I can see colourful summer gardens full of roses and a lightly tanned, fluster-free Moosey in a beautiful flowing cotton shirt...

 Brilliant for weeding while standing in the water.
My Red Gardening Shoes - Off Round the World?

Thursday 17th May - My Clothes Plan

My plan is to fit absolutely all my clothes into my walking daypack. These clothes have to take me from an elegant lakeside Brussels restaurant to a foggy hike in the highlands of Scotland. And I need to look good when I visit Singapore's famous Botanic Gardens - and Kew in London. I also need to look elegant on several trains...

It's a bit like trying to cram a hundred different plants into a square metre of garden ground. Settling for one decent rhododendron guarantees a great show for ten percent of the time. Swelter, or shiver, for the remainder!

Back to Earth

Before I get totally carried away (should I buy a new, lightweight Gore-Tex? And will my red plastic shoes do the biz?) I need to come back to earth. That's the autumn earth of the large, ever expanding Moosey garden.

Scabious :
Scabious is the cutest, easiest little perennial to grow. And sensible gardeners (ahem) can always have new plants ready for that new piece of garden.

A couple of days ago I divided up several low-ranked perennials like blue Scabious, and potted up seedling Renga Renga, New Zealand native rock lilies. New little plants, all sitting in cute rows behind the glass-house, the mark of a sensible gardener with a look-ahead planting plan.

So today I should do more perennial dividing. I'm forever digging and enlarging, so having a stack of edging plants like Scabious and Stachys is sensible.

 This is the only chrysanthemum I grow!
Yellow Flowering Chrysanthemums

The kittens are improving. Littlest Puss, the last kitten to purr, is now purring when I pick her up. Today something new - the big green chair has returned to the Moosey office. Predicted outcomes - mentally stimulated kittens, a bit of lap sitting, and a scratched green chair. Later today we will have our first official photography session.

Right. Off I go to have a good gardening day.

Coffee Time...

I'm having a short coffee break. It's the most beautifully warm day that I can't believe winter is around the gardening corner. Ha! Winter will probably arrive the day after I fly out! Anyway, I've laid all the old news to rest (my latest bags of newspaper) in the Driveway garden extension. And my paths work! A neighbour popped by - 'Oh, and you've made a little path' she enthused. Hee hee...

I've been dividing up some of my favourite Bergenias - they're called Bressingham Ruby, and have deep cherry-pink flowers in spring and beautifully red coloured leaves in winter. How generous nature can be - I now have twice as many plants, just for the effort of bending and nipping, if you know what I mean. And I have a dozen more pots of Scabious, which I'll leave to take root and plant out in spring.

 Fluff-Fluff and B-Puss look like they are fishing...
Cat Company

I've had brilliant cat and dog company. All participants have had some sneaky treats for early lunch - Fluff-Fluff is my most reliable cat in the garden, but I need to watch his weight. I saw a poster at the vet's - an obese ginger cat with the slogan 'Don't Supersize Me!'. Fair enough! The three kittens are having much fun with the new green chair - Percy now purrs whenever I talk to him. This has to be a good thing!

Right. I'll work for another hour. It's lovely raking up autumn leaves in the warm sunshine, and so far my bright orange rakes are working well. And I found my lost hand digger.

Saturday 19th May

Today's plan is sneaky. It involves the sawing down of the top three quarters of the Willow Tree, which is a sprouting stump anyway, using the resident chain-saw expert. First, the delicate approach - 'I don't suppoooose you could help me saw down the Willow Tree?' This is followed by flattery - 'How do you think it should be done?' Then, quietly, considerately, 'Do you think you could help me? After you've read the paper, of course...'

 Willow tree and gardens.
Watery Willow - Looking Downstream, 2006

Then the agreement - I will write up my journal, and return outside to start the work in about a half an hour. Cleaning up the branch and tree mess will take me all week - but I've got all week!

Pro-Active and Reactive Chain-Sawing

I would like the chain-sawing in the Moosey garden to become a little more pro-active. But let me state that there is an extremely high standard of reactive chain-sawing - whenever trees come down in a winter storm, or shelter trees die, or big branches break off, and so on. Pro-active chain-sawing has been confined merely to the preparation of next winter's firewood. So I've singled out the big Willow Tree, and a scruffy tree which overhangs the pond, as needing action - before they get bigger, and more overhanging.

Kitten Success!

We had a purring festival early this morning, and extra compulsory socialisation with non-gardening partner. He played with Percy Puss, with lots of picking up, tummy tickling and back scratching, while Percy purred and purred. Definitely a breakthrough. Hissy Puss interests me - she goes quite floppy when she's in full purr, like my big beautiful B-Puss. My friend Judith is coming to visit on Monday - my personal Feline Social Welfare Officer, checking up - hee hee! She'll be really pleased.

 Brightening up the Willow Tree garden.
Pink Flowers in Autumn

Right. Pro-active chain-sawing is about to happen. Hee hee.

Late Afternoon...

The Willow branches are down, with very little damage to the shrubs underneath, considering how heavy the wood is. Branches fell everywhere - on the Olive trees, all over the Birthday Garden roses and the rhododendron gardens on the other side of the water race. My only casualties are a Strawberry Ice rose which has totally broken off its rootstock, and a large Green Wave flax, horribly flattened - as if laid low by a snow storm. Memories of last winter - aargh!

There is still more cleaning up to do - already I have piles for the shredder and lots of sawn logs dumped by the Stables. The Willow itself looks a bit crazy, but it will sprout again in the spring. Huge thanks to my garden helper, who has helped so much.

Sunday 20th May

What will I be doing all day? Ha! Cleaning up bits of Willow tree. Writing in my journal about cleaning up bits of Willow tree. Shredding bits of Willow tree. Stacking bits of Willow tree. And then buying my expert garden helper the yummiest chocolate ice-cream.

 Another plant which escaped the crashing of the willow tree branches.
Variegated Hebe

Kitten dilemma - I'd love them to venture outside the Moosey office. Perhaps later this coming week. They need more space to zoom around, and they need to be out exploring. Percy and Hissy often sit on the window-sill staring outside. There's a whole new world out there! The joys of the new green chair and the collapsible laundry basket have almost been exhausted.

Much Later, Apres Gardening...

Ha! Make that Apres Shredding, Raking, and Cleaning Up Everything... Work on the Willow tree rubbish has officially finished. It has been a tiring and satisfying day. With the warm weather many of the roses are spasmodically in bud and bloom again. But - shock, horror - many roses in the new look Willow Tree Garden are quite rocky. Wind, I presume - so I will either replant them or fix some stones around their bases. Being a rocky rose is not a good thing.

The gardens underneath the Willow look so much better - there's more light and space for the rhododendrons. Their flowery springtime will be magical! Tomorrow I will clean up in more detail - trim the old flax leaves, pull out the weeds, and spread the shreddings around. Long may this grand weather last.