Write a serious list...

Now there are nearly two weeks to go until my world trip. I have to confess - I'm thinking about it almost as much as my garden! It's probably time to write the first serious list.

 Looking a little worse for wear.
Bantry Bay Roses

Monday 21st May

My autumn garden is remarkably rosy. Often in the off-season I'll defiantly go round with my camera, 'finding' flowers or equally colourful things to photograph. Yesterday I went on a rose hunt. Wow! The fragrant red rose in the Wattle Woods is covered in flowers. This dear rose was dug out of a friend's garden and shifted in high mid-summer. A severe pruning, plus buckets of water - and she survived. As the years passed the Wattle trees grew overhead and her place in the sun was compromised. This year the wattles in question are sitting in the Moosey woodshed, and she is showing her appreciation in the approved manner! Blooming beautiful!

Today in the garden, while dreaming (and worrying?) about English trains and Scottish roads, I will also be weeding the back of the Willow Tree-Stump Garden. This area is now quite winter bare - the blue geraniums have died down, and the weedy Campion has all been pulled out. I will weed and mulch, maybe even shift a few roses and other plants around. At least one gardening cat will hopefully join me.

My three foster kittens have their official visit from friend Judith this lunchtime. Percy Puss is now half smooching me, and 'talking' to me when he's hungry. Hissy (Histeria) still gives me a morning hiss, then I pick her up, tickle her neck, and she purrs loudly. Strange girl - definitely a kitten with attitude! Mind you, hiss rhymes with kiss...

 What a lovely foliage plant this is!
Silver Cinneraria

Mixed Success, Lunchtime...

The kittens hid under the green chair and wouldn't really come out - I did so want to show them off! I mean that I wanted them to show themselves off! Anyway, they will stay here for another two weeks, and tomorrow I'll enlarge their world.

More success on the gardening front - the shreddings from the ex-Willow tree are spread out. I broke the blue penstemon (we call it Purple Passion) into pieces and potted them up - cross fingers. I've relocated three roses - their neighbouring clump of Miscanthus grass has got very large, and overshadows them in summer. Now I need to return for today's final gardening session. The warm norwest wind continues to huff and puff and blow all the remaining autumn leaves down.

New Bridges and Water Pumps

Before I forget, a few technical details for the record. The resident engineer saw a water-driven water pump yesterday, alive and kicking - I want one to feed my small stream which runs down through the Wattle Woods. And he has agreed to look into building an arched bridge to join the Birthday Rose Garden with the rhododendrons over the water. And - his idea - he wants to call it B's Bridge, after B my Beautiful white cat. The bridge's position is B Puss's favourite jumping-over-the-water spot. What a sweet bloke!

 And so do my outdoor spiders!
I Love Hebes!

Tuesday 22nd May

It's a big day for the kittens - their world has quadrupled, and they are busy scampering around the BIG bedroom. Will it be a big day for me in the garden?

Yesterday I was so good. So today - what needs doing urgently? There is always some glass-house work, and newspaper to mulch. The birds are twittering, it's another balmy warm day, and my train tickets for my visit to England and Scotland are finally booked! Yippee! I'm happy!

'Out with the random, in with the system.'
-Moosey's Advice to Self.

This next sentence could come back and haunt me. But I'm finding it much quicker to finish weeding a specific garden area. Maybe I am being more systematic because I have more time. Out with the random, in with the system - this is good advice!

So today I'll keep working my way along the water race towards the Hen House. I'll weed the Dog-Path garden - I'll bet this will probably only take half an hour - just testing!

 These fungi grow over the old flattened tree stumps.
Fungus on the Grass

Tree Stumps

There are lots of odd fungal colonies on the lawns over the water race - reminding me where the old tree stumps actually are! It's almost a pity to mow the grass and destroy them.

I also have a new, empowered feeling towards my non-stumpy trees, a result of dealing to the large branches growing out of the Willow tree stump. So look out, you self sown Pittosporums in the Dog-Path Garden, if you are crowding out my rhododendrons. And that ridiculously thorny bush-tree which I bought for a dollar - if it wasn't for your winter berries I'd have you out of there so fast...

But first - I'm off to buy lots of feline food and supplies - the tastiest treats with which to tempt three kittens and reward six big cats. It's the test of a true cat-mother, when one (sadly) gets so much pleasure out of choosing the cat food. Duck and game - yum! Tasty tuna with salmon flakes - yes! Gourmet giblets - mmmm! Only I've never yet found a cat food flavoured with 'essence of mouse'...

Rhododendron :
The ground is mulched, I've added lots of compost, and now I've sorted out the overcrowding of air space. Surely my rhododendron garden will appreciate all my good work!

It's now getting dark - I weeded and weeded, and when the sun sank low I burnt my rubbish pile. Many of the autumn trees are now bare, and the felling of the bulky Willow tree branches has opened up views of the red Oak trees behind. These are the trees which will give shade to the rhododendrons next summer. Hopefully they (the rhododendrons) will like the arrangement.

Wednesday 23rd May

I've decided not to go walking today - I will swim and bicycle madly with the dog instead, and continue with my garden, getting all of it ready for my departure. I will also play the piano and 'play with' the kittens. Yesterday they bravely explored the big new room for ten minutes, then lost their nerve and retired underneath the big bed.

 What a little cutie!
Hissy Kitten

Purring festival

Again we have had our early morning purring festival, with Hissy Puss becoming quite friendly. My singing friend suggests that she be named 'Histeria' - rather nicely Victorian, Hissy for short. Littlest Puss is now very pattable, arching her back and purring, while Percy is always purring. Typical boy - he plays rough (the woolly sock monster is battle scarred), sleeps soundly, and eats noisily.

Clothes Crisis

I've had my first trip-packing clothes crisis. I am only taking the smallest day pack. My red shoes do not 'go' with my one posh elegant shirt. Do I change the shirt to a basic black one? Aargh! Wearing black in the middle of a European and North American summer? I don't think so. We antipodean gardeners have standards to maintain. And obviously, when one is being a minimalist dresser for four weeks, every item of clothing has to fit with every other. I don't think that male travellers have this sort of problem...

Thursday 24th May

Today I have been totally distracted by business things! Aargh! I'm home now, and Fluff-Fluff is 'helping' with the kitten socialisation. All three kittens run straight up to my big fluffy cat, Mr Friendly. Though when a large cat with big claws chases the catnip mouse and lands on the legs of the Head Gardener - ouch! Yet more scratches.

I'm actually not sure that I will do any gardening today - I'm off to possibly buy a new car. What I should be doing is staying home, saving money, and raking up autumn leaves.

 More late autumn leaves which need raking up.
Rusty in the Driveway

Friday 25th May

I am so distracted! At the grand age of fifty-seven, I have succumbed to peer pressure - for the first time in my happy, rebellious life.

I have bought a nearly new, nifty, retired-lady-of-means car, one in which I can drive the walking group ladies, and the choir ladies, without embarrassment, or having to tell fibs like 'It's my son's car'. Goodbye to my old eighties pale blue Ford, where you had to wind up and down the windows by hand. Hello to a green bug-eyed Toyota, born after the new millennium, with the personalised plate 'Moosey'.

Today I am a cat courier - a black female from the cat colony is at the vet's. My own little foster kittens are zooming around the big bedroom, and my big cats are all waiting by the fridge in the kitchen - foodie cats! I am not going to do any gardening. But I am busy doing garden expenses in a huge spreadsheet for my - eek - accountant! And I'm totally distracted looking forward to my world trip. Today I even bought a skirt... Wow! I think I might wear it on the train to Inverness...