Summer is here...

Summer is here. Roses and annuals in my garden are blooming, the New Zealand flaxes are in flower, and the sun shines down expectantly on the Moosey pond, subject of a most serious beautification plan.

 In its first summer.
The Glass-House Garden

Tuesday 11th December

It's another beautifully warm summer's day with no wind. I've just had my eggy breakfast on the patio. The garden looks lovely - imagine how much more beautiful it will be if I garden here for another twenty years!

 And please stay on your side of the fence!
Crow, Rooster!

Hen Herding

The day started with hens and rooster on the loose, scampering through the rugosas - the gate to their chicken run had swung open by mistake. A rule of hen-herding - there is always one hen who is slow, and wants to turn left instead of right, and isn't at all tempted by the rattling of grain or the 'pook-pook-pooking' of the hen feeder.

And it's never ever a grey stripy hen - my two old girls (Plymouth Rocks?) are far too well bred!

Frog Rescue

While I'm talking wildlife, Histeria and Lilli-Puss 'caught' a frog last night, which they had bailed up in the middle of the house lawn. He was quite large for a New Zealand country pond frog, and was making the oddest mechanical squeaking sounds. Fair enough, with keen cat paws poking at you!

Rescued by the yellow bucket, he was plopped back into the Moosey pond, Sorry, frog - if you came from the bathtub behind the garage, you'll be one lonely chappie!

Here's my well-ordered list for today's activities. Keen list-readers will notice there's to be some Albeniz at lunchtime. That's the mid-day sun time, when no sensible gardener should be outside sweating and burning.

Well-Ordered List

1. Bike ride with Rusty.
The sore paw has recovered. I think it was a bee sting.
2. More tree clearing.
The neighbour is arriving with his super-shredder.
3. Weeding by the water.
With my new scraping tool.
4. Albeniz.
A large part of my summer piano playing programme.
5. Shift the hoses.
Sneaky watering all day.

Right. Off outside, remembering to seek out the shade



Oh dear - Histeria and Lilli-Puss recaptured the pond frog. Rescued again by the yellow bucket, this time he was released into the water race. It's for your own good, frog - swim away and find a safer pond environment! The frog in the bathtub behind the garage is OK, though he's never, ever been sighted - he croaks every summer's night. I've tried sneaking up in the dark and flashing at him with a torch. I don't even know if he's green...

 A beautifully fragrant David Austin rose.
Sharifa Asma Rose

Wednesday 12th December

Yesterday was a wonderfully warm day - our highest temperature was 33 degrees Celsius. And by crikey I did that list proud! I even popped into the nursery to buy just a few more sale price plants. There, abandoned in the bargain bin, was a healthy un-named ten dollar rhododendron - well naturally I couldn't just leave him there in 33 degree heat!

It was hot for the cats, who all lay around inside on floors and in hallways. It felt like I was forever stepping over - ahem - dead cat bodies. Rusty the dog is lucky - he just stands in the water race.

 Rusty by the water race keeping cool.
Dog in the Darmera

Today I've already wandered around in light rain taking what I hope will be the most beautiful summery garden photographs. You see, lovely son-in-law has been providing most of my recent journal pictures - astute peepers will notice their superior composition and focus. It's time I went back to home-grown - son-in-law takes squillions of Rusty-dog photographs, and he (Rusty) is thus over-exposed. Oops - I don't mean that his photographs are...

 Discovered deep in the weeds!
Blue Rose

Weeding Needed

I notice that much weeding is needed in the gardens over the water race. They've been lovingly watered by man and nature these last weeks, while the Head Gardener has been pottering elsewhere. Again my standard roses (blushing pink Icebergs) are beautiful, but all their flowers are pointing the wrong way. They are simply pointing towards the path of the sun, and give me the new idea of a strong main path through these gardens - for a better rose view. Hmm...

I'm going to go weeding now for an hour, during which time I expect to get totally drenched. This is an apt time for a tribute to my silver cricket radio, which survived a soaking in the wheelbarrow, lying submerged in irrigation water for twenty-four hours, yet has crackled back into life after a mere day and a half in the sun. That's dedication for you!

Thursday 13th December

Another rainy day, but reasonably hot - so far I've done a quick drippy tour of the Hen House Gardens pulling out random foxgloves and cutting off lupin seedheads. If I want to do any real gardening I'll have to get down and dirty, to use a somewhat earthy expression. It's the dead-heading season for roses, too, and I've lost my last pair of secateurs. And the daylilies are just starting to flower, bringing their yellow, orange and red colours to battle with the pastel pink-and-peachy profusion of roses.

 A beautiful colour, and a beautiful fragrance.
Caramel Royden Roses

I've just spent two inspiring hours on a much higher plane with Albeniz, who has written the most beautiful piano music in the world. I get much joy from my hesitant renditions of his pieces from Iberia - why did it take me fifty-six living years to 'meet' this composer?

Dog Choices

Right. I have just explained the afternoon's gardening plans to Rusty, who is desperately torn. Should he come outside with me, or wait in the kitchen where son-in-law is making toast? What a choice for a bored, dieting dog to have to make!

Friday 14th December

No gardening at all today! But I did work hard late yesterday, pulling out weeds and old foxgloves and generally tidying up the Willow Tree Garden. The roses there are magnificent, and penstemons and those lovely perennial Clary Sages are starting to flower. The Honeysuckle is beautiful, too, draping itself all over my blue garden seats. The Willow stump has its shortened tree branches now covered in greenery. There's one small problem - fastigate oaks which are not 'fastigating', and either need their branched wired up or chopped off.

Furry Forget-me-Nots

I keep clearing loads of old forget-me-nots, and getting the biddi-bids all over my clothes, my washing, my shoes, in my hair - and all through the fur of gardening companions Fluff-Fluff the cat and Rusty the dog. FF enjoys being brushed and groomed, but Rusty is hopeless. Ha! As I write this he's at the dog-groomer getting a proper clip. Hee hee - I wonder what shape he is when furless!