The most beautiful autumn leaf ever...

Yesterday I found the most beautiful autumn leaf ever seen by woman, or gardener, or woman-gardener. It lay in the driveway, an autumn jewel covered in little dew drops. Beautiful!

 I think this is from my purple Cotinus.
Beautiful Autumn Leaf

Saturday 19th April

Today from the upstairs bathroom my autumn shrubs and trees look amazing. OK - I don't have a lake in which to reflect these wonderful changing colours. I wish I did! But every day there's a deeper red on a Dogwood, a warmer orange on an Oak, and a new peachy-apricot shade on a flowering prunus. The house patio Wisteria has started turning golden yellow. Click goes the camera, click, click, click...

Adagio Autumn

I'm reminded how unconditionally I should love my Berberis shrubs. They are horribly thorny to weed underneath, trim, or even to brush past, but in the autumn season they're super-colourful. I'm ordering in a slow-paced, stuttering, adagio autumn, so I don't miss any of the changes.

 Another favourite autumn photograph!
Autumn Colours

But enough raving. It's the weekend and I need to organise a certain NGP (Non-Gardening Partner). He thinks he's exempt from getting the recycled timber for the second rustic garden bench - the kitchen oven is broken, and he will need to 'get some bits', hereby escaping from my well-meaning clutches. Blast!

'The words 'weed' and 'trim' should be etched on a gardener's inner being.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

I haven't written a list for ages! Actually, I'm just as successful in the garden with or without one, though a list could be useful for gardeners with short attention spans. And really - self-instructions to 'weed' and 'trim' shouldn't need to be written down in lists. They are self-evident. They should be deeply etched on a gardener's inner being.

A Rural Breakfast

Fred, my ex-pet lamb of unknown breeding, together with George the merino wether, Charles the ram, and visiting merino ewe Bella are installed in the ram paddock at the moment. I've just had breakfast on the new rustic garden bench nearby.

 George, Fred and Charles the ram.
Nosy Sheep

All four sheep have contributed to the rural ambience by staring at me through the fence and burping (that was probably fat Fred). Sometimes I wonder what he would taste like. No - honestly - no! Just joking!

Now I am going to make a list of things I could and might and maybe will do today. Then if I don't do them there are no consequences, hee hee...

1. Get a load of compost and mulch.
Winter blankets for the garden borders.
2. Clear behind the pond.
More gum tree rubbish to burn.
3. Clean up the glass-house garden.
Aargh! Thistles and dandelions and...

Out I go. If I have a really good gardening day I am allowed to start my new winter jigsaw. Wow! Yippee! Much great older-lady excitement...


Ha! My non-compulsory list has partially worked. So far this morning I've removed two wheelbarrowfuls of wet greenery from the glass-house garden and started a new compost pile with it. Naturally I feel extremely virtuous - I don't make my compost 'properly', it seems to make itself, given time. Two Teucrium shrubs, planted when the glass-house garden was new, are to be moved into the new stone-walled shrubbery. They'll make an excellent informal hedge sheltering on the fence.

Shame! Super-sized Cats!

Fluff-Fluff the cat (who I'm ashamed to say has weighed in at 7 kilos - that's about fifteen and a half pounds) has just arranged his super-sized fluffiness on my knees. Tiger the tortoiseshell, with short stubby legs, is just under 6 kilos.

Fluff-Fluff the Cat :
My ginger gardening cat Fluff Fluff always cleans up the plates when the other cats are finished.

These two cats are seriously overweight and as a responsible pet owner I must get them onto diets. I should remember the cat-health poster at the vet's - 'Don't Supersize Me'.

The wind outside has been rather fresh (that is, cold) but the sun is shining. My inner gardening core is heating up and my hands are tingling with warmth. Great hot coffee! I'll go back outside in five minutes.

 IWhat a roly-poly sheep he is.
Fat Fred from Behind


Brr... Welcome to cold weather gardening. I've planted some flaxes in the new shrubbery, watched again by Fred my super-sized pet sheep. The two Teucriums are in watery buckets ready for planting, and I've spread bags of horse manure around. But much more exciting - I've accompanied NGP to the recycled timber yard, and he (I think) has made a start on the second garden bench. Put it this way - he's escaped, but I can hear Rusty the dog barking by the garage workbench...

I'm staying inside - it's too windy for any gum rubbish burning, too cold for small scale gardening, and too wet to sit or kneel down. Anyway I've lost my little hand rake, a bright purple plastic scratchy implement, and naturally I cannot continue without it. Hmm... where's that jigsaw?

Sunday 20th April

My goodness. The second rustic garden bench needs just a half an hour (screws and shaping of the armrests) and it will be finished. NGP is my hero! From whoa to go in under 24 hours. I wonder if I could get him to help with the gum rubbish burning later this morning? Hmm... Might be pushing my luck.

Dahlia Dilemma

As I continue to trim and cut back I have a Dahlia dilemma. Dahlias grow all around my garden, often self-planted, and many are still contributing - a plant will be one-eighth flowering, seven-eighths finished. Should I spend ages trimming off the deadheads, to leave three or four brave flowers? The first frost will be here any day - or should I say any night.

 A beautifully soft colour.
Autumn Dahlias

The annual cosmos and the bright pink lavateras, too, are still flowering. In autumn, splashes of real flower colour need to be cherished. So there's my answer.

Right. Time for an egg breakfast, another cup of tea, and then some rustic garden bench praise.

Mid-Afternoon, Apres Gardening...

Did I say NGP is a hero? I was wrong - he is a superhero! The second rustic bench is finished, and installed in the little courtyard. I've put the two benches at right angles - very sociable and cosy for conversation. Meanwhile I've spent four hours weeding and trimming and composting and burning. That's pretty much it - I'm so tired I could easily have a snooze in the sun.

I don't understand the Moosey waterwheel. It's been stuck fast for the last four days. Today I decided on action. Armed with a towel I took off lots of bits of warm clothing, intending to leap into the cold water and free whatever was making it stick. Approached by a shivering, alarmingly underdressed gardener the wheel gave a sort of hiccup and a shudder - then whoosh! Off it went, round and round. Hmm... I'm rather glad that no-one caught me in the act. It might have been difficult to explain gardening in one's underwear in late autumn.