Good morning, December...

Good morning, December. I have my first spam mail from Santa Claus (how thoughtful) and my radio is welcoming the first day of summer, though I totally disagree. Summer has been lurking in my garden for the last few weeks.

Monday 1st December

It's a new week, a new month, and I am alone with my gardening thoughts and intentions. I am also busy making my Christmas present garden calendars, so there is much trawling through 2008's photograph galleries to pick out the best of the best of the best. Brr... Pictures taken in the low light of winter manage to look so cold - and the winter garden looks so bare and colourless.

 The pergola and woodshed are alive with flowers.
Summer Climbing Roses

So what should I do first? Here's a list of possibilities.

1. Change my library books.
Hmm... This is only loosely related to my garden...
2. Build more calendar pages.
Hmm... So I can wallow in beautiful garden images without getting my hands dirty...
3. Take Rusty the dog for a cycle ride.
Hmm... Again this is not strictly garden-related.

No - this will not do for the start of the first morning of December. I need to be doing stuff - trimming all my lawn edges, or raking up and burning all the remaining hedge clippings (the big Olearia hedge was trimmed yesterday).

 Sarah Bernhardt?
Pale Pink Peony

Already this morning I've wandered around with cats Histeria and Fluff-Fluff checking out the changes - the foxgloves now seem to be half-finished, and a new pale pink peony is flowering (and flopping) in the Birthday Rose Garden. And hurray for the blue Scabious which I planted without too much thought on the edges of this garden. It is the perfect frame for the pink and white fluffiness within.

 By the pergola.
Blue Delphiniums

Blue Beauty

Delphiniums are flowering, as are the penstemons which I call Purple Passion - beautiful blues to tower skywards now that the blue irises are over. And it's time to start dead-heading some of the roses. Surely this means that summer is in full swing!

Right. Where's my dog? Snoozing on the floor. Where are my cats? When last seen Histeria was high in the Judas tree, surrounded by agitated bird noises. Eek! Fluff-Fluff is waiting underneath the wheelbarrow (he knows his place). But where is my morning tea tray with hot coffee, grapefruit, and marmalade toast?

Hmm... Daughter of Moosey is in Malaysia, and I'm already missing her company in the garden. And her company in general, of course...

Right - I'm back. Three smoky hours later, and I've cleaned up all the hedge mess. All done. I've also dead-headed some of the lupins, hoping that this earlyish intervention will bring later flowery rewards. I've come inside to listen to the cricket (which is turning into a New Zealand sports disaster) and build some more calendar pages for my Christmas presents.

 Holding something dog-yummy in his mouth.
Rusty the Dog

Non-Gardening Partner is really easy to do a calendar for - he only wants pictures of Rusty the dog. But all Rusty's garden pictures have that same goofy, brown-eyed look, and short of dressing him up with sunglasses, hats, and other accessories I'm a bit light on variety. Oh well.

Winter Calendar Worries

Each year I worry about the calendars. Do people really want to look at wintry pictures in the middle of winter, or would they prefer escapist summer colour? I'd probably choose the latter. Hmm... Time to do some dog-picture choosing.

Tuesday 2nd December

It's hot, hot, hot! I've been out gymming and I've changed my gardening library books. My new reads are The Garden at Chatsworth (for some historical ogling), The Authentic Garden (which will give me 'five principles for cultivating a sense of place'), and 100 Best Natives for New Zealand Gardens (all of which I'm hopefully already growing). Sounds like a good mix.

 The cover page.
Roses Calendar 2008

Perhaps I'll do a little light reading now, rather go out under the mid-day sun. Later I can do a little weeding and watering.

Wednesday 3rd December

I'm off to the gym again - two mornings in a row. And what has inspired this rebirth of being proactive in the cause of personal wellness? Hmm... Let's just say that the curse of stretch denim for lady-gardeners strikes again (that is, you don't notice the 'changes' because the gardening jeans change with you).

What will I do in the garden today? Hopefully a little more than yesterday. I need to trim the sprawling blue Salvias by the house - they've finished flowering. Also I'll get some potting mix and pot up my basil and parsley. Yesterday I bought some really cheap silver beet seedlings from a road-side stall - great excitement and joy from such a tiny thing. Two years running I've forgotten to sow any silver beet of my own - I grow it for the hens.

Right. I'm off. Today is a use-my-time-wisely day, with strictly healthy things as rewards. No mass munching of Christmas fruit mince pies is allowed.