A new month, a new bridge...

Ha! A new month. A new bridge, and a new shrubbery with a new path. New gardening ideas for the month with the shortest days and some of the coldest nights. And new sounds - my piano has been tuned.

 Flower colour is precious in winter!
Winter Hebes

Sunday 1st June

Wow! And yippee! And assorted squeals of mature delight. Firstly the two supports for the new bridge are in place, having been expertly man-handled and dug in. This is so exciting - the bridge will be called, rather unimaginatively, Willow Bridge - though this name does have a gentle, rural ring to it.

 Just checking...
Lilli-Puss and the New Bridge

We are going off to get the decking wood for it now. Then I need to re-route a tiny piece of path, shift the English Elegance rose and some blue perennial geranium clumps, and hey presto! Perfect path flow.


But there's more! The new Shrubbery path is laid out, edged (for now) with wood. I've barrowed in heaps of leaves and horse manure. I love the look, I love its route - the way through has lovely peeping views of the house and the lawns. I love my shrubs!

And Still More...

And still more. I've just had lunch on the rustic garden bench. I love the views from this excellent sitting spot. And forget the scruffy backdrop - the ram paddock grass is going to be mown. Non-Gardening Partner has promised. Then the rain started, and the raindrops on the stone wall started to join together, so I retreated inside. I love the stone wall.

I'm in such a great mood. I love these new garden plans. Winter - schminter! 'Gloom' may rhyme with 'June', but there's no place for it in this brand new gardening month. June is going to be the best ever!

The Moosey Rooster :
I love my chooks - they're such fun to look after. Hope they enjoy today's cooked pumpkin pieces.

Before we buy the bridge wood I'm off to the Hen House to feed the birds. This general word embraces my rooster and five hens, plus at least eighty sparrows, twenty five blackbirds, forty starlings, fifteen pigeons, five assorted finches, and possibly one native hawk (though I doubt he's interested in the layer pellets).

The sparrows are amazing to watch. They fly straight through the holes in the chicken netting at high speed, in and out. Taking the direct route...

'Bartok sounds better played on a well-tuned piano.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

I love my piano now that it's been tuned - playing is now my best apres-gardening treat. At the timber yard I heard a Brahms pianist on the car radio. He was playing that Opus of piano pieces I've just discovered - with a 'winsome amalgam of poise and heartache' (according to the announcer). I'd describe my Brahms playing more like a 'clattering amalgam of wobbles and happiness'. But I love trying. And tell you what - Bartok certainly sounds better played on a well-tuned piano.

 That's Non-Gardening Partner with Gardening Dog.
NGP and GD

I've had a brilliant day. I worked in the Shrubbery for two more hours until it got too dark - weeding, mulching, and planting. This new garden is a shrub sanctuary - two Corokias and an Australian Grevillea have now moved in, and there's room for more. And as I weed further into the trees I'm finding many healthy Pittosporums and Viburnum Tinuses in flower.

A Non-Gardening Legend

Meanwhile Non-Gardening Partner mowed the ram paddock and cut the bridge wood into walkway-sized pieces. He is a non-gardening legend, and I love him very much. And guess what? Tomorrow is a holiday, so he will be able to finish the bridge. Yippee!

Monday 2nd June

After the best of the best gardening days ever (that was yesterday), this morning, so far, has started perfectly. Why? Because some gentle winter rain has been falling on my newly shifted shrubs, forecast to stop by lunchtime. Everything, even rain, has its place in a gardener's good life. I've never thought I would feel so proud of a shrubbery. It's exciting to be building a new path, one which still hasn't 'decided' where it's going to end up.

Perhaps in the drab of winter one is forced to find enjoyment in subtle foliage textures, rather than easy-to-love flowers. But there are still little splashes of flower colour in my garden. It's always my winter challenge to find and take as many colourful pictures as possible.

Early Afternoon - Serious Winter-Rain

Serious winter-rain is easy to define. It's almost too cold. The gardening fringe starts dripping down over face and clothes. Feet, even inside reasonably weather-proof boots, start to feel wet and cold. The gardening gloves get heavy with mud, and the gardening nose starts to run - sniff, sniff, sniff. It is not a pretty sound.

 The garden near Willow Bridge.
Winter Clean-Up

Aargh! Having been seriously winter-rained on twice in the last two hours, I've decided to come inside, change out of my muddy clothing and dry my hair. I've been tinkering by Willow Bridge, moving plants from the path approach, while NGP has been hammering. An aargh! on his behalf - his hammer has broken.

Tuesday 3rd June

OK, June. So far you've been a jolly month, full of joy and jubilation. Mind you, it's dreadfully early days! Yippee for June, the loveliest of lovely winter months. Check out my new improved winter gardening attitude!

Today will be a bit odd. The power will be off officially all day, so I've brewed up several thermoses for tea and coffee. I'm off now to gym and swim, before I hit the garden. It occurs to me that so many of the things I love doing do not require electricity. Yesterday I bought two bright plastic hand scratchers, replacements for tools dearly departed.

Apres Gardening, With my Cats...

And perfectly timed, too. As I wandered into the kitchen, freshly showered, on came the power, and a thousand and one beepers beeped and timers flashed. I'm exaggerating, but it was like all my kitchen appliances saying hello. So now I have proper hot coffee, and I'm listening to the gentle ostinato crunching of cats eating their 'healthy salmon' dried afternoon tea.

Stumpy, my oldest grey cat, gets fed first - but I wonder how much longer she'll be with us. She's fast losing muscle tone and general cat-condition. Her sister Jerome is a fat, round furry cherub - both grey cats must be about sixteen years old.

 Still best friends - hope it lasts!
Snoozing Sibling Cats

Percy and Histeria, brother and sister, are now squashed together on a fireside chair and Fluff-Fluff is spilling out of his ridiculously small box by the computer, staring at me with his amber eyes. My big fluffy ginger cat can be quite sneaky - he does a bit of discrete bullying when he thinks no-one's looking. And he's never around when cat pee is discovered. Funny, that...

Today in the garden I cleared more ground in the back of the Shrubbery and planted a dark red flax. I'm almost ready to move the path under the existing trees. Another nine bags of horse manure, piles of newspaper, and most of my bagged autumn leaves have been spread on the new garden. I love my new Shrubbery, which is expanding daily. I also love my new Willow Bridge - such a simple structure and so well placed. Suddenly the Willow Tree Garden and the Birthday Rose Garden are linked as one. Ha! That's how proper garden design is supposed to work. Connections, connections...