Serious preparations...

Seven days to go now before the Garden Club ladies come to have lunch in my garden. So how are my serious preparations going? Well, I've already wiped the kitchen cupboard doors, and removed spiders webs from the downstairs bathroom... Aargh! A journal of housework? Better get outside, quick!

Tuesday 7th April

Today I'm clearing the gardens between the glass-house (which is tidier) and the back of the house. This includes my vegetable garden, which has just experienced its most disgraceful year yet. I'll find all the surviving colonies of knee-high weeds (all flowering desperately) and I'll be ripping them out just in time. Phew!

 All the surrounding gardens are organised now.
The Glass-House

At lunchtime I'm going to have a little lie down. Yesterday's seven hours of daytime gardening joy was followed by nine hours of night-time coughing, with in-your-face attentions of Jerome the grey cat. Paws with claws, and tickly whiskers - aargh!

Silver Beet :
I grow silver beet purely for my chooks - they really love the chopped-up green leaves. Yum!

Between splutters I did manage a lot of mental planting - I've decided where my (non-invasive) tall clump of bamboo can grow, and I've already visualised rows of shiny green 'silver beet' in my vegetable garden. So first thing today I'm off to the nursery - I might even buy some flowering kale for some cheeky autumn pot plantings.

I'm leaving the house gardens and lawns until last. My biggest dilemma is the dahlias - they're unstaked and semi-disgraceful, and I need to decide whether (and when) I cut them down. Usually they straggle on until the first real frost. My visitors will enjoy the colour, but house gardens should be well groomed - shouldn't they? Aargh!

 Rusty has been brilliant dog company today.
Dog Taking a Drink

Wednesday 8th April

I knew I was still a bit sick! Yesterday, after coughing my way through the vegetable garden, I went to the local library on my break and couldn't find any 'good books'. Now that's a sure sign! And this morning I realise that I haven't drunk coffee for a few days. Hmm... Please let me regain my 'oomph' so I can get the garden properly ready for the visitors (who will, I know, be really lovely).

 Aren't they beautiful?
Cerise Dahlias 2009

Today I finish weeding the vegetable garden and plant my seedlings - I got some 'curly kale' as well as silver beet. And I managed a sneak peep at the nursery's Easter sale goodies - I can see lots of Pittosporums, red Cordylines, and little pots of brightly coloured patio peppers. Hee hee...

Drop-Dead Dahlias?

Things in the pergola garden look so much better. A simple cutting down of the orangey-red dahlias around the pergola, and immediately the huge cerise clump (which I photograph each year, 2009 no exception) looks drop-dead gorgeous. No, no - that's a particularly unfortunate phrase. Dahlias, please do not even consider dropping dead until after the Garden Club Visit...

I planted some more Cannas (Bengal Tigers) to keep the one clump in there company. I've trimmed the deciduous daylilies, but I've left the browning hostas - the visiting ladies will like to see that I am a hosta lover.

One thing I'll do today is take lots of pictures - after last night's rain the garden will be green and shiny. But first I'm off to feed my hens. I cleaned out the fridge last night, so they have rather a gourmet collection of squishy melon, mouldy pita breads, old spuds, old pasta... Oops...


Work on.... Through the rain... Work on... Through the wind... Well, I've worked on, through not exactly a storm but some puffed-up blustery pre-winter weather. I've cleaned up the Rockery and the Laundry Garden - invasive mint, which I did not plant, is causing havoc coming up between the Laundry Path stones.

 Please tell me that everything looks tidy!
Pergola Dahlias

Then I went to give the waterwheel a wee push (the water race level was very low this morning). Now my stream trickles down as far as the first pond. I suspect that the stream-bed silts up with use, and then not so much water sinks through. Either that or my waterwheel (and the water flow it produces) is totally random. One of my kind friends is coming tomorrow to help in the garden - I wonder if she'd like to work on the stream with me? It's that or dead-head the house dahlias, and I know which I'd rather do.

Thursday 9th April

Ha! I've just peeped out the bay window and spied a perky, unstaked dahlia completely covered with dead-heads - not one speck of colour. I think I know what to do... Hello, house gardens! Today is your day. One Garden Helper is arriving at mid-day - unfortunately it's too windy to burn, but I have some work for him.

 The big autumn clean-up...
Burn, Burn, Burn...

Right. Sniff (that's the Moosey nose). Slurp (that's the Moosey coffee). There are Gregorian chanting monks on the morning radio (the cricket season has finished). It's time for some seriously cosmetic gardening.

Go Tiger! :
Dear Tiger - she is quite a strange cat. And far too fat, with the shortest legs. But we love you Tiger - honestly we do!

Tiger the cat is having relationship difficulties. Hours each day are spent hiding underneath chairs and tables waiting for other unsuspecting cats to wander past. That's all she does (apart from eat). Last night some special fun - making scary faces through the glass doors at Minimus the kitten, playing outside on the patio. I think Tiger has a cat-esteem problem - as well as a fat-esteem problem? I must talk to her more...