New personal resolutions...

 A lovely peachy-raspberry colour.

I've woken up filled with new personal resolutions rather than gardening thoughts - blast! It's time for seriously pruning and trimming the Head Gardener and getting her into a healthier shape. Hopefully that's all I'll say on the matter.

Monday 19th October

But be prepared for lots of morning swimming sessions and the occasional mention of much smaller food portions - and the concept of snacking on fruit. I will write all the details down in a notebook (unpublished). And yes - the scales will be used.

Cat Roll Call

Good morning to Percy the ginger cat (lounging on my knees) who has no such shape troubles. All three of my ex-foster kittens (Percy, Histeria, and Lilli-Puss) have long, lean bodies, long legs, and long flickery tails. Now Minimus the ex-woodshed kitten could join me - she's stayed a tiny cat with a tiny head, while her body has fattened out into a furry rugby ball.

 Sitting on a tree stump...
Histeria the Cat

Tiger the tortoiseshell is far too floppy-fat, and Fluff-Fluff - well, he's just big-boned. Honestly! He's got huge paws, and is jolly light on his feet when running. And he jumps over the water race in a graceful big-air parabola. I can't remember the last time I saw Tiger running or jumping - she's always eating. But Fluff-Fluff is definitely too heavy...

 All these different colours...
Spraxias in Flower

There. I've found some furry friends who share my - ahem - shape problem. Smaller portions, cats, smaller portions! Right. I'm off swimming.

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

Oh the discipline of the first shape-changing day! I've decided that I need to change my mental shape, too - I've been getting obsessive over the garden, ending up too tired to do fun things with my dog or play serious piano music. No more!

So far today, as well as swimming and weeding, I've played Bach's C Minor Partita all through, WITH REPEATS, and cycled off to the observatory and back with my dog. Ha!

I'd like to report some tiny garden details. My flowering Spraxia bulbs in the Frisbee Garden are going really mad. I hardly ever remember to take pictures of them. And my new patch of pink Lily of the Valley is alive. It's not very pink (or green, for that matter), but it's alive.

Rusty the dog's Lavender Garden is weeded. All Lavenders have fresh bushy green growth, and several are flowering, along with some random potato vines and a Clematis called Elizabeth.

 In the Lavender Garden.
Elizabeth Clematis

And a small plug for the positive impact of cosmetic weeding. I spent about 15 minutes partially digging out all flowering dandelions. Bits of roots got left behind in some cases, but at least the look is better, and it cheers me up.

Finally, a tiny thought - if I am less gardening-obsessive I might be a more interesting person. I definitely will be as far as my dog is concerned...

Tuesday 20th October

Ha! It's day two of the new me (is that the new, hungry me?). I actually like these well-organised days when NOT all I do is the garden. Already I've spent an hour raking and doing edges - the lawns were mowed last night before the southerly rainstorm. Cosmetic gardening really works - trimmed edges make even the weediest border look more beautiful.

 Looking quite tidy!
The Driveway

With much over-zealousness I've also put Non-Gardening Partner, my jazz-singing friend, AND the girl down the road (my pet-sitter, poor thing) on my 'Shape Up For Life' plan. Plus all the cats except the two geriatrics Mugsy and Jerome. Well - when one gets a good idea one just has to share it, right?

Off the On-Line Plant Auctions

Finally I've gone off watching and participating in on-line plant trades. I'm seeing such over-priced items - like a single pot of black Mondo grass for $60, and a man-sized Rhododendrons which the buyer needs to remove (I'd suggest they'd need mechanical help) and still pay $80. And I've gone all righteous - someone is selling some Gunnera, and that's illegal. According to the Bio Security Act of 1993 Gunnera can't be sold, distributed or propagated for sale in New Zealand. However I'm not so righteous that I've dug out all the Gunnera in my own garden... Shame!

 Just a toddler...
Young Gunnera by the Stream

Two more of my new budget gnomes have been painted up - they look so cute. So first I'll take them over to the pond and introduce them to the others. And then I'm taking my dog for a cycle ride. He looks funny - like he's wearing furry green socks (stains from the wet cut grass).

 She's pale and lovely.
Beautiful Agnes Rugosa Rose

Wednesday 21st October

It's day three of my 'Shape Up For Life' campaign. First I'm going swimming, and then I'm weeding in the Hen-House Gardens. Agnes and Fruhlinsmorgen, two beautiful early roses, are flowering over there, as are the blue-bells underneath the Oak trees. Nice.

My dog loves my 'Shape Up' campaign - every day we go for an energetic walk or a cycle ride, and I talk to him about life's great mysteries (for example, why some of my rhododendrons are having the year off, flower-wise). My cats are not so impressed - they keep hanging around the kitchen, popping up whenever the fridge door is opened.


Hot coffee from freshly ground coffee beans from, of all places, Alaska - I deserve this! I've done some quick weeding and trimming around the Pergola Garden, and this is my reward. Oh joy! Do you know - life is so much better when I'm being a good-living gardener. Everything is more enjoyable. So self discipline is the answer, after all? Hmm... Off back to the weeds, where I am being totally sensible and using my kneeler.


I've planted some Stachys Limelight on the (freshly weeded) garden's edge, and I've taken one load of weeds and grass clippings to the compost heap. Then the dog and I did a quick zoom around the garden to check out the new rhododendrons flowering, goggle at the most beautifully coloured tree peony in the world, and affirm how much we like forget-me-nots. They are, after all, the prettiest blue...

Three More Gnomes :
I'm still madly rescuing garden gnomes from Charity shopes and the like.

And my three new gnomes haven't quite made it to the pond. I'm trying them in the side garden where I'll see their cheery red hats every time I walk out the front door...

Ha! I've gone back outside and there are now four newly painted gnomes! The latest one is reading a green book. Hee hee... Garden gnome multiplication... Right. Now I have to practice my singing before tonight's rehearsal. Tra-la-la - what a busy, responsible (and quite hungry) person I'm being today!