Look lovingly and tidy up slowly...

 By the Gunnera in the water race.
Sunny Flax Leaves

January is very much a 'look lovingly and tidy up slowly' summer gardening month. It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking there's not that much to do out there...

Monday 12th January

Aargh! There's heaps and heaps to do. Maybe summer gardeners get too much sun-blindness and detective-novel-fever.

While Non-Gardening Partner is home for some summer holidays I need to get him organised. Every day we should get a trailer load of stones for my path edges and water race erosion plan. He could also start raking up gum tree mess from the driveways. Meanwhile I am being GOOD, as per my New Years Resolution to pay attention to garden details. I am dead-heading all the Penstemons. I've found some pretty pale pink plants, which are new to me. When and where? Haven't a clue. They're lovely.

And the daylilies continue to flower brilliantly - 2009 must be a daylily peak in the sine curve of gardening life. While friends in North America are being really seriously snowed on. Proud New Zealand flaxes in Seattle gardens are lying squashed under a foot of snow. Oh dear - one winter apres snow I had to knife down flax leaves completely and put up with a bald bottom (ouch!) for months. I hope my friends' gardens recover.

 Suddenly this rose is flowering for the first time. Dead odd.
Red Rose by the Bridge

Right I'm off to the gym. Then I might plant my new Buddleia and hostas (where?) and do more weeding and trimming. More of the same - that's what good gardening is all about.

Much, Much Later...

Phew! What a day! I've been collecting and shifting stones - the path behind the pond is now properly edged, I've trimmed the big trip-me-up flax and weeded everything. It has taken me ages - all the monster large stones get thrown into the water race, then all the garden mess gets carted right over to the fence-line where a row of scruffy piles awaits the end of the fire ban. This is a big gum bark month when all my gum trees shed madly. So round and round the garden I go, in the fierce summer sun...

 Rusty in the back of the Birthday Rose Garden.
Summer Garden Shadows

Meanwhile NGP has been rebuilding the Pump House, a small shed-like structure upon which he can practice his construction skills (before tackling my personal garden shed, hee hee). Returning to the river for stones has me again thinking of gabions - using stones filling wire structures to build, for example, the walls of a belvedere (I think that's the right word). Sounds terribly serious, and I'll bet NGP is hoping that the nursery sale next weekend deflects my structure-building mood.

 Silly things - they just don't fit.
Basket Cats

Cat Boxes and Baskets

Do my cats feel the summer heat? This morning Percy and Histeria were ridiculously jammed together into one small cat basket on the table - for at least an hour.

All day Fluff-Fluff has been lurking in the garden by the trailer. Whenever I've wandered back for a new load of stones he's squeaked at me from underneath his flax bush. Too hot? And now he's squashed into his cardboard box in front of the computer.

Cats in boxes and baskets - they all do it. But why on such hot days? With all that fur?

I do have some lovely garden things to report (though it's a bit sunny for photographs):

Lovely Things

Tuesday 13th January

Poor Percy in the medium-small cat basket - sister Histeria is again squashed in beside him. No cat has as yet tried to fit in my smallest cat box of all. I bought it as a wee cat-joke, filled it with a tiny fluffy blanket, and have placed it temptingly by the wood-burner. Right. Today, when I return from swimming, I am going to finish my stone work (reinforcing the water race banks) and then go get another load. There's cricket to listen to, starting lunchtime, plus the happy hammering of NGP.

 She is not the right shape!
Tiger the Too Fat Cat


We won the cricket under the Duckworth-Lewis system, used when rain stops play. Better a Duckworth-Lewis win than no win, I reckon!

Wednesday 14th January

Right. This is very, very important. Today I have decided not to go on a long day hike in the mountains. My preferred option is to stay home with my man, dog, and cat friends. That's Non-Gardening Partner (NGP for short), Rusty the red Border Collie, and house cats (in order of seniority) Jerome, Mugsy, Tiger, Fluff-Fluff, Percy, Histeria and Lilli-Puss. I intend to be a highly motivated gardener and do the following:

  1. The garden - goes without saying.
  2. Piano playing - not piano practice (there's a subtle difference).
  3. Exercise - dog-cycling.
  4. Stone collecting.

None of which can be accomplished whilst wearing my dressing gown and slippers, so it's high time I got dressed. If I get bored I'll go and help NGP with the new Pump House.

Much, Much Later...

Phew! I am so glad I stayed home - my day has been wonderfully 'sonny' (filled with sons). Talking with lovely London son, visited by lovely musician son (to whom I proudly played the first page of my ferocious heavy-metal Brahms sonata). Then I drove lovely son-in-law to the airport.

This is the first flowering season for my seed grown Echinaceas.

I've planted more Echinacea plants in clumps by the water race nearby. I love these flowers - and their plants seem really tough. I hope they are not weeds in disguise. And I need more stones - the new Driveway Garden is edged with next winter's firewood, and NGP requires it to be collected and stored.

And I did some brilliant gardening maintenance - mainly trimming in the middle of the Dog-Path Garden. I divided up one of the sprawling large green flaxes, and realigned the path (that means shifting it, but 'realign' sounds more professional).