Such restraint!

 My shy, elusive, grey ghost-cat...

Such restraint - I have passed up the chance to bid for five more garden gnomes in an online auction. And since my budget declaration I haven't bought a single plant. It's actually quite easy to keep to a budget...

Sunday 27th December

Oddly, my garden will probably improve as a result of restraint. Less is much more!

My grey cat Lilli-Puss is strange - having worried me by being been absent for the 24 hours over Christmas Day, she's now taken up permanent residence in the upstairs room. She's been alternatively smiling and sleeping for two days. What a random cat.

Another Garden Club Visit

Eek - the local Garden Club is visiting again (golly - I must have made 'the grade') in early February, which is not too far away, time-wise. I need to do one pre-visiting task each day. I must work out what makes my garden 'different' and act upon it. And see to all those maintenance tasks - for example, I need to clear the new network of paths through the Hump, and properly mulch the new gardens.

 This beautiful climber covers one of the houseside archways.
Another Unknown Rose

I could even try being efficient - not weeding before I put down the newspaper layer, for example. No visitor would dare to peep underneath the mulch - would they? Hmm... I'm concerned, too, that by February my roses will be looking totally disgraceful.

Today's Plans

Today starts with Christmas swimming. I will glide up and down the outdoor 50 meter pool in rhythm with some mental Brahms and plan more of my gardening day. And then, after I've worked hard for five hours, I'll come inside and write down every last detail!

Later, Pre-Gardening...

Ha! Rusty the dog, having spent hours being scared of his Christmas pig's trotter, has finally used his nose (and his teeth) and eaten the whole thing. Merry Christmas, Rusty! Aargh! Now Tiger the cat has just tipped over yet another large vase of roses. She lives surrounded by natural water - a pond and a stream - so why must she drink from the flower vase? Laziness.

OK. It's drizzling outside, and as soon as I've slurped my coffee I'm going out there. Summer drizzle - no problem. I promised my garden I'd be good - and, in any case, I have to practice my New Year's Resolution, which I remind myself states: 'Look after that what you've got'. I think it applies to more than the garden.

More blooms to report - the big lemon daylilies are flowering in the Driveway Garden, and I seem to have acquired more random Delphiniums (self-sown, I guess). The yellow shrubs of summer are now in full flower - Hypericums and Senecios - matched by the perennial Anthemis which is sprawling happily down over the stone wall.

 The clump never seems to get any bigger...
Large Lemon Daylilies

And the rose colourwave continues with La Marseillaise and Robusta the robust reds, the (pretty pink) Fairy, and the delightful porcelain pink Nancy Steen (whose shrub isn't all that healthy, oops).

 With an ornamental grass seed-head.
Nancy Steen Rose


Sometimes it's much nicer writing about the garden than doing it. Today is one of these days, for I have been burning rubbish for hours, and though this needs to be done it has not been joyful. But now, as I sit down to write up my journal, I have perked up enormously (that could be the result of Christmas cake and Christmas mince pie). And dry clothes, clean hands, and hot coffee - easy little things which make such a difference.

 Hypericum is a beautiful summer flowering shrub.
Yellow Summer Shrubs

I spent the last ten minutes speed-weeding the vegetable garden. My peas (supposed to be a no-stake, sugar-snap variety) are lolling all over the beans. Lettuces have suddenly gone to seed since I last looked two days ago, while the tomatoes are still stuck at ankle-height. There seems to be no justice in my vegetable gardening world. So hurray for the peripherals, namely my cute little English Lavender edge-hedge, and my yummy raspberries in a large central pot.

Broom and Sorrel Seedlings...

Unfortunately there is still much to do. The hoses have been on, watering the newly planted old fashioned roses. Then, passing by with the last burning rubbish load, I saw the healthiest patch of broom and sorrel seedlings on the edge of Duck Lawn - a gentle reminder that one gardener (me) can't actually keep up. Blast!

 A sure sign of summer.
Dahlias in Flower

Monday 28th December

After this morning's swim it is important that I do some properly structured gardening. The trouble is, if I write a list I ignore three quarters of it. And some days, like yesterday, I become an opportunist - no wind, no fire ban, lots of dry rubbish to burn... Today I have to finish spreading the Christmas horse manure and mulch around the Shrubbery. I also have to clear the paths. And if I feel like burning, I can fill the trailer with appropriate mess from in here. Let's see if I can actually finish this area once and for all.

Right. I've worked my whole day out. First Non-Gardening Partner helps me wheelbarrow all the wet ash from the burning heap. Then he shifts the trailer and helps me fill it with rubbish. He goes off to burn it while I stay in the Shrubbery mulching and trimming things. Then he drives the trailer down to get more horse manure. Then, possibly, he helps me clear out the tree rubbish from the back of the Welcome Garden and burns that. Hmm... It appears that I've got NGP's whole day worked out as well. That's the terrible price an NGP pays for being on holiday and hanging around the house.

Much Later...

Ha! I worked hard all day - all by myself (NGP escaped). I didn't use the trailer for rubbish - I used the wheelbarrow instead. The last thing I did was the burning - it always leaves me hot and bothered.

 They've joined the others at the back of the pond.
Ned and Laurie - New Garden Gnomes

Then I placed my two new Christmas gnomes (Laurie and Ned) over by the pond and took some photographs, as one does. Laurie has shapely legs (he wears tights and some really old fashioned shoes with buckles) and is reading a really old book. Ned has a very weedy build for a gnome, with drooping shoulders, and he is sitting on a smiley snail.