Roses to plant...

Christmas is slowly retreating, the days are getting minutely shorter, and now I am busy getting the garden ready for New Year. I still have two rambling roses and one rugosa (the old faithful Roseraie de l'Hay) to plant. And lots of summer colour to enjoy.

 Summer colours.
Bay Window Garden

Tuesday 29th December

Yippee! My garden gnome count has now reached seventeen, all painted up with new clothes. It includes seven Disney gnomes who are nameless (unless one calls them 'sleepy', 'happy', 'drippy', 'dorky', and so on). The more serious gnome family by the pond is now surrounded by blooming red roses, which I specifically planted to match their bright red gnome hats. This sort of garden design advice will not be seen in gardening books.

 Just a few have missed out on the photograph.
Garden Gnomes

Garden Gnomes

However, it is important that the original sextet (Rupert, Bach, Robinson, Tiddler, Grumpus and Bossman) plus later arrivals Big Bob and Pete, and the two Christmas newcomers Laurie and Ned match their garden surroundings and blend in. Hee hee... Sorry about all this.

Again I'm starting my busy day with a swim, while Non-Gardening Partner is out spraying in the (windless) orchard. Later I will request some manly garden help. The business of proper mulching behind the Shrubbery needs barrowfuls of stuff arriving, wheeled in by energetic men with strong arms, while I direct operations and flick the rake around. I have not quite finished...

I also must clean up the Welcome Garden and collect up all the dry, dead branches for the bonfire. First impressions first. I am pleased to report that the mass plantings of Agapanthus in here have 'taken' - in other words, they've lived, without watering, as have the block I planted further along the fence-line. I use Agapanthus for foliage and cover under difficult trees (pines and gums), so I don't expect them to flower much. Pity - they have such pretty blues.

Two Gardening Hours Later...

It's been hot, so I've had a change of plan (how surprising). I've been in the water race weeding the banks. This is a delightful summer gardening task - not the weeding, but the sloshing around and sitting in the water when too hot. The fair English rosebud complexion needs care, though - sunhats and sun block, collars on gardening shirts, and careful attention to feet and hands. Those whose bodies do not accept the concept of tanning will know exactly what I mean.

Garden Seats :
This beautifully painted pair of seats were photographed (by me) at Chanticleer Gardens in Pennsylvania.

Some good Non-Gardening Partner news - without even being asked (that is, nagged), he's gone off to buy the wood to build me a pair or Adirondack chairs for the garden. Yippee! Only six months after I first asked him...

Ha! It's even later, and I've done another hour in the shade, dead-heading and trimming and pulling out foxgloves from the Birthday Rose Garden. There are some beautiful roses hidden in here, surrounded by frothy multi-coloured cornflowers. Garden time is racing by, though - it seems like yesterday in this garden that the peonies were in bloom. Eek!

 A very inviting chair...
Phormium by the Patio

Wednesday 30th December

Right. I have three roses to plant urgently before swimming. May Queen goes along the fence-line near the Frisbee archway (which is naked). Kew Rambler goes in the Stables Garden to climb up the Almond tree (hope this is OK). And the spare rugosa goes in there too, for company. A 'springlike' southerly is coming this morning with thunderstorms and hail. Please - no more hail!


Boy I have been good. As soon as we got home from swimming I leapt into the water race to continue weeding. It started raining an hour later, but I was prepared for this. I just kept going, getting colder and wetter. Good gardeners are always prepared to sacrifice their personal comfort for the good of their gardens... And good on me for planting those roses! Now I'm warm and dry inside, and the rain is wetting my garden. This is good. Very good.

Thursday 31st December

Right. I'm back from swimming and I'm off again into the water race. Doing a little bit each day, I have nearly worked my weedy way down to Middle Bridge. I am meeting quite a variety of weeds, few of which I can name. But this is a serious summer gardening pilgrimage, and I rather enjoy myself. If I get too hot I sit down (in the swirling water).

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

I've been submerged (well, the leggy part of me) for two and a half hours, and I've weeded right down to the Hen-House Garden (where that lovely wooden seat by the Darmera is). The Plank, which had escaped downstream to get wedged underneath Middle Bridge's giant gunnera, has now been retrieved. Non-Gardening Partner has been industriously wheeling the ash from my bonfire over to the back of the Shrubbery.

 This is one of the Flower Carpet roses.
Apple-Blossom Pink Rose

Now I'm warm and dry, feet tingling, slurping hot coffee. I feel really good. And this is the last day of the gardening year. It feels as if I've come a long way. I've planted heaps of new things, and it's been a year full of gardening joy.

The Cat Year

As a cat year, 2009 has been pretty good. Miracle-blessed Mugsy, the oldest cat, is still alive and happy, while Minimus the youngest has learnt how to avoid the bully in the kitchen (Tiger) and the b**** in the garden (Histeria). Rusty the dog has chased every single plane safely out of Moosey airspace - again a hundred percent success rate. Dear Jerome was buried (with much relief) in the orchard, and Kaya, the new shiny black cat (who lives in the sleepout) comes for walks and almost comes gardening with me.

 Sleepy cat!
Minimus in a Tree

The garden is also blessed with natural life. There's a frog in the pond (well, something frog-sized always plops noisily into the water as I walk past) and the old bath has its usual batch of tree-frog tadpoles. My bellbirds whistle and chime, as lots of little bumble bees busily pop in and out of the summer flowers. There are huge numbers of ladybirds on the Hazelnut trees in the orchard. Nice.

Goodbye to 2009

Goodbye to 2009. You've been really enjoyable.