A folly?

 Disreputable, dishevelled, but cheerful...
Winter Gardener

I'm definitely going to build my curved stone structure behind the pond. The trick is that I'm going to call it a 'folly', hereby gaining loads of designer credibility. Hopefully it will be presented to Non-Gardening Partner for his big birthday.

I got the 'folly' naming idea from my book about Gardens of Ireland. Follies need no explanation, they can be daft and impractical - they don't have to 'do' anything. A curved stone wall sounds pretty ho-hum. A 'folly' - now that sounds romantic, quirky, a bit silly, terribly personal...

Gardeners who build follies are expected to be a bit eccentric, if not a little foolish! And a folly is the perfect birthday present for the Non-Gardening Partner who has everything...

Sunday 5th July

It's been drizzling all day, and I've been a well-behaved winter gardener - working quietly, getting rather wet, but not moaning. I've been trimming in the house gardens - bronze fennel (oops - should have cut off the stalks before they went to seed), Compassion and The Fairy roses, Mexican daisies, Phormiums, Euphorbias...

The Bride :
The proper name for these spring flowering shrubs is Exochorda x macrantha.

The standard Brides are now happily dozing in brand new terracotta pots on the patio, underplanted with some miniature roses.

And I've finally dug out one of the Nancy Steen roses - she's never been a good doer, happy to throw up rootstock canes and very little else. Just because she came from my old garden I've hung on and hung on for years, living in hope. The second Nancy Steen has always been healthier.

Also I've found a new local nursery having a two dollar plant sale - I bought Rosemary, Corokias (both mid-green and chocolate brown), some wiry golden-green ground covers (Coprosmas, I think) and some bright orange Libertia. The Rosemaries go in the Koru sculpture garden, everything else goes in behind the pond.

 Showing off her - ahem - cat boobs.
Tiger the Cat

Tiger the Bully

For the first time in ages Tiger the tortoiseshell cat provided extremely chirpy cat-company. Of course it might just have been that she wanted to scare Minimus the kitten, who was hiding in the Calamagrostis grass. Tiger is a bit of a bully when she thinks no-one is looking.

Monday 6th July

Right. Rusty the Gourmet Dog is noisily kicking his food bowl around the kitchen floor - he's hungry? Now he's sitting at my feet, gazing adoringly into my eyes, and burping loudly. Dogs are so 'out there' - they're like blokes.

Cats aren't - they're subtle and sneaky, and their silent paws can whip the smoked salmon sideways off my plate while I blink. And some cats are infinitely patient and dreamy - like ginger Percy. I've never met a dreamy dog. Right. I'm off swimming today and then I'm going to plant all my new plants. Yippee!

 A very colourful shiny shrub.
Pink Coprosma

Four Gardening Hours Later...

I planted all the Corokias in the back corner of the Jellybean Border, shifted a rose, trimmed the hydrangeas, and tipped in four wheelbarrowfuls of compost. Out came an awful lot of damp mess - cordyline leaves, bits of dead wood from the Liquidamber tree, gum tree leaves, and so on. I've left it all smouldering on my rubbish fire - not very successfully, I'm afraid, even with a tiny bit of help from Mr Gasoline.

Minimus :
Young Minimus is growing up. She's exceedingly well-fed, and is shaped like a small rugby ball - with legs, of course.

Minimus the kitten impresses me. She has provided brilliant solo cat-company while I've done my gardening work. Now she is happily eating a bowlful of prawns, complete with whiskers and eyes - I've run out of normal cat food. All other cats have sniffed at my offering and wandered away. Minimus is all class!

Tuesday 7th July

Please note that I haven't really complained too much about the cold, wet, wintry weather. Non-Gardening Partner (he who just knows everything about everything) reckons we've had the coldest June he can remember. It's true - each day I've gardened in temperatures between five and eight degrees (Celsius). But this morning there is heart-warming (and body-warming) sun - and blue sky, but still only two degrees! The ground is sodden from overnight rain (no snow, thankfully).

 Ha! The sun is still up there!
Winter Sun!

First thing today I'm going shopping. I'm off back to the two dollar native plant sale, and I'm getting another couple of large terracotta pots (they're seconds, with square tops and curved sides). I'll need more potting mix, too. And I'd better remove the bags of fresh horse manure from the back of my car. Oops. They've been there for a day and a half, and not a whiff of unpleasant smell - that shows how cold it's been!

Much Later...

'Gloomy days do not necessarily make gloomy gardeners.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

I've had a great day, though that sun I got excited about didn't last. Gloomy days, however, do not necessarily make gloomy gardeners. And today I took a style risk (hee hee) - planting a trio of 'frosted chocolate' Corokias in one of the new terracotta pots. My oh my - very subtle.

I also planted up all the new natives, and shifted grasses and flaxes around behind the pond. It's a funny area - things get rather dry here in summer, and the soil is inherently poor - though I'm continually working on that. Today's offering has been soggy leaves raked from the Pond Paddock and some barrowfuls of compost. Of course the pond Gunnera is in its winter state (that is, dead brown) so the new native Corokias and Hebes give some much needed green winter texture.