No time to chat!

 Taken by Daughter of Moosey, late 2009.
Mugsy's Last Picture

No time to chat - I'm off swimming, and then I'm working in the garden. What a surprise! My weeding and path clearing programmes are going well, and today (windless) is the last day before the fire ban.

A Wise Country Gardener...

A wise country gardener would be dead-heading madly - particularly the roses in the orchard which require this treatment. Yesterday afternoon I burnt some more hedge trimmings from the orchard paddock (these should have been cleaned up weeks ago) and trimmed the first three rose archways.

Parkdirektor Riggers is an annoying rose, with no ability to bend gracefully. So any of his canes stiffly pointing in the wrong direction got the chop. The chap this rose was named after must have been a strict disciplinarian! Star of Holland has a much softer look - I much prefer this rose and the modern Santana as red climbers.

 A wonderful pergola rose.
Red Rose Santana
'Good gardeners notice everything.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Good gardeners notice everything, and I notice that the orchard grass needs mowing. Also the house lawns. And the Hen House Garden needs the big irrigation on. Weeds in the driveway need dealing to, and several more trees need to be chain-sawed up for firewood. Actually, all of these things are things that Non-Gardening Partner's needs to be organised into doing. Funny that...

Much Later...

I've dead-headed all the other orchard roses, and yes - the grass between the Hazelnut rows has been mowed. I've raked and weeded underneath some of the roses (not all - this has been a light, cosmetic sweep). And I've barrowed loads and loads of excess woodchip mulch from the orchard to the Shrubbery (covering up bags and bags of horse manure in the process). Each time I've plodded past the house I've signalled via body language (drooping shoulders, etc.) to Son of Moosey, who promised he'd do some gardening work for me. Like Non-Gardening Partner, he seems to think he is on holiday. Aargh!

In an effort to accessorise my garden (in other words, to justify buying silly things from Charity shops) I have set out my latest buy - a Bambi-ish tea set - on my round garden table. I overheard the shop assistant saying it was 'shabby chic', so I pounced! I love it - and the colours do so match Fluff-Fluff the cat. And 'shabby chic' is my latest catch-phrase - though I'm not sure exactly what, apart from reproductions of old white wire French garden furniture, it actually describes.

Fluff-Fluff and the Tea Set

I'd like to say I wisely withdrew from last night's gnome auction for budget reasons, but the truth is that I forgot the deadline. Anyway, I didn't like that gnome very much - he had an old fashioned bathing suit on and was sunbathing. I much prefer my gnomes to be properly clothed, and reading books or fishing.

It's raining heavily now, rattling away on the house roof, so I've been sensible coming inside. And my hands are sore (but I'm not grumping). Some sad news - after more than nine totally false alarms things have gone suddenly very wrong with old Mugsy the cat. She seems to be drifting away from us. But what a cat - what a life! We are off to the vet - I don't expect any surprises this time.

Saturday 9th January

Last night we buried little Mugsy in the orchard, with that strange mixture of the sad and the glad. And there, solemnly standing in memorial row, we spoke about the other cats, quietly composting underneath their memorial trees (and those waiting for trees).

 Dear little cat!
Mugsy's Memorial Montage

Back in the house, I explained to Tiger the Tortoiseshell that she, now, was the senior cat, and as such had responsibilities to be a role model. Tiger - the compulsive lurker, who spends hours hiding underneath tables and chairs - just in case little Minimus should walk by. Aargh!

Only Seven Cats

Now we have six cats in the house plus Kaya the Sleep-Out cat - that only makes seven. Suddenly the kitchen floor doesn't seem as crowded.

 Shiny and black.
Kaya the Sleep-Out Cat

Summer Gardening Is Good Fun

Today is simple. Clear another path, weed another garden, dead-head another patch of roses, trim another lawn edge, water somewhere else - actually the orchard rose drippers need to run for five or six hours. And still I have a few plants to put into the ground, pelargoniums to shift out of the glass-house, and late peas to sow. Summer gardening - nothing terribly exciting, but all good fun, and I love it.

 This is an easy-grow type which creeps around a little on its roots.
Blue Campanula

Later, Lunchtime...

Hmm... Sometimes sitting, relaxing, and reading in the garden is more important than weeding. But by page 52 of my Garden Design book, reading about 'desire lines' and the joys of paths that 'invite the visitor to meander', I'm wracked with extreme gardening guilt. I have visitors coming tomorrow afternoon and the Wattle Woods paths are still impassable. Blast!

And suddenly, randomly, Son of Moosey has reported for gardening duty. I will get him to wheel more mulch into the Shrubbery. Blimey - all of a sudden the garden will be buzzing with workers. Perhaps I can even get NGP to mow the house lawns. The family that gardens together...

Aargh! Three Hours Later...

I am so tired! I have worked so hard! And alas! Woe is me - or woe are my paths! I've found two that are absolutely blocked, in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden, and tomorrow morning I will have to dig out several coarse Carex grasses to reclaim the route. I found many plants by Willow Bridge that needed dealing to - Campion, Forget-Me-Nots, and Angelica had to be pulled out, tussocks had to be trimmed (for safety of visitors tomorrow)... And weeds! Welcome to sorrel city! The standard Blushing Pink Icebergs were ready for dead-heading, and all the blue Geraniums needed cutting back. And so I worked, and worked, and worked...

I also weeded right along the water race from Willow Bridge to Middle Bridge, and remembered to plant some daisies and pelargoniums. I'd forgotten how nice my plastic tow-along cart is to use. All my mess is dumped, all my hand tools are stashed, and I am freshly showered. Time to check the raspberry patch (yum).