Never, ever take good things for granted...

 A beauty.
Sunny Compassion Rose

I spend so much 'gentle time' in the garden - talking to the cats, doing things with the dog, sneaking up on my pond frog... I should never, ever take these good things for granted. I don't think there is any 'gentle time' at all in being a teacher of teenagers...

Friday 19th February

It's rained on my garden for a day and a half. I've been absent in body, but not in my heart - my little bit of proper work is almost finished. It's a pity that today (sunny, warm, a non-work day) after swimming and shopping I've been peeping at the snowboarders on the half-pipe instead of gardening. Vancouver Winter Olympics TV has lured me onto the couch.

Gardening Olympics

Imagine a Gardening Olympics - I wonder what the different competitions could be? Speed weeding? A path-raking marathon? Hee hee...

 On the messy house lawn - look at all those gum leaves.
Rusty the Dog

This weekend I will have to work twice as hard! But I have been soooooo good this year, sticking to my Zero Dollars Garden Plants Budget for almost two months. Such self-motivation is admirable - I haven't even been tempted!

 The leaves are everywhere.
Petunias and Gum Leaves

Saturday 20th February

Right. Today I've started my Late Summer Gardening Olympics. I've done a scruffy clean-up gardening marathon. I've cleared a trailer-load of rubbish from behind the Shrubbery, and it's taken me two hours. The trailer will now be towed around to the bonfire and later, when the sun is a little less fierce, I'll burn it.

What other gardening should I do today? Should I keep on cleaning up? And when should Non-Gardening Partner cut the Olearia hedge behind the house? These serious questions do not need urgent answers, but they do need some attention.

Cat Clean-Ups

My cats are certainly cleaning up the property at the moment. Medium sized rodents (deceased) keep being dropped in the middle of hallways and halfway up the house stairs. Sleepy me, dreaming about everything and nothing, keeps getting surprised. I squeal loudly and then I bravely remove the body.

Kaya the Black Cat :
You can meet Kaya the new Moosey cat in my cats and dogs section.

I'm sure these house offerings are from ginger Percy - he seems awfully pleased with himself in the evenings. Kaya the black cat (who is a brilliant huntress) leaves her catches near the garage by my car. Eek! I've almost trodden on one. Just occasionally one of the rodents in the house is alive, and then I must confess I fetch Rusty the dog. He knows 'what to do'...

OK. I've been outside burning rubbish. I hate having bonfires, and when that Olearia hedge is trimmed I will be burning all day. Aargh! I've just had my evening meal on the ten dollar patio table, sitting, eating, and thinking.

 Still looking OK.
Sunny Hostas

The New Zealand sun is harsh on the skin and hard on the eyes, and often in the middle of a summer's day everything looks tired. But after the sun goes down and the wind stills my garden is a delight. I love it.

Sunday 21st February

I've done another four hours clearing and burning deep behind the Shrubbery. It's amazing how much better things look after the rough grass and rubbish is quickly and simply cleared. I'm thinking slowly (?) about dropping a path down through the new area. What I'd really like is instant greenery - for the Pittosporums planted last year to go 'pouf' and be two meters high.

 This is the end of the Birthday Rose Garden.
Garden Panorama

During my work I uncovered earwigs, benign spiders of every shape and size, squillions of scuttling bugs, and several large snails. Hosta lovers will throw their hands up in horror, but I felt sorry for disturbing these beautiful creatures (bodies the colour of pale grey sludge, such strangely shaped heads). So I threw them down into the shade underneath the lower shelter trees. My birds have missed out on a feast!

A Rustic Bench Lunch

I had lunch on my rustic benches, now quite well hidden in the Shrubbery's little courtyard. I'm so glad I planted rugosa roses in the Shrubbery gaps - Sarah Van Fleet is flowering again, and Corylus looks beautiful with its ferny leaves and rose hips. The little Blush Noisettes are all pink and fluffy, and some deep purple Hebes just behind are in full bloom. What a beautiful colour combination - and I can't claim to have planned it...+10

Now all the rubbish is burnt, including pieces of gum bark five meters plus in length, folded over and over. Hopefully most of the insects and spiders fell out of the rubbish before it got to the fire. I am really happy with my day. Thank you to Fluff-Fluff the cat who has provided constant company, curled up in the grass - a gardening cat with stamina.