I'm home to winter and a damp garden, gloomy light from a faded sun, and the patio covered with wet leaves. And I have the biggest list of garden (and general life) improvements to attend to - concocted with much time on my hands while flying from Bangkok to Sydney.

Saturday 3rd July

And so far, with my woolly jet-lagged head, I can tick a few tasks off. I've ripped through all the kitchen cupboards and thrown out rubbish (like broken-down blenders). I've also gone to the supermarket, and reaffirmed relationships with cats and Rusty the dog. Minimus has been a bundle of loving squeaks - I think she missed me!

 There it is...
The New Shed is Almost Built!

There was a huge surprise in the pond paddock. My garden shed, the Moosey 'bach', which Non-Gardening Partner and I had left as floor and foundations only, has been properly built in my absence. What a hoot!

Not exactly the DIY (well, more accurately the DIY-NGP) I'd planned, but not a problem! It has walls, doors and some windows, a roof, even some pretty little curly bits which frame the porch. Quite a giggle, really. I'll take a photograph tomorrow.

Silver Weeping Pear :
This is one of the photographs that every visitor to Sissinghurst Gardens takes!

Tomorrow is my first gardening day, and I have three trees (Weeping Silver Pears) to dig holes for and plant. Hopefully they might grow as beautifully shaped as the one I saw at Sissinghurst. Unfortunately Non-Gardening Partner has an old dead sheep to dig a hole for. But no garden shed to complain about - fancy that!

So now I'm off to bed - a vast improvement on an economy airline seat. I have a Robin Hood (the writer) fantasy book to start reading. Tomorrow I promise I will have the best, biggest winter gardening day ever.

Gardening Cat

Sunday 4th July

I am so happy! For I have done lots of gardening, and I have kept to one of my new resolutions - namely, not to rush, but to enjoy all activities in a more leisurely and serene fashion. I've planted (very slowly) two memorial trees, and luckily didn't strike any cat bones when digging.

Overweight Dog!

Rusty the dog has had his two exercise sessions (he's come home from the kennels shaped like a coffee table, with an excess of 2kgs, I'd say), and five cats helped me garden. That's a pretty high percentage (71.43%, actually). Minimus and Fluff-Fluff lurked, Lilli-Puss and Histeria the tabby bounced back and forth, and Percy cruised. It was an absolute pleasure digging the holes for trees, not for dearly departed cats.

Then I cleared fallen gum branches and gum bark off Car Bridge. Then I did some perennial pruning, and burnt all my rubbish. Reminder for tomorrow - divide the red Achillea and maybe take some rooted pieces off the Nepeta Six Hills Giant (is that really what it's called?).

And now I am going to do some sewing. I am sewing Whiskas cat-food bags into a carry bag for groceries. And tomorrow I have another brilliant day planned. Yippee! I love being on holiday and I love being home.

Another Gardening Cat

Monday 5th July

Hee hee. My morning started with a spot of couch-cycling in the Netherlands past canals and rows of wind turbines (I'm watching the Tour de France on the TV). In the real world I've been for a walk with cat trio Hissy, Percy, and Lilli-Puss, who keeps popping up everywhere I go. She missed me - now she's following me around, and yet usually I hardly ever see her. Maybe she's a silent watcher of my gardening days...

The winter sun is shining, I've swept up the patio's wet Wisteria leaves, and now I'm off outside to weed the Cordyline grove in the Hump (the leaves get dumped here). My latest batch of Agapanthus (I'm picking them later) is to be planted around the edge of this little garden space. There is much to do and I'm going to enjoy every minute, remembering not to rush. Ha! I remembered!

Much Later...

Another brilliant gardening day. The Cordyline path has been widened, and I've shovelled lots of wet leaves on the garden. It's ready for the Agapanthus (of which my little green car is totally full). I had a late, leisurely lunch, and then I burnt all my rubbish. At the same time my shed builder was here putting in the windows. My shed with a bed is now ready for its verandah decking. Yippee! What colour should I paint it - a sensible green, or something wilder? Hmm...

 Winter sunny!
Sunny Bamboo

Tomorrow I am picking up six Glamis Castle roses - they're white David Austin roses, and I won them in an online auction, for very little money. Hee hee... As to where they're going, I'm not totally sure. However, I suspect they will fit nicely in the Glass-House Garden, after I've dug out a few Hebes. I love being a gardener. I even love it in winter!

Tuesday 6th July

Old chooks shouldn't crow, but this old chook (me, affectionate self pet-name) has had another brilliant day. Home from holiday, I have two parallel levels of happiness going on at once.

Bangkok Shrine :
I wish I'd taken more photographs of the street scenes in Bangkok. Blast!

I'm thinking about the street stalls of high-energy Bangkok, the crazy motor-bike taxis, the brick work at Sissinghurst, my lovely London relatives - yippee for Lucas the baby! And then I switch to my cats, my dog, my house (messy) and garden (loveliest place in the whole world). Who wouldn't have a brilliant day with this bifocal thinking? Hee hee...

My six Glamis Castle roses are in potting mix in pots, and pruned. I've trimmed more random perennials and an oddly fragrant shrub with blue flowers whose name escapes me. Two bags of Agapanthus (about forty pieces) are planted by the Cordyline Grove. I've gathered pine cones and firewood, and on the way back to the house I burnt all my rubbish.

 Photographed on a rainy day!
Glamis Castle Rose

And now I have the dinner on, the logburner going, and I'm clean. My feet are toasty warm (important in winter) and I am inspired (sometimes it doesn't take much). Piano here I come.

Garden Shed Update

I haven't been to peep at the shed today. I've been thinking about paint colours, though. Boring camouflage green or a vibrant, warm, darkish red? Hmm... Think I can see where this is leading...

Wednesday 7th July

 This is an afternoon frost photograph! Aargh!
Frost on the Vegetable Garden

I've been cleaning up gum leaves from around the new garden shed. I love my shed. It looks as if it's supposed to be there. And it is going to be painted a dark, dark red, the same colour as the old Maori whares up north - thus celebrating my country's tiny history.

Great news - my new iPod is brilliant, and so is my newly trimmed, chopped, and pruned patio garden. I've repotted some sedums, put the standard Brides back ready for spring, and removed the vegetable planter bags. Now I'm off to plant my strawberry plants. They can live on the patio too.

My TV couch cycling has hit a snag - so far I am still touring through the flatlands of Holland, and haven't yet reached Belgium, while the real Tour de France is thousands of miles further on. It's a time issue, plus the fact that Non-Gardening Partner objects to watching the cycling, even though the scenery is magnificent and I'm learning all sorts of things about dams and canals and windmills.

Here's proof that NGP is a completely nerdy electrical engineer. Last night I asked him if he had any holiday pictures of street scenes of Bangkok on his camera. He sheepishly confessed to a series of shots of power poles and transformers. And then he trotted off proudly to get his camera and show me! Aargh!


I've finished another great gardening day by burning my rubbish. To keep things flaming nicely I collected four more barrowfuls of gum leaves from behind the pond. And each time I walked past the new shed I smiled. What a lovely shed! And what a wonderful gardening day. Just the best.