A list of fifteen items...

 Tidier, though - and the catmint is trimmed!
Winter Patio at Mooseys

When I was on holiday I made a list, fifteen items long, of new resolutions. And, after five days back home, I'm staying on track. This is a very good thing.

Thursday 8th July

Mind you, the trick is to create the most enjoyable resolutions ever - like Number Two: make a pot of loose leaf tea in the mornings (no dusty old tea-bags allowed). That's so delicious! And Number Five: take Rusty the dog for two exercise sessions per day (gardening counts as one). Number Eleven mentions sewing. This is my latest indoors inspiration, and as a result of a most successful Shape Up For Life campaign I have to take in several of my pairs of jeans - they're too loose!

'If I don't rush I get more gardening done...'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

The biggest resolution of all (Number One) is not to rush my gardening. And the oddest thing has happened - I actually seem to get more done in the garden using this old trick. Hmm... Right. I'm off outside to do possibly four things, in the most leisurely fashion, with my iPod gurgling the Goldberg Variations in my ears. Finally after years in the wilderness (running Beethoven symphonies from memory in my head and getting stuck around about bar 50) I have 'teched-up' my music listening. This was new resolution Number Eight (see how thoroughly enjoyable these resolutions can be).

  1. Lay newspaper and leaves to do more mulching behind pond.
  2. Plant remaining weeping Silver Pear tree somewhere nice. Where?
  3. Shift Hebes out of Glass-House Garden.
  4. Plant remaining three bags of Agapanthus in Hump.

Right. Where's my dog? Snoozing in his armchair. Rusty! C'mon...

 Such a warm, balmy day...
Summer Rose at Sussinghurst

Not All That Much Later...

It challenges ones sense of comfort to dawdle as the cold rain pours down the back of ones neck. So I only managed the first two items on my list. But I pruned a Buddleia and a Hebe on the way to the rubbish heap with my wheelbarrow full of gum leaves and bark. I will be able to see the Weeping Silver Pear from the house - nice! It's raining too heavily to burn, so I've come inside.

Friday 9th July

I'm sorry, but I have to add a summery photograph to this page. I've just driven across town with another carload of Agapanthus, and the rain has been pelting down. The garden colours that I've passed have all been dull browns and wet greens. After the green leafy forests of England and the tropical greens of Bangkok it's still a shock to the visual system to see so many bare, cold, leafless trees. Brr...

And it's just a bit cold and wet to do any planting, so I'm off to do some more TV couch cycling - I still haven't reached Brussels, and those Tour de France blokes are well gone from there. I love looking at the scenery (towns as well as countryside) - I'm touring Holland, Belgium and France without hurting the wallet. But my plan to watch every TV kilometre might be doomed (three hours per day is available, and that's an awful lot of couch-sitting).

Later this afternoon I'll take my dog for a walk, and just maybe I'll do a quick spot of wet gardening. No rushing allowed, though...


I did it! I planted two bags of Agapanthus and widened one of the Hump paths. It was reasonably sheltered from the rain, but my hands got very wet and cold. And good news - I've managed to couch-cycle into Brussels, plough through a new Albeniz piano piece, and sew up a green skirt. I've had a brilliant week. Just brilliant. It's all to do with being back home, appreciating what I've got, and not being disheartened by winter. Easy.

Saturday 10th July

It's the weekend - and I have been a superb winter gardener - not rushing, just pottering quietly. And not grumping about the wet, or the cold, or the lack of colour. To compensate a little for this I've bought some pink dahlias online (they're spiky) and three darker pink roses. And a new concrete sleeping garden gnome with a bright red hat. Another gnome! Oh dear...

Pink Penstemon :
Penstemons are hardy and reasonably long-lived perennials in my garden. I try and create new plants every three years or so.

I've dug up and divided the pink penstemons (they are no longer suitable for the little Elm tree Garden), trimmed some more perennials, raked up four barrowfuls of gum leaves from the Hen House Gardens, and helped Non-Gardening Partner burn the Olearia hedge trimmings. Whoosh, crackle, pop go the dry leaves - this bonfire is spectacularly noisy, but safe. Now it's dark already (that still takes me by surprise, having experienced those long summer evenings while on holiday) and I'm off to couch-cycle to Spa (which I think is in Belgium). I will take my cup of tea, hee hee. Couch-cycling means watching the Tour de France (I've recorded it) on TV at twice the proper speed and gazing at the summer scenery.

 Now that's quite a lot of smoke!
Winter Bonfire

Sunday 11th July

Ha! Four degrees of frost, so today's gardening is slightly delayed. It's now 11am, and the winter sun is shining. I'm off to do some planting (Agapanthus) and then some more burning as NGP completes the hedge trimming. But first I'm having morning tea by the Stables with Lilli the grey cat, most random of cats, the ghost cat of the upstairs. Love this iPod music, by the way. So unobtrusive. Finally I am wired (?) properly for sound.

Much Later...

It's been a nippy day where good gardeners have to keep moving to stay warm, though the sun has been shining and the sky has been a glorious blue. I've planted two big bags of Agapanthus (to the strains of an extremely schmaltzy Rachmaninoff piano concerto). They are in the mulched ground just opposite the Stables. I spent the rest of the day tuneless burning hedge clippings. Aargh!

But I've had another brilliant gardening day. In fact I've had a brilliant gardening week. I credit this to my new, improved, no-rush attitude. In the garden I am enjoying the 'doing' as well as the results. And if I don't finish something I just go back to it the next day. Ex-teachers can get pretty hung-up about timetables, goal-setting, and the like, and I just needed to slow down a tiny bit to appreciate what I've got.

So now I'm apres-gardening in my large blue owl woollen jersey waiting for the power to come back on (oops, a power cut, not sure why) so I can make a triumphant pot of tea. I've lit the log-burner and I'm super-clean. And one doesn't need electricity to play a grand piano.

Monday 12th July

Congratulations to Spain for winning the final of the Football World Cup. I've just been watching it while waiting for the sun to warm up my garden. There's another grunty frost - the lawns are white and crunchy under the blue sky, and NGP has gone skiing. I, however, have work to do - and pink roses and purple dahlias to pick up. I might take my huge nursery voucher to spend on the way home. And only one bag of Agapanthus left to plant out. They are such tough plants and look good all year round underneath the gum and pine trees - where the frost doesn't get at them.

 Ah! Summer!
Images of Sissinghurst

Something I must try and do later today is to get some nice winter garden photographs. I'm sure there is such a thing - even if I retake a series of coloured New Zealand hybrid Phormiums. Or I might have to present some more summery Sissinghurst photographs - they will, of course, be much more enjoyable...


I cleared up hedge trimmings from around the back door, trimmed the ivy, the Salvia uliginosa and the Teucrium (peculiar smell) and burnt everything. It's hardly been above five degrees all day. Brr...Sissinghurst pictures, I think!