This photograph was taken by Hayden the builder.
The Garden Shed in Sepia

I've nearly been home from my summery holiday for two weeks now, and I remind myself how very lucky I am. It may be winter, but I'm toasty warm inside a dry house, burning my own firewood. And my new garden shed is nearly finished - no problems!

Friday 16th July

My ginger cats love me - Percy sits on my lap when I go TV-couch-cycling (I am following the Tour de France). Fluff-Fluff comes gardening and gets totally in the way, lying in the mulch.

Best of Both Hemispheres

I have the best of both hemispheres - great memories of zooming around the northern world in fifteen days (a bit silly and short, but hey! No time to get too homesick). Plus I have a whole southern garden to escape into. Today after swimming I worked very hard clearing the new area up the fence-line behind the pond, laying newspaper and mulch and extending the path. It now curves from the ram paddock fence in towards the Chestnut tree and then back out to the fence around the weeping Silver Pear.


I burnt my rubbish, too - this took nearly two hours, and absolutely none of it is compostable, so I feel very eco-virtuous.

 Dead brown...
Winter Gunnera Leaves

My only problems are a lack of decent winter garden photographs (caused by a mixture of laziness and bad light) and an extremely barky dog (Rusty got a big fright stumbling upon the pheasant, and it was downhill from there). Planes, distant dogs, birds, the odd helicopter - they all got the serious barking treatment. Oh - I've thought of a third - my fingers are a bit sore. But I've deliberately had a no-pruning day, so that's good.

 At least there is some nice greenery in the winter garden!
Fat-Leafed Cordyline

Saturday 17th July

Right. It's me, fresh from a morning swim, full of breakfast and hot coffee and ready to go. There is much to accomplish today - I've ordered in the chain saw operator for a quick ten minute burst, and I'm off now to plant the last of the Agapanthus. Later on Non-Gardening Partner will pick up a trailer load of bark mulch for the paths, plus a memorial tree from the nursery for Mugsy the cat. He will also tell me exactly what I need to do next for the garden shed. I know I have to dig holes for the verandah posts (I'm a good, experienced post hole digger) but he needs to be specific. One can lose construction confidence quickly by doing the wrong thing.

It is, however, difficult to write in a descriptive, interesting way about digging, clearing, and mulching new gardens. I bored the pants off my swimming friend telling her exactly how many barrowfuls of this and that I dropped and scooped up yesterday.

Sunday 18th July

Yippee! I've just been TV-couch-cycling in the most beautiful region of France - the Jura, limestone mountains covered in beautiful light-leafed forest. I got to the top of the climbs twice as fast as the real cyclists. Oops - have to watch with the fast-forward on x2, otherwise it would take me all day!

Yesterday was a complete success from 11:30 right through until 5:15 (when darkness fell). Ha! Count those hours up! Just as I finished my first super-session in the new garden NGP turned up with the chain-saw humming, so I got him to take down all offending trees. The paths are now completely edged, and we're off to the nursery and the garden landscape supplier. Trees, shrubs, and shredded bark for path mulch will be purchased. And perhaps a planter for the strawberries, though I wonder whether it's fashion or good planting sense that people grow strawberries in pots with little side bits...

 The mulch is a mixture of oak leaves and other things.
New Paths

It's rather a gloomy day, which makes the ground and the vegetation seem wet and cold. But I am making such great winter gardening progress that little dampness hardly matters. I should finish today with a cosmetic kneel-and-weed session - just for the variety of a small scale achievement. Nice!

Much, Much Later...

I've done just under five hours work, mainly raking up rubbish (like the Olearia hedge trimmings). I've also started pruning the shrubs behind the glass-house, and dragged out my big concrete pot so it can be seen and admired from the path. I've limbed up Pittosporums which were shading the irises too much, and fished a whole lot of pine debris out of the water race. My bonfire went for three hours - luckily for the neighbours (who are, it must be said, a fair way away) the smoke went straight up.

With my super-huge garden nursery voucher I bought a Black Boy peach tree for Mugsy the cat's memorial, plus the following:

  1. Two variegated Hoherias (a New Zealand native small tree)
  2. Two red Cordylines
  3. Two Calamagrostis Overdam grasses
  4. Two Hakonoclea grasses
  5. Three pots of Italian parsley

I love my new garden with its network of paths. All the shrubs and trees are growing very nicely. Well done, you lot! Tomorrow I am having the day off - I'm going out hiking along the cliff tops with my friend. I deserve this!

 I have no hybrid Lilac bushes in my garden.
Lilac Flowering

And here's a great excuse to pop in a pretty, flowery picture - a Moosey Lilac picture is to be featured on a friend's wedding invitations. Congratulations, you beautiful shrub (and, of course, congratulations to the happy couple). I've just remembered - I have a new white flowering Lilac to look forward to this coming spring. Spring! Not too far away now...