No gardening time to lose...

 On the front patio.
Fluff-Fluff Cat in the Sun

The end of July is nigh, so I'm furiously planting and clearing, keeping up with my winter gardening plans. August is reputed to be the coldest winter month, so there's no gardening time to lose...

Tuesday 27th July

Right. How good is this? A dull day, no major plans, the Head Gardener wanders outside at 9:30am accompanied by her dog and three cats, with no expectations. And she works, and works, and works.... until 5pm when, like the light, she finds herself fading fast. She takes only a half an hour for lunch, and the shortest of morning breaks when a friend arrives with a carload of Agapanthus.

Seven Gardening Hours!

I've added up the hours, and they total seven. My goodness, this must just about be a record. Forgive this bragging gardener who has been oh so busy - please don't feel guilty, be inspired, and all that...

Sorry, but I have even more to say. You see, it's been a day of gardening with eyes wide open. First of all I decided to clear the vegetation along the Laundry steps and path, remove dead bits of Banksia, and collect any firewood in piles on the ground. Then on my way to the bonfire with my wheelbarrow I looked rather too closely at my vegetable garden. Thoroughly embarrassed, I weeded it (this took ages), spread the piles of ash around, and trimmed the little Lavenders. The weather at this stage was threatening to rain, so I decided to start the bonfire.

Rooster Bridge :
Rooster Bridge needs a few more of its ferns cleared up. That could be my next big job!

But, because the rubbish was still a bit wet, I trotted off to get gum tree leaves from the Hen House Gardens. Alas, Rooster Bridge was nearly impassable, so I took to the ferns (they're all 'self-spored') and two large Phormium tenaxes - my kitchen steak knife did a brilliant trimming job of both.

On my way back to the bonfire for about the fourth time I noticed the Anemanthele grasses at the back of the Glass-House Garden, looking very old and well-worn. So I returned with my spade and dug them out. The Pseudopanax in the Apple Tree Garden was next - several large branches came down, as did some side branches of Pittosporums by the water race.

'Gardeners feel extremely credible when they pay attention to little details.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Then I raked gum tree leaves off the paths and returned to my bonfire, which I poked and prodded at for the next forty minutes. Gardeners feel extremely credible when they pay attention to little details...

Naming the Shed

Important news - yesterday while out hiking my friend and I discussed the naming of my garden shed. We have almost decided (using that friendly consensus-between-women concept) that I am calling it 'Pond Cottage', for reasons which are obvious when one peeps at its location.

 I think so!
Pond Cottage?

My friend is right - it is more than a shed. I want its name to be honest yet romantic, and 'Phormium Cottage' didn't quite have that ring. Tomorrow I might be buying paint - yippee! My friend was the very first person that I proposed my shed idea to - her immediate reaction was 'Gosh yes! Get one!' while I was still worrying a little about 'needing' such a thing in my garden.

Wednesday 28th July

My head cold is worse today, so I sulked in bed until the sun came up properly through the pine trees. Now I'm off, armed with a box of tissues and a plastic bag, to pick up some plants (oops, but just a tiny oops - a Viburnum, a variegated Hebe, and a miniature climbing rose).


I'm still semi-sulking - this will not do, since it is a gloriously sunny winter's day. I have two plans. One is to go on a personal pilgrimage, choosing a groovy little church high in the French Alps, and walking there (presumably not all the way). This is not a totally random idea - my friend and I were walking on Monday around the crater rim track on the peninsula, with amazing views of near mountains and far New Zealand mountains. I am still doing my TV-couch-cycling watching the Tour de France, even though the real cyclists have long finished - so I've sort of combined the two experiences.

 Needs planting...
More Agapanthus

Plant the Agapanthus!

My second plan is much more down-to-earth and close-to-home, hee hee. It requires that I stop sulking and go outside to plant my new things, which include nine silver Convolvulus shrubs - they are going in the sunniest part of the new garden, around the weeping Silver Pear tree. I will also line the curve of the path with more Agapanthus, and the rose goes on the fence-line.

Then, if I am very, very good, I am allowed to skip choir practice and watch some more French scenery. Seems a bit of a naughty reward.

Thursday 29th July

Ha! I did go to choir, and really enjoyed it. Life is strange when one is feeling a little low. And now, today, I am going to be brilliant, because I am taking - aha - headcold drugs! Don't worry, but after my first really decent non-snorty night's sleep in a week I am completely sold on them (what a sucker).

I've bought a big lump of general bird food in a muslin bag to hang on the arch by the Crab-Apple tree. The little finches love it, and Tiger the tortoiseshell loves sitting on the patio table watching them. What a lazybones cat, even getting her cat-thrills with the minimum of effort!

 A wonderful kitten, a wonderful gardening cat.
Fluff-Fluff the Cat - Before and After

And Fluff-Fluff (my huge ginger fluffy cat) and I have just had one of those lovely, gooey 'I remember when' conversations - he was such a tiny kitten, and would fit sitting in my two cupped hands. I show him this nest of fingers. And now he is such a big boy, and takes up more than my whole lap. I gently clean the dirt from underneath his eyes and stroke his giant paws. Aw... Such a tiny kitten! And the whole conversation is repeated in a sentimental loop...

Today's Plans

Anyway, today I'm off for a sunny-day dog walk. Then my plan is to pop into the Shrubbery extension, re-evaluate the paths on a use-it or lose-it basis, make decisions, and thereby plant my remaining Agapanthus. I would love this area to look better.

 A little bit of winter colour...
Sunny Hebe Flower


Perhaps all that's needed is a small retaining wall for the upper gardens, then just natural scruffy plantings down to the Leyland shelter belt. No-one wants to walk along besides a Leyland hedge - well, I certainly don't.

A thought - if I am to build a retaining wall, I will need something to retain. In other words, I will need to build up the soil to stop it sloping. Ha! Horse manure! I can zoom down the road to get some bags...

Much, Much Later...

Yes - another brilliant day in the garden. I've sorted out those paths, weeded, retained the sloping garden with fatter logs, cleared out gum tree rubbish, dumped in manure and planted all the Agapanthus. I'm much happier with the layout of the gardens in the Shrubbery extension now. A few simple tricks - a curve looking like it's meant to be there with an edging of plants - easy, really. Paths must have a purpose, too, I remind myself, and the journey thereon must be pleasant. I threw all the excess Agapanthus roots underneath the hedge - if they grow, so be it.

 AKA the garden shed.
Another View of Pond Cottage

There are still too many roses waiting to be pruned, but I did cut back the Buddleia behind the garage and burnt all my rubbish. If I just do a little each day...

Friday 30th July

It's a beautiful sunny day, and I am not gardening. I've been playing chamber music with my flute playing friend. Life is good today - the bellbirds are singing, the cats love me, my dog loves me more, our music sounded good (good news for the swollen arthritic finger - I am not considering amputation today), I have a beautiful winter garden, and my new pale blue jeans fit me. Ha! What more?

I am getting some Freesia bulbs, and the house is full of afternoon sun. This means that the sun is high enough to skim over the top of the pine trees, which only happens when the days are longer and spring is near. Yippee! Hmm... Perhaps in this ebullient mood I should be in the garden. I'll take my dog for a walk around the borders and see what I can find to do.

A Tiny Bit Later...

Well, I did some weeding on the stony path by the water race. Much needs to be done over here while the water level isn't too high. Those beastly grasses - maybe tomorrow!