Happy New Year!

 Mid-summer flowers.

Happy New Year! And what do I want for 2011? This gets a bit scary, because I think my garden is possibly big enough. I'm going to stop expanding and to consolidate my assets. I really don't need any more roses, or daylilies (huge thanks to the new ones flowering now). Or new shrubs - I love those new Lilacs! Aargh! This all starts sounding dreadfully dull.

Saturday January 1st

Right. Time to stop pussyfooting around and face gardening life head-on, full-frontal (steady on!) in the New Year. Deep breath, and out with it. 2011 is going to be the Year of the Garden Maintenance. Aargh! There, there - that wasn't so bad, was it? That first momentous confession, spoken out loud at Gardeners Anonymous...

So I spend all year ordering in path mulch, spreading pea-straw, raking my paths and trimming my trees. I compost contentedly, I judiciously burn the dry rubbish - I even remember to trim the hebes in the mixed borders after they've flowered. But I quietly enjoy every moment, because I am doing good things for my garden.

A Moosey Bee:
This bumble bee is enjoying the Echinacea flowers - they've just started.

I am like a beneficial bee, bumbling and buzzing around everything. Except I am not wearing horizontal stripes, being of a chunky, older-lady shape...

I'm going to spend the whole year going everywhere and yet absolutely nowhere, garden-wise. So 2011 is to be a realistic, sensible year. Blast - the Moosey Journal is going to be rather tedious. But think how much more enjoyable the garden will be if it's well maintained... Hmm... Sounds promising!

 Showing her big belly.
Tiger the Cat

Time to start now, as I intend to continue - I will trim the edges by the Glass-House Garden, dead-head some roses, summer-trim the Wisteria on the patio, and pull out all the Elm tree suckers. All? Ha ha - funny joke, the first of the gardening year. And here's the second - Tiger the cat can come outside and provide me with some quality cat-company. Ha ha again...

New Year's Resolution Number One

And here's my first New Year's Resolution. Always dress for the garden. Immediately on getting out of bed, put on gardening shirt and pants, and have socks ready for the feet to pop themselves into gardening shoes. Should another engagement crop up, get changed by all means (country cafe companions might prefer it). But remember that gardening comes first, clothes-wise.

 A new Christmas present.
Bird Bath


A visiting gardener from Sussex has just wandered around my garden. How lovely it is to share with a gentle person who knows and talks about plants without boasting. I proudly showed off my little bumble bees who were working over the variegated Scrophularia - it's their most favourite flowering plant for mid-summer, with the tiniest flowers imaginable.

The year has started wonderfully (playing some delightful chamber music trios), and realistically - with a short, jagged aftershock. Apologies to the indoor cats Tiger the Terrified (who ran outside) and Histeria the Brave (who was much more casual). And sorry, Rusty the dog. Oh boy - yet another noisy house-intruder that you can't even see to chase away.

These little reminders of the power of the earth are never enjoyable, or even remotely laughable. And the communication is dreadfully one-way. Instinctively as a mother I wish I could soothe the nervous earth beneath my house and help it settle down. Right. But as a low-impact home-owner and a generally nice person who tries to nurture the land I'm off to thunder defiantly through some Schumann on the piano. Ha! Stick that in your fault-line (AKA pipe) and smoke it, planet earth!

 This clump is by the grass path in the Stables Garden.
New Daylily

Sunday 2nd January

I am already up and dressed in my gardening clothes, ready for action. My front lawn is littered with strips of bark from the gum tree - the noisy nor-west wind rudely woke me up as it blew in at 5:30am. Ahem, mustn't complain. The air is still fresh, after all, and the water is flowering in my water race. And I am here, in the place I love the best.

Weather complaints from me are really inappropriate, thinking of the flooding in Queensland. All those gardens will have been under water for weeks - I feel so sorry for the home owners. Then friends in the north (for example, in Scotland) have just had hugely cold snow all over their gardens for Christmas. I can put up with a few fluttering bark pieces (and hopefully not too many crashing branches) and the occasional earthquake aftershock.

Needed - A Soothing Chant for Mother Nature

Perhaps someone (not me) will write a soothing chant in which worried gardeners the world over can join, to appease the prickly side of Mother Nature. For we are all so small, and some of us (like me) can easily forget this...

 These plants have self-seeded.
Evening Primrose Flowers

Well, today I'm not letting the wind keep me tucked away inside, though I will do some piano practice. And I have two local cricket matches to listen to. My first plan is to quietly trim the paths into the back of the Shrubbery and clear my house lawns, with a relaxed attitude. My new 2011 gardening style is to garden 'sotto voce' and 'dolce', rather than charging around like a fanfare of spluttering baroque trumpets.

Later, Lunchtime...

Garden maintenance is quite undemanding, mentally. In a thought-free haze I've managed to clear three barrowfuls of rubbish. I've dead-headed my first dahlias and planted out some blue Salvia horminums. I will not be daunted by the whooshing wind.

Little Minimus has been my constant cat companion, squeaking and squinting (it's the way she smiles) at me. Different cats have different patches of garden, and little Minimus definitely bases herself in the Shrubbery. My hoses are on and I've come inside to check in, grab some food and a cup of coffee, and calmly plan my next move. There is no rush, and no need for a serious timetable. And no need for a list...

 In the middle of the Stables Garden.
Another New Daylily

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

Yes. I can do this garden maintenance, without moaning or grizzling or packing a sad. Another three barrowfuls dumped - all the Angelica is seeding and has been pulled out. The Pittosporums which line the Shrubbery path have been trimmed with scissors - such a gentle feeling - while several shrubs (a Deutzia and a Hypericum) have had the more robust edging shears treatment. And I've dead-headed the Ballerinas (they're roses). Excuse me before I write down even more little boring details of my day - I need to shift the hoses. I don't need to explain why or where.

Pictures of New Daylilies

I'm back, with photographs of several new daylilies (I bought clumps in online plant auctions last autumn). Lilli-Puss (my reclusive grey cat) and I have communicated in the raspberry patch, while young Minimus is somewhere in the Shrubbery - I must remember to call her inside. It's quite touching - if I don't reappear she'll stay there waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I call it cat-loyalty, but others have called it cat-idiocy...