What have I been doing all month?

 See if you can spot my new garden gnome...
Pond Cottage

Hmm... How do I know that January is charging to its conclusion? The use-by-date on my latest milk carton is now the 3rd of February. Aargh! What have I been doing all month?

Saturday 22nd January

I've been a real gardening fraud this last week, pottering around the shops buying this and that for Pond Cottage, reading, watching cricket, hiking in the mountains... And not doing any gardening. NONE!

Except for a guilty couple of hours last night where I rushed around like a mad woman. I was brutal! I trimmed back the Hypericum, and the Catmint, dead-headed and trimmed Phormiums... In my defence it has been summer-raining a lot, and on the one good day this week I went hiking.

'One courgette plant is a famine, two courgette plants are a feast...'
-Moosey's Courgette Rule.

I'm disenchanted with my vegetable garden - weeds, boring beans (I don't really like beans), sprawling tomatoes (far too many), too many potatoes, and a reluctant courgette plant. Courgette Rule: Put in two or three plants and produce an embarrassing excess of obese, wallowing marrows. Wisely have just one plant and then wait around for pathetically slim pickings. It is very disappointing, and doesn't make sense to me. Famine or feast...

Stay Calm...

A summer gardener needs to stay calm when it rains a lot. Obviously the weeds will thrive. The garden looks OK at a distance, but some areas are really scruffy. As are many of the roses. Be positive, I say to myself! I'm happy with the climbing rose Crepuscule, all fired up for its second big flowering, and the row of Shasta daisies along the water race. They look gorgeous, stunning - electric? Not quite the right word. Please stay standing up for at least another week so I can enjoy your drama show.

 By the water,
Shasta Daisies

Right. I'm back from swimming, and I'm going gardening anyway. Drizzle shmizzle. I will wear a merino top and then who cares how wet I get...

Two Gardening Sessions Later...

I'm not too wet, and I'm very pleased with today's progress. Lilli-Puss (my reclusive grey cat) has been my constant companion. First I did general garden maintenance on the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden, with Lilli popping in and out of the greenery, trying to climb up me (ouch). Daughter of Moosey's rather stylish black merino top is completely covered in grey cat fur. Oops - but she did leave it behind...

 Here she is, lolling in the grass.
Silly Lilli-Puss Cat

Then I weeded and pulled out Lychnis plants from the Birthday Rose Garden. And on my way to check the Lobelia seedlings behind the glasshouse I saw tomorrow's work. Again, with the warm rain, a host of weeds have appeared, along with the annual flowers that I planted not so long ago - mainly pink Lavateras and Strawflowers. Pretty colours!

 The faded pink rose is Blackberry Nip.
Tired Summer Roses

It's really easy to make a difference, though, and I am instantly feeling better about myself as a gardener. And I've been listening to New Zealand winning the cricket one-day match, so I feel good about that, too. Phew! Tomorrow Pond Cottage gets power, and then I'm testing it out for a night. I want to wait until pretty much everything is installed, though - like my kettle and the tea making things, and perhaps a soft bedroom rug. Hee hee - I've just bought Pond Cottage a chunky little five dollar armchair.

Sunday 23rd January

Ah - more rain. Therefore today is the perfect day to machine-sew the patchwork duvet cover for Pond Cottage's bed. I will definitely do some drippy gardening, though, behind the glasshouse. The path is blocked with flopped over Shasta daisies and old Lychnis plants, and a wealth of healthy green weeds line the edge of the garden border.

Flowering News

I have some flowering news. Three years ago I bought a non-spiky Aciphylla from a Dunedin garden (Herewaka). This week I notice it flowering, a gorgeous corn yellow, deep in the middle of the Stumpy Garden.

 Definitely the non-spiky variety!
My Acaphylla Flowering

I notice it because I have just weeded in there (she said very righteously). The spiky variety is found in certain places in the mountains - it's a native which we rudely (and oddly) call 'Spaniard'.

Much Later, Late Lunchtime...

Oh yes. I've been working so hard, clearing up the Glass-House Garden. Non-gardening Partner has sawn down branches of the Wattle tree by Henworld, and of course I've cleaned them up. We have been two very busy, industrious people, enjoying (!) our slightly damp Sunday. I've completely removed Shasta daisies from near the glasshouse path, and dumped them in the Wattle Woods - if they grow, then that's OK by me. And in another fit of righteousness I've staked and drawn string around the large clumps by the water race.

 An icing sugar pink.
Summer Flowering Hebe

Colourful and Flowery

The Glass-House Garden is much more colourful and flowery than I thought (after having most of its weeds removed - funny, that). The dusky pink Echinacea flowers look gorgeous, and I love the orange daisy flowers on the Ligularias. And there's a clump of tall Astilbes (I think) flowering pink at the back. A lot of my Hebe trimmings have taken root (I'll pot them up in the autumn), and I've collected strawberry plant runners.

But what a wonderful day! Pond Cottage's new armchair has been picked up and is installed, and I have a new, safe power extension cord. All I need now is a self-composting toilet in the bushes nearby, and my kettle (which my friend is picking up for me), and a bedside light (I've got one in the Moosey office)... And...

In a nightmarish moment I wonder if Pond Cottage will ever quite be 'finished'. Is it doomed to be 'almost ready'? So I will keep on putting off sleeping in it because I've thought of something else that's missing. NGP doesn't understand, for example, the requirement that on my first morning wake-up I want to make a cup of tea therein and take it back to bed. This is a girl-thing, maybe? Or just a tea-drinker's obsession?

Well, I have really had a wonderful working weekend, and I feel great. Yippee for me. I love my summer garden and I love Pond Cottage.

Monday 24th January

Oops. I've been out and about for most of the day, and Pond Cottage now has even more delightful accessories - a white cane laundry basket (a most essential item), a heavy white bed-cover, some hand-crocheted creamy white mats, and a pot plant holder with green frogs on it. Spot the green and white colour theme...

So on this sunny, windless, not-too-hot day I haven't done any gardening. Typical! But I have huge plans for an all-day-and-the-rest session for tomorrow. Hmm... And I've vacuumed the downstairs (doesn't really count for much, does it).