The countdown towards the winter solstice...

 Still blooming!
Friesia Rose

The countdown towards the winter solstice stands at 15 days. Fifteen days is nothing! I can do heaps of gardening in fifteen days - well, at least I can spend lots of the housekeeping money on roses and garden gnomes, etc. Naughty!

Wednesday 8th June

I've been online trading again. Oops. I'm off to buy book six (the only one I'm missing) of my Famous Five collection. I've also got four recycled roses to dig up - I know I said I'd stopped doing this, but they are only two years old, in a garden close by, and very cheap. And I have a new garden gnome carrying a lantern to pick up - dear thing, he only cost me one dollar. Such fun for so little money...

Today I am having a green foliage day. I'm shifting a sad rhododenron, badly squashed by grassed and Phormiums by the Stables. Perhaps this spring I'll find out what colour it is? Poor thing! Old Agapanthus roots which I (deliberately) threw on the fence-line have resprouted, so they need cutting up with the spade and planting. Then I thought I'd make my way along the garden behind Stables and deal to the weeds.

Pond Cottage :
Pond Cottage is nearly one year old!

The Willow tree stump is visible from here - ooooh! I can see my little tree house nestled inside. Please, please let Non-Gardening Partner take this idea of mine seriously. I have even offered to dig the post holes for the connecting walkway.

I am good at this - I dug all nine post holes for Pond Cottage. It took me a week, lying on my tummy in the wet dirt, but I did it! But that's quite enough crowing...


An inspired piece of gardening, even if I say so myself - it concerns the back of the Stables, on which the Birthday Garden mural is painted. Out came an old ailing Cordateria, and the larger of two Rhododendrons (I know it's a blue colour). And here's where common sense kicked in. A couple of years ago I planted three odd Camellias (like test cases) behind the Stables, wondering if they'd thrive so close to the big gum tree. Well, they have - obviously rainwater falls from the roof above to keep them happy.

 Spot the gnomes!
Birthday Garden Behind the Stables

So I enlarged this border slightly, shifted one small Camellia along, dug a bowl shaped hole for the rhododendron, moved it in and stomped it down. Then I spread bags of horse manure on the surface (not stomping on them, hee hee). Further by the gum tree I cleared and planted some of the Agapanthus (they grow anywhere). And then I put the two shabby chic garden gnomes on a low tree stump. Done! And beautifully done, I must add.

 A proper winter rose!
Hellebore Buds

A Good Winter Gardener...

Then like all good winter gardeners I collected all my tools and burnt all my rubbish. My bonfire was super-smoky, with extra barrowfuls of properly dry stuff collected from the Hen House Gardens. And I discovered rather a nice hen-legacy - a patch of perpetual spinach, growing beautifully in their chicken run. I used to feed it to my hens, and it must have somehow seeded. Nice!

And now I've gone apres-gardening, I'm well-scrubbed, clean, and warm, the log-burner's burning, and a Mozart String Quartet is busily chugging along on the radio. I'm going to read my book while the sun goes down (as it does). Life is simple and good (hmm... the garden gnome playing the 'cello comes up for auction later tonight).

Thursday 9th June

Well, after swimming this morning I pick up two more new gnomes. The chap playing the 'cello cost me two dollars - less than a loaf of bread or a carton of milk. What is the world (well, my world) coming to? Answer- it's coming to a surplus of garden gnomes in a certain country garden, that's what! This has to stop!


I'm off into the garden. I think I'll clean up the garden near the Willow tree stump, and then possibly do some measurements and draw up a sort of plan for the floor of the tree house. It's early seasonally but I'm also starting to prune the roses (ahem - I have so many). My dog is really bored - he's been in his kennel all morning. Here's our reward - if I work really hard I can watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey later and he can have two dog biscuits for afternoon tea.

 Name unknown, sorry.
Late White Rose

Much Later...

I've trimmed Pittosporums and Phormiums in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden. Some original plantings in here are now getting very squashed - for example, a 'wedding cake' Viburnum can hardly be seen. Maybe a couple of the Pittosporums need more than my nippers - I'm thinking they come down at ankle-height. I've also pruned a large variegated Hebe and several more roses. I only worked for three hours, but that's OK. And the bonfire is burnt.

All the new gnomes are now in their own little group over the far side of the pond, in the shrubby garden above the waterside path. I will be able to see them through the window of Pond Cottage, hee hee.

And before I forget - Happy Birthday to Younger Son of Moosey. We are bringing you a trailer-load of birthday-present firewood over this weekend.

 Winter rain.

Friday 10th June

While the mild gardening weather continues, so should I. But today is going to be a bit different. I'm going out to dig up some unwanted roses out of someone else's garden, having offered them a good home in the country. Then - who knows - maybe measure lengths and angles for the willow stump's tree house? I've done a rough sketch for Non-Gardening Partner, whose response was an offhand sort of 'humph'. However...

Bamboozle Your Non-Gardening Partner with The Trusty Distraction Technique...

I have a cunning plan which uses an adult version of the Distraction Technique (previously tested on Moosey toddlers). This works as follows: the NGP is presented with a distraction, namely a second, alarmingly serious garden project. In fright he compromises - he will only help with the first, the smaller project, in my case the willow stump tree house. Hee hee.

My Distraction Technique's second project takes advantage of the high state of the New Zealand dollar (see - gardeners do take notice of the outside world). This is the perfect time for NGP to buy a 'snail pump' from Philadelphia, get it shipped here, and pop it in the water race. It will lift water for a stream through the Wattle Woods. You can see how the Distraction Technique works?

 Proof that it's winter!
Wet Crabapples

Meanwhile, my dog Rusty seems to be so jealous of my computer typing time that he is constantly raking me with his paws. Ouch! The only deterrent seems to be the rolled up newspaper, and no garden blogger wishes to write while brandishing this quasi-aggressive piece of equipment. So I've thrown him outside and he's raking the front door. I need a Dog Distraction Technique that doesn't involve cycle rides, walks or food.

Me! :
And sorry about this rather odd fashion statement....

OK - it's not so much later. So where did that rain come from? I know, I know - the sky, up there, wet clouds, etc. I've easily dug the roses out, zoomed back home, and changed into dry clothes (my big blue retro knitted owl jersey makes its winter 2011 debut). I'm afraid I've given up on gardening. But for my shaky records, the new roses are: pinky-apricot (straggly roots), crimson (fat root ball), tall creamy yellow and white (pruned), and the one in my old pale blue sheet is 'Deep Crimson-Red English Bush Rose'. Sorry about this.