Chain-saws and shredders...

 Remember it's winter!
Hen House Garden Path

This morning I choose to be sensible and finish what I was doing yesterday - cleaning out the Hen House Gardens. And if I get bored with this, look out, me! Might get a mother Moosey telling off...

Thursday 25th August, Later...

The Hen House Gardens are much improved. And why? Because I have made decisions - mainly about self-seeded Pittosporums, whose contribution to the bulk of the garden I have accepted without question for far too long. So I've limbed up one variegated Lemonwood, taken all the small branches off three others and put them on Non-Gardening Partner's weekend hit list.

I've widened the path, and shifted the random patch of bluebells out of the path middle (casualties of an earlier path re-routing. They will be flowering in a month's time, and I've just dug them out in the hugest clump of dirt, so they shouldn't notice a thing.

'It's all too easy to be passive about Pittosporums.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

It's all too easy to be passive about Pittosporums. They are brilliant filler shrub-trees. But hold fast to that word 'filler'. So when they start filling up too much space and raking up too much light, chop! Feel grateful for Pittosporums self-seeding, by all means, but don't be in awe of their need to breed. Ha! Advice which I should take more note of...

Chain-Sawing and Shredding

I'm secretly thrilled that Non-Gardening Partner has declined a skiing day this weekend, citing his chain-sawing and shredding responsibilities for the Moosey Garden. I definitely have some Pittosporums for him to deal to.

 And a Cordyline albertii shining in the sun.
Cats Percy, Fluff-Fluff and Histeria

Friday 26th August

Today I've done some of my most favourite things - a short hike on the Port Hills in the morning, gardening in the afternoon, with a cat-escorted tour of my whole garden to take photographs in the lovely light. Ginger Percy and big Fluff-Fluff plodded along at ground level, while Histeria the tabby scooted up and down all the trees. Naturally there was much cat-snapping!

New Camellias Flowering

I found new Camellias flowering - one behind the Stables and another behind the garage. This second shrub is really fat with buds, and even I think it has a name! Jury's Yellow? Please let my distant memories be correct, for once...

 Friend Ivor grew this Camellia from seed.
Jury's Yellow and Ivor's Pink Camellias

Saturday 27th August

Aargh! No time to waste. Non-Gardening Partner has promised me two whole days of his undivided attention. I'm talking chain-saws and shredders here, for a whole weekend. Two whole days! I am sooooooo excited. His list, or more accurately my list for him, is far too long to write down here.

Oh (a deflated sigh). Now I get it. That was just his excuse to his fanatical weekend skiing friend. He plans to read the newspaper, go cycling with the dog, and work in his Hazelnut Orchard. And tomorrow he has rural fire brigade practice. So I have put on a brave 'little woman' face and asked (in my saddest non-sulking voice) for an hour of chain-sawing. Then he is released to do other things. Blast!

 With a tussock grass behind them.
Miniature Daffodils

Later, Lunchtime...

So here we go, outside, to start the great clean-up. I have planned the route I will take NGP through the gardens (we will reach the big pine tree branches last). I am optimistic. And excited! I mean, I have been gardening solo for over two weeks now, and the snow did make a bit of a mess.

Much Later...

Three and a half hours - two thirds of the chain-sawing is done and most of the shredding, as an unexpected bonus. I spent the last two hours burning rubbish. There are a lot of pine ends (the bigger bits are cut up, pine cones attached, for firewood) to process.

More Spring Things

More spring things - the miniature yellow trumpet daffodils are now out. You pretty little flowers - thank you so much for bothering. And thanks to the sensible gardener (me) who planted these bulbs right on corners and edges, instantly visible. I can see two clumps in the mornings through the window of Pond Cottage.

 Not very subtle, is he?
Fluff-Fluff the Cat Bird-Watching

Sunday 28th August

Dear Fluff-Fluff may be a mature cat, but he definitely needs some advice from me regarding bird-watching. FF, plonking yourself on the patio table immediately below the bird feeder, in full view, will not give you the feline thrills you seek. You need to be more of a peeping tom (hee hee) and lurk in the undergrowth, unseen. No - second thoughts, stay right there!

Birds' Breakfast Menu

This morning's birds' breakfast menu includes cut apple delights and olive oil spread on tasty buckwheat and rye bread crusts, with a dash of millet seed. Sorry, you bellbirds - I haven't organised a honey-water feeder for you just yet. But I do play Bartok's string quartets on the gardening Ipod especially for you all...


The primeval joy of being a gatherer - I've been collecting pine cones and firewood from old heaps around the garden. There is a fair bit of cleaning up to do way up behind the pond, with much burning required. So that can wait until later this afternoon, when the big conifer comes down. Dear thing - it was already here, modest and properly shaped, when I first came to Mooseys. But sixteen years is a long time in the life of a conifer, particularly one that is never trimmed, not quite slow-growing enough, and then suffers a few snow storms to complete its shapelessness.