Flower mulch...

 A sister to white Iceberg.
Brilliant Pink Iceberg Roses

Time is so sneaky. It's only just summer, and I'm still planting out the last of the summer flowering annuals. Yet I'm already collecting seeds from salvias and pansies, and cutting up seed-heads of lupins and foxgloves to make 'flower mulch'. Love those self-seeders!

Sunday 15th December

I've had a great day in the garden. Finally, I've put in a good five hours' work - about time, too. I've nearly cleared the bonfire ash, spread bags and bags of horse manure, and weeded. All the weeds in my garden are enjoying a tremendous summer growth spurt.

But the lawns have all been mowed (thanks, Non-Gardening Partner), and with the edges trimmed the gardens look so beautiful. A few knee-high undesirables can't really spoil things, can they? Particularly if they're well camouflaged in the middle of a border.

I had lunch with Rusty the dog in the little secluded Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden Lawn by the water. I could have sat here for ever, dreaming and looking around at all the roses.

I Love Pink Roses

I really do love the pink roses. Kew Rambler, such a pretty young thing, is halfway up its tree, and the cooler pink-coloured Iceberg roses ('Brilliant Pink' and 'Burgundy') fit well together. To relax properly in the garden, I have to choose a seat whose surrounding borders have only just been weeded and tidied. Otherwise I sit, sip a bit, see a whole family of weeds, and am horribly and irrevocably distracted.

 A sister to the white Iceberg rose.
Burgundy Iceberg Roses

There's nothing like crusts of lunch ciabatta bread to get attentive dog-company. Rusty sat for ages in front of me, concentrating oh so hard, with that same goofy expression in those deep brown eyes. See if you can spot the difference in these six photographs!

My day ended with a visit to the dog park, where Rusty ran around and around with his dog-friend Escher and various others, all shapes, sizes, and colours. The dog world is rich with variety! Then on the way home - an amazing sight on the side of the road. Bags and bags of horse manure, with my name on, free, all waiting for me to pick them up and carry them home. So yet another trailer load awaits.

Beethoven Backwater...

My surge of Beethoven sonatas has landed in a bit of a back-water. I've retired no.29 - this sonata is so nightmarish I'd rather play it after two (or three) glasses of wine, when lucidity is low. Today I've struck no. 30, whose last movement is a theme and variations, and I'm not a huge fan of this form. However, I will persevere, triplets, hemi-demi-semiquavers and all.

 By the house.
Cordyline and Pink Roses

Non-Gardening Partner has agreed to run the big irrigation later tonight. I'm thinking it might give my pond frog a bit of a tickle up. He seems to have taken a vow of silence, but croaked last time it rained in the night...

 Pretty lacy white flowers.

Monday 16th December

Hmm.... Another silent night, frogwise. Though he is definitely there - and he is BIG! I've only seen him properly once. Usually I get a flash of his froggy back legs as he leaps into the water.

I've spent the morning wheeling stuff (mainly ash, weeds, manure) over to the side driveway garden. That wheelbarrow and I spend a lot of quality time together! I'm working in the Frisbee Border, and I have plans for expansion underneath the golden Elm, where the lawnmower never goes (the rose Alberic Barbier drapes himself over the tree, and lots of thorny pieces of him hang down underneath).

A cup of coffee and a piece of Christmas cake first, and then I'll grab the spade and dig while the sun isn't hot. Garden is better than straggly long grass any day.

Oh, Lilli-Puss has turned up again, after three worrisome days absent. Random cat! She's full of purry, smoochy love - perhaps she missed me? Well, I wish she'd just check in every morning, so I can say hello and feed her. I have no idea where she goes when she's away. GPS tracking appeals...

 One of my new clumps.
Maroon and Yellow Daylily

Much Later...

The new garden is dug, and I've burnt a pile of rubbish on the bonfire. Reminder to self - get potting mix for the last of the tomato seedlings. All my salad vegetables are growing in pots on the patio this year, and they like this arrangement. I have a few last seedlings (Calendulas, Salvias, and Spinach) to prick out, and my friend has given me three lovely new little Maple trees. One has fat mid-green leaves - most unusual for an ornamental maple. I like to start these off in pots.

Tuesday 17th December

I've been out all morning singing Christmas Carols, and it's been raining anyway, which is wonderful for the garden and the lawns. Since I've been home I've vacuumed the lounge room, hung up some cat pictures in the hall (including an imposing photograph of Sifter the tabby, who I can safely designate as an ex-Moosey cat). I haven't thought about Sifter for a while now.

+10+10But oh my goodness, how much we still miss Little Mac - her puzzling disappearance has never been adequately explained. She's been gone nearly a whole year, and I still cry a bit. But then big Fluff-Fluff will arrive, oozing cat-empathy. Thank you, Fluff-Fluff, you are such a comfort. But please don't walk over the computer keyboard. And please let me believe that it's me you love, not the fresh pet meat in the fridge.

 Such a gorgeous colour.
Raspberry Daylilies

It's time to say a huge thank-you to the daylilies which have started blooming, and the yellow-flowering shrubs (Hypericum and Senecio) which herald the arrival of the Christmas week. The roses just go on and on blooming, and I'm thrilled with the annuals I pass by on the way over to the cottage. Omphalodes, Cerinthe, and Cornflowers - three of the very best. And a new one (to me), Orlaya, which is performing splendidly with some Crambe in a pot by the pond.