What a difference a week makes!

The days are definitely longer. The sun is definitely stronger. The garden looks warmer and more welcoming. The greenery seems to be greener. And I am feeling much, much better. What a difference a week makes!

Wednesday 24th July

Yippee! The nastiest head cold ever known to gardening woman is slowly abating. I'm going out to coffee and sushi. I have my clean jeans on. I am semi-smart (clean fingernails, hair brushed and replaited). And I have promised not to splutter all over my friends. There will be much virtual hugging...

Cottage Reflections and Dog

Now it's much later, and it's been a lovely, dreamy day. I've wandered around the Wattle Woods with cat Minimus and dog Rusty. I've looked at my gardens, said hello to the shyly flowering Hellebores and the confident, shining Camellias, smiled at Phormiums and other favourite foliage plants, done a lot of positive thinking, and taken lots of pictures.

Next Top-Cat Model?

In fact young Minimus has had rather a successful photo shoot (I'm seeing America's Next Top-Cat-Model here). She's posed in the branches of a pond-side tree while I've clicked away. Up a bit. Tilt the chin. Now to me. Head on the angle. Big eyes. That's beautiful....

 Big eyes!
Minimus the Cat

It's good to be feeling better, even if I am still a bit sniffy and coughy. And it was only a simple head cold. What a wimp I've been! Now I'm off to jazz choir. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...

 By the pond path.
Good Morning, Garden Gnomes

Thursday 25th July

Last evening I reinstalled myself back in Pond Cottage, its pretty fairy lights all atwinkle under a starry sky. Minimus purred and I read my new Fine Gardening magazine. Oooh! Some variegated Ajuga, and a beautiful climbing rose called Raspberry Cream Twirl. Who needs ice-cream?

Trimming the Grasses

There were many tips on dealing with ornamental grasses - to trim, or not to trim? And when to trim? With serious advice to tie a bungy cord around them before grabbing the hedging shears. This reminds me to trim my Miscanthus zebrinus, before the new shoots start growing.

This morning the weather is mild and inviting. And I'm feeling much, much better! Good morning, gnomes around the pond. Keep up the good work digging, carting wheelbarrows, smelling daisies, reading, fishing, and so on. Good morning, bellbirds and other squeaky birds in the trees. I can tell you're enjoying the mild weather. I love you living in my garden.

Good Morning, Tiger

Good morning, Tiger, senior cat. Tiger takes pride in being a good cat-communicator. She squeaks with self-satisfied delight when I call her by name. She leaps onto my back whenever I bend down to tie my shoe-laces. But this morning she is rather over-reaching herself. Tiger is trying to pull open the pantry door with her paw.

The door is securely clipped shut (as it has to be, otherwise I'll find her sitting in the dog biscuit bag munching up crumbs). She gazes intently up at me: Miaow! 'What's up, Tiger, fattest of cats?' I ask her. She hooks her paw underneath the door again, and looks back up at me: Miaow? 'Poor Tiger', I say in my insincere but soothing voice, 'The pantry door is stuck'. So she tries again with the other paw: Miaow?

 What a cat!
Tiger the Cat

Now she's waddled outside to sun her tummy and snooze-watch the birds as they flap and twitter around their bird feeder. Then maybe - just maybe - Moosey the Cat-Mother (who doesn't seem to understand the simplest of instructions) will forget to reclip the laundry door. In your dreams, fat Tiger! OK, it's time I became a gardener again.

 Shining in the sun.
The Wattle Woods

Six Hours Later...

What a day! My plan was gentle and self-affirming, seeing me in the Wattle woods, which yesterday I'd optimistically designated an 'Area of Outstanding Beauty'. Hoping that the illusion wouldn't be spoilt, I worked quietly, fixing things without fussing : paths ran into dense rose growth, pink Bergenias desperately needed refreshing, toad lilies needed trimming...

Even that little menace called Creeping Charlie (running around everywhere) couldn't spoil my feel-good mood. I approached everything calmly, without any sense of panic. It did not have to be finished.

So now the path is officially blocked off, and I've pulled in a lime green painted garden bench to sit at one of its ends, just underneath the glass-house. This is the only place where Lemon Balm is allowed to grow. A red rose rescued early in the life of the garden has, alas, been dug out. I've planted two white rugosas along this part of the path, shifted a big Phormium in a pot to a better spot, and weeded as well as I can. The flowering Camellias in here are absolutely gorgeous, and there's room for one more. Hmm... I'd like another bright pink.

+10+10Thank you to young Minimus who showed off her tree-climbing skills while posing for me, and thanks to Rusty my ever-faithful barking-mad dog who chased off lone aeroplanes and shrieking formations of plover birds.

 More than just a pretty face...
Minimus Cat and the Photo Shoot

Thank you to my nose, which didn't need to sniff as much as yesterday, and my Gardening Ipod for providing tinkly background music (Chopin's complete piano works). They were no distraction, as I have never felt compelled to play Chopin in person.

Camera Rescued from Tree!

Luxuriating in the apres-gardening shower I remembered my camera was still outside, hanging in the red Camellia. Lucky! Rescuing it I felt terribly happy and rather virtuous. Funny how things have two sides. I could easily have felt ashamed and foolish that (yet again) I'd abandoned my camera in some obscure place in the garden.