I may have stumbled upon a great gardening truth. Roses are growing in gardens that are far too shady, hydrangeas are growing in gardens that are far too sunny. Shift'n'swap them? Is it really this simple? Hmm...

Sunday 24th March

'I haven't done any gardening all weekend' I confessed to my friend this afternoon as we watched the cricket on TV. She (a non-gardener) gave me an encouraging smile and replied 'That's good'. No, it's not! Completely the wrong thing to say!

 This shrub started life in a pot. Ouch!
Pale Pink Lacecap Hydrangea

The cricket has been the trouble - a five day test match, New Zealand playing England, and doing rather well at it. And then there's been my music score writing. And social activities involving the consumption of sushi. There's also been rather a lot of dog-walking, and book reading, and sleeping, and...

 Smoky blue.
Autumn Aster

Monday 25th March

The phrase 'garden-lazy' springs to mind. But today, before I ran out of time, I redeemed myself. I watered and trimmed and raked gum leaves for a couple of hours. Day by day the piles of burnable rubbish by the fence-line increase in bulk. Gardening with Eucalyptus trees has a rough beauty, but also a maintenance downside. There is no autumnal magic in gum leaves fluttering down to cover the house lawn.

But wait - maybe there's a clutch of naughty goblins living high up in the gum tree. They poke each other in their goblin-ribs seeing me busy raking. Time we tipped down some more leaves for that silly gardener down there...

Tuesday 26th March

Overnight my cottage cat Minimus caught her first mouse of the year - it is the start of the autumn hunting season? Her excitement lasted all night. She'd leap in the window, squeaking, I'd proudly (hmm) shine the torch on her mouth (aargh!), then she'd leap outside again. And in she'd come a minute later, and so on and so on.

+10So I shut the window, which left her squeaking on the verandah. Yes Minimus (shining the torch through the glass door for the umpteenth time), I can see that you have caught a mouse. Well done, and please go away.

Today (feeling rather sleepy) I fixed up a small problem area which was ill-designed in the first place, has never worked, in fact has been a bit of a gardening mistake. Simple really - I just 'undid' a misplaced stone border in the ram paddock and built up the back of the Shrubbery with a decent little wall instead. Then I dug out the two remaining old roses (the ones whose new shoots the ram and his friends nibble at) and popped them into big buckets of potting mix. Something I should have done years ago. A rose deserves to be able to flower, unmolested by sheep.

 Now fully grown, quite a small sized cat.
Little Mac the Cat

Wednesday 27th March

I have already raked up piles of goblin-driven gum leaves. Aargh! And Rusty the dog and I have cycled down the road and back. Well, he runs, I cycle...

Each day it's the same. We go looking for a small black and white cat which has been sighted in the pine hedges two kilometres away from here. It could be Little Mac, my lost cat? Could it really?

I have already spent hours searching underneath hedges for her, so these forays are quite normal. I chatter on to my dog - if Little Mac is anywhere near she will hear my voice. And then I get sad again.

+10I have never 'lost' a cat before. And how could she possibly be so very far away down the road? Sorry for this small sliver of cat-sadness. Usually when I'm in this mood I don't want to write anything down. My journal-voice has been missing a lot this month, as a consequence.

Right. I need to do some more raking, to get ahead of those goblins. Who says garden maintenance isn't magical?

 Bright and pretty.
Pink Hydrangea


Well done, me. I've even throw buckets of horse manure 'tea' on the cottage roses, as well as raking leaves off a large part of the path behind the pond. The little stream behind the cottage is silting (mudding?) up, so I need to devise a soft scooper to clean it up. I also watered the Azaleas (they were looking rather sad).

No Shift'n'Swap Just Yet

I haven't done that shrub shift'n'swap yet, though. I need to think more carefully about the correct position for things. I'm happy that the roses are in pots and the hydrangeas are wallowing in the blue plastic paddling pool.