Thanks to David Austin...

Sometimes life's plans (and by life I mean the garden) only become obvious when one's mind is taken up with other things (Fluff-Fluff my cat). But I know exactly what my new project for 2013 is, thanks to David Austin and his roses Lichfield Angel and Sharifa Asma. Let me explain...

 A beautiful pastel pink rose.
Sharifa Asma

Tuesday 15th January

Argh! Eek! Blast and bother! My first new project for this gardening year is simply the continuation of last year's last one. It involves bricks. The curved brick walls next to the herb spiral need to be permanently organised, mortared into place, and heightened.

And what have those beautiful roses got to do with brick walls? They are both beautiful pastels, they grow happily nearby the wall, and their colours look absolutely, gorgeously, wonderful against the colour of the terracotta bricks. Fair enough?

Argh! Eek! Blast! Starting a new project is so much more exciting than finishing an old one. But my garden has spoken to me, and a good gardener always listens. Hmm...

Fluff-Fluff :
My lovely big fluffy caramel cat.

I'm in a cat-worried mood, so I'm having the day off, gardenwise. My big cat Fluff-Fluff is at the vet, recovering from an operation, and I've just been to visit him. If his recovery goes according to plan, he comes home in a couple of days, to a very strict and special diet. Dear Fluff-Fluff - I miss you so much! Please be OK.

OK. I'm going to organise some more bricks right now. Fluff-Fluff is in the best of hands, and me getting all moochy (and feeling guilty that he's so super-sized) is getting me nowhere.

Thursday 17th January

Driving, cold rain, a bit of thunder, even a smattering of hail stones. Hey, summer! Where have you got to? You're putting on this gloomy day to match my mood? My book (about climbing K2, that monster mountain) is rather grey and sad (and considerably colder than my garden is at the moment). What on earth have I got to be gloomy about? Not frostbite, for one...

Shrubs Are Boring?

I've been doing webwork, putting up rows of groovy photographs onto the older (and more boring?) pages (like those in the shrubs section). Shrubs are boring? Sorry about that! But I miss my big fluffy cat (he always tries to sit on my computer when I'm working). I've been down to the vet to visit him again. Early days, but he seems a bit brighter, and a bit more comfortable. Please do be, dear cat...

Friday 18th January

Sorry this is a rather cat-sad journal page. But - emotional help is at hand! Escher the biggest, brownest dog is staying the weekend, and already we've done some speed-weeding in the Dog-Path Garden. Both dogs have zoomed around happily while I've poked and pulled with my good non-gardening jeans on. Oops. But I just couldn't resist - all the rain we've had makes weed extraction easier than usual. And the dogs are great company. Life goes on, with two dogs and a lovely summer garden. I knew that!

 On a big, sturdy shrub.
Class Act Roses

I hope I've done the right thing with the rose Class Act, which I know to have beautiful red rose hips in winter. Well, I've dead-headed it totally, and I'm expecting it to reflower. Please! Lots of Lychnis is ready to be pulled out, a pretty satisfying large-scale operation.

Name and Shame

And I wonder if the concept of 'Name and Shame' applies to weeds in the garden. There's quite a bit of what I call 'cleaver' popping up here and there. Ha! Galium aparine! Begone!

 In the water race.
Escher the Dog Cools Off

All's Quiet...

All's quiet, the morning coffee's hot, the dogs are on their armchairs, and I'm waiting for today's phone call from the vet. I think vets are wonderful. Aha! Big Fluff-Fluff can come home later today. That's great news.

Saturday 19th January

Fluff-Fluff the cat! If I hadn't been his vet visitor this last week I wouldn't believe the difference in his demeanour. Stuck in his 'recovery' room he's purring with health and happiness, smooching, eating, taking his medicine, peeing on his own... He would love to be out and about, but I'm taking the cautious approach.

It's suddenly gone all hot outside, the dogs are flopped on the kitchen floor, and I'm about to go outside to do some more gardening. Yesterday, with the dogs in attendance, I made a good start clearing the garden around the brick courtyard.I am dog-sitting for the weekend.

Iris confusa :
Iris confusa in flower, with Fluff-Fluff the cat.

Most of the scruffy Iris confusa is now out. This foliage plant is useful, but really needs water and shade to look its best. The soil will need building up, and then who knows - maybe some Camellias? There's a short row in the Driveway Garden which have never (in eight years or so) flowered, or grown much.