Dog in disgrace...

 This should give you the general idea!
Example of Slime on Dog

I say! What an exciting evening in Pond Cottage. There we were (me, Minimus, and visiting cat Percy), all drifting off to sleep, when Non-Gardening Partner arrived by the pond with a head torch and Rusty the dog, in disgrace. They'd been for a late evening ramble, and Rusty had sneakily coated himself in green slime.

Lured by a Tennis Ball

Lured by a tennis ball Rusty leapt into the pond (to get his fur clean). Oh no! A pair of Mallard ducks, asleep peacefully on the water's edge, flew into the pitch black sky, squawking in panic. Poor things! Up leapt my two cats, Percy launching himself off my legs. Ouch.

The green slime was obviously sticking, so in and out of the pond went the dog, his belly-flop splashes reverberating noisily in the night. Non-Gardening Partner's head torch illuminated the watching garden gnomes in a curious blue-green light. My two cats, wide-eyed, stood on their hind legs peeping nervously out their window. It was all rather surreal.

 The start of the so-called spring bulbs.
Winter Jonquils

Wednesday 2nd July

This morning I woke up rather early to an odd, snuffly sort of silence (if that makes any sense). Aha! I shone my torch out the window to investigate. Snow! Faintly fluttering down, with a light white dusting all over Pond Paddock. Good morning, winter.

I've lit the log burner in the house and am listening to the USA playing Belgium, the final football match in the round of 16. Fluff-Fluff has just come inside, all puffed up like a bird. It's probably going to be an indoors day - time to catch up on my writing, and finish my TV cycling in California. I am way behind, and need to clear recording space for le Tour de France which starts very soon. The weather in California (I am in the Angeles Mountains) is hot, hot, hot, whereas my temperature is dropping towards zero Celsius and it's gently raining. This is how snow happens? Hmm...

Much Later...

It's been too cold to go gardening. Sunny, yes, with a biting wind and five degrees. But (cross my green fingers) no snow. I don't want snow this winter. My garden doesn't need any snow. A snowless winter would be just fine. I can always take an hour's drive into the mountains, should I wish to experience snow. I think I've probably made my point!

 A winter warming colour in my garden at the moment.
Red Phormium

Thursday 3rd July

Ha! Today I'm back in the garden. If it's still cold, then I'll just zoom around faster. I'll have to wait a wee while for those frosty lawns to 'decrunch', though.

Much Later...

Prepare for something rhetorical, and something vaguely philosophical. I've spent five serious hours gardening and thinking. First of all, let me record my practical successes. I've cleared the burnable mess out of the Welcome Garden, and raked along that first bit of driveway. I've trimmed Pittosporums and Hebes which were overhanging, cut back ivy, and collected lots of stray Anemanthele grasses. They are now planted underneath the Wedding Day rose along the curved stone edge. I finished by taking one very wobbly barrowful of gum branches to the bonfire. Oops - it's a rather smoky one today, sorry about that.

The rhetorical : Does it matter when someone (i.e. me) spends more time conversing with their cats and their dog, rather than with real people? I do talk out loud to myself while I'm driving my car - if that counts. Hmm... Maybe I need to ask Non-Gardening Partner what he thinks.

 The garden bench needs repairing.
Winter in the Shrubbery

The philosophical : Taking time and energy at the beginning of the day to analyse why one (i.e. me) has run out of puff is self-defeating. Far better to work hard for five hours in the garden and then analyse. For by then there will be an obvious reason why one (i.e. me) is 'puffless'. Sometimes gardeners (i.e. me) take their gardening moods far too seriously.

Friday 4th July

Happy 4th July celebrations to my USA friends. Inspired by two rather different things - the scenery in California (TV couch-cycling) and the gardens of Wales (library book) - I am off to continue my pursuit towards garden perfection. Lord Angelsey 'doesn't like to see any bare soil'. I guess he must wander off to spend his Welsh winters somewhere else, then.

Sifter's Camellia :
Sifter's memorial Camellia is a New Zealand red called Roger Hall.

I don't know if I should say anything, but Tiger the Tortoiseshell is using the pot in which Sifter the Tabby's memorial Camellia is planted as a toilet. OK, it's a large enough pot, but this seems rather rude to me. Tiger! The whole of my garden is yours, and you don't have to exert yourself by climbing up onto anything...

Sunset on the Big Gum Tree

Much, Much Later...

Success! In fact, THE semi-perfect gardening day, with my now beautifully smelling dog being super-attentive (a dog biscuit in the pocket works wonders). The back of the Shrubbery is much improved. One huge heap of gum branches has gone. I've raked the path down towards the hedge and cleared all the encroaching Periwinkle. I've rescued and potted up two Pseudopanaxes, a Pittosporum, and two fat-leafed green Cordylines. I'm very happy with my work. I can see the difference!

I've been gardening for seven hours, with the shortest of breaks to escort a family visitor who asked to 'see all the paths'. Heartwarming stuff, and he was most complimentary. I love all my paths, and they all work!

The day finished with an hour-long bonfire, and a wonderful sunset. I love these winter sunsets. The big gum on the house lawn comes alive with golden light. I collected all my tools, and I remembered my Gardens of Wales book which I'd left outside on a seat. I rather liked the phrase 'gently derelict', which described a forgotten garden. And can you imagine - it takes four men (!) three months to trim all the hedges at Powis.

By comparing the relative scale of things it should take me (a non-man) three weeks to finish clearing the back of the Shrubbery.