The perils of the winter gardening journal...

My gardening friend and I were comparing our winter journals. They tend to be boring localised weather reports. My goodness, it's raining today. Wow! It's going to be seventeen degrees today. That's Celsius, by the way. Aha! Here's a morning frost, followed by weak winter sunshine. And this one's a windy day...

Tuesday 17th June

But it is winter, after all. Winter in my garden is lively, but the gardening I do is not terribly creative or memorable. And the photographs I take are typically drab. The colours of mulch, and compost, and leaf fall look dull and lifeless. It's not really fair on the spiky plants like the Astelias. They really are pretty!

 Very pretty New Zealand natives.
Green and Brown Astelias

Well, today is a seventeen degree non-raining non-frosty day, and I'm planning to garden all day. If I get too muddy, I'll just change into a new set of gardening clothes. There's no wind, just in case you're interested, and it's less than one week until the winter solstice. I will try to keep off the weather.

 Flowering by the patio.
Unknown David Austin Rose


Today's plan is rather fluid (like yesterday's rain, hee hee). I'm investigating the raspberry patch - it is either to be fully weeded or transplanted to a sunnier place. I haven't decided yet. And the nearby weeping silver pear tree is definitely moving out. I might need the axe.

Four Hours later...

I am brilliant. Louder - I am brilliant! First I cleared some plants out of the Stables Garden - daylilies in the shade that have never flowered properly, the original peony rose (a fluffy cerise) which is now totally overshadowed by the original Phormium (such is garden life). I planted them in one of the allotment gardens, which I filled with topsoil.

+5 +5The raspberry patch is two-thirds weeded. I've decided that the main plants are staying put, mainly because the grass clumps are easy to remove. Lilli-Puss the grey kept me company, while Rusty roared around barking at the bell-birds. Workmen are repairing the small house across the driveway next-door. They give my dog something non-avian to bark at, but the lack of personal privacy (no hedge, no fence) is slightly annoying, and I have to be careful not to do anything old-lady disgraceful.

Even Later...

I came inside for hot coffee, late lunch, and a quick TV couch-cycling trip into Switzerland, arriving at Finhaut-Emosson. Then I did another hour and a half weeding, this time 'helped' by Rusty the dog. He wuffled and snuffled around the raspberries, looking for - small edible creatures? Whatever he thought he could smell, he was kept well and truly occupied. Now he is as grubby as I am. My boots (and socks) are heavy with wet mud.

 WInter colours, blue sky.
Looking Over to the Frisbee Lawn

I am so proud of myself. It is quite easy to pull out weeds when the soil is wet. OK, so the gardener's knees and bottom get wet and muddy also, but that's not a problem. And I feel rather virtuous and non-frivolous working on my edible garden. I am helping to feed my family! Actually, I rather hope the family forgets about the raspberries next summer. These delicious berries are wonderful to snack on after a day's gardening.

Wednesday 18th June

What do you think, Rusty? Do dogs think? Should you and I go outside and finish weeding the raspberry patch? I suppooooooose we should. The sun is shining, even if the soil will be even wetter than yesterday (thanks to some blobby overnight rain).

Old Gardening Boots

Three Hours Later...

The weeding is complete. I've had a very birdie afternoon - first a hawk kept gliding oh so silently in the thermals above my head. Our hawks are scavengers, munching happily on road-kill, and they also like rabbits and mice. Oops - this doesn't really explain why the hawk was so interested in me. Then a fantail fluttered close about, squeaking merrily, hoping I'd stir up some insect food. It stirred up Rusty the dog, that's for sure!

Sad But Inevitable...

I have decided to 'retire' my heavy duty gardening boots. They have provided me with much comfortable plodding over the last two winters. But the time has come, as it comes to us all eventually, who traipse around in the mud and rain getting soaked, never drying out properly, our seams splitting, our soles coming unstuck... A fond farewell photograph, a ceremonial thank-you, (a valedictory poem, perhaps?) and then into the bin you go (seems harsh, but tomorrow is rubbish collection day).

Goodbye, dear boots. Thanks for encouraging me to dance around my garden, and never once tripping me up. Love, M.