Summer holiday mode already!

 Flower, bud, deadhead.
Rose Life

Something very sneaky has happened. Without meaning to, I seem to have switched into summer holiday mode, rather early. I'm reading, writing, going out to cafes, singing and playing the piano - everything under the sun except doing the gardening. Oops. Hello December, by the way.

Tuesday 1st December

November slouched to a gardening halt with lots of singing rehearsals, a successful jazz choir concert, and a string of 'too hot to garden' days. And I expect some of December will be a non-gardening social whirl. But each morning starts with a visit to the dog park to walk and talk with our friends. Today when I got home I decided to clean up the downstairs of the house, mop and vacuum the floors, and wash all the dog couch covers. There's a certain 'summer with too many dogs in the house' smell. Big brown Escher thought this was THE perfect time to check out next-door's rubbish pit. Again! Grr...

Sometimes I wonder about people's suitability to 'own' land. While Non-Gardening Partner and I were out last night, a fire truck drove up our drive. Why? Our neighbours had set fire to the (stinky) rubbish in their (illegal) pit. There happens to be a total fire ban. One of the three fire trucks tried to access the fire from our property. The driver, a bit of a lad, crashed through my little stone wall and destroyed some Agapanthus.

Agapanthus :
I love, love, love this chunky plant.

So today I've cleared overhanging tree branches (oops) and rebuilt the wall, as well as watering the nearby Welcome Garden. The Agapanthus? Easy come, easy go. Many gardeners consider them weeds, and rude TV weed-killer advertisements lump them in with ivy. Well, I love Agapanthus. They provide brilliant all-year garden greenery and pretty blue summer flowers.

 Luckily in the shade.
The Last Blue Rhododendron

On to more delicate and desirable gardening matters - the Kalmia has been flowering! Such a small, shy, slow-growing shrub, though, and so easily missed, as if it's living under-cover. Unfortunately the blooms have drooped in the heat, so I've missed the chance for a photograph. The hot weather has almost ruined the late flowering rhododendrons, too, though this is to be expected. Poor darlings. While the roses are just going for it - like Buff Beauty and Constance Spry, two amazingly wonderful country roses.

 Growing over one of the house arches.
Unknown Climbing Rose

I did do some speed weeding late in the afternoon, and am mentally preparing myself for hopefully a proper gardening day tomorrow. Here's one of those 'I don't mean to moan but...' comments, concerning the top-soil compost mix that I've been buying and spreading all winter. A better label would be 'top-soil and compost and exotic new weeds with really strong roots' mix. I reckon that's so unfair!

Wednesday 2nd December

Eek! Thirty degrees plus forecast today, so it might be a shift-the-hoses day and nothing much else. Blast! It will be too hot to leave the dogs in the car and have morning coffee with the dog-park ladies. Actually, I know what I should do - catch up on this gardening (AKA non-gardening) journal, and sort out my latest pretty photographs.

Friday 4th December

Hee hee. After the dog park I watched the last episode of Downton Abbey. Then I put the hoses on and spent an hour potting tomato and annual seedlings. The garden is drying out under my nose, and this El Nino weather pattern for our summer has only just begun. So this is turning into 'a Too Hot For Gardening Journal'. What else can I say?

I'm off to shift the hoses. Some days all I do is shift the hoses. But I'm not complaining. At least I have water I can use, and hoses to shift. Right?

Sunday 6th December

Today it is not too hot. So I should make up for lost ground. Perhaps a list will shame me into action. Non-Gardening Partner is busy fixing the pump. He is the epitome of a Jolly Good Country Bloke - he cleans sheep's bottoms, mends fences, and fixes pumps. Well worth cooking for...

Second thoughts. I'll write a reverse list, one which details my many, varied accomplishments, at the end of the gardening day. Say in six hours time?

Five Hours and a Hot Bath Later...

I did my best. I worked my way down the Allotment Garden, trimming Calendulas and Aquilegias, cutting up all the seed heads for mulch and late summer self-seeding. Now I've got the hoses on. I had wonderful cat and dpg company - big Fluff-Fluff and Tiddles the tabby, plus Winnie. Achievements? Minor. There's a list of things that I needed to do last week, but no way am I writing that down.