Bed-Gardening again...

 One of the Oak trees is still to drop its leaves.
Garden Bench by Duck Lawn

Brr... A frosty morning. But I'm already ahead. At dawn I did some very successful bed-gardening, nose tucked underneath the duvet, electric blanket on low, cottage cat Minimus snuggled in behind my knees. I totally cleaned up the Hen House Gardens! Just like that. Magical.

Sunday 10th July

So the path along the water race is now beautifully clear, the gardens on either side wonderfully winter-sculpted. All the oak tree leaves have been bagged up, all the Phormiums have had their dead leaves trimmed off. In my mind. Oops. Blast!

It's still slightly cool outside, though the sun is floating low in a pale blue sky. But it's nice that Sunday is a sun day, hee hee! In an attempt to give winter the gardening fingers, I have my gardening shorts on. But I am still inside drinking coffee, listening to some cheerful Handel pom-pomming away. Just ten minutes more, perhaps...

Today I'm going to plant the deciduous Azaleas. They are all in pots, waiting, and Non-Gardening Partner has complained (nicely). Here's the scenario. I've spent days and days (enduring long, hard hours) trudging up and down the water race with spade and axe, doing really tough, physical stuff. So he notices something that I haven't done. This morning at breakfast : 'What are you going to do with all those plants?'. Hmm. What does he think I'm going to do? I'll show him.

But maybe I'll wait until the outdoor temperature climbs above four degrees Celsius. And - just the tiniest of cheats - I'll put some merino long-johns on underneath my shorts.

Seven Hours Later...

That's seven real hours in the garden, equivalent to seven minutes of imaginary bed-gardening, and I still haven't finished. But I have done my very best, not slackening off - apart from a short lunch break with the dogs. The Hen House Garden paths are much better, and the water-side dog-path is less weedy. Nearly all the wet muddy mess is under the hedge. But none of the oak leaves are yet in bags (I leave some on the garden itself, covered with a layer of horse manure).

 Cleaned up.
Water Race by the Hen House Gardens

I've planted five Azaleas by the brick koru courtyard. Best not to trim them until I can see for certain which branches (if any) are dead. My last hour and a half was spent wheeling stuff to the bonfire. Some Gunnera leaves are now dry enough to burn, as are the earliest fern clumps I dug out. So I've been burning last week's mess as well as today's (amongst other things, lots of dead Astelia leaves).

Winter bonfire :
Here's my most recent bonfire, a subtle sort of selfie.

No inspiring photographs, I'm afraid. One bonfire looks much the same as another, and I didn't take any new selfies of me being a muddy winter gardener. I was too busy! Bed-Gardening selfies are naturally off limits.

Monday 11th July

At 6am this morning, snug in Pond Cottage with an early cup of tea, I did THE most brilliant bed-gardening. I created a superb imaginary list, THE list of all lists. The meanest, most inspiring and creative list ever. Quick! Grab a notebook and pencil!

Minimus :
Minimus lives in Pond Cottage, and keeps me company every evening.

Aargh! Minimus, my bed-gardening cat companion, has fallen short of her weekly rodent quota. What's this - a wriggling pencil? Pounce! Ouch. The mature lady gardener's skin is rather thinly stretched. So what was in that awesome list? Two more Azaleas to plant? Horse manure to shovel and spread? I can't remember (mops blood off wrist). All I can think of are the masses of oak leaves in Duck Lawn. And how I've run out of sticking plasters. My goodness dawn is slow to arrive this morning!

 I told you it was cold!

Nearly Lunchtime...

So sorry to pop back into the journal so soon. But it's still too cold outside for gardening. We've been for a walk with the camera, the dogs and I, accompanied by faithful Fluff-Fluff, who makes himself even fluffier when it's cold. Now the sun needs to get cracking. Midday, and only six degrees Celsius. Too bad, I'm going outside to do some work.


The pale sun was up there somewhere, and there was no wind, but I've had the bonfire going all afternoon to keep warm. I've also cut down the cherry rambling rose growing by the Sleepout, leaving behind a few spindly canes. The next-door oak-leafed Hydrangea was very appreciative, especially when I rid it of stray tendrils of Clematis montana as well.

There's really not enough sunlight here for a rose to thrive, and ninety-five percent of the rambler was dead wood anyway. So now I have some companion hand scratches to that inflicted by young Minimus. Naturally I couldn't for the life of me find any gardening gloves. Oops.

 Now there will be lots more flowering in late spring.
Azaleas by the Courtyard

Duck Lawn is de-leafed, and I've carted lots of dry rubbish out from underneath the hedge to the bonfire. And all the Azaleas have been planted with the others (the photograph above was taken late last spring). I know that six degrees Celsius is nothing to moan about in mid-winter. It's not like I'm house-bound with ice or snow or anything. But gloves would have kept my fingers warmer. And boy, if one doesn't keep moving...