Silly shopping...

 And there are still plenty more outside by the pond...
Gnomes Ready for Painting

So since when has June in the southern hemisphere signalled the start of the silly shopping season? OK, maybe it's the thought of cold and wet winter days spent inside. One can't be a tough four-seasons gardener every day of the year.

Today my friend and I went silly shopping. It's something that older ladies do, together, egging each other on. One giggles, thinks of the grand children, and then zooms around shops buying stickers, felt pens, puzzles, small-sized merino socks, and the scariest dinosaur book ever. Then the other one buys Star Wars books and posters. The first one (me) buys a two thousand piece jigsaw and a doll's house from the Charity Shop.

Now my friend and I both have doll's houses, and I've warned her this could become the new colouring book craze for sensible, quasi-academic, mature women. A great activity for a cold, wet, non-gardening day, methinks. And not needing the excuse of a visiting grand-daughter, either.

 Looking a little weather-beaten...
Robinson Gnome

Paint for the gnomes!

And then the sillier one (there is always a sillier one) buys eleven little test pots of paint (self-priming, exterior) for her gnomes - two shades of green, red, yellow, blue, purple, orange, white, blackberry, pale grey for the beards, brown for tree stumps, a cosmetics colour called 'Blush' for the faces. And a large tin of sealant. These gnomes are not going to lose their complexions again!

Today I collected the first batch. They've been well-scrubbed in the kitchen sink, and are drying out on a towel. Faces first, I think, paint-wise, and red hats for all. A real gnome has to have a red hat. And a grey beard.

Next day...

Was very tempted to stay inside, since there was only an hour and a half of daylight left, and I'd spent all afternoon cleaning the house (ridiculous waste of gardening time). But I jolly well did. I wheeled out and burnt four barrowfuls of mess from the back of the pond - gum bark and leaves, plus smaller branches of trees. Then I chose six more lucky gnomes to come inside and be cleaned.

Sunday 3rd June

It's drizzling quite heavily. So far this morning I have done the following :

  1. Got up, etc. Well, that should be pretty obvious. The 'etc' includes lighting the wood-burner.
  2. Scrubbed two more gnomes - Boris and Robinson (he smokes a pipe, and is named after singer Smokey Robinson).
  3. Topped up the bird feeders. Some of the wax-eyes seem very thin. Hopefully their food (tinned mangoes, gold kiwi-fruit, and a lard ball) will remedy this.

And here's what I will do next. It's simple. I'll procrastinate! And I'll check with Mister Google about Canna lilies.

Cannas in Pots

Mine grow in pots and some are still very beautiful of leaf. But all are very slow to flower, if at all. OK. Here's the 'Google-Goss' for my climate. I need large pots, they're greedy feeders (oops), and I should lift the rhizomes over winter.

 Me, as usual in blue.
Winter Gardener

Something to do today? No, not until the leaves get wrecked by a night-time frost. And I have gnomes to paint. And some more gnomes to paint...


Finally I stopped procrastinating. I barrowed two loads of horse manure into the garden behind the pond, and barrowed out two loads of rubbish plus one more load of gnomes.

Then I moved over to the Welcome Garden, and dug out some oversized Anemanthele grasses so the Viburnums on the fence-line would have more space. And I tipped bag after bag of horse manure around them. Grow, my pretties, grow!


The rewards of a day's winter clean-up aren't as 'impactful' as the rewards of a day's silly shopping. Compare muddy clothes to wash, twigs and greenery to brush out of hair with curling up in front of the wood-burner to read a scary dinosaur book. I still love my garden, but quite passively in winter. I love my new socks and my jigsaw with great fervour. I have exciting plans for my doll's house. Perhaps a bulk second hand purchase of Sylvanian families? For me? Hee hee.

Excessive gnomes...

And I adore my paint colours. Just divine! Sorry about all these gnomes. Excessive? They're just the ones that have been cleaned. Plenty more where they've come from...

 Clean us!
Gnomes Waiting