The Head Gardener

 Non-Gardening Partner and Rusty the dog.
Head Gardener and Friends

I am proud to be the Head Gardener (actually, the only gardener) at Moosey's Country Garden. My real name is Mary, but my adult children rechristened me 'Moosey'. I ignored them for months, but now I'm afraid the name has dug itself in, like a tenacious garden weed...

An Older Lady Gardener

I'm quite mature, retired, and call myself (coyly) 'an older lady gardener'. I'm passionate and obsessive - if not working in the garden I'm either writing about it or thinking about it. I have three adult children. Daughter of Moosey has worked in faraway exotic places, but now she's back in town. Younger Moosey Son (a musician) lives in town, as does Older Son of Moosey, who made up for forgotten birthdays and long forgotten teenage angst by designing this website. It was my Mothers Day present for the year 2000.

A Musical Gardener!

I'm a musician, too - I sing in choirs and play classical piano, mainly Brahms and Bach. I've also made a bit of money playing easy-listening jazz. I used to teach senior Mathematics and Music. Reading, hiking in the mountains, and listening to sport, particularly cricket matches, are favourite leisure activities. I enjoy organising Non-Gardening Partner who does the pumps, fences, tree felling, lawn mowing, and so on. And, of course, I enjoy rambling on and on - and on and on - in this website!

Meet the Cats and the Dogs

I've always had cats and dogs. Currently there are four cats and two dogs (black and white Border Collies) in the Moosey Animal Family. Numbers have varied, as beloved pets become dearly departed. Lovely big brown Escher, a smoochy German Pointer x Chocolate Labrador lived with us for a year. Dear Escher! he still visits us, though he's older, greyer, and slower now.

Taj-dog was the first Moosey dog - an Alsatian Labrador cross. He thought he was a sheepdog, though usually had to be shut in the car whenever the sheep were on the move. Then new dog Rusty (a red Border Collie) took over. Rusty was always kind to the cats, and great fun in the garden. Winnie the black and white Border Collie arrived in time for Christmas, 2014, and her full sister, Pebbles came a few years later.

 A photograph taken last summer.
Dogs Swimming with Tennis Balls

The cats provide quality cat-company in the garden, too. Dearly departed cats like Jerome, Stumpy and Mugsy are always popping up in older photographs. Minimus is the current senior feline. Unfortunately the last couple of years have seen more departures than arrivals. We've farewelled Fluff-Fluff (you guessed it - he was fluffy!), who was a supreme gardening cat, and Tiger the tortoiseshell. Three siblings (Percy, Histeria, and Lilli-Puss), socialised feral cats, enjoyed a wonderful life being cared for properly in the country. But, being of feral descent, they weren't as long lived as I'd hoped. Some years ago I found little Minimus as a kitten, wild in the woodshed - her home base is Pond Cottage, my pretty garden shed-with-a-bed. Black Buster is my most beautiful house cat - an elegant girlie who dances on her toes when happy. Alas, we 'lost' Tiddles, her sister - a puzzle. Our country cats are free ranging, and we suspect Tiddles was rather excessively so. Then there are the Freds - two identical twin tabby boys, nearly one year old. They're so funny.

Earlier cats are resting underneath memorial trees. Two of my most beautiful cats, Smoocher and Beige-Puss, were taken after short, shining lives. One, Big Fat Sifter, went AWOL in the prime of his life. He'd stay inside just long enough to check out food possibilities, and was the champion killer of hay barn rodents and rabbits in the back paddock. Is he still out there, sifting around?

 Yet another new garden...
Gardener At Work

Personality Plus?

It's hard to write about one's personality. I'm not even sure how to start. I know that I'm a compulsive rescuer, and have effected some very impressive ones - ask my ex-students! Or ask the cats! (well, better to ask the birds, actually). Or ask last year's excess lettuce seedlings (over two hundred of them), all neatly pricked out in cat food pottles. Discarding simply wasn't an option...

I'm happiest talking about the garden. I love roses, perennials and sweeping lawns. I love foliage plants, particularly New Zealand natives. I don't like 'garden rooms' or controlled vistas - they may photograph well for the glossy gardening magazines, but they bring out the rebel in me. I try to be organic - for the sake of my ladybirds, bees and spiders.

Always Dreaming, Digging...

I'm always dreaming, digging, planting, making big plans and bigger mistakes! Who says I can't have two ponds, if I've got the space? A rose avenue through the middle of the orchard? A cottage by the pond? Shouldn't be a problem. I hope you'll enjoy reading about my experiences of gardening in New Zealand.