A woman possessed...
My autumn energy continues. Each day I've been working away like a woman possessed, enjoying a positive and contended autumn gardening mood. I think it's all to do with the sun.
There is More Sun!
It's not a case of global changes, the sun swelling, or ozone depletion. It's to do simply with tree trimming. Since the shelter trees in The Hump were topped last summer, it's definitely lighter. There's much more sun in the house rooms, and even more sun out in the house gardens. The courtyard in the new shrubbery is really sunny - the perfect autumn lunch spot.
Oops - Forgot the Date - Thursday 24th April
I know I couldn't live in a sunless winter place. Even in the middle of winter there's a decent day's length where I live and garden. I've never ever gardened in the dark, and I don't think I want to. On some colder days I might burn my rubbish at dusk, but this doesn't really count.
Today, fresh from the triumph of having finally finished the new stone wall (which is now beautifully proportioned, as well as extremely sunny), I'm not sure what I feel like doing. Maybe I could finish clearing the back of the shrubbery and buy some more Pittosporums to shelter and screen the road. Or I could just have the day off...
Stone Wall in Progress
Good morning to Percy the ginger cat who has just walked all over me and the keyboard:
'[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[89iiiiiiiiiii77777778:10 a.m. 24/04/2008' is his profound message to the world of garden bloggers and cat lovers. Hey - how did he get that date to work automatically? Aha! I've found it - a little key called F5...
I had to strip to my underwear again to unblock the waterwheel - brr! The water in the race was icy cold. So who is the blighter who keeps trimming their willows and sending the prunings floating downstream? Probably the same person growing the Gunnera whose seeds arrive in the night and take root on the watery edges of my garden.
On Goes the Waterwheel
Then I got dressed and chased the poultry out of the Hen House Gardens and back behind their chook netting barrier. Sorry birds, it's your garden in name only. So, although I have been active in a bizarre sort of way, I haven't actually done any gardening. Oops.
Friday 25th April - Anzac Day
Good morning again to Percy. Cuddling a decisive cat is a great way to start the day, after a long night of Jerome, my old grey cat who lives upstairs, dithering. Cold enough to wake the Head Gardener and get under the blankets? Warm enough to sleep on her pillow and purr loudly in her ear? Or both?
Percy the Ginger Cat
Today we are getting a trailer load of rotted horse manure and sawdust from my friend. After carefully placing fragrantly fresh manure on my garden so that nothing gets burnt or too shocked, this will be heaven.
More River Stones
I also need more river stones - I want to encircle the Big Gum tree, nearest neighbour garden-feature-wise to the new stone wall, to continue the stone theme and make it look tidier. I've always had a ring of pot plants at its base, but this way I may be able to have some permanently planted tussocks and grasses. I'd like a movable rubbish bin at the back, too, for all the gum leaves I rake off the lawn.
Over the Hedge
The autumn coloured shrubs and trees across the water race are even more beautiful than last week. My new shrubbery, so far, is full of green evergreens. There's definitely room for more colour - for example, a slow growing ornamental dogwood, perhaps another purple Cotinus, a trio of strong wine-red Cordylines... Even a small, well-behaved blossom tree like a flowering cherry could pop in the back.
All Seasons Plantings
Then there would be different plant treasures to peep at from the house in different seasons. This has probably been self-evident to others since the dawn of gardening time, but I've tended to ignore it - until the weather's cooler or I'm actually stuck in the house.
Saturday 26th April - Thanks, Non-Gardening Partner
Firstly, back a day. A huge thank you to Non-Gardening Partner for continuing the big trim of the oversized plum tree without even being reminded, for driving us (that's me and the dog) to the river for more stones, and for shovelling a load of horse manure. All this before driving us (same us) way across town for pizza with my Cape Campbell walking friend, and looking for the umpteenth time at a slideshow of our trip photographs.
Plum Tree Mess
Oh Dear - Yet Another New Garden Idea
A drive across town is the perfect time to talk to a captive NGP, hee hee. So for forty minutes I explained my silliest idea in years - the building of a small shed, a retreat by the pond - with walls, a window, a door, a bed, a chair, a table and a bookcase. It will save NGP loads of money - my retired friends all own baches (rustic holiday homes) in semi-idyllic settings, hours and hours away by car. They all spend time and fuel visiting the bach at weekends.
My plan is that my 'bach', or shed-retreat, is half a minute away by foot, across the grass - truly environmental, since no car journey is needed to enjoy it. I can decorate it in a quaint retro recycled style, sourced from the op-shops, and it can even have its own garden. A tiny decking can sit over the pond, and I've even suggested insulation in the roof, solar panels for hot water, a self-composting toilet... Hee hee...
Back to the Mundane...
More mundane things are happening today, though. My circle of stones around the Big Gum tree is ready to be filled with organic matter and planted. Rough tough things will grow in here - I might shift in some striped Agapanthus, hopelessly smothered by Nicotianas in their present position. Big pots of Astelias and grasses have been incorporated into the circle, and the left-over stones have been balanced on top of the nearby new stone wall. I also want to finish clearing behind the shrubbery - I have two green Ake Akes and two Teucriums to plant. The rest of the horse manure can go on the shrubbery.
Autumn Island Bed
If I can persuade NGP to come behind the pond with me I'll indicate the place where my shed-retreat could go. He will be rebuilding the pump house in the next six months, and I thought I could watch him and maybe try a bit of copy-cat older-lady carpentry myself...
The horse manure is spread on the shrubbery, and now I'm off now to get more river stones. A little stone-edged path has wriggled into life, giving access to the back of the shrubbery and the sheep paddock in front - hence the need for more. Fluff-Fluff the cat has been 'helping' - his fur is disgracefully grubby. Tonight the irrigation will run to damp down the new organic matter and help a few shrubs which have been shifted around.
NGP is being awfully cagey about my idea for a shed-retreat. Whenever I start a conversation he escapes, off on a worthy cause so I really cannot complain - for example to bike with the dog, or to suddenly buy a new smoke alarm. My morning suggestion to visit the recycled timber yard to look at 'old windows' did not go down well at all. It may be naive to think about fitting a shed around a window. Or not.
Right. I need to finish clearing the back of the shrubbery, and decide on its limits. My hands are getting quite tired pulling out the grasses, so I might not last very much longer. C'mon, Moosey - fortified with coffee there should be at least another two hours left in you!
What a great day. A new idea, a new path, a new shrubbery extension, newly mown lawns, and a new cycling-around-the-world book to read. Smells from the evening meal are wafting through the house, mixed together with wonderful melodies from a soaring Brahms symphony. Percy is sitting on my lap, purring - my beautiful ginger wild cat, proof that love conquers all. Honestly - I am so very lucky! I love my garden.