It's definitely, officially, late autumn now, so I'm busy getting ready for winter. What a hard working and dedicated (if slightly obsessed) gardener I am! If anyone deserves a new bridge it's me...
Saturday 24th May
Brr... and Grr... Three hours spent raking autumn leaves from one piece of lawn (the Pond Paddock) - I'm warming up inside with hot coffee and food. The local contractor has just arrived to look at the driveway (needing more gravel) and the pond, which is to have its bottom scooped clean. Sounds embarrassingly painful!
I'm trying hard to be a cheerful pre-winter gardener, so I'm not mentioning the B-words (boring, bored) or either of the G-words (gloomy, grumpy). I had to write them down just now so as to be intelligible.
Good bridge news - NGP has located a larch pole, and it's coming home to Mooseys on Monday. Not so good waterwheel news - this possibly needs to be 'rebuilt'. To end on a positive, though, NGP has just chain-sawed down some annoying tree branches for me and shredded all the smaller pieces. Wonderful chap!
More Exciting Things
Right. To prove that I am not finding my day in the garden b******, and I am not feeling the slightest bit g***** or g*****, I'm about to leap back outside and do more exciting things. I have a few plants to shift so the pond-scooper can drive in. I'd like to take the dog to the river to collect just a few more stones - in autumn my wooden path edges tend to get collected up for firewood. There are shrubs to plant and bags of manure to spread. So there's absolutely no reason to be b**** or g*****, is there?
Hmmm... I started the afternoon carting firewood, and laying just a few stones in the Pond Paddock. I finished by burning my rubbish pile. OK, burning in late autumn gets the gardener warm, but it is not this gardener's task of choice. I finished the day on the rustic garden bench in the little courtyard with my three ex-wild cats, as the late afternoon temperature cooled me down. Brr!
An interesting observation - this time around (i.e. this year, after moulting) my rooster has strange white splodges on his tail feathers. This has never happened before. I thought that his feather DNA would have kept to the same pattern...
Sunday 25th May
Will it drizzle all day? Because as usual I've woken up overflowing with energetic gardening ideas. But looking at the wetness out there I may just be edging the path behind the glass-house. I have a trailer-load of river stones to use up.
Wet Weather Plans
My plan is to work until water starts dripping continuously off my fringe into my eyes. I need my thermals - this is definitely not a denim jeans morning. I will punctuate my drippings with hot coffees inside in front of the already-lit log-burner. Aargh! Eek! I can't really expect any cat company - half-hardy, unhappy in rain, afraid of frost and snow. But where's my dog? He's a champion in dodgy weather.
Brilliant coffee! And Rusty the dog looks wetter than I do. I'm cold, though. I've raked up leaves from another piece of lawn - the top lawn near the glass-house, laid stones, weeded, and collected more firewood. Histeria the happy tabby kept me company - all the other feline slackers were lolling in fireside cat baskets and on beds.
OK. I worked hard until it rained. Real rain is much more off-putting than silly, ineffectual drizzle. All my stones are used up, and I need more. I always need more!
One of my forum friends grows his Shasta daisies in a garden he naughtily calls 'The Obnoxious Garden'. I've planted some at the top of the water race, near Middle Bridge. Today, trimming off the old flowering stalks, I remembered why this perennial is not my most favourite. Its root systems are rock hard and tenacious, making the removal of any embedded weeds impossible. This could be one of my silliest gardening mistakes ever.
Monday 26th May
The piano tuner comes today - naturally my Brahms will immediately sound so much better! When I come back from the gym I'm just going to keep clearing and tidying the garden - getting ready for winter. Aargh - what a solemn phrase!
Tuesday 27th May - Another Cat Disgrace
A piano disgrace - the tuner spent over four hours trying to get the pitch up to concert. And yet another cat disgrace. Sometime in the last eight years (I cringe, but it's this long since my beautiful Yamaha piano was last tuned) a cat has - yes, you've probably guessed - pee-ed underneath the C above middle C.
Rustic Courtyard Benches
Today in the garden I've spent a happy two hours in cold wind and bright sunshine - weeding in the small garden next to the rose pergola. I had lunch again on my rustic garden bench and made plans for further expansion of the Shrubbery, with a wall of screening Pittosporums to mark its boundary. I love this new sitting spot.
Then I took Rusty the dog for a brisk cycle ride and discussed with him the concepts of winter gardening. It's so important to settle firmly and positively into the winter season - particularly if there are no holidays to tropical islands to look forward to. To prove my point, I will now list ten things I adore about winter.
- 1. Crab apples.
- 2. My coloured flax hybrids.
- 3. Tussock grasses shining in the low sun.
- 4. Blue skies after a frosty morning.
- 5. Being cosy in the glass-house.
- 6. Pond reflections.
I'm struggling here - should have done this first thing this morning when I was totally full of beans. Oops. To continue...
- 7. Gathering firewood and pinecones.
- 8. Warming up with hot coffee and dry clothes after getting wet and cold.
- 9. Little foliage plants like the Bergenias.
- 10. The shapes of my trees. Well, some of them.