Serious and sensible...
After having spent frenzied hours trying to put everything right for the garden tourists, I've moved away from the cosmetic superficial stuff back into serious, sensible autumn gardening. That means my bonfire!
Fluff-Fluff Cat by the Pots
Friday 8th April
Ah - a much milder morning, so much more welcoming. What should I do first in the garden today? I need potting mix to plant some pink tulips, and all my other spring bulbs need to find places in the ground. Every day more colours change, leaves fall, and the Phormiums (flaxes) look more beautiful. And goodness I have a lot of them!
Two pieces of exciting cat news - well, to me they are! Firstly there's Henri, a very special cat (born in Dili, East Timor) who after the longest of long stories (subtitled The Ultimate Cat Rescue) is safely living in New Zealand. And thanks to the social silliness of Facebook, I am now an official friend of his - which I always have been, of course...
- Sifter the Cat :
- This is just a small detail of Sifter's painting, sitting amongst a stack of plastic plant pots. Thanks to Avril for her wonderful gift.
Painting of Sifter the Tabby
And a very special painting of Sifter the tabby, the Moosey cat who went AWOL some years ago, is on its way from South Africa. This means a lot to me - in the looping circles of life our cats come and go, but Sifter's leaving has always been unresolved, and his resulting pawprint on Mooseys a little puzzling.
Right. I'm back from shopping - I've succumbed and bought an electric blanket for Pond Cottage's bed, plus potting mix, presents (yippee, but not for me), and some more books from the charity shop. My lunchtime coffee tastes so good that I'm going to take it outside on the patio with Fluff-Fluff the cat and contemplate things very slowly. I'm really lucky, you know. I knew that!
PInk in the Autumn Garden
Only two hours gardening, hardly enough to even tweet about, but good gardening never-the-less. I planted two pots of pink tulips. And I burnt six barrowfuls of garden rubbish, very slowly, poking and prodding and feeding cut-down flax leaves onto the bonfire. The autumn light has been magnificent.
Fantails - Tirairaka
Fan-tails (some of them pure black) have been flitting around my head in electron-diagram orbits, infuriating Rusty the dog, but making me feel rather special. Not in the atomic sense, though...
Pond Cottage will be super-clean (I swept the floor and shook the rugs) and cosy (the electric blanket is installed and the sheets are clean) and relaxing tonight. In my 'Back To Childhood" mood I have another Enid Blyton Famous Five book to read, namely Five Go To Smugglers' Top. How old am I, again? My 'maturest' friend (she said euphemistically) chooses her books from the 'Young Adult' section of the library, so I go one better.
Saturday 10th April
Crawling back to normal - or should that be free-styling back to normal? This morning we are going swimming for the first time in ages. And later today, hopefully, I'll pick up a trailer load of bricks for my latest effort at garden beautification - let's call it brickscaping for now.
There's none sillier than a group of old chooks planning an old-chooks party. My friends and I have decided to hold a 'Bridal Brunch', during which we will wear wedding gear and tiaras and watch a recording of THE Royal Wedding. This will happen on the morning after THE event, so (with apologies) we can fast-forward the boring bits.
I'm wearing a girlie bride's dress and a long, flowing red velvet cape with a hood. In my mind's eye (unfortunately the forty-years-ago version) I am ravishing, a fey blonde heroine from a historical romance, desperately in love with the gardener who is the Lord of the Manor in disguise anyway... Enough!
Back to the present day, the ash-silver hair, and the wrinkles. I may not do any gardening today. The weather is absolutely gorgeous, with enough autumn leaves on the lawns to make a beautiful visual carpet and not scream out 'Rake me! Rake me!. Non-Gardening Partner and I are off to pick up a load of firewood, which we're swapping for the bricks.
Sunday 10th April
Right. Hot morning coffee, Fluff-Fluff the cat and my flute playing friend for company, a wire brush and a sort-of chisel. We three are off to sit on the Frisbee Lawn and clean bricks. But first - yet another autumn tree is suddenly changing colour, the Dogwood over the water by Middle Bridge. That was quick! And the Viburnum Tinus is in flower. That's early - is it?
Autumn Dogwood and Viburnum
Twenty-seven bricks laid out on the ground do not a path make, but they show me that:
- My stone edging will work.
- My bricks can turn corners - pretty important for a koru shape, which is a quasi-spiral.
- My bricks will look magnificent, curving into the greenery.
But I have a dilemma - I need to axe out an old rotting stump which is in the way. Strictly speaking, both of Non-Gardening Partner's axes are missing (it will be my fault). I am feeling rather shy, asking him if I can 'borrow' something I think I've lost. Hmm... But then he sometimes hides his tools from me. Wonder why?
The Brick Path begins...
I've also spent a couple of hours with the autumn bonfire, and now my dumping area down the side fence is clear of burnable rubbish. All that remains is a pile of nearly-compost - and my pea-straw, still waiting to be spread out on the garden. That could be tomorrow's job?