Some words of praise...
Some words of praise are needed for my late autumn roses. Othello is blooming again - he does this every year, with solo blooms top-heavy on tall stems. John Clare does it in clusters, with new buds and much bravado. In the house borders The Fairy roses, tiny pink treasures, are flowering too.
Sunday 1st May
But autumn is definitely in transition. The red dogwood leaves I raved about a few weeks ago are all down now. Leaf carpets that were shining gold have turning a dull straw-brown. This is the first day of May - but that doesn't mean anything, seasonally speaking. Nothing starts because of the date on the Gregorian calendar. All the cold things have been creeping sneakily in for a few weeks now.
Right. I have yet another trailer load of bricks, and it's time to start the proper laying down of my brick pathway and koru spiral courtyard in the Dog-Path Garden. This means prepare the ground, and I might be sneaky here. Under the guise of asking Non-Gardening Partner's civil engineering advice, I may be able to con him into helping. Could he show me the best way to do it, that sort of thing. Hee hee.
Autumn Shrub Colours
But... It's misty, and damp, and droplets of water are falling from the trees, as well as autumn leaves. Maybe a short postponement...
Ha! Prepare for some famous last words. It's actually quite easy laying a brick spiral courtyard and getting it level. I'm just doing it by eye, and so far so good I say! I've started at the side, about halfway through the curve, and have been scooping the smallest amount off the ground (the Copper Beech tree roots sprawl through here). I'm very happy with progress.
- Percy :
- Was it you, ginger Percy?
But I'm not happy with a) the cat who stashed a mouse behind the Welsh dresser and then wandered off and b) the Non-Gardening Partner who didn't bother to intervene. Wafts of a rather unpleasant dead smell keep floating over me as I sit at the computer. And then some happy blowflies zoom past my nose. Aargh! The joys of living in the countryside.
My nose will always remember that dreadful time when a rabbit became wedged in behind an upstairs bookcase. The offending cat (I suspect Percy) wandered off on this occasion, too, and it was several weeks later that I made the grizzly discovery. Eek!
Monday 2nd May
My goodness it's mellow, thoughtful, and reflectively autumn in the Pond Paddock. I scuff through the leaves from the cottage towards the house, look around at the fading gold and reds on the perimeter trees, and give seasonal thanks (I'm allowed to use repetition) for this wonderfully mellow, thoughtful and reflective time of the gardening year.
The Happy Couples
This was not the case in the Pond Paddock on Saturday morning as official photographs of our Bridal Party were taken in front of the big green Cordyline, with much hilarity and swapping of cameras. It's much quieter in the house, too. All cats are sitting on favourite chairs, while Tiger the tortoiseshell, big-eyes innocent, gazes up at me. This is the cat who terrorised all the brides on Saturday, chasing and pouncing on their trains. Aargh! Another bride stuck in the kitchen!
Hmm - did I say innocent? She's just taken advantage of my silly reminiscing to sneak into the pantry. Ha! Caught her wedging a guilty paw into the biscuit tin.
Non-Gardening Partner asked what I was going to do today. My response: 'Finish properly laying the brick courtyard.' That's exactly what I'm going to try to do. I will wear my transitional season jeans and my blue and black checked gardening shirt. And I will not get bored and give up. I understand that much in the garden is repetitive. Much in the gardening journal certainly is!
A legend! Neither that dratted tree stump, nor the arthritic Moosey hip complaining about axing it down, could deter me. I am so pleased! The main sweep of the outer koru circle is done, as is the path which winds gracefully in from the lawn. When I say 'done' I mean all the cleaned bricks are laid - I am needing possibly one more trailer-load.
My Brick Courtyard is Almost Finished
It's been such a mellow day - the light is almost gloomy, and flocks of determined plover birds have been flying around in formation, shrieking at Rusty the dog as they pass overhead. He, naturally, barks back with gusto. It's also been raining, but I've been sheltered by the big Pittosporum. Lilli-Puss my reclusive grey cat has been supervising and quality checking my bricks for 'levelness'.
The colouring of the autumn trees is now really evocative. Copper Beech leaves have been fluttering down on my brick work. Obviously things are dying, and close-up leaves bear this out, but hey! No regrets! This is just a cycle of nature, no more. Winter is a marvellous time in the garden here. Honestly!
Tuesday 3rd May
Do you think the garden would notice if I didn't actually do anything major in it today? Of course I'd walk around, maybe take a few photographs, and maybe pick some late roses for the house... And I could do a few tiny things - like fill more bags with oak leaves from the Pond Paddock, which is starting to look quite dishevelled. Hmm... After all, I did axe out the remains of a huge tree stump yesterday.
Hee hee. After some hours of compulsory socialisation I've redeemed myself gardenwise by collecting fifteen - FIFTEEN - large bags of leaves from the Pond Paddock. That's an hour and a half's raking and scooping. I feel very virtuous, for this task has to be one of the most repetitive in the gardening year. And in a couple of weeks' time there'll be yet more. Breaking with tradition, I've piled the bags up in a hollow by the pond.
Autumn Leaf Carpet
My friends agree with me - this has been a rather splendid autumn for garden colour. The 'No Wind' theory seems to be popular.