The sun!

 More late bloomers!
Dublin Bay Roses

Great weather excitement, for the sun - the sun! THE SUN! is almost visible again, though 'shining' might be an exaggeration. I really think I might be able to finish the brick courtyard now (even I can see the specks of doubt in that sentence). I even have enough half-bricks to turn the corner, so to speak.

Sunday 8th May

And it's Mothers' Day, New Zealand style (and in the USA?), a lovely day. I am especially mother-blessed - my children are my best friends (well, apart from my cats, Rusty the dog, and Non-Gardening Partner), and they consider I'm only half-mad. This is surely a bonus - not only does it imply I'm not boring, but also that I'm not ready to be 'put away' just yet, hee hee.

Happy Mothers' Day! And I'm particularly happy today - as well as the sun, I have great books to read, and my flute-playing friend is staying. Ha! Chamber music on tap. And a willing under-gardener. Perfect

Now how's this for an angle? I've just asked NGP if he would 'inspect' the brick courtyard. My sneaky idea is that he'll help with the finishing off. Right. Off outside I go. The sky (pale blue, sort-of sunny) is the limit.

Much Later...

Triumph! After many hours scraping and laying, the pathway and courtyard is finished - apart from the smaller bricks in the very middle, and the decision as to what goes therein. A sundial? Too pretentious, and not enough sun. A birdbath? A statue? Hmm... A large pot, probably, with a Cordyline (my favourite iconic plant) in it... For the moment I've put a smaller blue pot there to create the illusion of a purposeful middle.

 And path, and repaired park bench.
The Nearly Finished Courtyard

The Heaviness of Bricks

I've discovered another rule of working with used bricks. Not only do they have more than six sides (when being cleaned), but also their weight increases as the day progresses. The bricks I lift in the middle of the afternoon are heaps heavier that the early morning ones.

There are human precedents for this phenomena - feet are supposed to go up a shoe-size during the day, for example. Hee hee...

And now I'm going to do my piano practice, and maybe start crocheting some afghan squares for Pond Cottage's woolly blanket, which will need to be finished before winter strikes. And when exactly will that be? By the First Law of Gardening it will be the day after I should have moved all my pelargoniums into the glass-house...

Monday 9th May

Ouch - my right hand is sore after days of hammering and chiselling stuff off bricks. I now realise I do need some half-bricks, plus a method of creating good clean cuts. Aha! Google to the rescue. Allow me to quote from

No matter what pattern you follow when installing a walkway or patio, you'll have to cut some bricks.

I knew it! Even if I am a virgin bricklayer (?) and a happy user of the discovery method in all things, hee hee... Wait a minute. My hand is sore from hammering, so Non-Gardening Partner could easily help here, using a 'masonry blade' in his saw. Hmm. Why he hasn't offered to do this before? He's been keeping a rather low brick profile throughout this project, and I am his personal house-pianist. It's no fun when piano equals 'paino'!

 Solanum - a lovely nuisance, flowering now.
White Potato Vine

Right. I'm off swimming, and then I'll pop into the nursery, having just remembered a gift voucher. Perhaps they'll have a suitable 'thing' for the middle of the courtyard. And then I'll prepare NGP a wonderful evening meal before I 'pop the question'.

Tuesday 10th May

Yesterday (with the help of my undergardener) I raked up another six bags of leaves from the lawns. They were from the big prunus trees - a subtle mixture of tawny yellows. Scanning the garden's perimeter I see fewer and fewer coloured leaves left 'up there'. I might find myself announcing the official arrival of winter any week now. Or any day? Aargh! I need to dig up all the daisies and get them into glass-house pots.

 Almost orange!
Smoke Bush Leaves

A Design Dilemma...

Older-lady gardeners are allowed to change their minds. For I am now unconvinced about a large pot placed grandly in the middle of my new spiral courtyard. Actually I do have such a pot, in which a variegated cordyline languishes, looking unhealthy. Sun! Sun! Where's my sun! This pot should definitely be repositioned, but perhaps not in the middle of my brick feature.

I don't want to take the focus from the surrounding shrub and tree foliage and the swirling brick floor. Hmm... It is indeed a design dilemma. So my morning's plan is to tidy and trim the surrounding gardens while letting the courtyard 'speak' to me, so to speak. But first - a cup of coffee, to accompany these most serious thought processes.

Much Later...

We are off to take Rusty the dog and Minimus the cat to the vet (both are going in the doggery/cattery for a week, and just need injections). I've finished some very satisfying gardening, the get-down-and-moderately-dirty kind. It is extremely virtuous gardening - I weed, dig out undesirable Shasta daisy seedlings, and then dig a load of my own compost, cover, then a load of my own mulch, cover, rake rake, and yes! A most pleasing day, and the 'look' is stunning.

Bricks :
Terracotta bricks are such a beautiful colour.

And yes - my courtyard has spoken. It will be potless. So I'm buying a wide brick-splitting chisel, and then I'll try my very best to cut the rest of my bricks in half. Web-instructions say it should take five minutes per brick, which seems excessive, but I am prepared to be humble about this.

There was a rather rude wake-up aftershock last night, reminding me again of how small I am in relation to this wonderful land. But no problems, no house damage - just a nocturnal cup of hot tea, and Tiger the cat, who reappeared at once and immediately indicated her interest in a 3 am snack.