Brick-Laying for Beginners?
Mac the Cat by the Bricks
Hello, and welcome to another episode of brick-laying for beginners. Today, while my beautiful spring garden bursts forth with more beautiful flowers (the Pond Paddock's flowering cherries, the Choisya shrubs, more potted tulips) and foliage (the little ornamental Maples) - guess what I'll be doing? Ha! What a daft time of year to get a brick-laying mania!
Wednesday 10th October
It's like running through traffic to catch an accelerating garden bus. I can't plant my vegetable garden until the raised brick walls are done. I have lettuces dangling out of their punnets, ready for release. And courgettes, and sweet peas, and packets of vegetable seeds. THE optimum time for sowing in Canterbury (New Zealand) is in two weekend's time, when my vegetable beds must be ready! Aargh!
So yesterday I cleaned bricks for three hours, humming along to Rachmaninov's swirling piano concerti, using my fruity operatic voice for the tutti, soaring up and along like a startled duck whenever the cellos got the tune. I can recommend Rachmaninov for such an activity.
Today my hiking friend is coming to give me some beginner support. She thinks she's only bolstering, but I have plans for her to experience the full bricklaying monty, so to speak. I need to dig out the trench for the straight wall by the path. Then we join up with the other side and the curvy bit - easy as! My excuse for any resulting poor craftswomanship - it's only the vegetable garden, and the bricks are all imperfect anyway. That's the attitude!
Brick Walls and Spiral - the Beginning
A bit more about these bursting flowers while I drink my early morning coffee. I know that Choisyas can be considered a bit 'ho hum' but in a big garden (owned by an amateur bricklayer) they are easy and delightful shrubs. The 'blossom' is robust, the whole shrub is fragrant, and easily pruned. The white flowers are dense and really pretty from a distance.
Spring in the House Garden
The large flowering cherry trees in the Pond Paddock are my latest trees to blossom, and hopefully I'll enjoy a windfree fortnight wandering past, after ducking underneath the white Clematis flowering on the pond paddock arch. Walking from the house to the cottage in the early evenings past all these beautiful things - I am so lucky.
And I notice, rather nervously, that the Lily-of the Valley is starting to flower. This little sweetie is becoming rather invasive, though - hope that's OK.
One more completely unrelated thing: I have a new wheel-barrowing garden gnome (he was a gift, honestly) and he needs his face painted. Poor chap - no eyeballs and a bleeding mouth - he won't be able to see anything, let alone enjoy the quiet life by my pond. With the others. The eighty three others. Oops - my garden is rather overgnomed.
One Minute Later...
Thoughtful. If only it was as easy in real life to give sight and clean up someone's mouth. The magic of the tiny paintbrush and my new gnome has instantly come alive. I wish there could be people magic, too.
Three Hours Later...
Bricklaying success! I think (just quietly) that I am slowly getting better at 'it'. My friend helped level the ground, and I used up all the mortar on one straight wall and half the starting curve of the spiral. I think it looks gorgeous. Well, I would, I guess...
New Pink and White Tulip
Now my fingers need a serious rest, and neither weeding nor thumping Schumann's dramatic piano sonata in F minor seem to be good options. A garden seat and a book, I think.
Thursday 11th October
And how did I spend today in the garden? Ha! I spent the morning cleaning more bricks. I spent the afternoon buying more mortar and laying more bricks. I'm now going around the middle herb feature, and my spiral is starting to spiral, so to speak. This is a great feeling.
Spirals are really strong spiritually.