Sometimes my animals are so random. For some reason known only to ginger cats - a specific phase of the moon, perhaps? - Percy spent all of last night leaping in and out of my cottage window. 'Kerplunk! Crunch... Kerplunk!' he'd go, waking me up each time. 'Hellooooo, Percy' I'd say, my voice muffled from underneath the bedcovers.
Ginger Percy on the Pergola
After all, I wouldn't want him to think he was unwelcome. Impossible to sleep through these visitations - his comings and goings make my cottage rattle and resonate, just like an aftershock. Enough! Mustn't tempt the earthquake gods...
Fishermans Friend Rose
Monday 15th April
OK. Having kept me company all night, there is no sign of Percy today. I've potted up more daffodil bulbs for spring, rescued a half-baked Phormium from a pot, and created lots more burnable rubbish by raking and trimming the plants in Rusty's Lavender Garden.
The Autumn Bonfire
Debris dropped from the Eucalypt trees is sure piling up - I have rows of dry rubbish waiting underneath the fence-lines. Guess what I'll be doing very soon? Hint. The fire ban has been lifted. Aargh! The autumn bonfire! Gum leaves can't be composted, and there's no other fate possible for dead Cordyline and Phormium leaves. I grow a huge number of Cordylines and Phormiums.
Tuesday 16th April
Nice - a Percy-free evening in the cottage, but young Minimus took up the challenge. In and out, in and out she bounced, though lighter of foot, quieter, and managing to avoid my slumbering legs. There were no earthquake aftershock simulations, and no wriggling midnight mice offerings either. Phew!
My First Autumn Bonfire 2013
Today the plan is simple. Garden madly until the forecast rains come. There's one last Agapanthus to divide and plant - and my kind friend on the hill has even offered me more. Yes please! Agapanthus plants are like garden gnomes - there are either none available, or lots (some gardeners would say far too many).
Two Hours Later...
Ha! The random side of my gardening self has taken over, meaning that I haven't planted that Agapanthus. Instead I've been weeding the herb spiral, pulling strawberry plant runners out of the vegetable garden - they're now planted in a large bin for next season. I've been sooooooo tempted to put a little match (just one) to my bonfire, since I've been adding more and more cut-down perennial stalks to it. Maybe later today...
The Herb Spiral
It's been a great morning - I've found my lady's spade, rescued my lightweight wheelbarrow from rusting in the rain, and have managed to lose (and find) my new gardening scissors twice. Hmm... Black is not the colour of a good gardening hand tool. Right. Back to the garden. Now!
Autumn Sun, Berberis, Phormium
Another Three Hours Later...
Hee hee. A great autumn gardening day, finished off rather nicely with my first bonfire of the season. After burning I go properly apres-gardening, so all of me is clean. I've washed my hair, and my feet are tingling, happy in warm socks. They've done a lot of plodding today. Alas, the Agapanthus is still unplanted. But I've worked in the garden by the brick koru courtyard, collecting and tipping horse manure, compost, old oak leaves, and old grass clippings onto it. My plan is to plant some new (or shift some old) Camellias in here.
I did light the bonfire, just before the rain arrived. My gently gurgling fire looked rather nice, and I poked and prodded at it with the rake for ages, thinking autumn thoughts. And feeling amazement that dying leaves can have the richest, most vibrant, I'm-alive colours.
The only garden company I've had today has been Rusty the dog, who has been 'humphing' a lot (obviously I've been a bit boring). But we have been down twice to the hay barn to visit Lilli in her Cat Lounge, where I flicked through the pages of a garden landscaping book written in the 70s.
- ‘Retro garden books are not to be taken too seriously.’
- -Moosey Words of Wisdom.
Oh my goodness! Standard roses in a regimental row along the suburban front concrete path, and for the stylish country garden conifers, conifers, and more conifers. Sprawly ones, blobby ones, tall, thin ones, with the odd bulky Phormium for textural company. Every photograph looked very dated. Memo to self - retro garden books are not to be taken too seriously.
+10It's getting darker, wetter, and colder by the minute, and now the blue couch by the log burner has started growling. This means that young Minimus has crawled under it, and Tiger the Tortoiseshell Tormentor is keeping an unwelcome vigil alongside. It's a bit of a stalemate, because Tiger is far too fat to fit underneath. I'll go and shoo her away.
Ginger Percy Cat
Wednesday 17th April
Take a deep breath. How wet and muddy am I prepared to get? It rained beautifully overnight, and now the early morning is damp and mid-grey. Scattered rain is forecast all day. Here's a thought - I could plant that remaining Agapanthus, complete a task, tick a box, and then have another mini-bonfire and feel terribly virtuous.
Feed the Cats First...
But first I'll sneak ginger Percy some fresh pet meat, hopefully without the fat house cats noticing. Then I'll pop down to the Lilli-Puss Lounge (that's what one of my friends calls Lilli's Cat Lounge, making it sound rather dodgy) with breakfast for Lilli and a drink for me. Muddy thoughts are easier to contemplate while sipping hot coffee.
Not So Much Later...
Hmm... It's been raining, and I'm wearing my cleanest, 'bell-bottomest' pair of jeans. I reckon this is a sign - no gardening today. My dog and I have, however, completed a brisk walk down the road, and I've taken a batch of interesting autumn photographs (well, interesting to me). On a dull wet day even dying hosta leaves, so artistically veiny, can sparkle and shine.
The trick to enjoying a really rainy day is to just - ahem - go with the flow. Perhaps some TV-couch cycling? I am currently stuck in no-woman's land on the dusty cobblestones halfway between Paris and Roubaix...