The spice of gardening life...
The nicest thing about having a big garden : variety, the spice of gardening life. There's always a new place to work in. A wooded shrubbery one day, the edges of a burbling, watery stream the next. New sights and smells. A new mood, a different ambience...
Tuesday 6th September
It's day two of my Birthday Gardening Week, and I'm going to work by the water. I wrote out my plan at my stuffy choir rehearsal last night (hope the conductor doesn't ever read this). The choir is preparing a spring programme, but the lyrics are all old-school and northern hemisphere, quaintly irrelevant to my spring in my garden : cuckoos, larks, maidens and swains... For me, April showers don't hit a springlike spot. And (alas) I've never heard a cuckoo that wasn't a clock.
The Stone Wall is Rebuilt
But back to real spring. The list seems fairly straightforward, neat, and to the point. The heading : Stumpy Garden and Water Race (that's the wee burbling stream's proper name). The list follows.
- Rebuild little stone wall.
- Barrow in soil and manure.
- Rake out excess leaves, weed.
- Trim Miscanthus, prune roses.
I finished everything. And I burnt the mess. Miscanthus trimming has to be timed right. The big dry feathery plumes look wonderfully sculptural over winter - I sound like a magazine, but there's no original way to say this. The trim needs to be done before the new spring shoots get too tall.
Wednesday 7th September
A Birthday Eve Vet Visit. Hmmm... Histeria, my scrawny tabby whose appetite comes and goes, is in the cat cage ready to go. I'm a bit nervous, because I know something isn't right. And Hissy has never ever been handled or examined by the vet before. Forgive me, dear cat. No, Tiddles, you cannot climb over the top of the cage. Tiger and Buster - you too. Please leave Hissy alone.
Hissy behaved wonderfully for the vet (she was tucked up in the cosiest little cat bag to have her blood taken). She's back home, very cheerful. Now I have a small window of opportunity before the forecast bad weather arrives. I'm going to remove all the iris confusa from the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden. They do not make the grade growing out in the open, with frosts burning their leaves in winter and the summer sun baking them dry. Greenery? Yellowery!
Messy Japanese irises
So far, so good. There's a good reason why this garden has been so poorly maintained. Three years ago when next-door's pine forest came down, most of of the rhododendrons here were trashed. I deliberately left them to recover, self-layer, re-sprout, whatever. And they have done just that, so now it's high time for some gentle remediation. Ha! Horse manure!
That dodgy weather hasn't yet arrived. And Hissy's blood test results haven't come back yet either. Hope her problem is treatable. I've promised my house that I will clean it up as soon as I'm driven inside by the cold (seems a pretty poor reward).
The problem is that my hands are getting really, really sore, and the bad weather still hasn't turned up. Just a hint of glowering grey and some distant thunder. So I've come inside to rev myself up. I need to barrow in more loads of horse manure and soil, until it starts raining. Then - a decent reward! A hot shower, clean clothes (particularly socks, since my feet feel very dusty), and a wee bit of sneaky daytime TV. Forget the housework.
Snow by Pond Cottage
Yes. Done. Rain. Daffodils picked for the house. Firewood stacked ready, in case snow to 200 meters means snow to 100 meters. Aargh!
Thursday 8th September, My Birthday...
Aargh indeed! Woke up to a scattering of Birthday Snow, not much. Not enough to worry the trees and shrubs, anyway. My dogs think the snow is wonderful - they've been running, rolling...
Light Snow on the Driveway Garden
And guess what? We are collectively soooooooo tough. We are going to the dog park, before a Birthday Morning Tea with my dog park friends. I'll take my gumboots, and wrap up for the wind chill. Happy birthday to meeeeee. Hope the little birdies are OK in the wind.
Presents from my dog-park friends! I am so lucky. They including a fierce looking weed puller-outer, the likes of which I have never seen before. It looks alarmingly surgical, hee hee. Another friend has just visited with some spiky pink Cactus Dahlia tubers. My house is clean (I did some Birthday Vacuuming) and log-burner warm. Outside the dear little birdies are keeping warm by fluttering all over their bird feeder. Hail sweeps over the patios one minute and sunshine the next.
The little splashes of yellow (daffodils) look cheerful from the house, and the deep pink Camellia is flowering. Alas, there can be no physical birthday gardening. But I'm so pleased with my efforts by the water race. The snow (or sleet, hail, or rain) will be soaking into all the horse manure I've added. Great timing.
+10Buster, dripping gently, specks of hail on her black fur, has just wandered over the keyboard. Buster, you do know it's my birthday, right? 'Of course', says Buster the cat. 'Look, I've even typed a Birthday Message in your journal page : 08-Sep-163:29 PM 08-Sep-163:29 PM 08-Sep-163:29 PM 08-Sep-163:29 PM 08-Sep-163:29 PM 08-Sep-163:30 PM 08-Sep-163:30 PM 08-Sep-163:30 PM 08-Sep-163:30 PM'
So clever! How does she do that?