Aargh! The Garden Club visit is now about thirty days away, and I haven't even begun to get properly organised. A friend of mine is chuckling - he says 'They'll go absolutely everywhere and look into absolutely everything'. Aargh!
Thursday 5th March
I'd like to note that I am again inspired by the wonderful New Zealand sub-alpine scrub and shrub, through which I trudged yesterday trying to reach the top of Mount Alford. Some may say that I failed. Some may scorn that I stopped half an hour from the summit, munched my smoked salmon filled ciabatta, drank my herbal tea, rested the legs, then set off down again. Ha! Let them. I was up there. They were not.
Today I am going into the far outpost of the Moosey Gardening Empire - the scruffy area called The Hump, the top of an old sand hill, where nothing much grows (except Pittosporums, one inch every two years) and there's no irrigation. About one half of The Hump is organised, with the line of pine trees marking the boundary between the rough and the smooth.
The Hump Garden
So this morning, with my rake, I'm raking up and dumping mess, clearing virgin land. I will be able to plant some sturdy Phormium Tenaxes in the spaces, and clear a small path. It will be obvious that the area downhill of the pines is for rubbish, and that the trees form a natural screen. Gertrude Jekyll will applaud me. And 'How sensible!' the Garden Club ladies will say...
- Minimus :
- Here is the latest picture of Minimus the kitten, looking very relaxed and sleepy in his cat box by the computer.
Where is Minimus the kitten? He has taken off with his latest trophy - a hollow egg-shell, the remains of my breakfast, which he expertly caught on the kitchen bench. Eek! I need to find it - I do not need old egg remains underneath a chair. And he needs to come gardening - he will like the ambience in The Hump.
Mid-Afternoon, Apres Gardening...
My hands - and my feet - hurt a bit. But my garden clearing has been most successful! The animal antics have been amusing. Minimus the kitten (who is quite tiny) has been leaping out from behind grasses scaring poor Rusty the dog (who is quite large). Fluff-Fluff's massive feline body has been parked up underneath a shrubby Pittosporum where he's been lolling like a senior, watching the little ones play. Histeria the tabby has been showing off, scooting high up impossibly thin tree trunks, and then skidding down backwards close to the speed of light.
Cat Resting in the Sun
I've been digging and raking and slicing and scraping and throwing loads of rubbish into the Designated Messy Area. But I do not exaggerate - I see only two or three more hours work and then the garden will be clear, ready for mulching, planting, and paths. The secret is to do clearing only - and not wheel any of the rubbish to the burning heap. Do not try to do everything at once!
New Gardening Books
Rusty and I have also been to the river for stones (passengers in the Moosey car cannot understand why the back seats are covered in sand - oops). And I've changed my library books. I am now going to put my feet (sore) up and flick through the following: 'Gardening Mediterranean Style' and 'My Gardening Year', apparently an Australian gardening classic written by Shirley Stackhouse. I hope I enjoy meeting her...
Friday 6th March
What a blissful feeling - the first morning cup of tea, and so much super-optimistic mind-gardening already done. The reality - still pretty good, quite wonderful really. I don't have to go to work, or the dentist, there's cricket on later this afternoon, and I've found some 'spare' money to pay for pea-straw and new plants...
Percy Cat in the Daisies
Some feline news - first, a free-ranging mouse in the house, brought inside by the laconic ginger Percy, lost under the vacuum cleaner, then grabbed by Minimus the kitten (with much fierce growling) - the big cats content to watch and learn?
White Flower Carpet Rose
Minimus took his mouse outside, and promptly lost it in the ivy - thus cat honour and human kindness to animals were both taken care of. Phew!
Mugsy Behaving Oddly
On a less optimistic note, Mugsy the disabled cat, the one who talks to her kitty litter box, is making the strangest noises and twitching over her food bowl - now she's resting on the carpet growling at nothing, not seeming to be 'all there'.
But Mugsy has never been 'all here' since her road accident those years ago (sixteen?). And no, Minimus - Mugsy does not want to play fight with you.
Jerome the Grey
Jerome, the old grey lady who lives upstairs (she's another cat), isn't totally well, either. She's so much slower, and has lost a lot of her interest in life. Oh dear.
Later, Dramatically Apres-Gardening...
Humph! We (Rusty the dog and the Head Gardener) were working so well in the Hump - then Rusty put his head right into a bumble bee's nest, out the bees all came, and charged at us both. Aargh! Run! Rusty rolling desperately in the grass, me doing a manic slapping dance.
I arrived in the house with a number of angry bees still stuck in my hair - ouch! Rusty has been stung lots - he's rather subdued, while I am rather more outraged than hurt. That's my garden out there! Then lovely Son-in-Law came to the rescue - de-beeing a rather jumpy Mother-in-Law and throwing her into the shower, throwing the dog in the pond, then bravely returning to the scene of the crime to 'fetch' Minimus the kitten. And getting stung for his troubles. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
Now I've got a carful of cheap, tough new plants to put in this garden - some more one dollar Escallonias, some Pittosporums, Coprosmas, and flaxes. But I'm cross, and my face (stung) and my bottom (stung) both hurt. Ouch again! Oh dear - what a dodgy way to end a gardening day...
Saturday 7th March - Wasps, Not Bees
It's unhealthy to still be sulking that one was chased out of ones own garden by a pack of bees? It's time to let go and return gingerly to the scene, and quietly go about the digging and planting? Nope. This morning I have a singing rehearsal - a 'stinging rehearsal'? - and won't be available for gardening. Non-Gardening Partner will be busy splitting logs for firewood - is next winter really that close? And NGP reckons that 'they' were wasps - he has found a few such remains in the bathroom.
Right. I'm back, it's warm outside, and I have the whole afternoon stretching ahead. I am off back into the Hump, but I will keep my distance from the recently renamed wasps.
I've almost remodelled the Glass-House Garden curve. But I'm too hot and too tired, so I've come inside to sulk. Sorry about this!