More roses in bloom...

 With the most beautiful fragrance.
Othello Rose

Every day there are more roses in bloom in my garden. Now sultry Othello, the master of rose fragrance, is flowering by the patio. Sorry about the few bits of black spot on his leaves. But then he'd be too perfect, wouldn't he?

Thursday 10th November

I've just discovered a rather dynamic piano-violin Beethoven sonata (No 7 in C minor Op 30/2). Non-Gardening Partner (NGP, fast turning into NVP, Non-Violining Partner) might like this as an entree to the two (TWO! That's one, two...) Brahms violin sonatas I'm practicing - as his faithful accompanist. The only trouble I can foresee is the combination of the odd arthritic finger (mine) doing battle with a fat chord Sforzando every fourth bar or so.

Silly Beethoven...

Silly Beethoven - apart from needing to wake up everybody with random thumping accents, he's also obsessed with giving twiddly tunes to the lowest bass piano notes. And when in doubt, repeat it six times or more. Sorry, big B, don't mean to get all picky about your wonderful music...

 Lucky bee!
Bumble Bee on a Rugosa Rose

But this is a gardening journal. So I'm off outside to spread horse manure on the Shrubbery. I said I would, so I'm keeping my promise. And then it's off down the road to pick up more bags. Strike when the manure's hot (and free), I say. Good gardeners put the health of their soil before the state of the boot of their car.

Only Two Hours Later...

It's just that I rather fancy taking afternoon tea on a shady garden seat and reading. I've already carted three loads of pine tree branches to the bonfire, spread the horse manure on the Shrubbery, and covered it with a thick layer of mulch (hopefully confusing the blowflies). I'm off to the rustic seats in the Shrubbery's courtyard with my cat Fluff-Fluff, a cup of hot coffee, and my Guernsey book.

 The garden on the other side of the pergola.
Rosy Sunny Garden

Later Still...

I returned to the garden, and started clearing the Alkanet out of the garden by the pergola. My efforts have been rather superficial, though, and I need to return here tomorrow with commitment - that is, hand diggers and a spade. I can do this! There's also the problem of invasive Lamium (neither of these nasties planted by me, honestly). This is a lovely garden to work in - the other side is filled with pink Aquilegias, and the woodshed rambling rose is flowering.

 Relaxing on the bridge.
Lilli-Puss the Cat

Pat the Cat

One can never be too busy to pat a cat. Lilli-Puss had been supervising the bonfire from Middle Bridge, so my day ended with some quality cat-time on Lilli's favourite garden bench (on Duck Lawn) while the smoke billowed here and there. It was a delicate balancing act - Rusty the dog didn't want to be left out, either. I wouldn't want to be a gardener without animals.

Friday 11th November

Yippee! It's a local holiday, so NGP (AKA NVP) is home. Hope that makes sense... So after the morning swim I know what I should be doing in the garden. 'Should' is the word. My new policy of Freedom Gardening could take me anywhere. 'Could' is the other word.

Late Lunchtime...

Two hours of serious shovelling has seen much of the Lamium, all of the top bits of the Alkanet and some of the roots dug out. I've rescued a Penelope rose which was totally smothered by a Ligularia. I'll replant it as soon as I can disengage its roots. NGP has been busy mowing the lawns, which naturally look immediately beautiful, while squinting (out of focus) is the only way to enjoy my small garden improvements. So now I have edges to trim as well - but that's good. I'm going to do some now.

 Another David Austin beauty.
John Clare Rose

Much Later...

I love Freedom Gardening - it's guilt free. Instead of finishing the day thinking heavy thoughts about everything I still need to do, I feel positively light-headed. I list in great detail (mentally, lest it get too boring) the things that I've done. And I feel great.

This afternoon I trimmed most of the edges around the glass-house. More forget-me-nots came out, and I planted a couple of pottles of cornflowers in the Cottage Garden. My silly cat Fluff-Fluff has been my cat-company, and his long fur gets covered in biddi-bids from the forget-me-nots. Lucky for me he loves being groomed, and will relax with legs in the air while I check his rather wobbly undercarriage.

The rugosas by the glass-house are flowering now, as is David Austin's John Clare. He is an amazing rose - the very last to stop, often flowering well past the shortest winter day. And there he is, bright and pink, springing into early summer. A poet with garden stamina, no less.