Going to the Dogs?
For the next two days I am gardening with dogs. Big brown Escher is staying, and so these are compulsory dog-socialisation days for Rusty. We have already been busy in the garden - weeding, trimming, planting flowering annuals, and spreading organic matter in the Driveway Garden. Now we are all having morning tea - dog biscuits for the dogs, person biscuit for the person (me).
Brown Dog Escher in the Garden
Tuesday 7th November
And I've been enjoying doing proper gardening. Already two barrowfuls of weeds have been dumped by the fence-line. I've cut down Prunus suckers and rogue Pittosporums. The dogs plod along following the wheelbarrow.
Thankfully Escher the dog has matured in some of his garden habits. He no longer eats the horse manure. Mind you, the horse manure has also matured. However, I do not necessarily trust him when he 'man-barks' at next-door's goat. Escher is not yet a completely countrified dog.
Would he, for example, jump the fence and chase the ram? Yes (he already has, once). And what about that growling when he's chewing on one of his super-bones? Seems awfully unfair, since I'm the one that gave it to him. Oh well, better leave him to it...
All is calm and peaceful, with the dogs snoozing on their armchairs. We three have had a big, big day. The vegetable garden is finally planted with peas, dwarf beans, endive, carrots and parsnips, and more potatoes. I've topped up the herb spiral gardens with a little more topsoil, and planted a scented pelargonium and more white and yellow daisies.
Pretty Pink-Purple Rhododendron
In a proper gardening day one pays attention to lots of tiny details. And things that have been waiting to be done for some weeks get done. Yippee! I'm really tired, but I feel so good! I'll drink some of Larry's home-made wine with my evening meal, and then have an early, hazy dog-free night safe and snug in the cottage. I'm bed-travelling around Europe with Michael Palin, enjoying his hand-picked local personality guides. Why not? I can manage a couple of interesting cities before I fall asleep.
Garden Shapes and Colours
Wednesday 7th November
Gardening with dogs is fun, particularly when the gardener is on the move. This morning we have been busy shifting loads of topsoil onto the lawn by the Hen House Garden, trundling the wheelbarrow back and forth, back and forth, me and my canine companions.
I've planted the new cheery pink and green Maple in the back of the Septic Tank Border, just behind the deceased red Weigela. The nearby clutch of white daisies has been watered, and I've weeded along the fence.
I've taken the dogs for a leisurely lunchtime garden dog-walk, camera (and dog biscuits) in hand, finding some pretty things to photograph - like roses, rhododendrons, columbines, and blue lupins. The large pink rhododendron in the Willow Tree Garden is flowering for the very first time - it is rather a sweetie. Pretty pink!
My dogs are now flopped in the sun on the patio and I'm thinking about rose rust. Aargh! What to do? I've saturated the house roses thus inflicted with a serious fungal spray. But there goes Sarah Van Fleet (?) in the shrubbery, 'at it' shamelessly, again. I'm tempted to dig her out and remove her to a fence-line far, far away.
Follow That Dog-Nose!
A Good Gardening Dog
Escher goes home this afternoon, and so my gardening life will become less brown, and less complicated. He's been a good gardening dog - he's kept to the paths, and he hasn't knocked me down into the water while I'm crossing any of my bridges. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, since I do tend to stop dead still while he charges past.
Nor has he crashed into any of the flowering irises or broken any foxgloves. He hasn't really trodden on any of my plants, either. And a super-bone keeps him busily engaged for hours and hours.
OK, so he chased young Minimus up a tree - well, I did warn her! And the best thing of all? He doesn't bark at the birds. My dog Rusty could learn from this.
Bye Bye, Best Brown Dog
Bye bye, best brown dog Escher, so boisterous and so busy - come back soon! Mind you, I think I can hear Rusty sighing with relief...