The Mulch Monster...

 Can you spot the path mulch monster?
Pond Cottage

Minimus (my cottage cat) always starts her day fighting the mulch monster. This monster, whose existence I don't doubt for a minute, hides in the mulched path in front of Pond Cottage. Oooo, scary!

Each morning Minimus leaps and twirls upon it, tail flicking wildly, doing her best to entice it out into the open. Kapow! Kazoom! She pounces, ears flat, eyes as big as saucers. Go, young Minimus, my cat-hero!

Friday 19th October

Today, as I admired her technique, three of the sheep shuffled across the ram paddock at the back of the pond. Sheep are always on the slow move - I guess the grass over there always looks better, in their eyes. Well, hopefully it was grass, and not new green growth from my fence-line shrubs. They may move and nibble slowly, but oh boy! Sheep can quickly strip a sprouting rose.

+5Watching the animals always puts me in a smiley, positive mood, and this morning it enabled me (safely sitting in bed) to face my brick fears. If Minimus can face off with the mulch monster, then I can certainly deal with a batch of used hundred-year-old bricks.

 A very pretty colour combination.
Rhododendron and Aquilegia Flowers

So I have formulated the following Sensible Brick Plan: I have two hours in which to finish the last, curved brick wall in my vegetable garden. Just two hours. And then, that is it. I am declaring Stage One of my brick project officially complete. Then I'll rake and weed the soil and plant things - a row of spuds, carrot and parsnip seeds, courgette and lettuce plants, and dwarf purple beans. All the fun, foodie things. Yum.

Some of My Spring Rhododendrons

Before I forget (or my creative thoughts are swamped by brick images) I have a new sneaky trick for coping with the far-too-many garden photographs that are being taken at the moment. Below are more of my rhododendrons, with photographs taken by my resident webmaster. Seems so silly not to show them off, doesn't it? Such images are the perfect foil to all those terracotta coloured oblong unmentionables, hee hee...

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

Ha! My sensible brick plan has worked, and any sensible gardener would be jumping for joy and opening a bottle of something. But no, not me. In one of those oddly perverse moments I feel rather deflated. Hopeless! You see, I know the spiral isn't finished, and the back curved wall needs mortar, and all the walls need another course of bricks... See how hopeless I am? I need to live in the moment.

 Name unknown.
Beautiful Rhododendron

But I do feel proud, and I've watered the two pink Kate Sheppards (roses) which had to be shifted. I've also done two hours of normal gardening, doing edges, weeding, and bucketing water onto some of the new striped roses. Time for a wander with my camera to refresh my gardening spirit with some beautiful shrub colour (rhododendrons) and some more modest flowerings (little purple pansies, blue Ajuga, the first Aquilegias). I remind myself that I might be a haphazard brick-layer, but a vegetable garden is allowed to look a bit rustic!

At the end of a busy day, never, ever go for a wander around the garden without taking the camera. -Moosey words of wisdom.

Aha! A Rule of the Garden which it's taken me a long time to work out. At the end of a busy day, never, ever go for a wander around the garden without taking the camera. Camera-less, one seems to see lots of weeds, untidy shrubs, things that need doing, etc. Aargh!

This is an awful way to end the day. Good gardeners need to feel rewarded, so they are able to go to sleep with a silly smile on their face.

Purple Pansies

Pretty and Picturesque

With camera in hand, tired gardeners can look to the pretty and the picturesque for comfort. And so they see early roses flowering (like the yellow rugosa Agnes and the rosy-cheeked Fruhlingsmorgen), pretty borders full of pale blue Forget-Me-Nots, fragile pink Rhododendrons, even buds on Lilac shrubs, and so on. Such things give hope and happiness. Any garden mess becomes invisible, because nobody who is really tired bothers to take photographs of mess.

Saturday 20th October

Today is full of exciting things. We are going to a birthday breakfast after swimming, and then I'm doing some old-school, hands-and-knees, brickless gardening (weeding and trimming edges). Then we will deliver a load of compost and top soil to Son of Moosey's vegetable garden, where Non-Gardening Partner can admire my motherly digging. And then, with much pride, I can return to wander around my own garden, with my camera in hand, and see what exciting things I can find.


It is so nice being a proper gardener again. The real me (complete with exclamation marks) is back! My garden borders look instantly tidier with their lawn edges trimmed. A barrowful of weeds on the fence-line compost heap means fewer weeds in the garden. Aha! Progress! And there are so many beautiful colours to enjoy, as well as green (which is always beautiful). Love those rhododendrons!

 He has the hugest cat-paws.
Fluff-Fluff, My Gardening Cat

+5Fluff-Fluff, my super-sized fluffy caramel cat, has been my constant companion all afternoon. He has been sitting ornamentally in the greenery, leaping onto fence-posts, and following the inexorable trudge of gardener-with-wheelbarrow. I think he prefers me being a real gardener to being a grumpy, hand-sore bricklayer. There are no monsters in Fluff-Fluff's garden world, either - his only problem is not concentrating and then getting left behind. Big boy, you have to keep up!