Thinking about a garden holiday...

 With beautiful autumn colour.
Garden Furniture and Cercis

I was on the verandah of Pond Cottage with my early morning cuppa, looking around at the garden and thinking. A week spent just sitting in my garden reading books would be an amazing sort of holiday.

When I got bored I could go for a garden walk, or get cafe-style food and drinks from my very own kitchen. And then read some more, on a different garden seat...

On a slightly different tack, I could rig up a tippy outdoor shower, build a self-composting toilet, and I wouldn't really need to go over to the big house at all, hee hee. Oops. Have remembered my grand piano, the 2000 piece jigsaw table, and my TV couch.

Wednesday 28th March

This morning the garden didn't look scruffy at all. Mind you, I had cleaned up the cottage garden yesterday and raked the immediate paths.

 Foliage dying off.
Autumn Hostas

Good Morning

I said a cheery good morning to Daughter of Moosey's Birthday rhododendrons, snug in their new bed, and to the nearby autumnal hostas, looking elegantly scruffy. My goodness I miss DOM!

I had planned a big gardening day, but it's drizzling, so my plan is to do some web-gardening and then play the piano for an hour. Will I ever 'master' Jerez by Albeniz? Will my garden ever be finished? I've started up the little incinerator, though. As long as I draw breath there will be gum leaves to burn.

Much Later...

I spent an hour trying to sort out the hard bars in Jerez, then went outside for a huge burning session. I'd cut an armful of Shasta daisies down, get a barrowful of gum tree debris from behind the pond, then more Shasta daisies, and so on, and so on. Thus the wet perennial stalks would be encouraged into combustion by the dry gum bark and leaves. This seemed to go on forever.

Nancy Steen Roses :
I've heard the rose Nancy Steen called the Autumn Rose.

Every time I walked past the roses in the Glass-House Garden I'd have to stop and admire. Such wonderful colours! Whisky Mac must definitely be planted in here, amongst the tawny shades (must do that tomorrow). Nancy Steen is amazing in her autumn colours, as is Just Joey. The newly identified Strawberry Ice rose is flowering madly, too. None of the rose colours seem to clash, though there's a huge variety - la Marseillaise, Saint Exupery, and Guy Savoy (my French trio) have red and deep pink shades. One of the nicest plantings in here is a shrub with wine coloured foliage, name temporarily mislaid - perhaps this blends everything together.

 By the Birthday Rose Garden.
Gardening Kitten

He or She?

Little Mac is going to the vet this weekend for his/her immunisation, when all (that is, the gender of this darling kitten) will be revealed. How exciting! A girl, I'm sure. The kitten has a long, lean body shape, long legs and tail, and the glossiest fur. A bit of a tomboy, confident and nosy, loves being in the garden. Sounds like a girl to me!

Thursday 29th March

What a beautiful morning! Brahms' first piano concerto is oozing out of the stereo, pouring syrup into my soul. I looooooooove Brahms. I'm staying home all day, and my plan is to scoot around a bit fixing things and planting left-overs. The autumn light is beautiful, and leaves are falling daily from the trees in the Pond Paddock. The hydrangeas are turning colour, too.

OK - A quick check-in while the lunchtime coffee is brewing (if that's what coffee does). I've been cleaning up the Birthday Rose Garden, pulling out lime and yellow Euphorbia and weeds, and generally trimming things. Some dark leaved geraniums, rose-pink Lupin root divisions, and spare purple Ajuga (a bit of a nuisance) are in pots for elsewhere. Now I'm having lunch on the nearby garden bench with my book. New rule - I have to do more reading in the garden.

 A beauty, though she hasn't really climbed much yet.
Zephirine Drouhin Pink Rose

Much, Much, Much Later...

It's been a great day with another long, lingering autumn bonfire. I trimmed back the cherry rambling rose by the Sleepout, cut down more Shasta daisies and Echinacea, and found several colonies of knee-high annual weeds, all flowering so sweetly. If I was looking to blame something I'd swear they come out of the bonfire ash that I shovel onto the garden. But I guess this isn't possible.

 Trees changing colour.
Autumn by the Water Race

I've picked some Gertrude Jekyll and Othello roses for the house and squashed them in the same vase. Let their fragrances compete with each other! All in all, at the end of the day, when I look back over things, I am sooooooooooo lucky to be here, alive, with a decent brain, a garden that always welcomes me, cats that come gardening with me, and fingers that can half-play pieces from Albeniz's Iberia (that sneaky 'Jerez'). And this hot cup of tea is pretty wonderful too. Best to ignore all the Shasta daisies in the Dog-Path Garden which need to be trimmed tomorrow, and the huge piles of gum leaves waiting for the next ten bonfires. Aargh!

 Flowering again, just a few blooms.
Unknown Yellow Rose

Friday 30th March

I'm doing things the other way round this morning. A session of piano practice first, then morning coffee and straight out into the garden. I am definitely going to cut down the Dog-Path Garden Shasta daisies. They are such great, tough flowers for filling up a difficult space. And the roots are thick enough to discourage weeds.

Much, Much Later...

Seven gardening hours later - seven! Well, one thing led to another, as it should do on a good gardening day. I went over to trim those Shasta daisies in the Dog-Path Garden, but there was rather a lot of nasty creeping grass caught up in their roots. Four roses were in the middle of the mess, with not nearly enough room to flower.

So I dug everything out, weeded out (hopefully) the grass, built up the stone bank at least a foot higher, and levelled up the garden with horse manure, compost and mulch. At the moment the daisies are trimmed and under the hedge, but I will replant them somewhere else.

 The Shasta daisies are gone.
Dog-Path Garden

At the end of the day I burnt the rubbish, packed up all my tools, and remembered to prune and pot those roses (suspect three white Icebergs and one unknown yellow). My gardening companions (big Fluff-Fluff the cat, Little Mac the kitten, and Rusty the dog) stayed with me the whole day. That's stamina for you!

Rat! :
I found this rat in the Gunnera just by the willow stump -this is one of last year's photographs.

Something in the willow stump has held Rusty's interest all day. He has been circling around it, sploshing into the water to get a better look, then making frenzied dog-leaps against the trunk, alternately moaning and barking. Maybe a rat? I tried to share the moment, peering up into the suckers, but I couldn't see anything. The thing is - I've always taken Rusty's wild-life 'interests' seriously, ever since he found young Minimus (the wildest of kittens) in the back of the woodshed. If I hadn't bothered to look that day, I'd never have seen her tiny grey triangle ears sticking out above a log of firewood.

Now I'm listening to Brahms (one of those sublime piano concerti) as I reflect on yet another brilliant gardening day. Methinks this is great music to accompany a slow wine...