Two gardening dog companions!
Two Dog Friends
In theory I've had two gardening-dog companions these last few days. I've been weeding along the water race, and Escher the big brown dog-puppy has splendid fun leaping in and out and sploshing up and down in the water.
Rusty, on the other hand, is an old-man dog. He slumps on the grass nearby and sighs, waiting patiently for the bouncy visitor to go away and leave him in peace. This photograph, taken when Escher was a smaller dog, might show you why!
Wednesday 15th August
Hmm... When did my dog become so elderly? I know he gets bored with me gardening, but there was a time he'd be standing in the water with me ready to catch anything that floated downstream. For the record, Rusty is now seven years old. Middle dog-aged? Mature and semi-senior, I guess...
The Island Bed
Thursday 16th August
The Island Bed! Oh, how beautiful is the Island Bed! Since I 'remade' this bed last autumn the big pink Azalea has so much more room, its beautiful colour visible as I winter-walk down the drive with the dogs. Aha! A well-weeded Island Bed would look even better, and after swimming this morning that's my task. The soft, cute green carpet underneath the Lilacs is - ahem - escaped grass. Those Lilacs and the specimen Maple tree planted not so many seasons ago will also enjoy the freedom of more airspace. Though why, oh why didn't I keep the maple's label? It's recorded as 'a maple with gorgeous peeling brown bark'. Hmm....
Cottage and Red Rhododendron
Aha! It's Acer Griseum! I knew that (what a fib). I've been gardening with the dogs, weeding carefully (trying not to step on any small emerging peony shoots) and scooping up dirt and leaves from the driveway edges for mulch. We have also been around the garden taking photographs (me) and snuffling along all the paths (them). Yes, I've spied a few more proper daffodils, and Camellia flowers just starting to burst out of their buds. The snow some months back has definitely 'uncompacted' some of the Camellia shrubs, so that their branches sprawl this way and that. My two red rhododendrons are gorgeous, by the way. Won't they be wonderful when they get bigger?
There are more things to do later, after the dogs have had a snooze - plant two more roses (recycled ones discovered in buckets) and one hosta clump. Spread bags of horse manure (subtly, away from the nose of Escher the big brown dog).
Right. I'm going to play my Albeniz. I can make most of his piano music sound half-good at half-speed. And his phrases will flow for me, albeit sounding more like a sluggish stream than a babbling river. But hey! If this is my lot in musical life, then so be it - at least I am afloat...
Friday 17th August
I'm enjoying a peaceful morning moment, with both the dogs out on the patio gnawing at bones. Little Mac the fearless kitten is chirping and purring at me.
- Escher the Dog :
- Here is Escher the big brown dog with one of my red gardening gloves.
I've been busy carting barrowfuls of logs over to the wood heap, the two dogs plodding after me - well, Rusty plods, while Escher floppy-dances, his long brown limbs flailing about sideways. I keep finding neat little piles in the garden from previous chain-sawing days. This is all very well, but it's such a pity to waste the wood by forgetting about it for years (and years).
Now I'm off to check out a major source of firewood - pieces of pine tree which have been felled, trailer loads available for removal. It seems daft (but oh so sensible) to be sourcing wet wood for next winter in the middle of this one. That's the circle of gardening life.
I've weeded, raked, picked up dry cordyline leaves for the bonfire, and shifted some red primroses out of the shade of a large fern. My gardening dogs have had lots of fun following me around, especially the big brown dog-puppy.
Conversations With A Brown Dog
'Please don't bark at next-door's goat, Escher. Come here. Goooood boy! Careful! You'll knock over the gnomes. Escher! Don't chase Fluff-Fluff the cat! ESCHERRRRRRR! Mooooooove! Get off the garden!'
Reasoning with a novice gardening dog is fairly futile, I guess, but it's fun trying! As regards gardening etiquette. Escher manages to find dead carcasses (birds, mice, and so on), the scary barbed wire on the boundary fence, and any reasonably fresh horse manure I've just put on a garden border. Rusty, being the more senior and experienced gardening dog, has far fewer vices. Granted, he barks at the bellbirds, rather than the goat. And if Escher stops concentrating on his bone, Rusty sneaks off with it to bury for later.
Spring Yellows Report
I have some more early spring yellows to report - a patch of pretty miniature trumpet daffodils flowering, always amongst the first. And the big Wattle trees are flowering, their colour a harsher citrus yellow, glowing underneath the mid-blue winter sky.
Sunday 19th August
This has been a very woody, hard-working weekend. Yesterday Non-Gardening partner went to chainsaw up bargain firewood logs (my job was to throw them into the trailer). Then we returned to collect a trailer of woodchips for my paths. And today, yet another load of chips. Already the paths in the Shrubbery are covered and looking beautiful. I've had a nice circuit going, exchanging a barrowful of woodchips for one of mess for the bonfire.
I've also potted up some Phormium divisions, and some species Cannas. OK, I know it all sounds fairly unexciting. But I love my freshly mulched paths, and plodding around the garden with the wheelbarrow lets me check on new spring bulbs - white snowflakes, and different types of yellow daffodils are starting to fill the garden, and a new pot of pink hyacinths is almost flowering. Please let this be the beginning of spring. I deserve some spring!
Tomorrow I'm going to take some basal cuttings of my lupins. They're just starting to sprout, and this way I can make more plants for nothing. My Layla seeds have germinated, too.
My goodness I'm smiley-tired. It's been quite a physical weekend garden-wise, and I'm very pleased with the results. Non-Gardening Partner has just been vacuuming the downstairs carpets, and tells me this is even harder work than shovelling woodchips. Well, I know which I'd rather be doing!