A proper country-woman...

 Big eyes!
Minimus the Cottage Cat

Yippee! Rather than listen to and watch next-door's random tree-men with their clattering machines, I have some of my own to supervise. They are arriving this morning to manicure our huge gum trees and fell a near-dead pine on the edge of the ram paddock. My own tree-men! I am a proper country-woman, for once!

That dodgy pine tree is rather near Pond Cottage, and I'd rather not hear any unusual 'kerthump' noises in the night. My ears are reasonably happily attuned to Minimus the cottage cat and her mystery midnight visitor (ginger Percy) as they have leaping competitions in and out of the window. Trees that go bump in the night are a lot more alarming...

Where Are My Tree-Men?

Aha! A new truth. A much anticipated tree-man never arrives. So I'm off outside to start my work. It's more bonfiring, I'm afraid, with more of the vigorous rambling rose Chevy Chase to bring down, resulting in yet more scratches on legs and hands. But I'm tough! And at least I look (limb-wise) like a gardener. Hopefully Rusty will bark when the men drive in...

Later - it's lunchtime, and the orchard roses (check out some of them in the photographs above) are almost done. Chevy Chase is down to four or five newish canes. But, oh dear me! Such a tangled web of criss-cross canes, dead bits, and long thin grabbers (ouch, ouch, ouch). Anyway, it's too windy to burn, so I've just left the mess in the orchard. This is just an early autumn tidy-up, too - not a proper pruning. I'll do that later in winter.

Lilli in her Lounge :
You'll enjoy this video of my eccentric grey cat Lilli-Puss in her own cat lounge.

Lilli-Puss my grey cat has been lolling around in the orchard supervising. Silly Lilli! She's moved back into the hay barn - her autumn quarters. The armchairs in her cat lounge get the early morning sun from now on. Cats understand the sun's angles much better than gardeners do, I reckon.

This afternoon's plan, apart from waiting for the tree-men (the story of my life, as far as this page goes), is to clean up the Herb Spiral and surrounding roses, perennials, and quasi-vegetable garden.

 And Calendula seedlings on the path below!
Herbs in the Spiral

The spiral is a feature of my garden, and features need care and attention. If I'm not prepared to do this properly... Eek! What a choice - be embarrassed by an over-grown, weedy, spiritual spiral, or enjoy a thing of visual beauty which has been maimed by invisible chemical nasties.

 Black and White Minstrels
My New Dianthus

Much Later...

The wind died down, so I finished the burning - pieces of the rambler (Chevy Chase), more gum leaves, and some nasty creeping grass dug out of the roses and perennials garden. I've also trimmed and replanted the variegated Scrophularia therein. The Herb Spiral's gardens are now OK, but the path around it is covered in seedling Calendulas, Thyme, Forget-me-nots, and weeds.

A beautiful dianthus called Black and White Minstrels (which I grew from seed) is finally flowering. Sharifa Asma's rose fragrance is strong enough to compete with my smoky bonfire, but the next-door roses, David Austin's Tea Clipper and Strawberry Hill, are sulking. Oh well. Sulk away, dear roses, at your peril.

Friday 21st March

I thought it would show extreme personal discipline to clean up the two remaining rose archways today, rather than loaf about inside reading books and starting a new jigsaw. And so one clean-up task will be totally finished in time for the weekend. And maybe I'll do a little bonfiring, too. I'd like to finish clearing up the fence-lines.

 I wish you could smell them!
Souvenir de la Malmaison Roses

My tree-men are still not here. But next-door it's all action. Mini-logging trucks are rumbling in and out laden with logs, and two chain-saws are whining away near my driveway in a noisy duet. I've got my little collections of shrubs to plant to block the view and give me privacy. I've even drawn up a rough plan on paper. It says the Viburnums are to form a hedge, and the old wooden fence has the words 'roses along here'. Yippee! An excuse to buy some more roses...


Best not to over-think today's gardening mood. It's very slow, but the final archway rose (Souvenir de la Malmaison) is now cleaned up, and I've picked lots of her flowers for the house. My kitchen for once smells subtle, and rather lovely - more like a bathroom filled with expensive soap.

Now my plan is to burn for about three hours and make all the rose prunings disappear. I've almost got away with a lack of energy and momentum (two quite different things, but equally important in a good gardening day). And the reward? I will shower, wash that smoke right outa my hair, put on a pretty white shirt, pour a wine, and start my new jigsaw. By the time Non-Gardening Partner arrives home with the evening meal (Chinese takeaways) I should be well-gone. But at least I'll smell nice, hee hee...

By the way, my tree-men can't come for a few more weeks. Emergency work on the peninsula after the last storm has been keeping them busy. Oh well. Something to look forward to. There's always the motley crew next-door if I feel the desperate need.