The Merino Bachelor...
I am about to launch myself into the garden. But first I have to babysit the dogs in the house while Non-Gardening Partner shifts the sheep around. Hee hee. It's time for the merino version of that well-known reality programme (secretly watched by me and millions of other intelligent women), The Bachelor.
Merino Bachelor Ram
2016's merino bachelor's name is Rambo (rather predictable) and his wildest ovine dreams are about to be answered in the seclusion of the Hazelnut Orchard. As I write this the lucky ladies are being assembled, the rose ceremony (or its equivalent) about to begin. Ewe number 271, will you accept this rose? Baaaaaaaa....
Sunday, Much Later...
I have worked so hard! I've been watering and weeding in the Allotment Garden. First of all - two mad rambling roses, recycled, which I planted in good faith to decorate the modest rope swag. Ha ha. These roses have grown into monsters just in two seasons, with thick thorny canes stretching this way and that.
Unknown Rambling Rose
It was very obvious to me that trimming and training was not the answer. So I've dug them both out, and - oops - RIP. I don't have a fence sturdy enough or an out-building big enough. Suspect they are American Pillar. Or were, sorry. Such a pretty flower, but far too aggressive in growth.
The blue Salvia uligosa is still flowering, but is looking a little scruffy - Escher the big brown dog has been following mice trails in and out of its tall stems. I notice he has stomped on some irises too, but he is forgiven. It's not their time. My blues Delphiniums are re-blooming rather nicely, though their flower stems are only knee-high. And the autumn flowering roses, flowers deeper in colour and scruffier in form than the first blooms in late spring.
I still get disheartened by the weeds which keep on popping up in the Allotment Garden. But most have arrived courtesy of soil fill and compost. I love my favourites (like blue Agastache) which self-seed. And today I pulled out the red Orach and scattered its seeds willy nilly. I hope this annual stays with me for ever.
So, April, what sort of month are you going to be? Please can I have a good soaking of rain soon? Then the fire ban will be lifted and I can have my autumn bonfire. Then and only then will I be able to trim the rest of the perennials (like the Phlox and Ligularia) and rake up the gum leaves from around the pond.
Tuesday 5th April
Aargh! My wildest gardening dreams have been answered. The fire ban is off! That means I have no excuse any more. Gum leaves can be raked up. Gum bark can be picked up and carried to the bonfire. It's all on! Head Gardener slumps into TV couch, reaches for remote...
Much, Much Later...
I have been to the dog park, and to swimming to look after the new grand-baby. He is a darling, and he seems to like me singing to him. It either amuses him, or puts him to sleep. Both are desirable outcomes, and long may this last!
When I got home I didn't waste a minute. On with the gardening clothes, and off to the bonfire. I managed to burn one pile of flax leaves - they're slithery, and difficult to handle. I also burnt gum branches, barrowfuls of mess from the far fence-line, and the Phlox and Ligularia trimmings. I am a legend (a slurping cider legend). And I have cooked a yummy evening meal for my family. Hopefully we will eat soon before my window of lucidity shuts and I become incapable of saying anything other than 'I want to go to sleep now'.
Wednesday 6th April
OK. I have two important resolutions. Let's not beat about the bush - or shrub, or tree.
- I have to lose some weight.
- I have to spend less money.
Blast. These two items have a connection. I've got a special notebook, and I get a tick every time - for example - I don't eat a sticky bun, or don't buy another retro wall duck or cat tea-pot. And I'm going to drink water in the evenings instead of cider (this will be a bit trickier). Now to the gardening day. I'm back from the dog park, about to relight the bonfire. I promise not to moan too much. Me, moan?
Merino Ram Bachelor
Four Hours later...
And four honest hours they have been, trundling rubbish over to the bonfire from the pond and the fence-lines. I've burnt a lot more flax leaves - they have to be balanced, poked and prodded into place, and need other faster-burning material around them. It's an art! Underneath the Leyland Hedge ten 'bays' are filled with flax trimmings, and I'm cleaning out one a day - that's the plan.
Today's Food - crackers with cottage cheese, a few cooked prawns, a couple of prunes and an apple (from my tree), water, and a big drink of milk (I love milk). So far, so good. Now a cup of tea and two recorded episodes of the Bachelor to fast-forward through. Sorry about this.
Wonder how my Rambo is getting on? He's not at his most handsome - last week he'd been busy head-butting the fence, had cut himself, and had to be covered in anti-fly maggot treatment. Oops. Will any of the ladies be put off and want to leave the mansion-paddock?