The Sounds of Music
The gardens are alive... with the sounds of music... The Moosey Garden is hopefully to be visited by a group of musical ladies. My choir is touring the garden for its end-of-year Christmas break-up.
I've been analysing the things that I need to do to get the garden ready for a clutch of amateur songstresses. It's just not as simple as weeding everything and locking up the rooster.
Potted Pelargonium on Patio Table
Some things are obvious. For example, all lawns will need to have been very recently mowed, with all lawn edges beautifully trimmed. And there can be no spiders (I trend to cherish my spiders) dangling dangerously over the patio tables.
My experience in the choir tells me that first altos can be fussy about where they sit. So all my wooden garden benches need to point the right way, and be clean of mud and bird-droppings. My plastic seats must pop up in unexpected places, and have their dinky little striped cushions attached.
Sneaky Garden Seats!
This will be nice relief for the second altos, who have desperately low boredom thresholds. Must be all those bars of getting minims and semibreves on a low F instead of the tune...
Up the Garden Path
All garden paths need to be passable, well-covered with mulch, and weed-free. There can be no obstacles, either head-high tree branches or ankle-tapping flax leaves. I know all about the wobbly factor from my recent trip with a busload of non-singing ladies. Choral cruisers are likely to be much worse, trying to outdo each other with 'a capella' renditions of A Coventry Carol as they go tripping (aargh!) over Rooster Bridge.
I suspect many of the choir need glasses, but out of vanity don't wear them, so cosmetic general weeding should suffice. However, I must give them lots of cute little rustic accessories - old shoes full of succulents, old tin watering cans overflowing with red pelargoniums...
Higher-voiced women usually adore SSA arrangements of American folk songs, so some traditional country garden tableaux (New Zealand style) could be the answer. I'm thinking up-market bright blue pukekos (swamp hens), chicken netting sheep...
Continuing the whimsical country theme I'll arrange my profoundly silent singing scarecrow on the hidden stump in the Hen House Garden. I'll even provide her with a rusty old music stand and some profoundly silent sheet music...
My one bachelor garden gnome will be popped inside the old dog kennel. He can lurk disgracefully in here, watching the ladies' legs. Hopefully he will not offend the choir's well-tempered musical director. She's had such a long, long year, trying to boss thirty bossy women...
Warning! Live Rooster!
Eek! I must remember to lock up my raucous rooster! One of the ladies might think he's part of the country garden art scene and try to pat him. He can do his choral crowing from the safety of the chicken run.
Another eek! I've just remembered - I must remember to clean out the hen house, to make it sweet smelling and sanitised. That barley straw is overdue for replacement.
Some signage would go down well, too. Certainly there should be a wobbly warning sign on The Plank, a heritage Moosey water bridge which has claimed many an unsuspecting victim.
Actually, this is very important, just in case any adventurous altos are tempted to totter over the water carrying drinks and finger food. And they will...
All waterside gardens will need to be well-tended. Water features (my pond, my wriggling stream, and the long burbling water race) will be magnets for the musically minded.
And all female choirs have at least one watery, dribbly song in their repetoire. The following is a firm favourite:
'Oh Shennandooooooah, I long to seeeeee yoooooooou... awaaaaaaaaay you rolling river'
Lupins by the Water
But back to the garden details. I don't need to move the impressive piles of chain-sawn firewood - this is a working garden, after all! But I do need to move the following: dog turds (thanks Rusty the dog) and dead rodents (thanks cats). And what about aphids on my roses? And rhododendrons which need dead-heading? And irises and peonies which have fallen over? Eek!
Coral Moosey Peony
Eek - I've just had a thought. A fussy first soprano might scoff at my encouragement of little blue forget-me-nots, consider them worse than weedy, and immediately see me as a messy fool (gardenwise) as well as a bossy alto. Oops. Wish me luck!
The Moosey Garden gives a warm welcome to the Cecilian Singers of Christchurch. Tra la la...