Must shuffle off...

Right. I'm off with my shovels and the gardening iPod. Remind me not to put it on 'shuffle' - it's disconcerting when a spooky Bach organ piece barges in between the frothy little Chopin waltzes. When I return I will have created (and photographed) a long, straight digging line all the way down the Leyland Hedge. Ha!

 My gardening cats.
Ginger Cats Percy and Fluff-Fluff

Thursday 21st October

Hmm. How about a third of the hedge edge done? But I did get ginger cat company, and I wandered off and cleared two little winding paths - one curves around the bluebells, and the other innocently wiggles around the stump with the Golden Hop on it. Lots and lots of sorrel weeds have been removed from sight - but of course I haven't managed to get even one percent of their roots out. And I found some beautiful flowering broom. But I'm returning, fortified with coffee and Scarlatti, whose keyboard sonatas I like very, very, very much.

 Get that out at once!
Broom! Aargh!

Perhaps Scarlatti is more suitable for a shy gentlewoman gardener of strictly English heritage to tinker with than the tempestuous swirling Spanishness of Albeniz? The music should fit the musician? There's a novel thought... Mind you, I remember being terribly put out at the tender age of sixteen - my piano teacher wouldn't let me learn any Brahms because I was 'too young and wouldn't understand passion'. Ha! So I played him in secret, and I've played him (passionately) every year since. Eek! Musical reminiscences will not get any gardening done. I'm off.

 Growing on the dog-path by the water.
Variegated Reed

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

I've worked for almost four hours, and I think that's pretty good really for a gentlewoman gardener. I am clean and lunched, Stu the lamb has been fed (you're a good lamb, Stu), and Rusty the dog and all visible cats have had lunch too. The plan now is to relax, reflect, and record. Aha!

Quite While You're Ahead?

I've now edged two thirds of the back shelter hedge, using my version of the phrase 'Quit while you're ahead', namely 'Quit before the shovelling shoulder starts hurting'. I've also cleared the dog path of major weeds and said an appreciative hello to the variegated reed growing there.

Late Afternoon

Ha! Seize the moment - and seize the camera. Rusty and I have just been for a walk and in the Driveway we (the word 'we' may be a bit too inclusive) saw the first flowering deciduous Azalea. Absolutely beautiful! Prunus blossom is covering the ground with romantic pink mulch. Nice touch!

White Rhododendron, Pink Mulch

Friday 22nd October

Right. I know where I'm going (over the water race). And I know who's going with me (Rusty the dog, and hopefully a couple of gardening cats). I know who I love (my garden, family, friends, cats and the dog, Stu the lamb, my piano...) Stop! Enough silly singing!

It's a day which should be exactly like yesterday, when I dig more hedge edge and complete the weeding of the water race dog-path and edges. Today I have a secret weapon - it's a little bottle of weed-killer, shush... And I'm prepared to get wet if necessary, and it's only spring, so the water race will be full of snow-melt from the mountains. What a woman!


Hmm... What a wimp! Only four hours has been done, and I got so sick of digging underneath that hedge that I wandered off to weed in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden. I'm pulling out any forget-me-nots that are sprawling over the paths. The trouble with the hedge work is that I've come up against a lot of burnable rubbish, stashed underneath. So I've been raking that out and wheeling it to the burning heap as well. I hate, hate, hate burning on a sunny day.

In a matter of days there will be rhododendrons galore (all the fruit salad colours) underneath the Willow tree. Already the Iris confusa plants are flowering - and I like them again! Oops - must remember their burst of beauty in spring next time I am ripping huge swathes out.

 The Iris confusa is in full flower.
Wobbly Garden Bench - Spring 2010

The last thing to do today is to wheel over the new turquoise pots and put them in spaces near the Willow tree stump. A hydrangea came in one of them - I've left it in, and the other has a bronze flax. The pot colours will complement my blue garden seats (on which I had lunch, the sun shining, the water burbling, my silly dog chasing bumble bees).

Saturday 23rd October

I have had an amazingly wonderfully serious day. First the vegetable garden - in went my lettuce seedlings, carrots and spring onions, and a few tomato plants. Then I continued the hedge edge dig - and I very nearly reached the end without too much damage to the shoulder. Then Non-Gardening Partner sort of helped me - he mixed up some serious weed-spray (sorry about this) in the backpack and I dealt to the rest of the grass underneath that Leyland hedge. And then he mowed all the lawns while I shifted garden benches and seats out of his way.

 In the Willow Tree Garden.
Choisya and Saffron Queen

I've watered the plants and seeds in the glass-house, I've used my bug spray (all natural ingredients, it tells me, but it doesn't use the word 'organic') on some more roses, and I've found a rugosa (Sarah Van Fleet) with rust - surely not! I've sprayed her with something called a 'Fungus Gun'.

I actually feel like a proper, serious gardener. But I've had time to sit (the blue chairs again, such a lovely mid-spring lunch spot) and talk to the cats (Minimus, who came gardening) and marvel at the rhododendrons starting to open their flowers. A truly grand design - and the bud colours can be sooooo different to the blooms. Delightful!

Fred the Sheep :
Fred is now the slowest, fattest sheep in the paddock. And he's forgotten all about those lamb days.

Stu the lamb has spent another happy day munching grass, drinking, and snoozing - such an easy pet lamb. Stu enjoys his bottle but he doesn't keep on about it, if you know what I mean. Stu never jumps the fence to charge after me like Fred the sheep, my pet lamb of 2005, used to. Some weeks after he was weaned, Fred (safely out of sight down in the back paddock) heard voices from the neighbours, remembered he liked bottles, and leapt over the fence to gatecrash their rather stylish barbecue, bleating and bunting all their guests. Oh the shame...

 I love them.
Tree Peonies

Well, that's about it for today. I can hear hammering from Pond Cottage - another good NGP sign. Time to go apres-gardening, and then I'll have a peep at my new photographs. Good web-gardeners have to keep up with their visual records (hello beautiful tree peony, hello Fruhlingsgold rose) as well as their weeding etc.