Mice and cats!

Mice and cats! Last night in Pond Cottage little Minimus the grey was in serious hunting mode. Result - she brought me two mice in ten minutes, before I rudely shut the windows and door. But I am a big softie of a cat-mother, so then I worried, listening to her squeaking outside for what seems like hours. Am I sure it was her squeaking?

Tuesday 8th March

Now big Fluff-Fluff has decided that he loves me, particularly my right hand, so whenever I try and use the mouse on the keyboard he flops all of his - seven kgs? - weight firmly and lovingly down. Aargh!

 Dear cat - my best gardening cat!
Fluff-Fluff in the Sun

Today I am off to play flute and piano music, and when I return I will continue my water's edge clean-up. At least I am staying on one task and not bouncing around doing grasshopper gardening.


I've been weeding, as planned, and am so disappointed with the general 'layout' of the Glass-House Garden. Perennial plants have been poked in here and there, and there's no backbone (or style) to the garden. Ha! Several plants have taken a turn in the middle - a variegated Sycamore tree, a red Maple, some shrubby Lavatera Barnsleys, some Hebes... I think I should completely re-do the garden when all is finished flowering.

 In the Glass-House Garden.
Nancy Steen Roses

Who wears their good sandals and their nearly best pale blue denim jeans while weeding? Me. Tsk tsk. No sense. Right - 'tis time to organise food for my family and clean myself up (wrong order, those).

Wednesday 9th March

Non-Gardening Partner has checked two official web-sites and even rang the local fire chief - the fire ban has been lifted. So today I can start my first great autumn burn-up. My garden generates so much dry rubbish - from gum trees, Cordylines and Phormiums, small scale shrub trimmings, not to mention dead-heads from roses and nasty pieces of grass which shouldn't even get a sniff of the compost heap. Those Eucalypts cause most of the 'problem', though, and two of my fence-lines are loaded with piles of mainly gum branches and fallen leaves. No compost heap for these.

This could be a big burning day. And it is definitely an autumn day - a coolish morning, low sun, no wind. I'm putting off the moment of ignition - aargh! I hate burning! Right. Off I go - house doors and windows all closed, neighbours a long way away, so they shouldn't be annoyed.

Later, Mid-Afternoon...

Humph. Smoke, over twelve barrowloads of rubbish, countless misshaped pieces of dead wattle tree, old grass clumps which go whoosh, prunings full of sound and fury, signifying nothing... I'm going back outside to finish my gardening day weeding in the water race.

 Not very impressive in this picture.
Ha! My First Autumn Bonfire

Even Later...

Ha! I will spare the reader a blow by blow description of my first burning day. But some cute animal details - I've had Fluff-Fluff and Minimus for cat-company, plus a bored bee fascinated with me by the water's edge. Then Rusty, digging somewhere near the compost, started making dreadful noises, like an old lawnmower being pull-started. I've never heard this dog-noise before, so didn't know whether it was of positive significance to me or not. A rat in the compost? A rabbit, weasel or stoat? Keep digging, dear dog, keep digging! And he did. I got the giggles.

So three more barrowfuls were burnt, plus handfuls of Scrophularia trimmings, and then I slunk inside. Oops - my dog was filthy, so I threw a dog biscuit into the pond for him to retrieve (and hereby clean himself up). The biscuit sunk. Oh dear - Rusty did a sort of duck dive but wasn't successful. His face is certainly very clean, though.

 Flowering by the water
Nicotiana Sylvestris

Mow Those Lawns!

And now I've decided that the Glass-House Garden looks awful only because the lawns need mowing, not because of my planting scheme. Hee hee - there's none so blind...

Thursday 10th March

Creak, groan, creak... The leggy bits of me feel like they've done a five hour mountain hike. I must have walked for miles yesterday trundling my old squeaking wheelbarrow around. Good morning Fluff-Fluff the gardening cat, again sitting on the computer mouse. He's waiting, and I've promised him I'd never leave him behind. But I do prefer him not to sleep in Pond Cottage, where he thumps onto the verandah, crashes onto the bed and it all feels like a ghastly aftershock. Little Minimus has much less impact (apart from bringing trophy mice inside).


So THE PLAN is this. After I've decided what to do, I'll do it. And then, many hours afterwards, I'll write about it. Sounds - well - fairly sensible?

Much Later...

Right, or should I say 'write'. I've been burning for four hours. It is horrible work, but I have kept on and on, because I am such a good worker. I've been two-ing and fro-ing from one fence line to the other, mixing a cocktail of burnables around slippery Phormium leaves which crackle and hiss. This is the second time of flowering for many of my lovely roses, and so there is much delicate beauty to enjoy as I humph past.

 Two newcomers, planted by the water race.
Roses Ingrid Berman and Ivey Hall

In complete sympathy to my plight regarding the Glass-House Garden (today I've swung back to the far-too-messy-a-design mood) my latest Fine Gardening magazine attempts to help with an article entitled 'Plants to Build a Bed Around'. What's missing from the Glass-House Garden are 'anchor plants', which in this article appear to be small trees or conifers. However a Viburnum called 'Doublefile' looks the business, as its vase shape will 'lure the eye downward, drawing attention to low-growing perennials. I didn't know that vase shaped shrubs did that - it must have something to do with diagonals...

 Which looks rather nice in this photograph. Pity about those lawns...
The Glass-House Garden

Actually I suspect that if I shifted the perennials towards the edge, dug out the sprawling Salvias altogether, and rationalised the roses there's be some rather nice central room for something chunky with a trunk, vase shaped or otherwise. Anyway, I'm going to have a cup of tea, a lie down, and a think - after my supremely physical gardening work.

I'm reading an old New Zealand gardening book about flowers which is outrageously retro and I'm rather enjoying its commentary on the sixties style of gardening. There's a paragraph about a well-known flower gardener who despised all daisy flowers - obviously not a with-it sixties person!