A No-Frills Gardener...

Some mornings one just has to be strict with oneself. It's impossible to dress up a garden maintenance day. Just put on the dull blue gardening shirt, serviceable shorts, think plain thoughts, and get going - a no-frills gardener.

Sunday 27th January

When this cup of coffee is finished, I'm off outside for my first session. I will not bore you, dear reader, with a list of ho-hum maintenance trivialities. Today's success will not be counted by the number of barrow loads of rubbish dumped on the fence-line, or the number of boring gardening verbs I can cram into one paragraph. Let me see - there's raking, weeding, trimming, clearing...

 In the summer sunshine.
Echinacea Flowers

By late this afternoon I will simply know - that's a seriously upper case 'know' - I've been good, and given my garden what it deserves. Who knows? I may be able to pop in something mildly creative. And as long as I don't duck-dive up and down my hip shouldn't get too annoying...

 The bees love these.
Ligularia Flowers

Misjudged Mozart

While I'm working I can puzzle over my latest musical dilemma. I suspect I may have seriously misjudged Mozart. This is a serious admission, since I've been doing it for over fifty years.

A few days ago I bought a huge batch of Mozart CDs - violin concerti and violin sonatas - from the Charity Shop. I've been playing one or another ever since, and - aargh! I find myself enjoying, liking, even admiring his violin writing. Aargh! Finally, after all these arrogant years reeling off the 'ten recycled tunes' one-liner, I seem to be a Mozart convert. Eek! I know that older ladies get a bit silly (collecting teddy bears, reading Enid Blyton books, and so on), but a Mozart conversion? Really?

Enough of this! The last slurp of coffee, and then off outside I go, to ponder this terrible turn of events in my life. Wow. Mozart! Who would have believed it... He really has a much more delicate concept of texture than is evident in his piano writing. But enough of this, as I said before!


OK, I know it's only been two hours, but so far so good. I can write up my journal (no boring details allowed, though) while drinking my morning coffee. My next session will be a little more creative. I'm off to dig a small border by the chicken run and plant it with Agapanthus and a scrambling rose. I've got the hoses running in readiness

‘Digging feels like real gardening.’
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Now this is decisive, recycling-in-action stuff. All these plants are being shifted in from other less visible parts of my garden. And thinking about digging is getting me quite excited. Digging actually feels like real gardening. Even in the middle of a hot day...

Five More Good Gardening Hours Later...

+5Five plus two equals seven - I've had a seven hour gardening day. I've done lots of good gardening - lots of little things. Big Fluff-Fluff the cat has been ever faithful, following everywhere I've been. I've planted the Agapanthus (it looks so cute), and loaded more organic matter on the surrounding garden. Some of my leaf sludge (it's supposed to be leaf mould) actually feels quite promising - not so sludgy.

 Lolling on the lunch table.
Fluff-Fluff the Cat

I finished my day by dog-paddling around my pond four times. Boy that water was cold, but it's a brilliant (and brave) way to finish a hot, sunny day. Fluff-Fluff sat on the decking, watching my watery antics in disbelief. Cats don't care much about swimming, do they...

Now, to prove I am genuinely penitent regarding Mozart I'm going to practise his violin and piano sonata in E minor. It's a beauty.

Monday 28th January

Today's gardening idea is to spiral around and around my pond (not doing dogpaddling circles in the icy water, like yesterday afternoon). I'll weed close to the water's edge, check the gnomes, then trim the Phormiums, clear the path, and maybe prune the overhanging tree branches. I need to find wet spots for my singular (and decidedly puny) skunk cabbage plant and a Rodgersia called 'Big Momma'. I also want to pot up bits of Filipendula which are creeping into the lawn. I love this pink flowering perennial, and don't want to waste it.

 A giant Astilbe-like perennial.
Pink Filipendula Flowers


Only a six hour gardening day, I'm afraid, with a half an hour for lunch (taken under the sun umbrella on the pond decking). But a brilliant, shining day of summer gardening around my pond, staying on task!

 With some of my gnome friends...
Rusty the Dog on the Pond Path

Gardening With Friends

I love gardening by the gnomes. I say hello to them, ask how things are going, that sort of thing. In fact my whole gardening day has been full of friends. Fluff-Fluff and Minimus have provided gardening cat-company. Rusty the barking dog has been in attendance, and the bellbirds have been stereo whistling at each other in the trees above the pond.

Now I'm inside, apres-gardening, listening to yet another Mozart violin CD and contemplating a slight issue that my grand piano has - a buzzy rattle, at its worst when I hit the notes between middle C and the next F-sharp. It's as if there's something bouncing inside (not, hopefully, a dead mouse chased in there by one of my cats). Anyway, NGP and I can't find the source of the vibration. I'm going to do my piano practice anyway and try and ignore it. Mozart probably won't even notice.

That's two long, no-frills gardening days in a row! Good for me, I say.