Dear garden...

Hello, garden. Dear garden, beautiful, mellow, late-autumn garden, the best late-autumn garden in the whole world. I'm thinking : if I smooch up to you, perhaps you'll respond in kind. You can call me the Best Gardener, if you like...

Wednesday 7th May

Right. This afternoon's plan is to plant some plants. Maples, a Hydrangea quercifolia, the smaller cultivar called 'Peewee'. I love these shrubs! Parsley for the Herb Spiral and leeks for the vegetable garden. Where's my dog? Let's go!

 The flowering cherry is dropping leaves now.
The Pond Paddock in Late Autumn

But first I have to do something scary. Wildlife in my garden can unintentionally cause distress. Worrying that it's only five weeks until the mid-winter solstice, early this morning I watched a mother mallard duck on my pond 'towing' a dozen ducklings. Ducklings! Aargh!

Wrong Time of Year for Ducklings

The weather will soon be far too cold, cats (particularly ginger Percy and young Minimus) will be forever prowling the pond's edge, and Rusty the dog has severe duck-chasing tendencies. Even Tiger the Tortoiseshell takes a prurient interest...

 Hidden ducklings?
Crouching Tiger

I'm off to see if she's managed to move on somewhere safer. Not that I hold out much hope. How on earth did she get them to hatch this late anyway? Dear duck, so sorry...

 Almost everlasting...

Three Hours Later...

It's been super-sedate gardening, but very, very enjoyable. All the time I tried to use my creaky knees rather than bending, straight-legged, from the waist. The dodgy Moosey hip should be most grateful.

The Maples are Planted...

I've carefully planted three of the Maples in the Septic Tank Garden. I may leave the fourth in its pot. I've raked leaves and weeded by the cottage, watched by Minimus the grey cat. There's no sign of either the mother duck or her ducklings, and so far I haven't found any - ahem - casualties. I finished the day by burning my bonfire - a typical late-autumn end to a rather lovely, gentle day.

Still blooming - many solitary roses, the dull pink Alstroemeria, orange Calendulas, blue Rosemary. The Viburnum tinus shrubs are flowering, covered in tight little buds of pink and white.

 By the house.
Late Othello Rose

Autumn Report

Three-quarters of the autumn leaves have fallen down, and there's little richness left in the autumn colours. And so autumn morphs slowly into winter. How wonderful it is to have four seasons! Dear garden, thanks for yet another most enjoyable day spent in your company.

Thursday 8th May

Good afternoon, dear garden of mine. Are you a teeny weeny bit lonely? How about some thoughtful company from a gardener with the gentlest of touches (and a lightweight rake)? Hmm... Is that drizzly rain?

Friday 9th May

Rusty the limping dog has been to the vet this morning. It's hard to gauge discomfort in a dog with naturally sad-looking deep brown eyes. And then I see him accelerate to a whirlwind four-legged sprint to chase off to chase a bird...

+5Yes. Rusty has, unfortunately, graduated to the more serious arthritis medication. He still has his glucosamine each morning, but now has to take a week's worth of anti-inflammatories. Then we wait a week and look for improvement. And no bicycle rides anymore, just gentle walks.

 Resting that sore paw!
Rusty the Dog

Dear Garden,
I've had a wonderfully soothing day. Can I tell you all about it? Oooh, goodie. But of course you're interested. I am, after all, beautifying you...

I've been weeding and tidying the wee garden behind the Stables, and it's been beautifully sunny. I've planted the Rhapsody in Blue rose in here, with darling William Lobb directly over the water race. I've trimmed the fastigate oaks whose shapes were modified? (trashed, more like) in last September's wind storm. I've tied up a rather virile rambling rose, Kew Rambler. He is certainly flexing his rose-man-muscles. I've trimmed the edges and carefully dug out dandelions with the most complicated network of root systems. I've picked up loads of gum tree bark, and I've burnt everything. I have so enjoyed your company, and look forward to seeing more of you.

Yours faithfully,

 All done.
Tidy Garden Behind Stables

Rusty has just lolled around in the sun nearby (no bird chasing, which is good), and now we're off for a gentle walk down the road. Good dog.