May the force...

May! May the gardening force be with me. I know I've said that before. As I'm sure the gardening force will indeed find and energise me. I've now declared it to be late autumn, so May may turn nasty at the drop of a hat (or a leaf). Which brings me to my first May question. When am I going to rake up the abundant leaf-fall in the Pond Paddock?

 Leaving the leaves for a bit longer...
Leaves in the Pond Paddock

+5I love the crunching sounds underfoot, particularly at night when I'm wandering over to Pond Cottage. It's useful for avoiding the pond in the darkness, knowing I'm still nearer the trees than the water. Imagine falling in - now that would be a wake-up call! Young Minimus my cottage cat has done it a couple of times - misinterpreting her jump over the pots from the decking to the path. Oops. A drenched cat is a funny look, but a drenched gardener would be funnier.

 Still flowering.
Sally Holmes Rose

Two and a Half Things to Do...

So today, after taking the dogs to the dog-park, I'm going to do two things. No, make that two and a half. My bags of oak leaves collected this time last year should have turned into something. Leaf mould would be nice! Their contents get spread over deserving gardens, and then the bags can be refilled. The 'half thing' is to kneel down (in my gardening jeans) and do some scrapey, small-scale, annoying weeding. Somewhere obvious, so that next time I walk past I can sigh with relief. Aargh!

OK. I'd better take these dogs out. Winnie the youngster has carried both my gardening boots over and dropped them at my feet.

Apres Dog Park...

Change of plan. The leaves can stay a bit longer (swoosh, crunch, swoosh, crunch). I'm weeding the Glass-House Garden. I need to make a visible difference in an hour. Ha! Just watch me.

The Water Race

Much Later...

I've speed weeded, and I've bashed out a Brahms duet. Oh dear - how that poor man's wonderful piano concerto suffers at the hands, slightly arthritic, of two semi-old still-wannabes. I returned home to speed weed for another hour and a half. It's the silly bonfire season - a neighbour has just lit a huge pile of wood (helped with a stinky accelerant), just on dusk. It's not the smoke, it's the unseemly hour of the day that gets me.

But I've done some good work clearing behind the glass-house. The path is even cleared! Yippee! I regret that tomorrow's job, should I take any notice of myself, will be fairly uncomfortable. I need to get into the water race to start trimming the Gunnera and grasses. The water might be cold.

And still the pond paddock is covered in the most beautiful carpet of autumn leaves. They can stay awhile...

Tuesday 5th May

Aha! I've dug out the old grasses underneath the pink Grootendoorst roses, and cleared more of the path behind the glass-house. And yes - I managed a quarter of an hour standing in the water. Actually it wasn't too cold, but the Gunnera stems and leaves I had to attack were soooooo scratchy. It's a bit early to chop all the leaves (many are still green), so I tackled the ugliest ones. I also sliced through two huge roots which were all but damming the water channel. Oops. Big thugs!

One Gunnera a Day...

Inside for a nice hot cup of tea, after lighting the bonfire to warm up my tingling feet. There's more trouble with other Gunnera clumps, so maybe I should 'do' one a day. Aargh! I've just looked outside, it's raining, it's getting colder and darker, but that isn't the problem - my camera! Eek! Hanging on the pergola.

 Growing by the water.
Schizostylis coccinea


OK, May 6th, late autumn, six weeks to the shortest day, so you're going to be twenty-three degrees warm. Wow. That's perfect for me to splosh right along the water race and clean out all the Gunnera. How could I possibly get too cold in twenty-three degrees? Even if there's a touch of snow-melt in the water.

Much, Much Later...

A spectacular day. All the Gunnera roots that need cutting out have been dealt to. Unfortunately this now leaves me with six or seven huge pieces with crowns to plant somewhere else. Somewhere sensible by water.

Not so spectacular were the weeds in the gardens over the water race. I spend a very grumpy half an hour on hands and knees digging out clover that I introduced (innocently) in some loads of top-soil. In fact, that weedy topsoil has cost me hours of grumpy scraping and pulling-out time. And that's not fair!


My first old-lady moment at the dog-park : Winnie, chasing one of her dog-friends, roared past and knocked me over. Oops. Then she stopped immediately to 'lick' me back upright. Ha! Some old-woman bruises, and a reminder to self that I am not necessarily invincible.

 Sorry, mother Mary!
Winnie the Dog

So I am going to relax now and do a spot of gentle couch-cycling in Turkey. Yesterday I 'did' Yorkshire. I wish I'd gone to Robin Hood's Bay when I was driving around England. But me with thousands of other tourists, all jamming Yorkshire's coastal road? Hmm... Thing is, when you TV couch-cycle, the roads are all clear, hee hee. And the helicopter ride is free...