Sitting on the patio with my morning cup of tea, a piece of paper, and a pencil. Whenever there's a lot to do in my garden my instinct turns to list-writing - as if this will magically make everything 'alright'. But I'm not going to. I'd still be here at sundown, shivering in the autumnal air. My list would be THAT long! TOO SCARY!

 I have kept some pieces to put in pots.
Goodbye Tricolor Flax

Sunday 27th March

Better to blunder my way around and continue to tidy up the Phormiums. It's been a theme these last days, and has definitely been keeping me out of list-writing trouble. One over-sized flax is very much like another, and after slicing through the tough leaves with a knife and then swinging the axe into the base bits I feel I've done the 'hard yards'. Well, enough hard yards to relax with a cider and giggle my way into the evening, and garden oblivion.

Today I chose to chop down the Tricolor flax in the Stables Garden. Many of its striped leaves suffered sunburnt in the extra hot days we had this summer. I'd estimate less than one quarter of its leaves were still OK, and the base of the flax was really, really messy. Anyway it's down, just needing the chain-saw to level its base. I'd like it to re-sprout - Tricolor grows into a large fountain with strong, reliable stripes.

Tiddles :
Meet Tiddles, one of my youngest cats. She loves eating cheese, mayonnaise, hummus, pesto...

Now it's early evening and I'm feeling great. Cider, crackers and cheese (not for you, Tiddles the tabby), salmon baking in the oven, the sun setting in the distance. Yes!!! I don't need lists. I'm going to ban them until I've done everything that needs to be done, hee hee. Lists turn the creative, nurturing free-spirit into a dependant, nodding plodder. Great cider, by the way!

 Two colours on one stem.
Masquerade Roses

Thanks to the Roses...

I must give thanks for the autumn rose flower flushes. From where I'm sitting I can see sprinkles of icing sugar - white Icebergs and Flower Carpets, pale pink New Dawns, pink Fairy roses. And climbing Masquerade is blooming again on the patio pergola, her spindly (almost leafless) stalks cuddled by fresh green Wisteria leaves. Such a daft rose - red pretending to be yellow turning into red. Not that roses need to be sensible. Warning : Masquerade is not the healthiest of roses. Mine came from my first ever house, and is tolerated for sentimental reasons.

Aha! 'Tis time! The salmon is ready, the salad greens and home grown tomatoes have been slopped with pesto, and the garlic buttered ciabatta is hot. Yum! And there's a tiny slurp of cider left. A satisfying end to a satisfying day.

Monday 28h March

Yippee! Another list-less (definitely not listless!) day in the garden. And big brown dog Escher is away for the Easter weekend, so my gardening can be calm and reflective. There will be no barking at possums snoozing high in the hedge, no worrying that his nose has got him into trouble in someone else's paddock.


Yes! I've dug out another another Yellow Wave flax. They age rather badly. They stop waving, they certainly lose all their yellow, and they become ultra-bulky with an over-abundance of dead leaves. This one was behind the Stables. I was able to dig it out completely, uncovering a beautiful variegated Hebe and a patch of blue flowering Aconitum.

 This is their time...
Blue Aconites

Then I did a bit of follow-your-nose weeding nearby, and shifted in some river stones to build up the stone walls near the Allotment Garden. I notice that there are some Goldenrod survivors, and wonder if this bothers me. Now we are off to the dump. Flax leaves cannot be composted, so we will have to pay full price, but hey! At least they're not toxic. The dump, cutely called a 'Resource Recovery Park', is near the dog park, so guess where we'll end up? Nice.

Tuesday 29th March

Escher is back, and he's been following his nose rather too much - he's grazed it. Dear Escher! I think I've missed you. We are going to the dog park soon to see our friends. I hope your nose isn't too sore.

 Dear dog.
Escher on the Back Lawn

I'm quite tired today. Minimus, my cottage cat, has been bringing in a live, wriggling mouse every night for a while mow. Naturally I have to get up and escort her back outside. She then stares in the window, and there is much muffled squeaking and crying (she has her mouth full). This is getting rather tiresome. No, Minimus, I will not let you back in. Sleeping people do not appreciate live mice.

Histeria :
Meet Hissy, one of my oldest cats. She's named because she hissed at me when she was a kitten.

Sadder cat news : my ex-wild tabby cat Histeria is hardly eating anything again. She's still friendly, but I can't tell if she's in pain. Hissy can't really be put in a cage and handled by the vet. Put it this way - the day I manage to get her to the vet will be her last. I just have to wait and see, wait and see.

OK. So what should I do in the garden today? Something lightweight, I think, after the strenuous lifting and carrying, axing and digging of the long weekend. I know. I'll trim more of the Shasta daisies and the lemon balm. Perfect.

 Lots of them, with just a few starting to flop over.
Mid-Summer Shasta Daisies

And the funniest thing is this : I've ended up doing heaps of the items which would have been on my 'too scary' list, had I written them down in the first place. But then I probably wouldn't have done any of them, hee hee. Which proves my point. Yes?