Soft-shoe shuffle...

Most years I'll declare : 'March is marching on'. But this year March is dancing the softest of soft-shoe shuffles, with the slightest hint of autumn colour, the lightest touch of chill in the mornings. Lightly, spritely, so delightfully...

 The log pieces will be stacked for firewood.
The Dead Cordyline


I love March when it's relaxed. I enjoy the slowness of the colour changes. I don't want autumn to rush. Or me to have to rush to keep up.

I'm even feeling OK about the autumn bonfire. It's been 'cranking' for two and a half days, during which time I've cleaned up all the mess underneath the Leyland hedge. Today I'm off to work in the back of the Shrubbery, which is a designated wilderness area. Already a dead Cordyline lies in the Lamium, waiting to be dragged out and its leaves burnt.

Prune those trees...

Trees need pruning - I'll need to find my fancy saw on a pole. The periwinkle hasn't quite covered the paths, but I need new logs for the edges. And, of course, all the gum tree leaves and bark strips need to be gathered up and carted off.

Oh, did I mention the weeds? We've had some jolly decent rain, so they'll be a) growing madly and b) easy to pull out, roots and all. Hee hee. Gotcha!

Three Hours Later...

And I've been happily drizzle gardening, with soggy feet. I've made a good start in the Shrubbery, picking up Pittosporum branches for the bonfire, which was awfully easy to restart. To combat the general dampness I added four barrowfuls of gum tree mess from the Hen House Garden. My messiest of messy areas - underneath the Pittosporums which grow underneath the huge gum trees.

 Just the beginning of the colour changes.
Early Autumn in the Dog-Path Garden
Genista :
The prettiest yellow flowers in spring, delicate evergreen foliage all year round...

The smallest little thought, which I have mentioned before. An ornamental broom, Genista var. Little Imp, has produced lots of seedlings, very happily filling in a whole area behind the Shrubbery. Again I ask myself - is this a good idea? They are not the weedy species broom - the foliage is much finer, and a lighter green. But are they just as weedy? And will I regret my generosity? In a designated semi-wilderness area? Hard to judge this one.

Thursday 23rd March

March is the month of multiple midnight mice - thanks, Minimus my grey cottage cat, for waking me up each night, and then laying out the remains on the cottage doormat, perfect to step on in the dark. This morning I woke up to the bad London news. I explained to Minimus that she, a hunter, and I, a gardener, were blessed to be here together in the cottage, able to cuddle each other in safety. Ouch! Minimus clawed my hand, a gentle warning that my tickling fingers were too close to her furry tummy (off-limits).

 In the Shrubbery.
Paths, Pittosporums - and Gnomes

Today the plan is as before. The dogs need to go to the dog park. Then I will continue in the Shrubbery and cart out the burnable rubbish. That bonfire will soon be 'smokin'...

 My grey cottage cat.

Much Later...

The perfect day! Dog walking, gardening (more successful bonfiring), swimming, piano playing, and then off to a singing rehearsal. Now my cosy cottage bed awaits. Please no mice, Minimus!

And the next morning...

Aargh! One mouse, a medium-sized wriggler. Minimus and mouse promptly escorted out of cottage. Back to sleep, then the loudest of bang-crash noises. Woke up in alarm, analysis immediately kicked in - not an earthquake. Grabbed torch and checked for fallen tree branches. No. Phew!

A rude possum

It was just a rude (and obviously very heavy) possum who had jumped onto the verandah, knocked over some pots, and was making ghastly gargling noises. Too close! Too loud! Grabbed the cottage broom and charged at him. He scampered off, watched by a rather laid-back Minimus (now mouse-less). She's used to the possums - they're nuisances rather than threats. For me, too, I guess.