How long?

 Here for breakfast.
Hello Speckles!

Another pair of gardening jeans soaking in the tub. When will this end? Ha ha. When will my garden clean-up be finished? Ha ha. And when will Speckles (the stray cat I'm feeding) realise that I'm actually really nice, and let me touch him? Ha ha. How long is a piece of string?

Each morning now Speckles comes for breakfast as well as supper, and I usually sit on the verandah with him and my cottage cat Minimus. Too many rude mosquitoes around this morning to be relaxing, but I managed a bit of subtle chin-tickling. Minimus sat on my lap and purred. This is what humans are for, silly Speckles!

Garden-wise I worked my way around the edge of the Island Bed. Dead-headed lots of dahlias, raked up gum leaves from the lawn. Weeded, trimmed Anemanthele grasses, pulled out Alstroemeria stalks. Dumped the mess by the bonfire, adding Ligularia stems and leaves.

And then...

And then I heard a strange noise in the distance - a 'whoomph', followed by silence - out near the road. Checked that my dogs were with me, then thought I'd better go see what was what. Oops. Found a motor bike on its side on the roadside grass verge, and absolutely no sign of the rider. Wandered around, puzzled, dogs barking. No-one. Wasn't sure what to do. Then (thankfully) heard a faint moan from the depths of the huge, tangled shrub by my gate. The injured rider was in there (see the arrow), completely hidden by suckering branches. Called the ambulance. Eek.

 Shrub cut to the ground to free the rider...
The Remains of the Shrub and Fence

So that was the end of gardening. Pruned the shrub with the loppers to clear access for the paramedics. Ambulance, fire trucks, and police arrived. The rider eventually removed and taken off to hospital. Broken bones. Eek. Broken fence posts. Hmm.

Monday 28th March

First thing I've done is to load the shrub remains into the trailer. Am feeling thoughtful. When people go missing in the bush I've often (naively) wondered why they're so difficult to find. And I couldn't even find an injured person in one large garden shrub! Though, to be fair, it was rather an impenetrable tangle of a garden shrub. Hmm...

 Flowering now.
Schizostylis by the Water Race

Now the plan is fluid. More weeding, trimming, maybe more bottom-dragging (yes, am wearing a clean pair of gardening jeans), and probably more thinking.

Later, lunchtime...

Have spent about an hour wandering around with the loppers nipping at Phormium flower stalks, oversized Hebes, self-sown Pseudopanaxes. Then Non-Gardening Partner took me for a short car ride to the country library, and now I'm going back outside to pick up all my mess.

 Asters, Anemones.
Autumn Perennials

Then I reckon I'll go into the Hump Garden to weed and clear the paths. A friend is visiting my garden in a couple of days time. She understands the scruffiness of a country garden in autumn, but paths need to be passable no matter what the season.


My intention was to speed-weed the paths, but almost immediately I found myself trimming Scrophularia, Phloxes, Prunus suckers, and so on. And so I filled the wheelbarrow with yet more stuff for the bonfire. Just didn't feel like getting all smoky, so no bonfire. I remind myself I have been gardening for seven hours.

Tuesday 29th March

I have time to play through Bach's Partita in C Minor before I go swimming, and then on to the Botanical Gardens to meet my friends or lunch. A very rewarding morning after yesterday's hard work! And then - whooppee doo - the bonfire! Not such a reward, but it has to be done.

 Autumn colours everywhere.
Smoky Me

Much later : I did it - the bonfire. Proud and happy. Propped the camera on a fence-post and took a smoky picture to prove it!