Saturday, 17 April 2010

Accidental Gardening.

There are many uninvited visitors to my garden. Most of them are welcome; only a few are not.
I like to let things happen, to create an environment and stand back and watch.

These primroses crept in quietly last year; just a couple of tentative leaves in a sunny spot at the foot of a bamboo clump. A year later and they have really got their roots down and claimed their territory. By next year I hope their offspring will be settling in.
There are no other primroses anywhere near, so how did they arrive?

The opportunism and tenacity of many plants fills me with admiration. Some travel around the garden, from one side to another, from top to bottom, without any help at all from me. They grow in places that the gardening books tell me are wrong for them - too dry, too wet, wrong soil. No one told the plants, and they don't seem to mind one bit.

This happy combination of violets and cyclamen has tucked itself into the gravel beside the back doorstep. These violets (viola Labradorica) have a reputation for clumping, but have instead arranged themselves into scattered groupings with cyclamen hederifolium, which in turn have travelled around the garden, appearing in all sorts of unexpected places.

I couldn't have done better myself. Indeed, if I had tried to transplant and arrange them they would probably have died on me.

I admire the rampant sexualtity of geraniums (the perennials, not those half-hardy bright red pelargoniums at their best in public parks). They have wonderful mechanisms like medieval sling-shots, which catapult the seeds across the garden, making sure they reproduce themselves a hundred-fold. They are understandable, but I cannot understand how Solomon's Seal (polygonatum multiflorum) travelled from the back garden to the front, and having settled at the front, also moved across the garden from side to side. I'm delighted. I love the plant, but it comes in a big pot from the garden centre. It's a big plant. How does it saunter about like this?

Last year a wild orchid appeared in a patch of decorative grasses. An orchid! I don't know if it has survived the harsh winter, but I'm hoping. I'm hoping there may even be more than one.

We constructed a pond many years ago and watched as within a matter of days there were pond-skaters all over the surface. Within two months there were frogs, damsel flies, dragonflies, and a grass snake, and within three months the heron had found it.

Clever, opportunistic wild creatures as well as plants, watching our activities, biding their time, staking out their claims, and creating the sort of garden I could never make by myself.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Joy of Pets

In a previous post I wrote a lament for Little Cat, so sadly missed after a fatal accident, and for her owners, E. and S.

E. and S., braving the risk of allergic reactions, went to the local Cat Rescue and were introduced to Hercule and Captain Hastings, two feisty bloke cats, allegedly brothers (although two years apart in age), allegedly devoted and inseparable.
I cannot help but feel that the Cat Rescue saw them coming and seized a golden opportunity!

Hercule and Captain Hastings spent their first night in their new home fighting in the kitchen. Hercule is black and white, but can boast a ginger beard and moustache achieved by biting his devoted brother.
They spent their first day spraying around the house, paying special attention to S's wardrobe, which is open-fronted.
They have continued to spray and fight, but the good news is that the vet says their teeth are so bad that they will probably fall out, and the biting will become gumming, just a token gesture of brotherliness.

The even better news is that the thorough distraction of having them around has eased the pain of the loss of Little Cat.
"I think they will both learn to purr soon," S. tells me.
Well, that's something for everyone to look forward to.

Some more encouraging news is that Hercule and Captain Hastings are now sleeping together.
I bought them a nice, comfy, suitably blokeish, suede-type double bed to celebrate.
The nice, comfy etc. bed was in a carrier bag in my kitchen, and my dog managed to be sick all over it the other night.

Why do we do it? I asked in my previous posting. Why are we motivated to take these little animals into our homes?

'Why indeed?' I wondered as I mopped the kitchen floor with disinfectant and washed the new, comfy double bed.
Then I discover why the dog has been sick.
When she found the packet of biscuits in the shopping bag I had so carelessly left at a low level she did not stop to remove all the plastic wrapping.

Bunty regrets......possibly.