Sunday, 14 June 2015

Border Ballet

The stage is set, a gardenia to the left, one to the right. Lamb ears at the proscenium edge, chinese heavenly bamboo as the footlights, a graceful hot pink chinese lantern peaking out from the wings, another red chinese lantern one on the far side. Centre stage pirouettes Meyer lemon, while behind her sugar pea wends its way up the trellis. Grape vine drapes the wall as a curtain. Gladioli and dutch iris are reserved for Act two, come spring with fragrant sweet peas.
Broad beans are my corps de ballet, growing in formation.

I call my border ballet 'A mid-autumn daydream', all it needs is a Puckish fairy or a perhaps Victoria Plum flying from the wings with her arms full of violets and sprinkling magic dust. Draped over this tableau is garden netting, a screen so that the chickens, prevented from wandering on the stage, can only gaze in wonder.

Mum has taken Mary under her wing and been giving her warm epsom salt baths and drying her moulting feathers with my hairdryer. I'm sure if we had a third chicken I would call her 'Molly' since mum molly coddles them so much. Martha is not getting the special treatment this time, which she had several months ago when she turned tail and refused to lay eggs. It turned out both Mary and Martha needed worming.

I have often seen neighbours cats wander through my garden willy-nilly, Sparky sitting ON my geranium, squashing it flat, or my strawberries. Another neighbour's cat I saw rolling around on the catnip - no wonder it's looking worse for wear. Clearly enjoying him/herself.
Mummy Cat's favourite place seems to be the catwalk on the deck. She often jumps up to the railing, leaps over the gaps and then looks at me. At other times she suns herself on the deck, but I don't  catch her sitting on my plants like Sparky does. She has better manners.

I have found this book today at the Te Atatu Book exchange called 'Pet Friendly Gardens'. Another book that I'm meaning to read again is 'The Chicken Friendly Garden' which has advice for planting in layers. I have just finished reading garden enthusiast and landscape designer Xanthe White's book called 'The Natural Garden' which was inspiring. It seems she was influenced by an English gardener's ideals by the name of William Robinson (no idea who that is)...but then, I don't pay much attention to those high up in the formal garden world. Of course it would be silly to replicate a European formal garden in a New Zealand suburban section...but I suppose people can try if they have the space. It would be like stepping into another world, but one may find it very expensive to maintain when your plants keep dying due to the variation in climate.

I had been thinking about this lately and concluded that most non-gardeners only real contact with the plant world is having a fake or dying tree at christmas time.