Monday, 5 September 2011

Corpses & Corn Snakes

I thought that I would start this post with a picture of one of the happiest flowers I know. It was taken during the middle of last week, I had been trimming and pruning shrubs all morning, was tired and sweaty and I must say a little fed up by now. But as I came closer and closer to this fellow, I felt my mood lift and gained a renewed vigour as I was reminded of just how beautiful some of the simplest and most coomon plants are. The couple who live here saw that I had stopped the machinery and was just staring at the sunflower with a smile on my face, and offered me tea and biscuits, whereupon we sat and chatted for a while, with them ending by giving me a dried sunflower head that was full of plump seeds for planting next year.

 Another day saw Amanda and myself at one of our properties in Branksome. A large garden that we have to put a whole mornings work over to each week.

 We are entering one of our favourite times of the year. Leaves havent started to turn and fall yet, growth has slowed slightly, and so we get a chance to give things one last cut back and tidy up, ready for autumn. These shrub borders had suffered during the year, and this Phormium tenax needed some serious reduction on the leaf front. Buddleias were cut back by half, Callistemons nipped out to tidy them, and the Cornus Midwinter Fire had their excess side growth removed, ready for their beautiful stems to give a display in the winter.

 Amanda loves nothing more than to get in there with secateurs and loppers, as the poker face shows!

 The whole area of Branksome has a council preservation order put on it, which means that any tree work whatsoever must get approval from the council tree officer. As such, the area is quite 'green' and wild in places. Foxes thrives, along with most other wildlife, but alas illness or hunger produce the usual casualties. After pruning the borders, I set about the long task of mowing all of the grass, and first casualty was this fox. Not much remained by now, and I was going to wax lyrical about it losing a fight to Sid the squirrel, when a little while later, as if on cue, I found Sid.

 Staring up at me from the grass, I guess he fought bravely but the wounds were too great. Gruesome sight that he is, I kind of like the defiant two fingered gesture he finally appears to have given. I gave them both a respectful burial, first by mower and then by compost heap.

The rest of the week went quite well. Jobs are generally worked around a four week month, but as August had a few extra days, I was able to tackle some backlog of work, both in gardening terms and paperwork.
The work schedule for September was prepared, and as you can see starts out very ordered, but throw in a couple of days of rain and things change. Price increases for the coming year were calculated, and invoices adjusted accordingly, and I even got a couple of quotes typed up and posted. Any day now the accountant will be requesting everything from the past year so that accounts can be drawn up and tax calculated. Every receipt must be found and categorized, every invoice copied and cheque traced....every penny accouned for. A laborious task that will involve a weekend and lots of coffee.

 Saturday finally arrived, and we decided to finally tackle the treatment of the fences and sheds in our own garden, so that they are protected and ready for the onset of winter. It was a lovely and sunny day. Some things in the garden are starting to show their autumn colours, and some have just started to flower like this Ginger Lily (Hedychium).

 And rather surprisingly this Nasturtium.

 On Sunday, Amanda had plans of her own, and so I took myself off for the morning to have breakfast with my sister Lyn, before returning to her home to be introduced to the families corn snake. An absolute beauty, and quite inquisitive as he kept trying to make his way inside my jersey. I had no idea that she had this snake until we were setting off for breakfast, whereupon she asked that if we were coming back this way, could we pop into the reptile shop for a frozen mouse....not something you hear every day!

Later, when Amanda had done what she needed to, we spent the evening watching one of our favourite movies, Casino Royale with Daniel Craig starring as Bond. And of course the only thing to drink whilst watching such a film has to be a Vesper......and's 'really not bad!'
Take care all of you and thanks for dropping by.

1 comment:

  1. Haven't seen frozen mice offered where I shop!

    Sunflowers are truly happy flowers. No way around it. And, you got tea and biscuits and seeds!

    It sure is nice to see plants putting on a final show before winter. Mine are starting to feel good about autumn too.