8 Small Steps For Man..


 .. one giant leap forward for the hill dwelling gardener.



Someone has been busy



The same area at the back end of February


Given that the blog has a readership far, wide and just the other side of my study wall I feel obliged to point out, for the avoidance of any doubt, that the ‘Small’ contained within the title in this context refers merely to the width of the steps. It bears absolutely no relationship to the amount of work that has gone into their construction.

The steps do show just how steep the bank is. Each one is almost a foot in height. Previously, to do any work in this area, I’ve had to scramble on my hands and knees up the slope, fervently hoping that I manage to avoid stepping, tripping or skidding on the oil pipe which as we know would have grave consequences for the good health of the gardener. Fortunate then that Mike has contrived to bury a goodly proportion of the pipe as part of his endeavours. The Sword of Damocles still lies in wait higher up the bank.


Astrantia 'Buckland'


Astrantia ‘Buckland’



It didn’t take the blackbird long to find the newly laid bark, much to Mike’s annoyance.


Unfortunately the blackbird acquired tenancy of the naughty step long before it happened across the new path. It wakes early in the morning. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t insist that the experience should be shared. Following early ablutions the bird settles himself down in the tree nearest to the bedroom window and starts to chirp. Last week, having been woken up and finding the need to answer an alternative call of nature, I noted the time on the bathroom clock. 4.34 a.m. And presumably getting a minute earlier each day.

He of The Other Side Of The Study Wall is threatening to get the chainsaw out. But the blackbird has moved house before. It is, after all, an avian occupational hazard chez rusty duck. Mike would have to chop down an awful lot of trees to sort this problem out, some of which we do not own. He’s also forgotten that the blackbird is by no means averse to perching on the top of the chimney.


Iris 'Benton Olive'


Iris ‘Benton Olive’


Centaurea montana


Centaurea montana


And speaking of disturbed sleep, the blackbird hasn’t been the only thorn in the side this week. The bedroom clock radio, not to be outdone, took to turning itself on in the middle of the night. Its favoured channel appeared to be a not quite in tune foreign talk show. Volume readjusted to max.


Iris sibirica


Iris sibirica


And then the transformer within the clock radio started to hum. Continuously. Day and night. Increasing in intensity as the days went by. Dodgy electrics being the last thing you want when your roof is made of straw the clock has been ripped from its moorings and summarily dispatched. The bathroom clock did enjoy a brief (one night) period of promotion to the lofty status of bedroom clock before it too was expelled for an over loud tick. And so we have returned to waking in tune with the season.

Who needs an alarm clock anyway, when you have a blackbird?



All the better to get out there early and plant up the new woodland path.


Itoh Peony 'Pastel Splendor'


 Itoh Watch: the tension mounts

I never did get the hang of this delayed gratification thing. I have the patience of a gnat.