Sunday 19 May 2024

The peaceful sanctuary of the garden

Greetings from my favourite time of year. I think I smile all the way round on my dog walks at the moment. Even the dog is doing mindfulness in the morning when we're down by the stream and the birds are singing. 

The garden is chugging along in a slightly stressful way. Patio Rat has had babies, which briefly unnerved me, although they are quite sweet when they rub their little faces with their hands. I discussed it with my nextdoor neighbour, who is happily pro-wildlife, and who doesn't see a problem unless they come into the house. They have been lying low lately, so I have calmed down somewhat. Although I am all for wildlife, there is part of me that still wants to stand on a chair and scream. Why is that? I have no idea. I am tamping it down.

The neighbour on the other side is rewilding vigorously and the huge growth of trees and shrubs is just full of birds' nests, it is wonderful. The garden is full of starling babies and sparrow babies. The newest starlings haven't learned to steer yet, meaning that when they fly straight at you or at the house, they have no idea how to change direction. They crash land where they can and hop to safety. 

The dog has had a couple of close rat encounters, which involved quite loud intervention on my part. I am happy to say that no rat was harmed. He is back to waiting by the entrance area now and saying things like, 'Ratty? Would you say that you are chewy?' and 'What is inside of you Ratty?' Ratty does not care to reply. 

I also have to check that there are no birds down low before I let him out or he runs at them barking madly. So it is not entirely relaxing out there, particularly as he likes to barge through the door first and rocket about the place.

The two younger urchins are doing exams. Which is also a little stressful for me. They seem remarkably calm though. Honestly, it's as if they're not even my children. 

I will take some garden pictures next time. I have new raised beds and asparagus and three types of beans. Also, I got some red-flowered strawberries at the Saturday market on, well, Saturday. Very pretty. We shall see if the fruit is any good or if it's all a gimmick. I might treat myself to a rose as well. I am torn between pink and apricot. My gut feeling is apricot, but if it's a bit too yellow or orange I might regret it. I have been agonising over it for ages. You know how I am with decisions. Feel free to weigh in with suggestions. I did find one that I love, but it apparently grows to 25 feet, so not entirely what I was after for a pot on the patio. 

The rose website has stunning pictures of them in containers, all glorious blooms and shiny, healthy foliage. I think we all know that mine won't end up looking quite like that. 

Any news at your end? I hope all are well. CJ xx


  1. Beautiful garden photos and you did make me laugh with Bertie's imagined conversation with Ratty! We used to suffer from the same rodent problem when we kept chickens. One ran out of the coop when I was collecting eggs once and went straight over my foot , and, yes, the temptation to scream and jump on the nearest chair was very real! xx

  2. I have a lovely apricot coloured rose in bloom, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ( I just blogged about it) but if you haven’t got it then, ‘ Peace’ is simply gorgeous!
    Rats did get into our house, many years ago, and it took us an age to work out where they were entering! In the end we set up a camera and found that there was a gap between the bottom of the kitchen cupboards and the plinth below that.
    Have fun! 😁

  3. Rats can be a problem as they breed prolifically and tunnel all over so much so that they are causing my sister's patio to sink. Ruby just watches animals and birds with interest. I'd go for apricot and with perfume/

    1. Yikes re the patio! I wish Bertie would just watch, but he charges at them barking madly although he doesn't really have a plan for when he arrives and it's usually just panic all round. And yes, I am leaning towards apricot and definitely perfume. CJ xx

  4. There are rats on the allotments and I occasionally find a dead one, as Sue says they can become a problem.
    Good to see that your garden is ticking over nicely, and you have some baby birds.
    I'm okay thanks, and plotting on as usual. Take care. xx

  5. Apricot sounds good to me. I’ve recently received a pink rose that has turned out to be definitely mauve. How does that happen. My cats are under instructions not to harm any baby birds. I tell them every day I just hope they listen. Your wisteria is looking gorgeous and lucky you with the blossom. My apple tree is having a year off. As is the blueberry. They didn’t even ask permission. May is certthe best month. And sunshine too…at the moment. B x

  6. A favourite time of year for me, too. I'd like to think I am not that bothered about rats but if one was to face me in the garden, I might feel differently. Our now deceased cat occasionally brought one home... I bought two rambling roses a few years ago, not quite grasping the the "rambling" aspect. It must be the varieties that cover the castle in the Sleeping Beauty....only no beauties here, just weary middle aged parents and two teenage boys. The roses are pale pink and white. I am all for pink! Have a wonderful summer. May the urchins be successful with their exams! Cxx

  7. You have a wisteria! I am so jealous. I wanted one on the new house but my bloke, bolstered by the opinions of builders, kept putting barriers to my idea every time I wanted to dig a hole by the house. Ho hum! you have just made me think of another place so I think I will just quietly plant one and see if anyone notices. XX

  8. I discovered an enormous rat nesting in my compost bin. Probably my fault because I didn't stir it enough! It ran for cover when I moved the bin. I couldn't carry on with the bin after that I'm afraid. My garden is small and though I know they have to live I prefer a degree of separation. They were also hoovering up the detritus from the bird table which required a rethink on location - to somewhere easily cleaned up. I cleared the shrubs overhanging the rat run and thankfully I have seen no more. I know they are there as my garden adjoins council land with hedges but if they keep out of my sight I can live with that.