Now in the September of my life I find that I love April best. For new beginnings, the light and all the summer to look forward to and then, at summer's end, September, my second favourite month.
This is the first year since Matty died that I have enjoyed my garden. Between grieving and cold wet springs it had got completely out of hand. Last autumn Bert and I dug almost everything out of the perennial garden with a view to starting over. Only about half of it survived the winter.
I started working on it after Paris and at first I thought I wouldn't be fit for the task. But a wonderful thing – the more I worked the fitter I became and the fitter I became the happier and and more hopeful I became. I started on my vegetable garden too and I have worked harder in the garden this past few weeks than in all the three years since Matty died.
I have discovered the joy of the Dutch hoe. Bert has been preaching hoeing to me for years but I was unconvinced. I preferred to get down on my knees and battle the weeds at eye level. Now dropping to my knees is something I have to give a bit of thought to. There is the getting up again to consider.
I was worried I was overdoing it with the Dutch hoe. I asked Bert,
What if I blunt it?
I'll buy you a new one.
May was always my best month in the perennial garden. This year the show will be sparse. I have a few wallflowers, saxifrage, primroses on the go. I have pushed in nasturtium plugs here and there. The geraniums and potentillas are far fewer than there were. I don't know if my agapanthus will make it. There are no foxgloves and very few aquilegia. But there is something about that well tilled, almost weed free, brown soil that pleases me. It is a blank canvas. I can do what I want with it. So even and smooth and Dutch hoed to pieces. Until today.
My blank canvas
I had been feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't been keeping up with the planting but I was having so much fun Dutch hoeing and seed sowing in the poly tunnel that there wasn't enough time.
Just before they escaped
And then I noticed that the pigs had escaped from their field. I set off in search. The first one I came across was Rusty. Coming out of our house as if he had every right to be there. He turned the corner to the front of the house and there was Lily, standing in my perennial bed, digging a great hole with her snout. I wonder if she was searching for truffles? I was ever so glad I hadn't completed the planting.