Friday, 28 March 2008

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Another horrendous day weather-wise, too wet and windy to attempt anything at the allotment. So, I thought I review this week's gardening ventures instead. Not only did I manage to plant 8 more Crocosmia and my three inch high Japanese maple (not all free gifts are that wonderful...), I also cleaned out the pond. I know you'll be aching for the fascinating details, so here goes. I cleared the blanket weed using an old broom handle and the Canadian pond weed with a seive, and then removed all floating debris with a gloved hand. Then I sat back in my little wooden seat drinking my morning coffee. As luck would have it the sun came out, so I was left gazing at the glistening reflections of my daffs and my little statue as the birds twittered merrily overhead. Oh how lovely it is to have a pond, even in the depths of winter it's so much more interesting than a mass of shingle. William Blake may have been able to see the universe in a grain of sand, but I sure can't. Give me instead some Pre-Raphaelite watery depths! Suddenly Ophelia was floating amongst my dead reeds (my pond is a little on the small side to fit a copiously dressed adult woman in, but you have to remember they were smaller in those days...) Feeling soothed and strengthened, I at last ventured indoors to find I had received a Newletter from Spalding Bulbs (you'll remember that I am a Most Valued Customer). This was also offering advice about spring cleaning ponds. It said that if you had allowed any soil to enter your pond over winter, you must take up the entire pond and start again! Knowing full well that at least a ton of God's earth had slid that way only last month, I felt doomed. Surely I wasn't going to have to put up with the builders and their awful jokes all over again? Then I realised they were concerned because soil in the pond turns the water green, but I know I already have the antidote to that: it's Nishikoi Goodbye Green Water and it comes in delightful green buckets, which, if you recall, are so useful for removing frogs from the living room. Well, they used to be. I'm afraid I have now to admit to a sad fact. I found one of the frogs last week, its back legs poking out from under the washing machine, dead. And no, it hadn't been harmed by the cats. I think it was just unable to reverse (an awful evolutionary lack, like the intelligence thing). I've been very sad about this, especially since this week I found eggs laid by Mrs Frog in the water. Even though sex isn't up to much in frogs (just a quick grope under the armpits with the swollen finger pads, if I remember correctly from O-level biology), she must have missed at least the ceremony of the yearly mate. Unless God intervenes with an Immaculate Conception, I guess this means I won't be having tadpoles this year. Life in the Wild is so tough! Oh by the way, there's a new RHS website that offers a lot of advice on building a pond (I wish I'd known about it before I turned my back garden into a mud bath...), as well as being a wealth of information on wildlife gardening---it's http://www.wildaboutgardens.org/

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