The courtyard rocks

stipa movingFun and games in the dirt today.  Bebere and Etienne arrived on the dot of eight and the toys came not long after.  A mini digger and an iron horse.

And the first thing they did was to help me move the giant stipa which refused to yield to my fork. Bebere made light work of the beast. It is sitting in watery slush up at the potting shed as I type.

I have a new place for it. But I have to weed the area first. I want it to stand at the bottom of the steps of the pool bank. If it survives the transplantation process.

But all thoughts of planting was quickly consumed by more mundane jobs.  I was on rock duty today.

Our houses are built on granite rocks and previously I had hidden the rock that protudes from the guest house with thyme plants and gravel. weeded small rock

Today it is a bare expanse of granite and nothing more. It feels naked.

But I will get used to it.  And try and resist the temptation to cover it with plants again.

marking out rillAnd next I moved onto the larger project: the huge courtyard rock. Eight metres long and full of weeds, soil pockets, mess.

Well, not really mess, but any soil that drops from this rock onto the newly laid courtyard will be detrimental to the overall look.

So while the builders were hard at digging out the rill and sorting all the edges (I had to ask Etienne to dig out the ivy as I couldn’t get at the roots) I was perched on a rock. weeded rock

It was actually quite fun. Apart from the few moments when I barked my knuckles on the rock as I hacked away at recalcitrant weeds.

By lunchtime I’d finished.  And we all downed tools to refuel.

It was absurdly warm and sunny. I took my lunch up to the potting shed to chat with Artur.

happy lapConfession time; Artur had a dreadful time. I accidently locked him into the guest house for a day.  He must have climbed in the stable front door when it had been left open. And at the end of the day I just pulled it shut, not thinking that the cat would be inside.

I wondered why I saw no trace of him on Sunday when I was working in the courtyard removing irises.  And then this morning I heard a yowling and a howling and realised where he was.  Poor little thing.

Actually he didn’t look too dreadful or even cross. In fact I had a great deal of difficulty coping with him demanding a lap sit while I was crouching on my rock. quince flowers

I am forgiven.

Phew. The rest of the afternoon was spent relandscaping the east garden which had looked like a granite rockery since November.

The rocks have gone (well half a dozen remain, but they are for the courtyard) and I have my lawn back.

And it gave me a chance to gaze and gaze at the gorgeous quince trees further along the lawn.  They are in flower this year unlike 2013 when it rained non stop until the last week of May.

We should have good fruit this year. If the weather stays warm for a few weeks more.

By the end of the day the first truckload of hoggin had been delivered and is starting to be stockpiled on the weedproof fabric of the newly cleared courtyard.

gravel deliveredI had a sense of deja vu.  Seven years ago I had cleared this 100 square metre courtyard of weeds and mess and laid weedproof fabric down all over the expanse.  And then poured gravel in endless buckets to cover it all up. I could have done with a staff of two and a mini digger to help out that first time.

I’m going to miss the gravel. It is a very forgiving material and I do love grey.

But change is a good thing – an exciting thing. We shall see how this new paler surface and rill work out.