It was raining this morning when I got up. I wasn't sure at first if it was actually raining, or had been raining and was now just grey, but when I opened the bathroom window I could hear the tell-tale drumming of raindrops on the conservatory roof. Bother. The garden is lurching into life now, bulbs poking up, the new leaves of herbaceous plants unfurling and all-too-easily snapped off new shoots swelling on the roses, and I had fifty bags of chopped straw mulch to apply to the borders. I could very much do with it being dry. Apart from my own aversion to getting damp, it is near to impossible to apply fish, blood and bone around wet foliage without it sticking to the leaves, which burns them. Dry days in early March are the gardener's friend.
After a while it stopped raining. I weeded the gravel until lunchtime, hoping that the borders would dry off enough for me to make a start with the Strulch. The Libertia peregrinans has run tremendously, a true pilgrim. The bronze and olive green leaves are very pretty but I'm beginning to wonder if there might be too much of it. There are places where the gravel is very thin and needs topping up, but it seemed silly to order more gravel when I was so far off having used the mulch I already had.
By the afternoon the weak sunshine had dried off the foliage in the borders, even though the lower part of the garden was still evilly squishy, and I set to work tucking Strulch around the Camassia leaves in the far rose bed before they could get any taller. By the time it got too dark to see what I was doing I'd finished something over half the bed, which is by far the smallest bed I need to do, and used five bags of Strulch. The garden would probably happily absorb two pallets' worth of bags, if only I'd bought them, but I probably wouldn't have time to apply it all before growth was too far advanced. Fortunately last year's application is still quite thick in some places.
We had guests coming over to supper tonight, so while the Systems Administrator toiled in the kitchen I put new beeswax candles in the holders. We dipped them ourselves at a friend's candle making day, and they are undeniably hand made but so lumpy and irregular that no self-respecting artisan would admit to them. As a final flourish I tried to comb Our Ginger, who managed to moult a quite enormous quantity of hair over the last visitor he sat on. He purred all the time and seemed to enjoy being groomed but refused to roll over so that I could do the other side and then began to bat at the comb until I thought I'd better stop, so he remained primed to moult over the next guest to offer him a lap.
Moulted animal hair can have its advantages, though. One of yesterday's visitors once lent the family car to her son to take his stuff to university in Birmingham, where it was promptly stolen. The police caught four youths running away from the stolen car and arrested a fifth later on. All denied their involvement, but the evidence was incontrovertible. The five had dog hair on their clothing, which matched the dalmation hair stuck to every seat of the car.