Saturday, 1 September 2012

Furry leaves . . .

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
My Dear Ralph
Just a little note on my progress in the horticultural sphere over at Colonel Mustang's.  I forgot to mention that the colonel had asked me to label up all the specimen trees in his 6-acre plot.  And this has not turned out to be quite as simple as I had anticipated because one quite forgets that said labels are going to get washed off in the rain, bleached in the sun, and peeled off in the frost.  My current plan is to use adhesive vinyl tape stuck to plastic tags which have a hole punched into one end (to thread garden wire through).  And to this end, I have strung up one or two of these labels on the washing line to see how they will weather the forthcoming seasons.  Actually pet, it has not proved to be all that easy to identify the trees in question, owing to the fact that many of the leaves do look quite similar!  However, I do believe I have sighted a Foxglove tree (huge furry leaves), an Oriental Plane and a Sweet Gum - and one must hope that most visitors to the garden will not be able to do much better themselves!
I have also been having a go at pruning the roses, which look like they may have been untouched by human hand for quite some decades.  And, really, having spent quite some hours sequestered in large thickets - replete with some thousands of thorns - I have come to the conclusion that said shrubs require their pruner to be equipped in the equivalent of chain mail if they are to emerge unscathed from the experience.  I personally have only come across rambling roses which have rambled for tens of metres up trees, like this, in a couple of other gardens.  Poised beneath them with a pair of sharpened loppers - not to mention a large-toothed saw - I feel that a certain degree of courage is required to make decisions concerning the thinning of stems, however aged or deceased they may appear to be.  I can say this with quite some confidence dear - having clipped off several dried out sections which came away with quite a quantity of live foliage attached. 
Anyway pet, whilst buried amongst the roses so-to-speak, my eye was caught by the large approaching figure of Stella Starr - the famous raconteuse who recently featured, as you may recall, in the TV serial, 'Scurrilous Soliloquys.'  Having been told, some days earlier, that this individual's sojourn on the premises was 'top secret' and not to whisper a word of it to anyone, I decided to be discreet in any conversational overtures that might occur.  So repressing the urge to call, 'Cooee, are you the famous Stella Starr?' I carried on nonchalantly chopping my way through the roses as she progressed down the path towards me.  I think I may actually have taken this a bit too far because, when she said 'Hello, what's your name?' I sort of grunted 'Agatha' and affected an air of complete disinterest.  I think she might have felt a little discouraged by this dear because, after a few awkward seconds of mutual study, she carried on down the path to the swimming pool (hopefully no dead ducks to be seen floating on the water).  And the worst of it all dear, is that I completely forgot to mention my memoirs!
Aunt Agatha 

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