Saturday, August 11, 2007

Totally unfeline post

Today you’re not getting a word out of me about the kittens or the two plants that they knocked off the kitchen shelf while I was out this morning having coffee with friends and mourning the end of the holidays. (One pot broken, one cracked, lots of compost scattered far and wide, while my friends and I had coffee sitting on a balcony in South Queensferry, overlooking the water, thinking that we could do this sort of thing every day if we didn’t have to work.)
I don’t want to become a kitten bore, so I won’t mention how utterly sweet they are in the evenings, when they lie on my husband’s lap and snooze away, purring fluffily and preventing him from doing anything useful. And I certainly won’t tell you about how much they like their new cat litter. They kick bits of it out of the litter tray and chase this around the kitchen floor – you don’t want to know that, do you?

No, today I’ll show you some pictures of my garden. As I’ve said before, it’s quite small but I’ve made it labour-intensive by concentrating on herbaceous plants, and also by making extra little flower beds here and there. This summer the weather has tended to be cool and damp, which hasn’t encouraged blooming, so it’s not looked its best. (Oh, look at these fine examples of the use of “it’s” and “its”.)

However, one minor excitement is a recent small expansion of the garden round the side of the house. When we moved here eighteen years ago (“I’ll stay five years,” I said, “and then I want a bigger garden”) there was a nasty cracked concrete area round the side of the house, and since we couldn’t afford to have this removed, we put up a shed between it and the back garden and pretended that the bit at the side didn’t exist.

In the course of time, the shed started falling gently to bits, and one day this spring Son was in a demolishing mood and offered to remove it. This left the nasty cracked concrete once again visible, made worse by odd remnants of shed material and various items left sitting around which had been in the shed and now were on their way to the tip.

I had been spending most of my free time since September visiting my father in hospital so hadn’t done the usual spring tidy-up. Then he died and the subsequent arrangements and emotions then took up our time and thoughts, so that the ex-shed area grew weeds on the nasty cracked concrete – making it all look much worse than it had when the shed was in situ.
Bear in mind that it was early spring at this point. There are lots of spring bulbs in the garden, but not visible from this angle. Dear me, how horrible this looks!

Eventually we got a chap to come and remove the tree that had grown up in the middle of the iron fence between us and the neighbours, to dig up the concrete, put up a fence and put down grass and paving slabs. And here, with a bit of planting, is how it looks now.

I know this must look feeble in the extreme to those who live in big American or Australian houses with lots of land, but you have to remember that we live in a wee country, in a city where land is very very expensive. So it’s a very tiny paradise, but it’s ours. And sometimes the sun shines.


  1. Hello - I've only been reading for a short while, but I see that you like feedback.
    Lovely garden - we have to do our best with small plots.
    And if the kittens are part of your life, they need to be included.

  2. As I have mentioned before, I adore your garden, and it looks enormous to me.
    You have done a great job.
    The flowers and plants are all so beautiful, the colours lovely. It must smell wonderful.

    oh, and what a fabulous wee country it is!

    ( I have been there,so I know this.
    What's more, I shall return there in October.)

  3. Isabelle, you've taken my breath away. Your garden is lovely and green and lush. It's perfect.

    It isn't so much what or how much we have as what we do with it. At least, that's what I tell myself as I tend my expansive 60 x 100 foot lot - I live in one of those American houses with tons of land, doncha know!

  4. You have a beautiful garden. It looks so incredibly lush and green - must be all that Edinburgh rain that does it.

    I don't suppose the two plants that your little feline hooligans knocked down were spider plants by any chance? Cats are very fond of them as spider plants are like a mild LSD to cats!

  5. Your garden looks so lush & green & healthy to me too! I love it, it looks like a little bit of paradise.
    Hmmm, those naughty kittens!

  6. Oh Isabelle, I wish you hadn't put those beautiful photos on! I want to come back, NOW! There is just something so beautiful about a British garden, that doesn't seem to happen here in Australia. I suppose Mt.Macedon is as close as it comes. Loved the Forth Bridge shots too. I have some of these in my album from a few years ago. I was in Edinburgh in 1991 and actually drove myself. Then we returned several times and last time we drove up the east coast to St. Andrews and fell in love with Crail! I have photos of us sitting on the beach, eating crab rolls and soaking up the sunshine.
    What a shame you didn't mention the kits!

  7. You garden looks so beautiful, and believe me, many newer houses in Australia don't have nearly as much garden as that. Most houses are being built without eaves, which is lunacy in our climate, but if they did have eaves then they would probably overlap the neighbours eaves. I could go on forever about the lack of space for children to play; but then, we've not having children now, are we?

    I also loved the views over the water.

  8. If there's no mention of kittens then I'm not reading your post. Which means that I won't be able to congratulate you on your beautiful garden or admire your transformation of the nasty cracked concrete area.

    Bring back the kitten stories!

  9. Isabelle, your "commenters" are as amusing as your own posts - I'm starting to believe your brand of humour is infectious!
    Your garden is indeed beautiful. We will never get green like that in our climate (except in Tasmania, which is as close to England you will find anywhere Down Under).

  10. Oh look there's Stitchwort over there by the door...
    I just looked at my last comment here, and, shame on me, not only was it ages ago but I'd missed an apostrophe 's', hang my head.
    That garden corner makeover is worthy of a TV show, very swish!
    And what do kittens mean? Comments!

  11. Isabelle - your garden is delightful! (And about the same size as our Aussie one...not all Australians have sheep-stations for backyards!) I noted with great appreciation the correct apostrophe use!

    I'm one generation removed from Scotland (my parents are Scots, but I was born in Australia) and your photos remind me how glorious that wee country can be (when the sun shines!).

  12. Isabelle,
    I am amazed at the transformation of the area between homes. It looks absolutely lovely... as does everything else in your beautiful garden. I love your use of the word 'wee' as here in the states we assume that's the way people in Scotland talk. Boy, are we 'stereotypers' over here (did I just coin a new word?)

    I'm sorry I didn't answer your email, but we have been at the lake and the so-called computer hook-up there didn't work. We came home last night and will be going back in a few days. I'll respond sometime today.

  13. Well, I used to THINK I wanted a large yard (garden to you) until I actually HAD one. much to weed! I'd much rather have a small neat yard than a large shaggy one.

    Oh -- in answer to your query, I am in the north/midwest U.S. -- Michigan (the state shaped rather like a mitten). It does get hot here, but not usually 99 degrees.

  14. Oh, it's beautiful. I've always loved your garden shots. Will the kittens be venturing into the garden, or are they purely indoor cats?


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