Monday, May 28, 2007

This and That

May is always a busy time of the year for a gardener in the Netherlands. After the ice saints have been (Gangulvus of Marmertus on 11 May, Pancratius on 12 May, Servatius on 13 May and Bonifatius on 14 May) it's usually safe to put out the tender perennials as the risk of night frosts is very low. So I planted up lots of containers and I moved a few big pots too, but I did not carry them as they are far too heavy. So I transported them across my garden in a different way. It's very easy this way and you won't do your back in.

It was high time that I jazzed up my plant standard with lots of new plants in pots as it was looking very sorry for itself. Here is how it looked before
and this is after. Much better!

As I was potting up the plants I heard a noise. It was Mr Blackbird again, making a bit of a spectacle of himself in the birdbath.
Splish, splash he was taking a bath, which was rather risky because there were kitties about, close by in the potager.
Fortunately for Mr. Blackbird both Vita and Dolly were far too busy enjoying the catnip to pay him any heed.

After planting up several containers I felt the need to do something else. Well if you're a real gardener then you are never lost for jobs, are you? So I got out my DIY obelisk kit and went ahead and built myself a nice obelisk.

To prove that I really have been paying attention while watching those DIY programmes on the telly; here's one that I prepared earlier. It comes complete with clematis Hagley Hybrid.

After all that hard work it was time for a cup of tea and a newspaper. While I was reading the local rag I noticed this interesting article on page 3.
Apparently some Dutch garden blogger won a Mouse & Trowel Award for Best International Garden Blog of 2007. Hmmmm, I wonder who that is? ;-) The things you read in the newspaper. Shocking!

To recover from this shock to my delicate system, I went into my potager to check on things. My three sisters bed is doing great. And before anyone asks: a 3 sisters bed is a bed planted up with squash, beans and corn. These are excellent companion plants. The beans provide the nitrogen for the corn and squash. The corn provides the beans with climbing poles and the squash keep the weeds down and retain the moisture in the soil with their big leaves.

In the Victorian greenhouse the tomatoes were doing great and were growing like mad. I grow them up spirals that are very handy for this sort of thing. You just twirl the tomatoes along the curves in the spiral.
Here's a closer look of how that works. I twirl my tomatoes about once a week and once they have reached the top of the spiral it's off with their heads!
As I came out of the greenhouse I noticed that a very good friend had come for a bit of a cuddle and some dindins; Macavity was here!!! And here he is, sitting on the compost bins enjoying his dinner. See, no mousie Wolfgang and no birdie either Layanee!
Here's some irrefutable evidence that men can multitask too; Macavity is eating and schmoozing at the same time.
After dinner it was time for a bit of a wash.
Who is an impeccably behaved kitty then? Macavity, who else? Macavity, Macavity, there's no cat like Macavity.
He showed up one day for dinner quite unexpectedly. Surprise had brought him along when she was still an outdoor cat. A very frightened and shy kittycat he was then and would not let me come near him at all.
A free spirit is Macavity, used to living it rough with no one to look after him. But lots of time and patience, not forgetting loads of TLC have turned Macavity into a new man err cat. And here he is in all his glory, basking in the sun in his basket on the front door porch.
Macavity, a stray cat that has found out that he's a place of his own now to chill and relax and were he's welcome. Isn't he just the best?

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.
T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats


Carol said...

You have certainly been busy in your garden, and it is starting to look very "summery". And how nice to be in the local paper!

Pam/Digging said...

Congrats on your local publicity, all well deserved. Won't your neighbors be surprised, or do they already know about your blog? And your new kitty looks quite sweet.

Nicole said...

That tomato plant looks lush and lovely-and the spiral idea is great. I pruned and staked my tomatoes this morning. McCavity's is cutie-I can relate as I have 6 cats that "came in from the cold".

ina said...

van harte gefeliciteerd hoor ,je hebt inderdaad en heel mooi tuinlog bliss !!! gr ina

Julia said...


I wonder if you saw the BBC story of Macavity the cat who rode the bus? There was a little white cat who would jump on the bus and get off two stops later.

I love the fact that cats are drawn to your garden. They have such great taste! Also, I love the fact that your cats bring friends over!

Naturegirl said...

I have just returned home from Florida and what a treat to come by your garden and catch up!!WOW you have been busy for sure! Oh my natureboy and I had better stay home and get busy as you make me feel guilty!! We have so much to accomplish and our Spring was late coming so all the gardening tasks wait for us YIKES! We are building a garden shed so I have taken a few notes from your wonderful wow wow!! Love what you did with it!!(Your garden shed) Now you must NAME IT!
It is always wonderful to see and
learn all about your kitty cats...ahh that outside bed you provided for are so generous and caring! Love visiting you!Soon I will be sharing my garden photos too. hugs NG

Robin said...

Glad that Macavity has found a loving home. He seems to be a purr-fect fit. Love the finished garden cottage, it looks so charming and inviting. You are quite the celebrity! Glad you made the news! You have a great blog and very worthy of the recognition.

Mia said...

Congratulations on the award. And very well deserved it is too. Your blog is such an inspiration. I really enjoyed seeing how you grow your tomatoes in the spiral and how you move heavy pots about. I also loved the photo of the blackbird and all the lovely kitties.

Birgit said...

Es muss sich unter den Herrschaften Katzen und Kater herum gesprochen haben, dass es bei Yolanda gaaaanz toll ist und es sich gut leben lässt. Klar doch, nix wie hin. Für Macavity ist auch noch Platz. Darf doch bleiben?! Sehr hübsch, die (der) Rote.
Schön, ein Artikel über den Bliss-Blog. Super! Herzlichen Glückwunsch, hast Du auch verdient.
Ich wünsche Dir noch einen schönen Pfingst-Abend. Liebe Grüße, Birgit

Hannele said...

Nice to see your photos.

exile61 said...

Yolanda, Macavity is a heck of a name for a cat. A great one that is! My old cat in the States was a red an' white one of the male persuasion. He was supposed to come over to Germany with me and ran off right before getting "fixed". Guess, he didn't like the thought of this or found a new home - he owned the street we lived on. We have shown Stella the catnip and she loves it. My son said, "Drugs for cats." :-) Have a great week, Andrea

exile61 said...

Me once more. You have asked about the name of the clematis. I am sorry, I don't know. There are a few plants (3 of them clematis) which I have bought where I forgot the name and did not label (something I don't really like to do and forget). It is really great growing clematis and strong, small blossoms, grows out the old wood.

Kate said...

Great work on the obelisk! It's wonderful that the paper recognised your blogging award. Macavity is gorgeous and looks most at home ... I love the T.S. Eliot poem.

Your potager is growing amazingly fast. I am imagining corn in a few short months!

rusty in miami said...

Yolanda your garden cottage looks great you did a fantastic job. I got to try the spiral trick with my tomatoes next winter

Layanee said...

YE: Glad to see cat and bird can coexist in harmony! You've been busy. I thought of getting the carrier out for my pots but it was so far away and I had so much to do that I asked the 'equipment manager' to bring them up and he did! Love the see everything potted up and that Hagley hybrid is to die for! Making rhubarb with orange juice and cinnamon stick tomorrow. How much OJ?

SchneiderHein said...

Hallo Yolanda, jetzt waren wir so mit Rosenjagd und unseren Rosen beschäftigt, dass ich erst jetzt hier wieder vorbei schaue. Es ist ja wirklich viel in Deinem Garten passiert!
Und das Bliss-Team besteht jetzt wirklich aus 10 Katzen, die sich vertragen? So ein rot-weißer paßt ja wirklich prima dazu.
Heute bin ich ganz hingerissen von dem Foto von Vita & Dolly im Minze-Rausch: Sonne und Genuss. Gerade an so verregneten Tagen tut so ein Bild richttig gut!
Liebe grüße Silke

LostRoses said...

Ice saints? How fascinating! I had to Google it to find out more. I have never heard of this before but it makes perfect sense. What an interesting blog you have and I'm so glad your paper wrote an article on your award. Good for you!

Love all your kitties, I think a garden is more complete with cats, but I have to rely on the neighbor cats to come visit mine.

jodi said...

Oh, wonderful, Yolanda Elizabet! Macavity is a perfect name for a cat. We had a Macavity for years, a delightfully eccentric ginger cat who loved my longsuffering spouse and 'approved' of him when we were first dating. May you have many years with this gentleman. He's very lucky to have found you and the rest of the Bliss team.

Did he 'tell' you his name? After all, as Mr. Eliot says, "the naming of cats is a difficult matter/it isn't just one of your holiday games"...We find that ours generally tell us their names--at least the one that they wish us to know!

marl1 said...

Het kan gek lopen- op een dag begin je met een blog, het volgende moment ben je wereldnieuws....en terecht natuurlijk..;-)
En idd waar zouden wij tuinvrouwen zijn zònder steekkarretje?!?
Ik vermoed zo dat die énige Macavity niet de laatste zal zijn die de weg naar het poezenparadijs heeft gevonden......

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

Carol: you've been quite busy too, haven't you? A gardener's work is never done.

Pam: my neighbours were very surprised! They knew about my garden but not the blog.

Nicole: how wonderful that you rescued 6 kitties! Well done you!

Ina: bedankt voor je compliment!

Julia: I read about this Macavity in the newspaper. What a clever cat!

Nature girl: I am looking forward to seeing lots of pics of your new shed soonish (I hope). ;-)

Robin: Macavity is still a fulltime outdoor kitty unfortunately. He sleeps in my porch often and has his dinner with me several times a week but that is it. He's feral and will stay that way. That he allows me to stroke him is a very big deal. I try to make his life as comfortable and safe as possible.
Thanks for all your kind words, I appreciate them. :-)

Mia: thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed it all. That is what garden blogging is all about; to share the fun and information.

Birgit: Du hast recht, Katzen und Kater finden es bei mir gaaanz toll! ;-) Auch für Macavity ist Platz, er darf bleiben. Er ist sehr hübsch und süss.

Hannele: glad you liked them!

Andrea: your son is right, catnip is a kind of drug for cats, most get very high on it. ;-) Glad Stella enjoyed it!

Andrea: thanks for taking the trouble. That clematis of yours is very pretty. Who knows, one day we will find its name. ;-)

Kate: that obelisk was number 15 I made, so I'm getting real good at putting obelisks together. ;-)
T.S. Eliot has written some great poems about cats on which the musical Cats is based. Been to see the musical last year, it was great.

Corn on the cob sounds good to me. ;-)

Rusty: thanks and do give those spirals a try, they are very handy I found.

Layanee: an equipment manager is also very good to have as they can come in very handy in the garden every now and again. ;-) The Hagley Hybrid is great, this is its second year in my garden.

Silke: Macavity is number 10 but he is an outdoor cat only, unfortunately. He has been roaming the streets for many years and is very afraid of humans. It took me a long time to win his trust. I can't put him inside my house, he's too afraid for that. So I do what I can to make his life better.

Lostroses: the things you read on this blog, eh? ;-)Glad you got some neighbourhood kitties to come and enjoy your garden with you.

Jodi: it took me a while to find out his name. Macavity is a feral cat, he's been roaming the streets for ages. It took me a long time to gain his trust and with that came his name, the one that I'm allowed to know.;-)

Thanks for sharing the story of your Macavity. Sounds like a great kittycat!

Birgit said...

Hallo Yolanda, fein dass Macavity bleiben darf. Vielleicht kommt er ja auch irgendwann rein im Winter und weiß das warme Nest zu schätzen.

Wenn Du Fingerhut-Samen möchtest von dem Weißen, schick mir ein E-Mail. Findest Du in meinem blog-Profil "Meine Website".

Der Samen meiner Fingerhüte sind 2002 aus Schweden mitgebracht. Überwiegend blühen sie auch Pink, violett, hellgelb. Aber weiße sind immer dabei. Es gibt nur leider keine Garantie, dass die Samen von den Weißen auch weiß werden.

LG Birgit

Tiny said...

Terecht je hebt ook een heel mooi web-log.
Dus van Harte gefeliciteerd !!!
Je tuin is ook prachtig, mooie foto's maak je ervan.
Leuk om naar te kijken.
Groetjes Tiny.

stadtgarten said...

This is a very nice article in the newspaper about your blog and the award you won and totally deserve.
Hartelijk gefeliciteerd!
Now I recognized the obelisk you told me about in my blog.
Your garden looks wonderful!
Groetjes, Monika

lisa said...

Your garden looks great! Bet your kitties keep squirrels away really well.

Libbys Blog said...

Haven't blogged yet just visiting, I do love your new ginger friend!!

ladyluz said...

I love everything you're doing in your garden: the plant holder is so pretty and the spirals and obelisks lend an elegance - I wish I could get some here, or maybe get a blacksmith to make them.

What a character Macavity looks: aren't they all fortunate to have you both and one another.

Piana Nanna said...

I imagine that no one who lives near you would be one bit surprised that you would win The Mouse and Trowel Award. The neighborhood must be proud.

Annie in Austin said...

Like LostRoses, the story of the Ice Saints fascinated me, Yolanda - the dates don't work in Austin, but they would have been quite valid in Illinois! I also googled them, and I really liked this quote: The past week contained days known as the Ice Saints' Days...St Mamertus (May 11), St Pancras (May 12), St Servatius (May 13) and St Boniface (May 14). There is an old Yorkshire saying that "the shepherd who shears his sheep before St Servatius' Day loves the fleece more than the sheep." It came from an article in the Darlington & Stockton times, so the names have a British twist.

I'm glad you enjoyed being in the newspaper~

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Nessa said...

I envy your garden... kinda makes me wanna go and have my own:) Your blog is a great read. You deserve the award... Keep it up!

Green thumb said...

Wow! Just look at the icing on the cake, with bliss winning the award and also enjoying some space in the local newspaper.
Loved that 'after' look on the jazzed up pots.

Colleen said...

You're a busy woman--gardening, adopting kitties, writing an award-winning blog....where do you find the time? ;-)

I absolutely love that plant stand. I'll have to look for one like it here in the States. Macavity's a very handsome fellow. He looks nice and relaxed on his bed there. It must have taken a while for you to earn his trust. I adopted one of my cats from the Humane Society..she had been a stray before they took her in. She's still rather jumpy to this day, so I have no doubt that she had a rough time as a stray.

Kylee said...

Yay! Now your local friends and neighbors can appreciate the treasure they have among them!

Macavity - now you just know a dental hygienist would love that name. ;-)

We have a hand truck also, and you're right, it's a huge help in the garden!

diane said...

I love your garden and all the tips about the three sister garden and the winding tomatos. I never knew about the three sister. I'm excited to try it. And the fact that you love cats so much,is just the best. I love it that you take time in life to write poetry about your cats. I can feel the love. I love mine so much too. I have to put some pictures up on the blog. Thanks for the inspiration again.

Thalia said...

Awww! Macavity's simply gorgeous! Those chubby cheeks! He's wonderful! Dear Yolanda, please convey my love to Macavity and thanks for those lovely pictures!

Bert said...

Well Yolanda you're a real busy bee. Never a dull moment in your garden. Everything is growing and getting greener and greener...and alot of other colours of course.
A real paradise!!

Sanni said...

I warmly congratulate you for your winning. Your blod is a true plessure :))) And those cats are just lovely. Sometimes I think that two is too much for me. You are clearly a real cat person.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Welcome to Bliss everyone!

Birgit: thank you for the offer, that's very kind of you!

Tiny: Dank je wel.

Monika: isn't it fun that we have the same obelisk? Did you buy yours at Lidle too?

Lisa: we don't have squirrels in the area where I live so that's great.

Libby: you're a woman of impeccable taste!

Ladyluz: a blacksmith would be an option. It's an honour that Macavity has put his trust in me, a very difficult thing for him to do, poor kitty.

Piana Nanna: they can only see my front garden but you are right, most were not surprised at all. ;-)

Annie: over here the Ice Saints are the watershed, after them it's usually safe to put out the tender perennials. The whole saint thingy is of course a catholic thing and once upon a time the British were catholic too. ;-)

Nessa: welcome and of course you want one too. ;-)

Green thumb: the before and after is always a good thing, isn't it?

Colleen: you're not the only one who likes the plant stand it seems. Hope you can find one. I've had mine for donkey's ages.
Most strays live a very tough life so it's wonderful when they find a loving home. Glad your kittycat found you and your family!

Kylee: I hope they will! ;-)
Thought his name might appeal to you, it's funny isn't it?

Diane: keep me posted about your 3 sisters bed! It's nice to meet another fellow cat fan!

Thalia: Macavity is still an entire male so he comes with the fully developped male cheeks. I will give him a hug from you when I see him.

Bert: I'm always busy, that's how I like it. The garden is very green at the moment because it's been raining a lot lately.