In the years since we starting planting our garden, it has become a lush oasis of foliage, fuelled partly by the copious amounts of chicken poo which form a major constituent of the composting process but also, in part, by our love of tall, architectural plants. Friends are always amazed by what appears, in winter, to be a fairly restrained planting scheme and in summer metamorphoses into the Okefenokee jungle. At this time of year grasses are at their late summer best, along with echinops, budleia, towering hydrangea paniculata not to mention the ridiculously overgrown gunnera which was once found to be sheltering four friends from an untimely rain shower.
I have come to realise over the years, that all this lushness brings additional benefits for Mr P who can legitimately disappear into the undergrowth each weekend, only to mysteriously re-emerge as the gins are being poured. This is just as he likes it. I am not suggesting for one moment that Mr P is lazily whiling away the time with a book, safely hidden from view, he just doesn’t like having his time organised for him. Sometimes I can lose much valuable gardening time just trekking through the undergrowth to find him and tempt him out with the promise of some tasty repast. I’m not sure in fact, whether he is starting to enjoy being elusive, as I have found that he is starting to disappear in other places too. Maybe he’s just camera shy, although I somehow doubt that. To disprove my theory, I set out last weekend to try and capture the rare male of the species in his natural habitat. To no avail I’m afraid as he was up to his old tricks. You would think that a man with a lawn mower was quite easy to locate – alas not in this garden where the areas of grass are small and scattered so just as you think you’ve located the noise, it’s disappeared again behind more undergrowth. Despite catching several glimpses of him from afar, it took till late afternoon to finally track him down to the jetty where he seemed to be having a well-earned sit down. Wait a minute…. is that a beer I can see?