Saturday, 11 September 2010

Planning Ahead

I have decided that summer is over. The sun is still making the odd appearance, but on the whole autumn is in the air. The moulting Mille's are busy redecorating the garden with bits of themselves, and I am trying to come up with a chicken proof gardening scheme which will see my borders full of greenery and colour instead of chicken poo and dustbaths. Deep down, I suspect that I am tilting at windmills.

When I survey my borders, I realise two things. One, that all of my beautiful, delicate plants have mysteriously disappeared. And two, that the surviving specimens are shrubs which can bear their foliage and flowers above bouncing pekin height. Oh, and aqueligias. For some reason, they are completely ignored. Also, true geraniums, although they are nibbled. All in all, it's a heartbreaking sight for a keen gardener.

Before the Palace was installed in its current location, I did have a clump of chives which they left alone. With this in mind, I have planted several varieties of allium bulb. I am hoping that the oniony taste will put them off. In the same vein, they ignore the rosemary bush. The ever tolerant husband suspects that they avoid all of the ingredients in Paxo through instinct.

Bedding plants are a complete no-no, and this year even the roses have come under attack. The rhododendron's have escaped unscathed, but the poor ceanothus is naked from the waist down. If this continues, it will develop a tree like structure rather than that of a shrub. In fact, I might end up with a garden populated with standard plants.

Any new, tender growth is scoffed with abandon. I resorted to fencing off the border last spring to give the emerging plants a fighting chance. The hens patrolled the partition, awaiting the opening of the buffet. Next year, with the fabulous Palace, they will find their free ranging rights severely restricted during growing season.  With these restrictions in place, and some clever planting, I am hoping to have a more botanical garden next summer.

Gladys and Hilda are now free ranging with the rest of the flock. The two groups warily dance around each other, and no harm has been done by either party. Indeed, the new girls even made their way in to the Palace grounds to help themselves to lunch yesterday. The chooks watched, incredulous, as Hilda had the temerity to poo quite literally on their doorstep. This broke the stunned inertia, and Maeve evicted the newcomers with ruthless efficiency. No one lost any feathers, however, so I am fairly optimistic of a smooth transition.

Lurking in the undergrowth, a moth-eaten Mabel, Purdy, Maude, Doris and Celia.

The usually beautiful Maude, minus her knickers.

Scoffing the roses, because apparently nothing is actually sacred.

Gladys and Hilda, the newest recruits.

Gladys being marvelously frizzly.

Hilda, still impressively white.

They destroy my garden, poo everywhere and force me out of bed early even at the weekends; and I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. What gorgeous ladies! You must be very proud.

  2. Thank you :) They are gorgeous! I am proud, but I just get to admire them, didn't have to do any of the hard breeding work ;)