I made a dash between bouts of rain and sleet to gather up some snowdrops this morning. A dodgy business it was, literally, as the wind was lashing the ash branches and, all round these parts, trees are snapping like matches, weakening hedges and jagging the skyline with their stumps.
We live very close to the source of the Cherwell and the fields are running with unfamiliar streams. The sheep are unimpressed, moving from one pasture to another to escape the unwelcome wet and seeking shelter from the wind.
Ah, the sheep. I think I forgot to mention that the woolly predators have hoofed it over the wall and into the garden again. This time it wasn’t the gate that let them through (the gate’s fixed). It was like this.
As we dug the two new long borders we dumped the spoil over the wall behind the compost bins. There was a quite a lot of spoil, enough indeed to create a little hill. I have yet to find my way inside the mind of a sheep but I like their style. If I was a sheep and on my daily peregrination in search of top verdure I would certainly investigate new territory. I would, in other words, trot up a new incline and, on seeing, beyond it a fresh green sward I would check it out. And so it was that we found one day last week a good two dozen of the woolly ones breakfasting on our lawn.
At the husband and then at the sheep who had left a stream of hoof prints all along one flower bed (luckily, the not-yet-planted one). Then I screamed again at the husband who was looking at the sheep through the lens of his iPhone. And when he suggested getting the dog to help drive back the woolly thieves I really let rip. All I could think about were the hours and hours of labour that had gone into digging, planning and planting the new flower beds and the 70 new plants doing their best to make the long haul to spring despite being blasted with wind and soaked by freezing puddles.
“I have to do some work,” he tried. But one person cannot herd a flock of sheep without help and so he was prevailed upon to join me in waving arms and steering the girls back the way they had come. I still can’t believe how quickly we succeeded. Within a couple of minutes we had them trotting nimbly, if somewhat sulkily, back over wall.
Above is a shot of the barricade I subsequently erected.
With the gales going full gallop I half thought the wall would tumble, but it is standing strong.
Tiffany Daneff is also the editor of the award-winning intoGardens app - the world's first magazine app for gardens. Visit the appstore to download a free sample or go to the website for more information. Gardening has never looked better or been more exciting. Visit www.into-gardens.com for more info.