Wednesday, February 16, 2011


or A Fateful Day

A vicious Arctic blast? No problem.

Snow and ice? Please.

Gale-force winds and sub-zero temperatures? It is to scoff.

As you may recall from a recent post, the Lady Jane tulips were more than a match for the winter storm we had a couple of weeks ago. Confronted by nastier weather than we almost ever encounter, they grew, they thrived, they flourished. They welcomed whatever Mother Nature threw at them—welcomed it and quite possibly danced a breathless tango with it. They had the fire of spring coursing through their little botanical veins, and mere weather—the weather that brought two-thirds of the country to a standstill—could not stop them.

And yet, they have since met their Waterloo:

Sir Marley.  The neighbor's cat.  Don't be deceived by that heavenly beam of light.  It is a trick of the camera, nothing more, and an accidental trick at that.  (In any case it is certainly nothing angelic.)  I would like to say that Sir Marley used some brilliant Wellington-ian strategy to defeat my poor tulips, that they met their fates honorably in a battle which, really, could have gone either way.  But I can't.

He sat on them.

I believe he also napped on them and may quite possibly have rolled on them, as the ground has warmed up nicely this week, and the garden is pleasantly sheltered from the wind, and napping and rolling become irresistible to cats in these circumstances.  I even sympathize with him, because it really has been a gorgeous week.  As someone who was not planning to celebrate spring by rolling in the dirt, however, but by reveling in the eventual sight of cheerful spring flowers, I am a little disgruntled.  I do wish that pet owners would remember that they are responsible for their pets whether on or off their own property.  But, since they won't, I will break out the heavy, cat-repelling artillery.  (Garlic pellets, here we come.)

If you have any brilliant Wellington-ian strategies to offer I'd love to hear them...


  1. Just found your blog via Dominique. I used to be a gardener before getting sick. Two things you can do for the cat. Put down something prickly over the top of hte tulips. Pine branches or you can even buy prickly mats to keep cats out. The other thing is you can plant catmint if it grows in your area. The plant is almost indestructable and it will keep the cat distracted from your other plants. My neighbors cat regularly rolls in my catmint and the plant just doesn't care other than getting a little flattened.

  2. Baffled, thank you so much for visiting and for your comment! I'm sorry you've had to let go of gardening. So far it's still something I find therapeutic, as long as I don't overdo - and as long as the cats behave! :)

    You've given me an "aha" moment - the tulips, believe it or not, are right next to a couple of big catmint plants... I'll know not to put bulbs next to cat magnets again! My dad also suggested something prickly, and that's the next step. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. I have just seen that you are now on Blotanical! Welcome to a blog I have been reading for a while ;~)

  4. And now that others have sorted out your cat issue, I'd just like to tell you that cats are NOTHING compared to deer..

  5. haha - Loved how the camera caught that beam of light! He looks so innocent! But here's a solution - a spray water bottle. No harm done, except their dignity a bit.

  6. Diana, thank you! :)

    Søren - Ah, yes, deer. I've wrestled with them before (well, not literally). Sharing and moving to the city were the only solutions I found!

    HolleyGarden - I just had to laugh at the light beam when saw the "finished" photo on my computer. Thanks for the spray bottle suggestion - I'm really OK with sacrificing Sir Marley's dignity... :D

  7. No strategies, but I loved reading your post, you are such a good writer. The picture with the lightbeam is great.

  8. I hope Sir Marley enjoys mice or voles as play friends. In which case he may be doing you a great favor. Most sunset pictures don't catch the real feel. Yours are quite the exception, beautiful.

  9. Masha, thank you--cheers!

    George, so far I haven't encountered any mice or voles in the neighborhood. I suppose that could be Sir Marley at work... Thanks so much re: the sunset photos--we're really lucky in this part of the world to have beautiful ones to point and shoot at. :)

  10. I echo what "Baffled" says - buy some catmint! The cats will love it so much that the other plants will remain untouched. However, keep the catmint protected until it gets quite big (big enough for a cat to roll in, that is), because otherwise the cats will graze it and it will never live to maturity.

  11. Mark, thanks for the visit and the suggestion. Cheers!