Taking Stock with Rob Stocks - April 11, 2011

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Spring has sprung – which, I suppose goes some way towards explaining why it’s spent most of the beginning pouring down with rain.

It also explains why I’ve a sudden urge to step outside and get stuck into the gardening.

Garden might be a bit of an exaggeration. In reality it’s little more than a yard, with a small flower bed and a genuine brick outhouse – complete with original fittings.

The first task was weeding, not an easy job given anything growing at soil level was obscured by a rampant lavender bush, left unchecked for nearly two years, and in the process of taking over the entire bed.

After some violent yanking the foliage finally gave way, sending me flying backwards into the wall, much to the delight of my three-year-old gardening assistant.

Not that she was helping very much. Aside from laughing at my pratfall and bumped head, much of The Munchkin’s time was spent forcing me to dig up wiggly worms and other creepy crawly delights. Any actual gardening was very much left to the adults on duty.

One task at which she excelled was shooing away Reggie, our errant feline, who has, recently, decided to start using the gravel path as an extension of his hygiene facilities.

With the old pebbles poop scooped and new ones down, it was time to get on with the main event – planting my own little herb garden.

A cottage garden it most definitely is not, but I’m quite proud of my neat little beds of sage, mint and parsley.

So it was something of a shock to discover, within 24 hours of planting, somebody was taking a nibble.

Spurred to protect the fruits of my morning’s labour, I decided the best course of action was to establish my own special spring watch – with the intention of catching the culprit red-handed.

I know there are foxes around these parts – I’ve even seen one dart across the car park at Gazette Towers, but could the master of urban cunning really have a taste for my fresh greens.

Or is there an escaped bunny on the loose, feasting off the hard work of amateur diggers like myself.

The answer, depressingly, came from a little closer to home. It seems, not content with defiling my little plot, Reggie is partial to feasting from it as well.

First of all I spotted him nibbling at the sage, then later taking a good crack at the mint.

Perhaps his supermarket brand kitty biscuits just aren’t satisfying enough – who knows.

But if I can get him hooked on the lavender, at least it’ll save on the pruning in years to come.