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Tiger in the Wild

I was almost attacked by a tiger yesterday. This is what happened:

I was spreading fresh pine straw in the woodland garden. Pine straw is a readily available mulch in my area. I love the way it neatens the planting areas, and it has a great smell. I was bent over, my head down as I spread the straw around some hydrangeas. A movement caught my eye, and I glanced up.

Garden the cat, who does not belong to me, was a few feet in front of me. Her belly was low, and she was creeping forward, stalking her prey. Obviously, the prey was me. She halted when she saw me looking at her.

"What are you doing," I asked, "playing tiger in the wild?"

Her eyes narrowed for a moment as her body tensed. Then she pounced.

I thought she was going to land on my head, but instead Garden dove headfirst into the pine straw, where she buried all of her body but her rear end and tail. She rolled over and over, kicking pine straw in every direction, until she finally landed on her feet. 

I laughed. "Well, you are frisky!" 

She came up to me, purring madly, and I had to spend a few minutes petting her and picking pine straw out of her fur.

Spring does that to you. Birds and bees and cats and people are all feeling the enthusiasm of the new season. Today I planted carrots, beets, and lettuce in the vegetable garden. Then I planted a few perennials, transplanted some columbine and foxglove, and fertilized everything in sight with fish emulsion. I'm afraid my yard smells fishy, and so do I. But I'm feeling good.

I also took some photos of my garden on this first official day of spring.  Here are a few shots of the lady garden:

This garden is only a couple years old and is in what I call the "little dot" stage, as all the plantings are still small. It is on a slight slope in a clearing in the woods, on the site of my children's old playground. It is my best effort at formality, but it will never be more than a pretender, like a lady dressed in finery but still wearing sneakers.

Colorful flowers and foliage are not hard to find:

I put my camera on the ground to take some photos of some grape hyacinths and got an ant's view:

And here is the woodland garden — see the fresh pine straw!

I hope all of you enjoy the new season. May you feel as frisky as a tiger in the wild!

You may also like: My garden friend, the cat and A spring tease.

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Reader Comments (34)

I'm just in love with both these beautiful garden spaces. The 'lady garden' is gorgeous ... I don't mind the lady in her finery still wearing sandals ... I think a touch of formality is enough and you've got the right balance.
As for your woodland garden ... stunning! I would gladly spend all day there. Your photos probably don't do it justice ... but they certainly show a fabulous place.
Love those grape hyacinth photos too ... I wonder if ants appreciate the view they get in some gardens!!

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

Deborah you are such a wonderful storyteller! You had me laughing along with you as you retold Garden the Cat's antics :) and I loved the idea of a lady in her finery and sneakers! Thank you also for sharing photos of your beautiful garden emerging.
Somehow I've missed your last couple of posts and I am the poorer for it - I'm off to catch up now!

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Dear Deborah, Your Lady Garden in the woodland looks positively enchanting. Already it is lovely and will, I am sure, continue to grow in beauty as your plantings mature. I like the mossy paths through it, the seat for contemplation, and everywhere the wonderful canopy of the trees.

The 'tiger' sounds fun!

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Hope

Very lovely garden Deb! Just Beautiful! Your photographs illustrate perfectly the beauty and expanse of it. I love them all and your story about the feisty kitty! Happy Spring!

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I like how you've worked your gardens into the surroundings, something I'm still struggling with. You've managed to create some inspiring spaces that are not just a focal point garden, but whole compositions. Lovely! (I thought those hyacinth close ups were blueberries at first, they're so vivid and berry shaped!)

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

It's nice to see colour and life coming back to the garden.

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn Belle

The little dots stage is a wonderful way of describing the garden Deborah and I must say that even though I have grape hyacinth in the garden I never thought they were as beautiful as this ants view of them. Looking forward to seeing what mine will look like from this angle too when they decide to flower. I got lots done in the garden yesterday too - the bees were out in force yesterday and it was lovely to hear them around me. Your garden is taking great shape. Rosie :)

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Your garden looks beautiful.

My family had a cat who would run through all of the piles of pine straw that had been raked up out of the driveway. Later, when he got tired, he would bury himself in one of them.

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Bay

Wonderful tour. Great garden. jim

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Groble

Great pics of a beautiful garden - even if it is only a couple of years old. I love the hyacinth macro shots!

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I enjoyed the frisky cat story. :) When our cat was a little kitten, he used to pounce on my head in the middle of the night. Well, that didn't last long and he was given his own little room to sleep in until he got older. :/
Your garden is pretty and it is going to be even more beautiful as the warmer weather approaches. I am looking forward to seeing more of your pretty photos.

Hi Deborah - my first thought was oh no - she has mountain lions in her area like we have! LOL - loved the post - I posted an animal story this week also - I almost lost a digit to a squirrel Gloria

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGloriaBonde

Hi Deborah-- I love coming to your garden!
your wonderful photos make me feel like I'm there with you walking the paths. AND, what a cute and funny cat story!! -- Spring is wonderful -- even it if does smell fishy : )
Your photos of Grape hyacinths are stupendous-- such fabulous color!!!!

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Deb - I snuck back on the computer tonight for just a few minutes and found your latest entry 'gem'! Your words gave such great imagery...then came your pictures. Fantastic! :D -Shyrlene

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShyrlene

That has to be it! Spring is making everything so frisky. Good thing Garden didn't land on your head. You must be feeling fabulous getting all that work done. Raining here so I can relax. A good thing:)

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertina

Cats are fun! I also like to use straw in the vegetable garden; I feel like I am in a countryside. Your garden is full of interest, Deborah! And I love the pics of your grape hyacinths. Great post!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

Oh I'm so envious; I relished reading all you've done on the first day of spring. I will love watching your garden fill in. Great hunting story, you told it well! Your macro shots of the grape hyacinths are gorgeous!!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Hi Deb.Oh, I think your woodland garden is so beautiful! You have done a lot of work to make it so. I cannot wait to see it later this spring and summer. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLona

Great story! It's the season of living dangerously, it seems.

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTown Mouse

"Spring does that to you", indeed. Deb, I cannot wait to see what peaks through that soil. Your garden is lovely and very enticing. Happy Spring, and I'm looking forward to the next stroll in your garden.

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Deborah, I'm very envious of your grape hyacinth. Mine seem to be struggling this year. Maybe I should show them a picture of yours, and GUILT them into blooming!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Oh, those grape hyacinth flower shots are fantastic!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I love the smell of fresh pinestraw~Isn't it wonderful. ...and a friendly garden cat would be a perfect pal in my garden...Our streets way too busy, but I can imagine. Beautiful shots of the grape hyacinth...gail

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergail

We are all feeling frisky lately. F. and I saw some squirrels chasing each other at breakneck speed the other day and he said, "Well, at least we know it isn't just the cats." ;) Our cats have been going a little nuts, but that story of Garden illustrates the phenomenon adorably. Absolutely striking how something as simple as a grape hyacinth takes on a statuesque beauty when viewed from an ant's p.o.v.!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

I could just picture Garden the cat rolling around. Spring does seem to make everyone feel more energetic. Your lady garden is just beautiful! I like how you called it the little dot stage. That's what the side of my garden looks like now. Everything is so small, but I know in a couple of years it will have filled in quite a bit.
I love the grape hyacinth shots!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Hi Deborah~~ Every garden needs at least one cat, don't you think? Garden's and your enthusiasm are palpable. And everything looks so nice. Spring is finally here.

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Love the hyacinths, Deb.

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjoene

Wonderful atmospheric post, about this fabulous time of the year. I have felt quite different over the past few days, like being on the cusp of something!

Best Wishes


March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Webber

Deb, your grape hyacinths look good enough to eat!

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Love those hyacinth photos. So pretty. It is so nice to feel spring in the air again. We are kind of going back to winter for a couple of days but at least we had a taste of it.

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterteresa

I have a window cleaner a bit like that cat. I'm thinking of getting him neutered!

On a serious note, what's pine straw?

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Idiot Gardener

I love your garden, Deb! So many trees, beautiful nature! Its interesting how you use pine straw for mulch, I always thought that pine straw is too acidic to use as mulch.

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervrtlaricaana

I enjoyed your account of the pouncing kitty and how spring just does things to us! Makes us all feel like pouncing;-) It looks lovely in your yard and truly very 'spring-like'! I love your 'ant view' photos. You had to be right down there head to head with them to get those photos! Happy spring to you, Deb. Jan

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan (ThanksFor2Day)

So beautiful! And I'm cracking up picturing you doing all your gardening now in an evening gown and sneakers. And maybe an old straw hat. So glad you've had a chance to play in your garden.

Fyi - the "after" pictures of my arbor are up - thanks for watching my project unfurl. - Kelly


March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly@LifeOutOfDoors

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