In the gardens at the tower I am beseiged, beset and tormented by three goats who will devour anything they can get their little teeth into. They have broken into my greenhouse (or it may be that I didn’t latch the door properly, ahem) and trampled the seedlings, chomped a young Wollemi Pine, scoffed a display of ivy, geraniums and fuchsias and eaten all the young shoots from two young espallier apple trees, not to mention the damage they’ll do to any rose that gets within their reach. Roses, apparently, are particularly tasty.
Recently they seemed to have paused in their headlong rush towards obesity, and I had relaxed thinking they had found a particularly tasty patch of grass in the field which rendered the effort of escaping too much like hard work. But, alas, it was not to be. Yesterday I carefully arranged a display of Cannas, Morning glories and Aeoniums in the courtyard, either side of the shop door. I was rather pleased with myself (ah, hubris!); with the way the broad red leaves of the Canna looked alongside the fresh green hearts of the Ipomeoa’s leaves. All the plants were in pretty terracotta pots and I felt I had achieved balance without resorting to symmetry (not that symmetry is a particular evil, but I had three pots of Cannas you understand).
This morning I found that the Aeoniums’ branches ended, in many cases, without the neat little rosettes which must have looked like so many small cabbages at nose height to a hungry goat. The Morning Glories also had fewer leaves than they started with. Apparently neither Aeoniums nor Morning Glories are significantly poisonous to goats. The display wasn’t so badly damaged I had to remove it, so I am hoping that the miscreants will not return to finish the job tonight.
It can be quite disheartening, having worked hard on something and having been pleased with the outcome to find that the fates, in the form of three pygmy goats, have munched their way through your work. Fortunately I am a woman of good humour and after some swearing, and reference to the fact that goats make good curry, rally myself into making as good a job of it as can be managed.
These devilish goats have no conscience apparently. When I go into their domain (up near the chicken shed) and attempt to berate them, the Billy goat puts his head down and advances towards me and I’m afraid at that point, dear reader, I can’t help but scratch him gently between the horns and tell him he’s a very naughty goat.