We all know that two of the worst "pests" in any garden are cats and birds and Pop wasnt a cat lover till one day a stray, skinny cat wandered into Pops yard and took up residence in his wood shed, killing mice for food. A bond formed between these two, like no other, and Toby became part of the family!
Toby followed Pop all day every day and slept within a foot of where he was working. Of course he didnt catch mice or birds, cause Pop fed him so well. We used to call him "Toby the Wonder Cat" cause it was a wonder he moved at all, he was so fat!! It was a relationship that lasted for many years until Toby died of old age, and it broke my Pops heart!
Ive mentioned before that Pop used what he had so his scarecrow was nothing fancy.....an old hat and coat nailed to a pole. Sometimes there would be bits of aluminium foil tied on as well but Im sure the birds used to steal it and use it in their nests (probably made good roofing lol). All in all he had a pretty ineffective method of protecting his crops!!
Its hard to explain (or draw) the beauty of his flower garden. All year round there would be boxes or buckets of flowers that had been picked, waiting to go to the florists. Pop grew a lot of Gladiola's, Dahlias and the most beautiful Roses. At Xmas time there was always Holly on the table and in the Spring the house would smell divine with all the gorgeous blooms!
When my mum was a child, she used to steal roses from Pops garden on her way home from school and take them to her mother....... unaware that one day she would marry the young boy that lived in that house!! Neighbours used to call in and pick flowers for special occasions and strangers on the street would stop and ask for a cutting or a little bouquet to take home for themselves. His vegetables filled our stomachs but his flowers filled our hearts!!