Thursday, 29 December 2011


Not of Tunbridge Wells.

For the first time for 5 weeks had a stroll in the garden yesterday, albeit with 2 crutches. So much to do, clear up, weed, repair.

The small stream in the wood - which I cannot reach - is blocked and the water is running down the slope to puddle around the Bramley Apple. This cannot be good for it. The mild weather ploughs on and, though January is nigh, geraniums and hollyhocks flower not to mention (as I have done before) marigolds and nasturtiums.
The first tete a tete daff I potted up for Christmas is flowering on the living room windowsill.

The cold frame is a disgrace with withered willowherb
coming through the broken glass.
The top is old, salvaged from the garden that was here before we arrived and the wood is rotten.

Come better weather and limbs I will have to make a new sliding cover. Meanwhile any cuttings are either in a veg bed or in the shed by the window.

A gale is blowing yet again so there will be more arms full of sticks to collect. Almost all will be off the ash trees

The last image was taken yesterday and apart from the last rags of cherry leaves there are still a few rose flowers - pink in the photograph.
The cold frame is on the other side of the blue bench.

And so to Assad - I offered tea and advice to Gadaffi which he rejected - so now I offer a mug of hot chocolate and a hot mince pie with a daub of rum butter inside in the kitchen by the Aga to Assad. This matter can be sorted I am sure.

And thus to Ping Pong Ball and the bats.
Is he really enjoying all this fake sycophancy. I have my doubts that he has any real power - too much gold braid in his vicinity. Not the sort of career (pun) I would wish upon anyone.
He can come too, and bring Adminajabberwocky and his Persian Cat. I wonder of the cat's smile would fade away like that of Lewis C. if he realised how absurd his posturing is. (Though, admittedly, dangerous.)

Mmm! Mince pie. . . .

Saturday, 24 December 2011


What a mad weather world we live in!

Last year all was ice and snow, this year flowers still abound - nasturtiums and marigolds - even the quince is coming into flower. Astrantias and roses still bloom and daffs have pushed through on the upper banking. Snowdrops are almost out by the kitchen doors and I can even see a wallflower through the window.
It is mild and raining a lot.

Now, I know you are saying - why no blog for a bit?
Problem has been a knee replacement that has not quite gone according to plan so I have not been around the garden since November 21st!
I have to write part of this blog then get up and hobble around with the crutches, sit for a while with the foot up and then return.

See you in a few minutes.


Life can be tough and sometimes even sheep have to sleep rough. This one in the back field has a bad case of the lastyear'scoat.

I suppose, psychologically, I can identify with this ewe. Things are a bit ragged at present.

However I would rather identify myself with this fine Herdwick tup at Tilberthwaite,
king of all he surveys - but, of course, then one gets back to hormonal implants so I would not be much good as a Ram.
I wonder, do sheep get hot flushes - it would be very uncomfortable under all that wool.

So, despite the world straining to entropy, come next year and a healed knee, I shall fight the good garden fight, challenge the rabbits with chicken wire, mow the grass and slay the weeds.


Sunday, 11 December 2011


Nothing political, nothing X factor (thank heavens), just nothing much as I am still 90% housebound after the new knee.

So to some pics of the wonderful November 5th we had at The Nook, fire, fireworks and family. No big bangers just sparklers and such. The snowstorms are not what they were, nor are the golden rains - remember the ones with a handle so you could hold them!

Could not have a fire today as it is raining steadily.

The garden is full of pigeons come in from the fields and yesterday there was a large flock of fieldfares hunting for berries.

I gaze out of the window in the study and can see the weeds growing, the dead plants needing cutting back and Bert the Rabbert is chewing away on the banking. Mr and Mrs squirrel are still at the feeders and managed to dismantle one last week. No sign of bramblings yet.

The last picture is a morning after one of the bonfire - November 6th. The ashes were still hot and burst into flame when I stirred them. Then I chucked on some damp leaves and such, hence the smoke.
One visitor to my Flickr site said that it resembles a ship going down with its funnel crooked.

What a good job I had the knee done whilst the garden was not in need of too much attention.

Time for exercises and another ice pack.


Thursday, 1 December 2011


If one is trapped indoors by a new knee and a pair of crutches, well, actually a pair and a half, how do you write a garden blog?
(At this point I should say that three crutches a used - one left at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom as only one is used for going up and down).

So, to start with the decay of leaf litter, there are still beautiful patterns and colours, look closely. Then, if a frost comes, this heightens the detail.

Going backwards to autumn, (I was mobile then), many of the old and diseased leaves had dramatic hues and shapes as with this example of a sycamore.
Some leaves, for example, cercidiphyllum, smell of caramel or toffee.

As the green cellulose degenerates and disappears other hidden colours, yellow and reds come to the fore.

This is particularly noticeable with the maple family.
Unfortunately, though sycamore is a maple, most of its leaves go a muddy brown, If they went a spectacular yellow the British countryside would be fantastic.
But they do not.

Then there are the trees and
shrubs which keep their leaves through the winter, some dead as with beech and to a lesser extent the oak, others living as with this next leaf - Magnolia grandiflora.
The undersides of the evergreen leaves have a wonderful warm hue.
(I just wish that the shrub would flower in the summer - we are still waiting.)

Another dilemma is how to get images for the blog - through the window? Is that cheating? Should I change tack and ramble on about banks, the Euro, politics and other things that seem totally irrelevant as I sit in the garden and decay along with it.

Absolutely not!

This is a Garden Blog not Panorama or Question Time.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


By now I will probably have a new knee - this is written in advance in case I am indisposed for a while.

This is the big sycamore - a "notable" tree according to the Woodland Trust - and would be splendid for a tree house.
A bridge could be built to it from the high ground by the compost heaps ending at the level of the main fork - but it is extremely unlikely to happen - but one can dream.

One snag of this tree is the mountain of leaves which rain down in autumn and sycamore are not the best for making leaf mould - not that that will stop me. Time can do many things given enough.

Why does everything occur at once - operations, leaking bath/shower and floor tiles being ripped up with underfloor heating and so on and so on.

It was foggy and dead calm this morning - mystical - even the birds seem to twitter quietly, the rooks mumble.

There is still leaf colour as the mild autumn weather finally looks to
turn colder and wilder.

It is so mild there are caterpillars chewing away at the brassicas and the grass is growing - unchecked, unmown. There are Small Tortoiseshell chrysalis under the eaves and some in the shed but I have not seen a butterfly for a week.

I am now going to lie on my front and peer under the bath with a torch.
Perhaps this is a new door into Narnia - push past the leaking pipes and . . . .

Update - new knee in place - home and asleep.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

B IS FOR - ?BRASS (copper and lead)

B is for Blog of course, and beech and for basil,and the
backside I ought to get off.

With the economy up the drainpipe is it time for the concept of growing your own to expand. Fallow land could be rented out much more widely for allotment plots - they do not have to be council owned - it could be yet another sideline for hard pressed farmers. Now, I know it is being done but, not yet, on a sufficiently grand scale.

The gov. seems to move EXCEEDING slow with so many things. Take all this metal theft - license the scrap merchants and take that license away if they do not behave.
When will it happen? Who knows. Probably when someone nicks the lead off the Houses of Parliament. Sooner or later people are going to die because of these pilferings - so the gov. needs to act NOW!

Enough - off my hobby horse.

Things that are dead and are attractive have been left as with the Wild Angelica heads here. (The green behind is watercress in the lower pond.)

The last picture is of our basil tree which is a year and a half old. It resides on our kitchen windowsill and has only been potted on twice. It is watered when it starts to flag and fed occasionally.

Tender herbs have been taken in - mint in a pot, parsley too though that looks rather sad.
I have also jarred mint with vinegar and put some in a freezer bag in the freezer - it then goes brittle and can be crushed.

Cuperttea time is here with piece of homemade shortbread - found the recipe in my mother's little book entitled Mrs Tyson's shortbread - which I have modified -
6oz plain flour, 3.5 - 4 oz butter - rub together, add 1.5 oz rice flour (ground rice), 0.5 oz ground almonds and 2 oz caster sugar, knead to a dough. Press into a tin - tin size will determine thickness. Cook at 180C until just turning slightly golden. (We have Aga - top of bottom oven.) The more butter the softer the shortbread.


Bulletin - R won first prize in the Mince Pie competition at the local Christmas Fair!
(And she said they were rubbish.)



Before the blog proper can I just mention that one of my readers and friend, Keith Fairbairn has died. He will be missed.

There are so few true blues in the garden - so many are shades of violet, purple and mauve. Blue roses are not blue, bluebells are not really blue but a bit of jiggery-pokery in photoshop can make them so. Harebells, the Scottish Bluebell fares better but what is a true blue?

Having said that my son went to a meeting in London two days ago and was Bluen away - Tories to the right of him and the left - reminded him of University he said.

So, to more important matters - I have planted two Amelanchier lamarckii and then trimmed them. Unable to resist, I trimmed the trimmings and stuck them in the cutting bed - I know not whether they will take but nothing lost . . .

If you look closely at this pretty poor image you can just see sticks protruding from the soil - these are the cuttings.

Other plants continue to flower as the November weather is so mild.
Marigolds are doing well.
The pink(ish) version of Hedge Parsley has come into flower and penstemons are blooming.

Every time I go into the garden - usually at the moment to rake up fallen leaves (must get a blower for next year) I see something new - geraniums, roses, catmint - let alone the usual nasturtiums and so on.

Then I looked out of my window yesterday and the oriental poppy is blasting us with its vivid colour.

I have postponed fixing the chicken wire to the posts around two of the veg beds.
It can wait until I have recovered from having my new knee.

I am now wondering what to do with the forty corks on my windowsill. There must be something creative I could do with them.
Perhaps I should have gone to the true blue meeting in London. I might have found somewhere to stick them?

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Yes, I have been washing trees - the white birches and the eucalyptus. Didn't seem to make much difference though. I read about it in a magazine - brightening up the winter garden.

Back to the mad garden again - it is November and brambles and woundwort are flowering in the hedgerows.
Though we have now had two frosts things are surviving and behaving irrationally? Despite the daylight hours get less the weather is still
unseasonably warm. Soon the southerly airstream will turn to the north and Brrrrr!

R weeded another bed and I have been muck-spreading again. I have put in posts in preparation for chicken wire netting - two beds are to be bunny free as I have said before. The posts lean out slightly to stop the cottontails climbing in - I mean it - climbing in. The guage on the netting is 25mm to stop the rabbit kittens (that is what they are called not babies) squeezing through. The bottom of the netting will have to be buried and turned outwards underground.

I have a very literary friend who is writing letters to dead (and some living) people as poems and I have just had the privilege to read one about Alexander Pope, a gardener as well as poet - brilliant.

Now, I am in a new knee situation so you may find there is a gap in this diatribe shortly.
Perhaps, whilst I am in hospital, I should write to
my garden and its inhabitants?

Dear grey squirrel,
Why don't you shove off and let my friends the Nutkins come back. I will be sending you a bill for all the feeders you have pulled apart and have asked the small birds to harry you.
It would not be so terrible if you did not eat their eggs and, when I catch you at the peanuts, you just hang there, challenging me. And then you have the audacity to scold me when I chase you off.

I shall set Doc on you, beware.

If only I could run up trees . . . .!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


What a weekend!

Weeding, wheelbarrowing muck to the veg beds and collecting every stick I could find for a bonfire.

Then it had to be built and the sticks were wet. Used dry logs, cardboard and newspaper, white spirit and even a couple of firelighters.
It worked, fortunately, and we had a great blaze.
Some quiet fireworks were lit but even so my Granddaughter W left in a hurry for the house (she is only 2).

Finally sparklers and sitting watching the sparks whirl into the cold, moonlit night.
After that it was Cumberland sausage and mash followed by Eve's Pudding and custard.

Next day was my daughter I's birthday - 21 of course - and we walked up to Beacon Tarn at Blawith and then onto the Beacon.

This is one of the great viewpoints in the Lake District and here is the drawing of Alfred Wainwright made at the summit looking to the Furness Fells. (Not copied from a book).
Left to right they are - a bit of White Maiden, Brown Pike, Buck Pike, Dow Crag, Goat's Hause, the mass of Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam.
However the view is 360 degrees from the mountains here to those above Ambleside, High Street and right round to Ingleborough in the Pennines. Below lies the length of Coniston Water and south Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary with a cluster of offshore windmills. Moving right is Black Combe and the fells beyond Dunnerdale, Caw, White Pike and back to White Maiden.

All this is just one enormous garden, albeit much of it wild.

So, weekend over, we scraped (R did) and treated the moss on the tarmac and the paths (I did).

Now I must buy some chicken wire to try and make some of the veg beds rabbit proof.
Frost yesterday but mild again today. The flowers have survived and one of the day lilies is coming into flower. I think it might find this is a mistake!

Autumn is hanging over the garden with a heavy hand, it is dull under the cloud cover, an occasional spit of rain falls, leaves hardly stir and it is very quiet.
The world is pulling up the duvet.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Let me start with the image of an orange Welsh Poppy which means it is not really a Welsh Poppy as they are yellow.
R likes orange.

There is still colour, not leaf colour, in the garden. Marigolds, nasturtiums and poppies, all yellow or orange, to brighten up the darkening days.

So what's up? R has been weeding the asparagus bed, I have been top dressing a veg bed with a good layer of well-rotted horse manure and tidying goes on.

I had forgotten that I had trialled growing potatoes in the side of the manure heap so every forkful produced a small potato I had missed.
The ones I dug up at the right time were not successful as the slugs and pals had had a field day. We were only able to eat parts of a few of them - not the slugs, of course, the potatoes. (I wonder what curried slugs are like?)

As well as the manure we have a small compost heap - bigger plans are a foot for next year - and leaves have been collected for leaf mould.

All this stuff is to improve the soil which is rather clayey and shallow.

Sticks have been collected - not for shredding as the shredder has gone to the tip - will need a new one - and heaped up but the continuing wet weather has soaked what could have been a bonfire. Anyway the heap would have to have been deconstructed and rebuilt to save any frogs, toads and hedgehogs overwintering in its depths.

To the perm -
this is the head of my youngest son who has gone one better than Movember (grow a moustache for November in aid of The Prostate Cancer Charity) and had decided to have a perm - done on November 1st - and keep it for a month.
He has already raised
over £600 through the following website -

On that haircurling note I sign off for today knowing I must ring Weasdale Nurseries so they deliver my two large amelanchiers in time for me to put them in (holes dug) - having a while off in aid of a new knee.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


So, it is still growing a bit but I have decided to leave it till the spring now. I wonder if this is the right decision though that choice has been made for me by the rain and wet ground.

As I ramble on I have posted three flower pictures - those that continue to bloom as the garden goes to sleep.
I have pruned the pear tree to remove crossing and damaged branches and to open up the centre to let light and air in. Whilst so doing I found a pear I had missed - with only minor wasp damage.

The flowers are, in order, Astrantia, one of the geraniums and Rose 'Rhapsody in Blue'.

I think that I got the geranium from Elizabeth MacGregor's wonderful nursery in Kirkcudbright - web site at the bottom of this page. I have just received their latest catalogue by email.

R has been clearing the remains of the meadow sweet that grows by the ditch, drain, stream - take your pick (open the box). I moved the yellow tree peony from a flower bed to the banking as a continuation of the great shrub transfer.

Had to chase the squirrel from the feeders again this morning - (:-(}=

We are now in a rush to get the garden as far as we can before I get a new left knee at the end of November or thereabouts - Oh! The joys of old age.

So, what else, must get the last of the beetroot up, the pumpkin has gone to Grandchildren in Manchester in time for halloween, the marrow is now marrow and mint soup and in the freezer with a load of mint leaves. The latter are freezing so I can crush them and bottle (or jar) them with vinegar for mint sauce.

My earlobes get longer, my ears and nose bigger and here is that website -

The plants come individually wrapped with love. The violas are very special.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Not so much late in the year
as the weather cools but regarding the ex leader of Libya.
I invited Gadaffi, via this blog, to tea in the garden so I could chat to him about his troubles in a relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately he was too busy to come so I was thwarted from changing his mind.

Anyway - to gardens - the cotoneaster is loaded with berries, best it has been.

Now berries makes me think of a strange thing - we usually have half a dozen blackbirds rooting in the garden but I have not seen one for a while. I expect they will come back but . . . ?

Still we have second flush
flowering as here with the Ceratostigma wilmottianum - what a mouthful. It nearly died last winter in the intense cold but has recovered somewhat to flower a second time.

R has been clearing out the marrow/pumpkin bed yesterday and I have dug two big holes for two Amelanchiers due to arrive next month. I also transferred a Guelder Rose and a Hydrangea paniculata to the banking in front of the house.
As the shrubs in the herbaceous borders get bigger I am moving them to permanent sites.
More to go yet.
This frees up room elsewhere.
I have also planted an Aruncus dioicus (Goat's Beard) down in the boggy bit where, I hope, it will thrive.
We bought it at Eggleston Hall Gardens on wednesday.

So what is this you may ask?

It is actually the heart of a flower of the orchid in the kitchen - an extraordinary mechanism (aren't we all).

The orchid family have such a varied complicated reproductive organisation.

Though, in the end, as with everything, A + B = C (or sometimes Z), or in the case of a clone A = A .

This makes on wonder, looking around, how many of us are Zs.
Time for a mug of chocolate and a few Zzzzzzzs.

ps - it is raining this morning.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


So, here we are again, autumn with a vengeance, only one ash tree left with leaves and Moi full of 'Can't be bothered.'

It is just that wrong end of the year mood as one watches the plants disappear into the ground again.

The rhubarb is on its last legs. The sweet peas have all but stopped flowering. The need is now to tidy, tidy, move things like shrubs, wonder of the lawns need another mow - and then be grateful for rain so they have to stay as they are.

Suddenly the sun is out.
Suddenly the skies are black and a squall drives rain into the window glass.

The figs never ripened.
We are quite far north but with the awful weather since July they never had a hope.
The larger ones will have to removed, next years fruitlets will be left to the vagaries of next summer.

There are bulbs to go in. You plant them and then cover them - they disappear.
Of course they will give a boost to the emotions in six month's time or so - SIX MONTHS!

For the last two years we have had a vicious month or so of cold weather and things in sheds and cold frames that are the slightest bit tender have died.

You would think this picture of veg (fruit really) would cheer me but no one in the family likes Marrow other than myself, no one likes the yellow courgettes much (they are small and weedy anyway) and the pumpkin is struggling to ripen. The pumpkin is much smaller than last year because of the weather - which I am under?

So, off to something exciting like leaf gathering, twig collecting (the gales have brought down another load - it is amazing how much dead wood there is on an ash tree and we have several).

Just read 'The Finkler Question' by Howard Jacobson, listened to a blues CD of Big Bill Broonzy and weighed myself - all very depressing.
My knees ache, the builder's insurance will not pay for the bathroom floor tiles which are coming up, the parsnip and carrot crisps I made are chewy, I cannot play the piano and it is raining again - good! I can stay in with a mug of hot chocolate and be old.

What to do?

I know - 2 days in a nice hotel with roaring fires and good food.

Son will have to manage on his own for a couple of days.

Off to Romaldkirk.

Friday, 14 October 2011


I was seriously getting worried that, if I went into the garden, my feet might dissolve.

It has RAINED!
All we hear on the radio and television is that farmers and gardeners in the South East (you know - where London is) (I have to explain for those of us who live North of Luton who think of London as something thought up just so Eastenders can exist) (imagine living north of Manchester! No we are not in Scotland) and East Anglia are worried because of drought. We have lots of the wet stuff - surely we, in the north, could sell it to them?

So the first picture is of our teeny stream with water in it - a lot - and the second picture shows where I had dug it out so that it did not overflow everywhere.

Back to rain - have to keep off most of the garden. We had floods (for those in the south that is water running down roads and in pools all over the place).

I did, of course attack the
willow tunnel and here you can see it undressed to five feet in height.

So, have cleared the old growth from the bed between the shed and the cattle grid, dug up beetroot and made borscht for the freezer, planted bulbs in pots and topped them with yellow pansies and planted a bought Dianthus Mrs Sinkins - white and heavily clove scented.

It is so autumnal - hardly a breath of wind -most of the leaves are off the oldest ash tree, it is not sunny but not cold - and quiet but for an occasional buzzard call.
I wish the buzzard would have a go at the squirrel though - it (they maybe) destroyed another feeder, and the barmy blackbird is back flying into its own reflection in the porch window.

This, of course, is not quite the wildlife of Soho, but look for a while at the countryside and there it is - greed, sex, murder - which reminds me I have not seen the rabbits for a while.

The year is definitely winding down.
Why do we not go into hibernation?

It might be a good idea but then we would wake to a jungly garden.
We need the winter to get ready for next year, more rain - and drought in the sunny South East - poor things.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


What is there to do when waves of mizzle sweep across the garden?
You say - what is mizzle?
Mizzle is misty drizzle and the most wetting form of rain I know (short of a tropical downpour). It is a feature of the western part of the British Isles. The rain comes in fine droplets and soaks everything.

Back to the blog.

What is there to do?

Well, how about write the blog?

So to cheer you up before the quiz here is a picture of marigolds - they have been splendid this year,
flowering and flowering.
As has the cardoon - it started a bit later but, not only will it go on flowering for a while yet, its statuesque shape will last through the winter and keep interest in the flower beds along with the teasels and grasses.

New bulbs come every day - have planted the orange 'Prinses Irene' in a pot and the 'Rococo' are waiting for their tub. Rococo are an early parrot tulip, deep deep red.
I have, of course, forgotten what I have ordered now, except for the two tall amelanchiers from Weasdale Nurseries.

So - surprises to come!

To the quiz -

Here are two egg-shaped, black things, each about three inches long.

But what are they?

Answer below.

My son has just come in from mountain cycling in the rain - got lost, chain broke, soaked and fell off.
Sounds like such fun!

As soon as the rain stops will go in search of the disappearing stream and try to block up the hole in the stream bed.

All right - here is the answer -

The one on the left is a fungus known as King Alfred's Cakes which grows on ash wood.
The one on the right is a carbonised potato left for two days in the Aga range.

I do not fancy eating either.

Now that is something you can do when outside is nothing but mizzle - eat, guzzle!
Off to the kitchen.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Here I sit at my Apple Mac and learn Steve Jobs has died. Then I learn that Bert Jansch has died - memories of magical guitar playing - Jansch and John Renbourn in the 1960s when I was at University in Liverpool. (Which makes me 27 years old!)

All this has nothing at all to do with gardens but makes me realise I am getting older. So does mowing the lawn - blades up and box off, (the mover not me) - mower set on mulch. The grass is growing more slowly as winter approaches.

Small cyclamen are flowering under the cherry tree and sending out their seeds on spiral stems.

Weeding goes on, lilies are removed from their brown ceramic sink and put into the flower bed where the helianthemums were - they are now around the back in the bed by the front door - which is at the back.
The small hole drilled in the sink as a drain is unblocked and covered with stones. Then the sink is filled with compost and R plants rancunculus for next year, their little clawed roots downwards.
A large pot has new lilies planted in it for next year.

Then there is the "cloud" tree in
the woodland edge - a hawthorn that has been mutilated. It now needs trimming, despite the berries, to keep the shape I want. It is in a position that makes it very hard to photograph so this one which shows it in silhouette will have to do.

Jobs remain unfinished - chipping willow sticks, completing the power washing of the paving - I have moved the table into shelter from the paving and put the summer chairs away in the shed. From heat and humidity we have moved to gales and rain and 12C and rain.
I have started to collect leaves to be bagged so that we have some leaf mould next year.

Picking flowers for the house continues but choice is becoming more limited.

The nasturtiums will go on until the frost but many other things are getting tired (like me.)

The stream in the lower part of the garden has suddenly decided to disappear. It runs down its bed until about ten feet from the top pond and then vanishes into the shingle bottom. This is not good news for the ponds. There is a stony layer about three feet down under the turf and the water must have found an alternative route through this.

What a garden - streams disappear when you do not want them to, springs appear when you do not want them to - so dry ponds and soggy lawn.

Now Bert Jansch was in the group Pentangle - this gives me an idea - if I draw a pentagram on the paving and dance around nude can I cast a spell on the garden and solve all my problems?

I think the sight of a fat aged nude warlock (wizard) (whatever) would bewitch nothing, just give watchers a good laugh.

So I think I will have a cup of tea.

Just checked and have used the cloud tree photo a week or two ago - apologies to all cloud tree enthusiasts.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


I am sitting in my room at the computer looking out of my window at the rainwave. Not the heatwave - that left us yesterday after a short two day visit.
I feel so sorry for all the people in the south east sweating and labouring in the heat, 29.9C in Gravesend - perhaps that is why it got it's name?

I was going to mow the lawn but now watch wet leaves fall from the ash trees and carpet the grass.

So, on this grey day I give you three pictures of bright cheerful colour - Guelder Rose berries, red nasturtiums and a peacock butterfly.

I have, though, been in the garden and pruned the willow tunnel, removing all the lower branches up to about shoulder height from the ground. This has opened up that part of the garden as you can now get glimpses of the lawn beyond.

There is a large heap of willow
outside my window on the paving either waiting for the chipper to make path surface material for the wood or, if I can be bothered, make wattle fencing.

Some plants never give up - some of the oriental poppies are in flower again and, at last, the magnolia grandiflora (no it has not yet flowered), which looks moth eaten in May, has healthy, shiny foliage.

R took one of the big marrows to church this morning for Harvest Festival but what they will do with it after I do not know. Often the produce goes to an old people's home or something - I am sure the kitchen staff will be delighted with a large marrow!

How sad to be lying in a bikini on Primrose Hill when you could enjoy the cool, soft, October rain up north.

Calm down - I did not mean me in a bikini - it would frighten the caterpillars off the broccoli!

Now there is an idea!