Friday, 3 January 2014


By the Hollies and a cover for a US single release - back to gardening.

The cycle repeats, the cycle repeats, repeats, round and round - it is January, I have just had my seventh scan at The Christie in Manchester and am waiting for the result, I am waiting to shout that the first snowdrop is fully out, I am waiting for an improvement in the weather as low after low steams in from the Atlantic spreading havoc, high tides and gales, downpours and flooding.
Happy New Year.

The stream through the garden is racing and despite the pond being full of leaks that is overflowing.

Now begins the long haul into spring and summer, the tidying and preparation of the garden so it blooms well, produces plenty of fruit and vegetables and just looks good. There is little as good as standing outside on a warm morning and wondering from where all the green growth and flowers have come.
The answer is mainly good, well-rotted horse manure.

Most weeds, e.g. bindweed, will disappear during the winter but one, the creeping buttercup is very evident. I have noticed that one end of the rose bed has become carpeted with it. This means a tedious dig with a hand fork to try to extract the clawed roots before it puts out new runners into areas uninfested. A mulch only hides it from sight.

Birds are sheltering where they can and I have definitive evidence that they are in the disused swallow's nest by the front door as you can see here.
The nest has a hole in the bottom which must give a cold breeze in the nether regions despite feathers. I suppose it also gives and inbuilt closet?

In the cutting garden we still have the odd marigold in flower and the sweet Williams, a biennial, see on the right, look really healthy and ready to flower. Then they can be picked and bunches stuffed in vases to fill them house with scent.
There many stories of how they got their name but that they were named after The Duke of Cumberland who defeated the Scots at Culloden is not true (despite the Scots calling it Stunkin' Wullie (or Stinking William)) (but they also call Ragwort which is poisonous to horses by this name). 
So who knows - is it after William the Conq, Bill Shakespeare, St. William of York?
The idea that it comes from the french, oillet - little eye, is perhaps nearer the truth.

Sometimes, after rain and when the sun comes out (rarely at present), the colours of plants in the garden becomes heightened, especially grasses like the Miscanthus.

We have given up on the hyacinths, though the small flies from the plagued basil pot from the supermarket have not. I spray and squash and so on but they breed faster than I can eradicate them. The house is full and, though they do not bite, they land on your nose and tickle dreadfully.

The amaryllis, however, are fantastic, deep, deep red - glorious. 

So 2013 is over and 2014 is here, what goes around etc. And I am off to a funeral of someone who was, in life, larger than life, full of life - what comes around . . .

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