Friday, 16 May 2014


This garden, this England etc etc (parody on Dicky 2 from Billy Shakespeare).

Let me start with the news that we are back from holiday in northern Scotland in proud possession of two (possibly three) young rhododendrons from the garden at Stonefield Castle - picked up on the way back. Yes, the Mull of Kintyre is a strange way to return from the Summer Isles but that is what we did.

Secondly the 'do not go away' adage for gardeners applies - lawns now recovered somewhat - but the asparagus is twisted and stunted. (We have eaten it and it is okay (ish)). I thought that it might have been slugs hence the buried jam jar part full of cider (cheaper than beer in a screw top). And I have caught some victims. However I now think I have the dreaded cutworms in the bed. These are moth caterpillars and there is not, much I can do if we want to eat our asparagus. Perhaps an insecticide after we stop picking? Not too keen on chemicals on the fruit and veg.

Not a sign of a nesting swallow nor house martin. The tree sparrows are once more ensconced in the old martin nest under the eaves and then we found a dozy collared dove has made a rudimentary nest of sticks on the green oak beam above on of our seats. It matters not that I sit there and read, she sits firmly on her nest and must have eggs. It is not a bad place to nest - sheltered and pretty safe from predators but they do strike me as a bit mentally slow birds.

Up in the wood the three yellow azaleas are in bloom and scent - such a heady pong.

The wood still has bluebells but they are now giving way to campion and pignut, herb Robert and wood avens.

The wild garlic or ramsons has been splendid if not the most sweetly fragrant plant in the wild garden and the top pond is choked with watercress - both the wild and the cultivated variety.

Preparations have begun to deal with the bankings, started at the far end (because it is the smallest area) and the jungle is being cleared prior to planting up.
I have bought a second hand chipper from a friend (the old one I had died) and this will, I hope give us some wood chipping mulch to put around new shrubs.

The Bramley apple tree is clearly not on a dwarfing rootstock as it is shooting skywards and picking poles will be needed (if we have fruit) - (we have blossom).

R has been weeding, I have netted strawberries and red currants but am disappointed at the no show of the various sowings of flowers and broad beans. The sweet peas in the shed are through though.

Time is approaching for the return of Fiona Clucas and the realisation of my Christmas present from R - a painting of the garden. Excitement reigns -  like my paintings.

Whilst in Scotland we loved the silence and the dramatic scenery - this is Suliven from above the Kercaig Waterfall.

This has nothing to do with gardening but just sitting on that hill and looking over the expanse of moor to the mountain made me realise how small a 1.75 acre garden is.

One other peak which was visible from our cottage was An Teallach. Oh! The wonders of the gaelic language and its pronunciation (let alone its spelling.)
Give it a go.

And whilst you are contorting your tongue and lips here is another photo from our cottage of a sunset over Rubra Mor -

So, here you are - it sounds something like - An Tchollock.

I hear cries of anguish from the Gaelic world at my attempt but that is what it sounds like to me. Anyway I can pronounce Aberlour, and Talisker - at least when open the bottle.
Did you know they have whisky distilleries now in Switzerland!
Anyway, not as good as the Japanese stuff. (That will get me into trouble again.)

Still, good to be back in our own claustrophobic plot.

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