Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Sunday and I see the first swallow - at  a farm nearby. Then I look out of my window and there are a pair of linnets on the paving - pretty little brown birds with a hint of pink. Tree sparrows are in the house martin nest again.

Rabbits - I came home to find a dead young kitten (name for a baby rabbit)(so not a cat) by my car and on the way to church on Saturday to fill the place with daffodils and flowering currant we came across a rabbit with myxomatosis.
It was introduced to Australia in about 1950, I think, as a way of controlling the rabbit population. The disease is nasty and they usually die within a couple of weeks. 
It seems to go in cycles - population boom (like now), outbreak of disease, recovery and so on.

 R and I went to Sizergh Castle to look at the gardens and the berberis darwinii was spectacular - right. The fritillary meadow was good too though can hardly compete with Magdalen Meadows in Oxford.

R has just deadheaded the daffs whilst I messed about in threshed sowing sweet peas, courgettes, ammi and some beetroot. I use beetroot boltardy - the name suggests it is resistant to bolting so . . 

The pond is consistently cloudy from the ducks feeding and I think we are getting a build up of algae again. For the moment there is no sign of the liner on the surface and the water lily-pads are beginning to show.

And so to tulips - here are some flowering at the moment. Most are not new plantings (well from the autumn) but plants that are left in the ground and come up year on year. I particularly like the red ones, R loves orange. Pink is not my favourite colour and we still have a few almost black ones - Queen of the Night - given to me by Puck.

 The wallflowers in the old ceramic sink are flowering and pushing out their scent and, by the pot of lilies the small horse chestnut seedling I dug up last year is alive and sprouting.

And then their are the cherries - Shirotae and Tai-haku - covered in blossom - always spectacular at this time of year. This is the prunus Shirotae.

I have taken out the willows stuck in the far part of the garden. Many are fifteen feet high now but thin enough to cut with a pair of loppers.

Tuesday and when I got up (late) I could see the blue carpet up in the trees that are wild bluebells. These are at Muncaster Castle which we will visit in the next ten days. The show there is fantastic.

Saturday, 23 April 2016


At least for today and perhaps tomorrow then it all goes chilly again. 
No swallows yet but the male skimmia is covered in honey bees!
Our one cowslip is flowering!
For G and L - compost - I have cleared out the small compost heap and it now resides on the veg beds. The large heap has been turned. The willows that make the sides have been trimmed and the white birch have had their ties checked. I have taken off all twigs below head height (and shoved them into some compost - well, you never know?)

In the house the first amaryllis is blasting out its colour - in their third year now.

R has been brambling.
Clearing the persistent plants up in the bluebells and on the woodland bankings. The primroses and daffodils by the stream are a delight.

The white honesty is now self sowing and appearing here and there. We prefer the white to the standard pink.

On the upper bankings the fritillaries have not been chomped and are still flowering and the camass leaves are through. The first bluebells are now coming out and dog violets grow on the mossy banks.
The dead heading of the daffs has begun.
I have gone through my box of seed packets and realise I must sow my sweet peas, in pots, as well as many others. I found the seeds we bought at Greenodd Potato Day - I had forgotten we had them. 
So the veg beds will continue to be prepared. The strawberries are showing a few flowers but too early, I think.

Here is the upper banking by the house full of daffodils. It always amazes me that a winter garden bare of anything much can transform itself so quickly. 

What a week, the Queen 90, Victoria Wood gone, Adele very rich, and we seem to have an endless list of people who are coming to do things but don't.

I thought of sowing some parsley - did in a pot and then bought some on the market in town - better chance of survival.
The poles for sweet peas are in and tied together and I have given the strawberries their first liquid tomato feed.

Now R and I have a difference of opinion regarding euphorbias - she like the invasive green stuff on the left, I like the green and purplish one on the right. In the end we have both in the garden (but a lot more of the green one.) Last year I also planted three Euphorbia characias wulfenii but it looks like they have succumbed to the wet winter.

This is the pond, Wendy House and the hidden seat on the decking. It gets the evening sun and you cannot be seen from the house.
The mallard are asleep by the pond (when they are not on the shed roof.)
R has made an apple cake and brought me a wedge with a mug of tea - bliss.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Every morning I walk to our bedroom window and look up the garden. Today, on the low fence by the oriental poppy bed, were a pair of wood pigeons billing and cooing. Then, Voila! A quickie, then more billing and another.
Who would think our garden is a hot bed of sexual intrigue - mind you, you only have to watch the cock blackbirds chasing one another, the rabbits doing what rabbits do best and so on . . .  even the plants are at it with their anthers and stigmas.

The Clematis armandii is becoming spectacular and rampant - and  probably planted in the wrong place.

Some birds in the garden are spectacular like this bullfinch. Yesterday I looked out of my window at the usual pigeon under the feeders, a chaffinch and then a wood mouse ran out and took a seed from under the pigeon's beak

The perpetual spinach has recovered from being sheared by R. It has done well all winter though did get nibbled a bit at times. The weather has been mild so I suspect lugs and snails. The tulips are really getting going now and I cannot wait for the cherries to reach full flower - each day a little more blossom.

When is a weed not a weed? When they are OK by me? A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place perhaps? Lesser celandines, Ranunculus ficaria, appear all over the beds and I do remove some. R regards them as WEEDS but I quite like their golden flowers - and the leaves die back early.

Saturday and the weather looked fair. I opened the shed and put down the ramp for the sit on mower. The grass is dry for almost the first time this year.
Then it hailed - well, a mix of hail and snow and rain!
Who would live in England! (We do.)

We went to Holker Hall gardens and found an innovative use for an old tree stump -

The buds were coming on especially on the magnolias - right and camellias - on the left. Also there were several different shades of hellebores. I particularly like this almost black one.

The other night we had the most amazing sunset over the bay, hail showers and a hailbow on the right, sun reflected in Morecambe windows on the left 25 miles away. (Mind you I heard there had been a plastics fire in Fleetwood at the time - no I don't think that was involved but - ).

When I woke this morning there was a fat rabbit in the oriental poppy bed chewing the leaves - fence or gun? I went to the window and shouted, banged the window and the rabbit - just stared at me insolently from 20 yards away.

Finally have had the sit-on mower out and only got stuck once!

Thursday, 14 April 2016


It is true - you can grow potatoes on a balcony, in your back yard, all you need is enough room for a couple of empty sacks and some compost. Oh! And some potatoes.
Pierce the bottom of the empty sack for drainage and then half fill with compost. Put your seed potato in the middle (or two if you want more but smaller ones) and cover. As the plant grows put in more compost - like earthing up in the garden - until the sack is full. When the tops die back tip out and enjoy.
I you use early potatoes then you can have your own delicious new ones at hand. 
One important thing is to make sure the sacks do not dry out.

As you know one thing I enjoy is photographing my garden and what goes on therein.

You can have no idea the trouble I had with this photo of a squirrel - it was gloomy and the camera flashed causing the eye to be lit up like a beacon. I had not seen much of the tree rats for a while but then accidentally spilled then peanuts on the paving and voila!

Mister Pheasant is around regularly - with two hens in close attendance. I know he is outside the window as he burbles in contentment at his lot.

One April morning I looked out of the kitchen and it was a glorious morning.

Along the side of the house the great sycamore was in the sun above the early mist and the sun enhanced the colours - as with these anemones, fully open in the brightness. So I went around the corner and decided I had to have a panorama of the garden.

So Sunday and a beautiful day though a chill wind - mowing and hoeing, moved more snowdrops in the green and all day long a song thrush belting out its tripling melody from the old ash.
And as I mowed beside the pond a big frog leaped into the water so the heron did not get the lot.

We have our first blossom - the Victoria plum - just hope frost does not get it and stop it setting. Up in the wood the anemones are doing well and the primrose banking is full of flowers. The green leaves seen in the photo are red campion - yet to come.

We have a visiting pair of bullfinches. They do not squabble but this looks a bit like they are not on speaking terms at the moment.

Apart from that all is really a load of rhubarb, forced to the right, not to the left.

Friday, 8 April 2016


Frogs and frogspawn or herons and mallard, newts or tadpoles? Plants or pigeons, rabbits, slugs, snails, weevils, blight, mould, mildew, you-name-it? Choices, choices.
I have just read George Monbiot's Feral - R is not a wilding person - Lynx! Wolves? Whatever?

Having carefully placed my golden willow cuttings in a boggy bit she removes them so I have had to try and find somewhere more secret for them (Now she will know)(So chuck them away.)

Buds are breaking everywhere and I cannot wait for the cherries to burst into blossom - not long now - and the damsons are stirring.

Sycamore right, horse chestnut (sticky buds) left.

Cousin S in Ontario says it is -6C and snowing, we just get rain but at least the ground is green not white.
There is a fat wet rabbit outside my window washing itself - aargh!

And with all the rain come new springs pouring up out of the ground. This one is from under an ash tree root.
Looking the other way down the garden the spring is by the daffodils into foreground and the water running both sides of the tree.

And talking of rabbits - well I was a moment ago, I have had to fence in the new hollyhocks - what is left - after they have been nibbled - ?rabbit, mouse, pigeon, what? All I had was some old white plastic netting.

Other things are flowering or in the case of the skimmia berrying.

The few fritillaries on the upper banking have not been eaten - yet. 

And we have wild wood anemones in the trees and the first dog violets.

Of course the grass could probably do with a trim but it is so wet . . . 

The cut leaved elder, pruned back hard about six weeks ago is now sprouting well and the Clematis armandii is looking special.

Of all the birds in the garden the one that brings the biggest smile must be the magnificent goldfinch. I can understand why they used to keep them in cages. I know they are about when I hear their characteristic call of Coo-ee.

It is Tuesday and though the rain has stopped the garden is SODDEN. Pulled first rhubarb (finally), broke the lid on a peanut feeder (replaced it with a jam jar lid), broadband keeps going off and coming on (?), dropped a load of peanuts (suddenly we have squirrels again), mallard came up to outside kitchen doors (?looking for nesting site) and am going to make a cuppa tea for us both.