Friday, 27 January 2017


So I have been out finishing weeding the rose bed and plonking some compost around the plants. Most of the weeds are not truly weeds but forgetmenots that have seeded themselves across the bed.
R has been trying up and clearing the dead grass from the fig on the bank.
We have had help from JW and he has put a gutter on the Wendy House and dealt with a small bit of rot in the door. 
The calendulas are still flowering - strange, snowdrops and marigolds together.

So one day a frosty start and clear skies, the next overcast and gloomy. One thing to say about British weather, it is never the same one week (day?) to the next.

The new spring by the apple tree is draining but I shall have to get out the old slotted pipe.

Meanwhile a mole has dug a run across on of the paths by the rhubarb bed.

I am surprised by the tenacity of herbs in the garden - marjoram here - but even the mint is still green let alone rosemary, sage and thyme - yes we have a small bit of parley too - cue for a song?

And the snowdrops come and come.

As do the moles as you can see next to the snowdrops in this pic.

I have been to Potato Day at Greenodd Village Hall with R and both my sisters! R bought some gladioli corms and a couple of seed packets. A pound to get in and soup, cake and cup of tea for a fiver. Got home and attacked the stream - upper half, digging out detritus, sorting springs and carting loads of watercress too the compost heap. Now for a fire in the wood burner, a small beer and feet up.


Wednesday morning and the day begins with  bird triple - heron hunting frogs from the pond, geese heading west to the Duddon and the song thrush is back, early, singing its triple phrases. It would be a gardening day if we were not going out. The Thursday and the temperature struggles to get above zero - where did that come from? (Actually Europe)(A bit like a last gift before Brexit.)

Friday, 20 January 2017


So it is official - winter is over and the snowdrops are coming out - well, I'd like to think so - but we do have our first flowers. The seasons do seem less well defined than they used to be. Whether that is due to global warming or myself just getting a bit withered? 
And then I turn on the TV to see blizzards in Scotland and the south east of England. Just cold here and one flash of lightning, one rumble of thunder. R has gone and got her torch from the drawer in the kitchen.

Today I was picking up sticks after the gales - a back breaking business and one R steadfastly refuses to do.
I also dug out the spring by the apple tree so the surrounding lawn can dry a little. It will need a length if the old slotted pipe. (In a hill far away was an old slotted pipe - etc.) I went up to a small stream higher up the wood and found a hole in the bed into which all the water was flowing - wonder if that is the source of the spring lower down.

I continue to keep the birds going - this blackbird (I know it is brown) (look at the shadow) has been busy demolishing the apples that have not survived leaving only the skin.

I will not mention the grey squirrel (d*** done so) but it is interesting how much red there is in its colour.
The sneaky video camera has been rather unproductive recently - especially as the grass around it has been excavated by at least one badger. All I seem to capture are images of myself.

I have left the ornamental grasses uncut and they do give some structure to the flower beds. Perhaps I should go for more than odd clumps and do a bit of the mass planting thing? On the other hand I don't think R is too keen on grasses so . . . 

Snow everywhere else but all were had was a sprinkling, a bit of ice and now all gone (Friday morning).

 The sarcococcus continues to flower outside the back door (the one at the side) and its perfume wafts around us each time we pass by.
On the other side of the door, in a disintegrating pot, is a female skimmia (males don't have berries).
It really needs reporting, pruning, feeding and some TLC. After the neglect it is suffering from PTSD.

I have been out trimming back catmint and roses and have tried a new way of getting rid of moss - have descaled the kettle and poured the hot contents onto the stuff. Now we wait and see. It will probably thrive!

Thursday, 12 January 2017


2 versions of the same morning -

At this time of year the remnants of the past year and the new year are together - old lace cap hydrangea flowers light up the wood with their paper heads.

The buds on the azaleas and rhododendrons are fat and full of promise.

Calendulas are still flowering here and there -

The rose Golden Showers continues to glow in these dark days.

The image below shows the tired steps, these by the beech hedge, which need new risers and a fresh coating of stone chips.

And in the flower beds the first white buds are coming on the snowdrops, the early pale yellow crocus are in bud. They are in the rose bed which, today I began organising. Right roses have been pruned, some of the mass of self sown forgetmenots removed and the underplanting of catmint (nepeta) trimmed back. Then I barrowed up some old compost and started to cover the open earth.
Of course I started with bare hands but a thorn under a thumbnail made me go for the gloves - never learn.

And the wind and rain, with a hey nonny no, came again. It is wild Wednesday, the wind is howling and there will be plenty of twigs etc to pick up in the wood. 
What is it with dreams? Last night I dreamed about the Soggy Bottom Boys (Oh! Brother where art thou? - Coen Bros.) but there were eight or nine of them and I haven't seem the film for years. It makes one wonder what else is stored between my ears.

After many useless attempts (with a too small lens pin the camera) managed to get this image of a long tailed tin in the peanut feeder - poor but perhaps adequate.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


Here we go 2017 and R and I are down with streamers - ruddy nodes - runny noses - no the former is best. Went to bed at 9pm!

Still in that couple of weeks after the winter solstice when the mornings go on getting darker.

Sometimes it is lighter at night - when there is a moon.

So the days pass and best gardening I do is make lists in my head, not that there is a lot of room there with the catarrh and so on. So I stay in, catch glimpses of the heron lifting off from the pond and watch the squirrel eat the peanuts in the big feeder.
Jobs include doing the stream from one end to the other, composting all over the place and topping up the chippings on the paths.
I have some of the old pond liner still rolled up by the shed and plan to use it on the vacant veg beds to stop weeds - when I get around to it.
It has stopped raining so I will do a crossword and wait for the old bod to conquer the bug.
We are both infected - R has a cold, I am dying!

I brought back the remote camera from by the pond where I had been trying to get a video of the heron - absolute nothing - back to the wood.

Even when the darkest winter day is here there is pleasure in the shadowy shapes in the garden, the cardoons, stipa gigantea, lilac and cherry twigs festooned with water droplets.

Wednesday and sunny and still, chilly but not too cold. I thought I had found our first snowdrop but it was only a bird dropping on the emergent stem.

And so it is time to take down the decorations, dump the lights that have failed this year, store the rest away in the red suitcase in the attic.

 The tree was good this year until half the lights went out. 
And in this time of dreary weather a flock of long tailed tits have arrived at the feeders all twitchy and fussy - makes me smile.

Now have to go - new home hub has arrived to improve connection with that world outside the garden - I hope.

pm - R is doing some weeding and I have been putting compost on the main veg bed then covering it with the old pond liner to keep light out. It is so cold my toes and fingers went numb - and are now - ow! - recovering.

Rain due tomorrow so I'll post this now.