Monday, 27 March 2017


Where to start, the lovely daffs are flattened by the snow then the snow melts and we have water everywhere, stream overflowing, pond brim full. Even the mallard drake takes refuge on the shed roof.

I paddle around in my boots trying to stay both off the grass and upright. The British weather! Sun one day, snow the next. It is a good job the snow goes quickly despite the drowning of the garden.

The compost heap, now emptied, is a soggy mush, puddles where my boots have been.

I wander back along the paths and head for the pond. There is not much I can do as the rain falls onto the slushy snow.

The bird bath under the feeders outside the kitchen is catching large drops from the roof. The weather does not, however, seem to deter the birds from feeding, stuffing their beaks with seed and peanuts.

The first pond pic is monochrome - how the day feels - the second is of rain.

So to cheer this miserable blog up here is our first camellia.

On the other hand a pair of grey squirrels back - beware all nesting birds.

Everyone is talking terrorists after the London attack. What is a terrorist. Gerry Adams said at Martin McGuinness's funeral that he was never a terrorist but a freedom fighter. I suppose the definition  depends on one's point of view?

Finally we have a better day. R is out transplanting snowdrops, Im have pruned the bay by the kitchen and the lace cap hydrangea in the woodland fringe. It has developed two suckers. Then I cleared grass from the redcurrants (the ones I hope the blackbirds will take and leave the others alone) and took yet more sticks to the bonfire. I then tried to light it with minimal success. On the way in I pulled some rhubarb for the evening meal.

It is next morning and it must have been the rhubarb.
Strange dream - I now, R says I have them - finished a round of golf with only one club in a small bag having left the rest somewhere out on the course and then running around in my underpants trying to find them pretending to be an athlete. (Very unlikely - being an athlete I mean.)

The tree rats are back - must get out the trap.

Finally managed to light the bonfire so now everything, and me, smells of wood smoke.

Thursday, 23 March 2017


40 Cosmos pretty and 40 Ammi majus plugs arrive and need potting on and putting somewhere bright and warm - but where. We have no greenhouse so a spare bedroom will have to do for now.

I now have gardeners' nails - ingrained with the darkness of compost no matter how I scrub.

Actually 60 of each and more than one seedling in many plugs so good value for money from Crocus but what I am going to do with them all - ? Perhaps give some away?

The feeders are full of goldfinches, well half a dozen - a small charm. Collective nouns are strange sometimes - I can see an exultation of larks but a parliament of owls? Then there are a pair of bullfinches outside the kitchen window - they are a bellowing of bullfinches! Also we have a bouquet of pheasants, a sute or sord of mallard.

Talking of collections - here are a fall of lambs - actually a gang would be better?

Wikipedia has a sprinkling of gardeners! Not sure about that one.

We have our sweet violets in an egg cup on the kitchen windowsill - they smell wonderful but only once as the scent medium is a local anaesthetic so you smell them, lovely, then try again and nothing for a while.

I was mentioning compost a blog or so ago and here is some dark rich lumpy stuff by one of the euphorbias. It may not be quite up to Monty Don's standard but smells ok and looks good. I son't think the plants bare too bothered what it looks like.

And the rain it raineth, and the gardener stays in and does crosswords, reads, watches tele, paints the bath side with a second coat of Farrer and Ball's All White, writes blogs etc.

Then cometh the next day and it is fine - I empty the compost heap and spread on the garden, plant a clematis montana that has been in a pot for three years under an ash tree by the old log pile, drag some excess weed from the pond and ache all over!

A grey squirrel is back as is the greater spotted woodpecker. I bring in the video camera from the wood - and find it is full of myself picking up sticks, not an animal or bird in sight, not even a cat. Mute swans fly over, their wings whooshing through the evening air. Spring is everywhere.

That was yesterday - this morning - 

Oh! The British weather! The garden is a world of flattened daffodils.

Monday, 20 March 2017


I have just baked a new spelt flour loaf and, whilst still warm, cut off the end, spread the slice with butter and am now eating it - aaah!

You know there is one side of ageing that surprises me every time I have my hair cut - the fact that the ears (and nose) continue to grow! It is the cartilage. Soon I will need a nose and ear trim?

So many flowers coming out and not just garden plants - one small delightful shy plant is the golden saxifrage by the stream.

And only a few paces away, where the stream plunges out of the wood, daffodils and primroses bloom.

In the fringes of the woodland flowering currant casts its familiar scent - I always thing a bit like cat pee!
We have several bushes that were here before we came.
It is quite easy to propagate - simply take a young, preferably non flowering stem, about ten inches long (25 cm), trim at the bottom with  slanting cut just below a bid and shove into the soil. They should root after a few months and can then be transplanted.

Around by the back door the daffodils are doing well under the magnolia stellata.

In the back bed the pulmonaria is spreading (keeps the weeds down) and on the end of the big shed where I keep the mowers the Clematis armandii is better than it has ever been. 

Of course there are other signs of spring - the back field is now full of lambs. And as usual they are drawing under the gate into the lane and mucking about in a unruly gang.

Now, as part from flowers, there are also other colours  in the garden, more subtle like the cardoon foliage.

Then here is the spot where we stuck new plants last year also showing foliage hues. That bed is still a problem as it was where the pink Japanese anemone grew - and still comes up from every small rootlet I failed to remove.

Above I showed you some of the stream - here lower down where it was redirected across the lawn you can see the curves I wanted - rather than a straight line to the hedge.

 And from the other side of the white birches - the view back to the house. The newer trees have not yet got their white bark - hopes for this year.

 And behind them the copper beech has grown a lot considering how small it was when planted. The intention is to have the white trunks standing out in front of its dark leaves.

 I had forgotten this hellebore near the wall. Unfortunately it is low down and hangs its head so you have to crouch to see up into the flower.

The first rhubarb is in the bottom oven. I have been spreading compost on the raspberries etc - better late than never. 
R is down in her writing shed for the first time this year, the sun is out and all is well with the world except rain is forecast for the next four days!

Enough, enough, the blog is becoming an encyclopaedia, time for a cup of tea.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017


Very glad winter's over, bumble bees on the shrubs, just pruned the buddleia hedge on the banking, rhubarb coming on - eating it next week I think. Celandines appearing in the flowerbeds - do I remove or not? Think I will wait a bit and see.

Only snag is I have to garden with a peg on my nose as the blower has gone kaput in the septic tank - I know, just the lovely sort of news you wanted to hear. Anyway rescue (and a new blower) on the way - I hope.

The light is so much better up in the wood making the daffodils glow, the grass seem that bit greener. We sat out this afternoon with a cup of tea for the first time - R in her anorak, me just a shirt and rolled up sleeves.

In this pic you can see the chimes  - and - if you look closely a wood pigeon in the tree on the right. I did not notice that when I took the photo.
R arrived back from town with three hyacinths in little pots - she wants them put in the famille vert bowl (chipped and cracked so probably only worth a fortune). She did let me line the bowl with a plastic bag. Then I potted them up and covered the surface with lush moss from the stone wall at the far end of the garden.

Went to a physio for bad back and now have 30 min of exercises a day - so back really bad now! She agreed with me that it is shot at! I seem to have lost an inch in height - nothing to do with stopping wearing high heels either.

And two days later - ok digging in garden but washing the kitchen floor and yow! Limping and sore.

The Acer sango kaku's red stems are in fine fettle, especially after the rain.

Birds are thriving (not so the frogs) as the grey heron is by the pond, and the cock pheasant has taken to sitting on the fence by the feeders - presumably hoping the hen pheasant will pass by?

I haven't seen any rats recently which will please R but the little vole keeps nipping out from under the shed for any seeds dropped by the birds from one of the feeders. There are a lot of bank voles in the garden but they are not seen often.

I had set myself the discipline of a once a week blog but at this time of year, with so much happening, it is very difficult - so beware.