Tuesday 5 December 2023


Sorry for the delay with new blog but had no electricity nor landline, hence internet - reason below. 

Sometimes at this time of year when all is dreary and dark something happens to raise the spirits. Yesterday I looked out of our bedroom dormer and on the roof six feet away were two elegant grey wagtails and today I held a blue tit that had flown into the kitchen. Then I looked out of the window and we have snowdrops emerging from the soil.

There were thinking how mild the weather was when we had a storm and all these cherry leaves ended up on the ground. Then it rained.

Then it got really frosty,

Then it snoooooooowed.

And the snow created havoc - this is our silver birch fallen with the weight of the white stuff. Branches down in the wood, and here our

willows flattened. Several shrubs are snapped off and a big branch down from the big damson tree. Today, Tuesday, we have finally managed to get to town for milk and so on. We have, at least, a wood burner to boil a kettle. The Aga lost heat as it is electrically controlled though oil fired.

The postman finally got through today and the internet and landline have been temporarily restored.
My feet are cold.

The pond is not quite frozen over and the real heron has been but, I suspect, left hungry. There is some open water for drinking.
I have no intention of sitting on the bench outside the house.

So now we have some rain, though frost tonight, and then more rain. The garden could not get boggier. One good thing, I have not fallen over yet - yet!

Sunday 19 November 2023


 It has been a while and all I have done in the garden is blow leaves around.

We have been away to the south and whilst we were there storm Debi came visiting, flooding most of the local low lying land and cutting off the electricity for a time.

SO wet it is better to stay off the garden, the gardener did not come and now we have a nasty cold so we are very cheerful!

I sleep on my side most of the time and is very annoying to have long ear lobes - they get squashed and twisted at night - this has nothing to do with gardening but I have to talk about something and the rest of the world is a mess.

So before the storm it was about autumn leaf colour -

I know, gather them up, put them in bin bags and make leaf mould but it is raining again and anyway the storm has blown off all the leaves and it is four o'clock and getting dark.

Before we left I set up the trail camera - but forgot to switch it on. However I did get these two videos before that. The badger below is a frequent visitor as are rabbits - but brown and white? There has been some breeding like rabbits going on with a pet animal I think.

The leaves are all off the cercidiphyllum (toffee tree) but I cannot smell the leaves - perhaps need some of that elusive factor called the sun?

Autumn draws to a close too early and the dark days are with us - the house is besieged by ladybirds seeking a place to hibernate - not a bad idea with weather like this -

Saturday 4 November 2023


It is a dark and dreary night, something is nasty in the woodshed and SAD looms.

Ladybirds everywhere looking for somewhere to spend the winter - inside and out, on windows and curtains, landing in my hair. So they know something about the coming winter that I do not?

So, let me get rid of the autumn colours first -

There, now that is done, for now. The cherries in fact have only just got going. The best colours used to be the third week in October but now it is into November.

There are still some flowers in the garden, enough for a small vase at least.

The rooks in the trees are restless, not looking forward to the winter though there are a lot of berries this year for other birds. I have not seen any redwings nor fieldfares yet. The crows make a lot of noise at times especially if disturbed by something - this is unlikely to be me in cold damp weather.

So with the cherries turning there is still room for shape and colours in the small shrubs.

And the odd calendula blasts out its  colour.

Sunday 22 October 2023


 I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes - well wearing wellies, so much rain it runs from the back field across the garden in sheets and streams.

It is wetter than I can remember and the heap of twigs I call a bonfire is never going to light for November 5th even with loads of fuel and paper. 

I have cut back the shrubs hanging over the path to the upper garden and trimmed the dying paeonies. It seems pointless blowing leaves off paths etc when the forecast includes gales - just blow the leaves back let alone those to come off the trees. 

It is becoming quite clear looking at the weather forecast for the next two weeks that staying off much of the garden is the only option. Today is Friday and gales and rain sweep in.

On Saturday I manage to rake out the stream and the spring in the field. Also I fork over the compost heaps - not really breaking down as I would want. R does a great job clearing back plants that are past it.

The groove in the far grass designed to help dry the way to the far end is full of water but the turf below it is still waterlogged.

I have pulled the last rhubarb stems - inedible now - and they will go on the compost.

The tangle over the old well is now impenetrable especially as the Rambling Rector rose is so vicious.

So time for a breather. Sunday and sunny, walk at Kirkby and a coffee at Pam's wonderful cafe.

Here are some sunny autumn pictures (at last) mainly of the euonymus elata and the acer sango-kaku my sister gave us when we moved in.

They are both tucked near out notable sycamore (Woodland Trust) but the latter is producing so much seed it carpets the tarmac.

I suppose I ought to mention produce but the Bramleys in the kitchen are fed up waiting to be cooked. We still have some wrapped up elsewhere form later in the season.
So here is to A sunny day - though it seems to be clouding over again.

Saturday 14 October 2023


 Garden not a garden, when it is a quagmire. 

Big decisions made. We can no longer manage all this two acre garden so - not really rewilding areas but just letting it go (unless, when it is done, we change our minds.)

And we are not the only thing that is getting older, the shrubs threaten to be trees, and perennials insist on spreading, need dividing etc, bulbs get congested - snowdrops on the surface.

I must cut back the buddleia outside the kitchen window early again to let in more of the weak wintry light.

There are cries of too hot for October in the south east, it is 40C in Spain and here it is warm too but only 16C and RAINING. I have suggestion for the government - a sun tax for the south and a rain rebate on tax for the rainy areas - sort of levelling up?

Dug up some potatoes I had forgotten. They had sprouted in the kitchen cupboard and been shoved in an empty corner of the veg beds. 

Sunday brings a drier morning and a huge wedge of geese flying north, so evocative. I cut back the buddleia and light floods into the kitchen. Wasps are about but not as many as ladybirds. The latter are seeking somewhere to overwinter.

There are also butterflies on the fruit, here a comma and a red admiral.

And suddenly it is Saturday again and colder, only 10C, but sunny (when it is not pouring down).

We still have flowers in the garden, the michaelmas daisies falling over the paving.

Then there are marigolds, okay, calendulas outside the kitchen.

R has been away at a school reunion (Glad Hearts Adventuring) so I have been doing odds and so on. Potted up the Sarah Raven tulips and alliums, bought some yellow crocus which have been put near the kitchen window and replaced the battery in the oil tank sensor.
Suddenly there is sun and went up to the wood despairing at the long wet grass. The contrast between the leaves on the magnolia and the old ash was great and branches of that ash hang down over the woodland path. Pray the dieback stays away.

The beans are done, the sweet peas dead, but lichen can light up a dull corner. 

Then I come upon this and smile.