Friday, 29 July 2011


This is the windowsill in my study.

Now, in the garden you can come across things in trees. There are a small set of chimes yet also an old wooden coathanger and a disused pair of goggles.

The orange thing is a fishing float from northern Skye, the rest are corks - collected I have to say over several years.
(Phew! You might have thought I was a gourmet.) (I hear a cry - "glutton!")

I am seeking ideas at for a use (sensible) for these corks, up a tree, in the garden. (And I have been though all the HaHa ideas for where I could put them.)

To gardening, weeding, watering - the weather forecast said it would rain yesterday and it did for 27 seconds (that is a guess) not even dampening the paving.

The picture to the right is from the bay in the living room window when a burst of late sunlight hit the lilies in the old ceramic sink and the distant fields.

I have just pruned the willow tunnel and done a bit of whip weaving - now that conjures up more ideas!

It looks like I have discovered the solution for strimmer phobia - a man who does garden jobs! - so the willow prunings can be tipped with white paint and put in beside bushes and small trees to stop him strimming them.

I leave as the swallows (nesting for the second time) streak past the window, the young buzzard mews in the trees and lunch is on the table - Gourmet not glutton!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


This evening the sun came out and shone on a golden hill to the east, a hill curved and surmounted by a bisecting fence.
In the distance the sands of Morecambe Bay glow amongst horizontal dark slabs of the incoming tide, flooding from the Irish Sea to the west.

A garden can be introspective, made of enclosed rooms and vistas but, it can also become part of the greater landscape that surrounds it, the passing of days, the moving of light.

We can see, on a good day, after rain has washed the pollution from the air, sixty miles south yet, because we are 360 feet up on a hill, the country rolls away at our feet - an extension of our lawn, beds and trees.

Our small acreage is only a small part of a bigger garden.

We can watch the seasons
pass - the dark days of winter provide us with colour when there is little growing at home, mists distort light and endow a magic air on the world.

So we have a much larger garden and we do not have to travel to enjoy its beauty

I am only glad that I do not have to mow and weed and manure the lot!

Monday, 25 July 2011


Occasionally something surprising arrives
in the garden - here it is - Tall Melilot, a wild plant not known for growing here - has it come with an imported plant?

At first I thought weed but then changed my mind - that might change again if it sows itself all over the place.

Family are here and it is good weather so we sit in the garden. Apart from interrupting a conversation to leap up and remove a willow herb seedling I have espied I do nothing.

(Oh! I must make a correction - though we saw masses of agapanthus in New Zealand they actually come from South Africa - got that one wrong (sort of).)

I did trim the overhanging grass and weeds from most of the paths before family came so that the wilder parts of the garden could be accessed, if wet, without getting soaked.

One of the house plants, a clivia, has outgrown its pot and is giving small offsets so I have repotted the main plant and potted up two of the little bits.

This is the boundary on the northern, upland side of the garden, a post and wire netting fence with strand of barbed wire at the top.

The plants in front of the fence are a mixture of Rosas rugosa and slower growing hollies. I believe there are also a couple of stunted damson suckers and a prickly plant given to us when we moved in - name escapes me (like much else).

Unfortunately despite feeding the plants with lots of hope and pelleted hen manure, horse manure and growmore I do not think it will ever achieve what I had hoped - not high enough fast enough for privacy from prying sheep. On the other side of the fence is a bridleway footpath and passers-by, especially those on horseback, can see me lounging about under our umbrella.

Actually cannot lounge for long - there is another broad-leaved willow herb growing in the Japanese anemones! Must just . . . . .

Friday, 22 July 2011


First a summary - weeding, picked late raspberries, picked broad beans and broccoli, weeding, mowed all the lawns (with the rain the grass is growing like something out of a SF novel), sowed some late beetroot, demolished the willow fence/sculpture/woven bits etc in front of Wendy House at request of R and dumped them on the bonfire site.
Of course, being willow near a pond they will resprout ++.

So to the title - the top picture is of the Lake at Hilton Court in Pembrokeshire. It is about 200 times the size of our pond but we have water lilies too. Mind you they have loads of fish, (:-(=, whereas all we have are water fleas.
Over the years we have watched this garden develop from when it first began, it is now mature - but, for me, I would like a few more flowers.

The second picture is of the yew tunnel at Aberglasney - hence the willow tunnel at The Nook.
Again we have watched this garden develop from the ruin it first was.
Before the "improved" digital television service we could get Welsh television here in Cumbria and watched the restoration. Since then we have visited the garden on about four occasions.

Now we cannot get the Welsh channels and suffer from a lack of a fix from Iolo Williams (and his knees) and Trevor Fishlock on his travels.
There has just been published a very good book on Pembrokeshire by Trevor Fishlock with excellent photography by Jeremy Moore.

So, family coming tomorrow from such diverse places as Devon and Australia.
Have to get the Cumberland Sausage (real stuff) out.
I have made a date slice a la Cranks, (I put a bit more sugar in it), and then realised that I am on a diet so cannot eat it!

My Lumberjack hat came today - and that's OK.

Monday, 18 July 2011



R loves alchemilla mollis and it flops out of vases around the house (it goes well with roses and buddleia - but not at the same time).

Unfortunately, when it gets very wet, it also flops onto any plant nearby smothering it. This is great ground cover but has to be managed. Anyway, the problem will be solved soon as it will need to be dead headed before it sets seed.

The beetroot is coming on, broad beans to be harvested, spinach blown, new stuff still there under the netting - HOPEHOPEHOPE.

The poor old plum tree branches are now down to the ground - props needed, 4 pears, 2 apples, 0 damsons - yet. The damson trees are too small having come from plants given to us by my Sister-in-law.

(Her niece N makes Agnes Rose special vinegars etc - has won lots of awards - ask your local deli for Agnes Rose products -

Some good news - the agapanthus despite two severe winters has turned from 3 flowers into 6. Perhaps that is because we went to New Zealand and liked it? (Agapanthus grow wild there.)

Alongside the blue of agapanthus is a lovely white rue and Acer negundo flamingo.

Also there is a muted
hollyhock now in its fourth year.

I have been collecting seed from the aquilegia, candelabra primulas and Meum athamanticum (spignel). This is stored in the study in brown paper envelopes ready for sowing soon to give plants for next year.

Meum grows in the wild on damp east facing slopes and I would like to establish it in the garden in a wild setting. Its feathery leaves smell lemony - a bit like dill. In fact the meum growing near Shap beside the roads used to be collected and sent to London as a Dill.

Tip - from friend NC - if you are interested in wild plants Geoffrey Grigson's book, The Englishman's Flora, is stuffed with facts.
It says of Spignel, Meu, Baldmoney that it is also known as Badminnie, Bawdringie, Houka, Micken and Muilcionn!
Highlanders used to chew the aromatic roots as a calmative and stimulant - both?

Must just nip out for a fix.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Rambling around the garden in my head, I suppose.

It is raining.
I suspect the weather may finish off the remaining raspberries for good.
Yesterday we had a shower so heavy water poured off the roof in a waterfall - so no gardening, just church flowers - mainly buddleia, alchemilla and a touch of feverfew. R has threatened to put me on the church rota. (I am a non goer).

On Friday we weeded (R accuses me of being a non weeder but I do do a bit) and then I have added yet more netting to a veg bed after sowing and planting in a last attempt to grow something without the bunnies consuming all.

No, I have not yet got out the strimmer - but it will have to be done one day. (Well, perhaps it doesn't but then - jungle.) It is important to remove long grass etc so that next year's annuals can thrive.

I have potted on some white phlox and white penstemon cuttings and replaced them in the little propagator with cuttings of white pinks. The verbena bonariensis grown from seed need to go out.

It is time to seriously think about trees and shrubs if I am to order any for late autumn delivery. R wants a greengage.

The weeping willow has anthracnose - leaves go blotchy and curl up before falling off - but it is too tall now to spray.

It is time to feed the roses (R wants me to get some (or one) Rosa mundi). The Rambling Rectors - one up a tree the other over an old well and some flowering currants - have been good this year.

So to the holiday.

On the way south on the Friday we stopped at the Dorothy Clive Garden near Market Drayton prior to lunch with RJP, H and Max the dog but no sign of Arthur Pint. Max had a maccident.
Then, on the Sunday, went to open gardens at Llanmadoc
on the Gower - very hot and one or two interesting and beautiful gardens.

On Monday stopped at Colby Gardens near Saundersfoot. I told R how we had been before and it had changed so much. She could not remember any of it.
Whilst in Pembrokeshire we visited Hilton Court for a cuppa and a cake (or scone - R) and a walk around the lake.

Later in the week we went to Upton Castle Gardens - this where I am submerged in Humble Pie. This is the garden I remembered - we had never been to Colby!

I am still being reminded that I was wrong and R was right!

Ah! Senility thrives.

(Pictures top to bottom - Dorothy Clive Garden, Frog Cottage in Llanmadoc, Colby Gardens, Hilton Court.)

Thursday, 14 July 2011


So I have to admit that the last three blogs were written two weeks ago and put on a memory stick. Then, using R's laptop, I released them one by one. The first from The Gower, the second from Pembrokeshire and the third from the Malverns.

Now I am home it is back to the usual - mowing lawns, trying to tame the jungle, picking fruit that are going over an so on.

We made raspberry jam yesterday (Mrs Beeton) - very easy - recipe on request.

The first picture is of one of the oriental poppies in the poppy bed. Cuttings will be taken.

Now a message for G in Belgium who sent us a card with a four leaved clover - I think it is a clover, just a pity it is not a shamrock. (There is a touch of the celt in G.)

The evil strimmer - you know I love it - is just got to be deployed after I discovered an attempted rabbit hole 20 ft from the kitchen door - on the banking.

R has to do the flowers for church this weekend an was wondering what we could take from the garden.
I suggested armfuls of buddleia and alchemilla.
The second picture is of Crocosmia lucifer - would that be allowed in church?

Finally a rather attractive yellow plant has appeared by the valerian at the cattle grid.
It is tall mellilot, a wild plant.
So I got out the flora of Cumbria and it is not recorded anywhere near here. How it arrived I do not know - I suppose with some plant I have bought - but I have put nothing in that bed recently.

The House Martins are investigating the gable end over the garden again but are being harassed by our swallows - and the sparrowhawk has been back whilst we were swimming in the sea - a wood pigeon this time - neatly plucked just outside the kitchen.

Time to tidy the sea of feathers, mow lawns, weed, pick fruit, strim, lie down, have a cuppa, have a beer, doze in the sun . . . .