Monday, 27 June 2016


Yesterday I was late middle age, today I am elderly!
Wonderful presents including an Ancestry DNA test from the children - do they doubt my parentage? It will be interesting to see -     Anglo-Saxon, Scots, Manx, Viking, other dubious genes etc!

First let's get that referendum out of the way - our feet are shot, but the EU must bear some of the responsibility for the result. Their determination to give David Cameron nothing much, especially on immigration, was a catalyst for the result - if he had come back with more then - ?

Anyway -
1. The Irish had a second go and reversed their decision. 2. The referendum is only advisory so the result could be ignored. 3. An election could be called on the result. 4. Dumfries and Galloway is a lovely part of the world.

To more important matters - RAIN!

First the cloud over Morecambe Bay

Then the rain

And finally the overflow from the gutters.

To gardening - the top banking is mown, the strawberries are mouldy, the swallows are busy feeding young.

Though it feels like ten score years and three at times!
Come the old birthday and I have timed my new car perfectly - to collect on the day - like me a hybrid!

So here I am - hard to believe that the first pic and the final one are of the same person - perhaps they're not, perhaps they are of someone else. 

More chubby
Proud Dad
Senile but got here!
(Nice socks!)

And this is the person who has kept me sort of sane all these years.  

Sort of.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


In the beginning there were heaven and earth and this afternoon most of heaven has fallen on us - as rain.
So let's brighten up the world with some oriental poppies - Cedric Morris, Patty's Plum and Goliath.

Now time for a white rabbit - white so important in the garden.

Crambe above left, peony above right then a geranium on the left and finally a penstemon on the right. It makes such a different to have white (even it is daisies in the lawn (or clover)).

Sunday is Father's Day and so I went farther down the garden than recently and lit the bonfire with last years bank statements etc. Now all my clothes smell of woodsmoke.

Yesterday R had a friend from when she first went to school and her husband for lunch. A good afternoon and then son 2 came for supper. That meant the lawns had to be mown before and I just managed it before the rain came.

I had forgotten I had wandered the garden looking for bare patches and sown calendulas from seed my daughter had given me. They are coming up all over the place.

I am going to have to design something different for the strawberries as they are going mouldy before I can pick them. Some sort of elevated bed where the fruit can hang over the side might be the answer - or a trip to the greengrocer.

The Rambling Rector rose is in full fling cascading out of the trees.
A short lived burst of white exploding from the briars.

 Another rose doing well is this Golden Showers at the back of the house.
Also the valerian by the gate - red and pink spreading. The white on is down near the Wendy House.

The geraniums come and go like the one here on the right and the alchemilla mollis, much loved by R, is finally flowering (all over the place)(and seeding itself).

Then down in the pond the water lilies, a primitive plant, are thriving and spreading. Large on nearer the shed, a smaller one further up.
The pond is really starting to look mature.

We have a pair of carrion crows causing much alarm - even the rooks are chasing them off. I grew up on a farm so know what they can do to a sheep or lamb - not nice.

I am here writing the blog because, surprise, it is raining. 
And it is raining politicians - Europe - in, out, shake it all about - can we really be stupid enough to vote to leave. If we do I might move to Scotland as they won't leave.
Forget it, turn on iTunes and chose a random song - For No one by the Beatles.
To finish with a couple of more pics of Carstramont Woods and a wild garden -

Friday, 17 June 2016


Except we don't live in a bungalow.
But my first name is Bill (well William) even if I don't use it much.

Here we go again as I have just deleted the start of this blog (insert a grumpy) and - well, R has dug out the past-it forget-me-nots and put them up in the woodland to self seed. I am covered in greenfly and whitefly after weeding under the big sycamore (Notable tree - Woodland Trust) as the tree is a metropolis of little flying things.
Roses are being dead headed, weeding goes on - carrots, Nantes, are sown - the last, really the last, asparagus cut and eaten by R who loves it - a bowl of strawberries on the kitchen island - the Sweet Cicely cut back and chucked in the compost bin.

This is outside the kitchen doors -

and this the view down to the pond from there.

This is the house martin nest from where the fledglings went - just above the top picture. The swallows still seem to be building and a community on the beam seems likely - i.e. more than one nest. No sign of egg eating squirrels for a bit - fingers crossed.

The elder is flowering well but we are not making elderflower cordial this year - too lazy.
We have mullein moth caterpillars chomping our plants so have had to take action. 
On the shed the clematis montana Albert is in fine flower. I also have two montana Elizabeths in pots and still do not know where to put them.
Up something I suppose - but what?
The catmint (nepeta) this year is splendid and spilling onto the paving. It goes so well both with the alchemilla and euphorbia - both yellow/greens.

This is Rose Golden Showers, one of two we have and it is flooding the garden with sunshine despite the rain.

The poppies continue to blast us with colour, both in the flower beds and growing semi wild up on the banking near the fig. We have many colours but the good old blast of orange vermilion is still the best. (Goliath and Patty's Plum are not bad either.)

Now, every time I mention Putin I get a surge in hits for the blog - am I being monitored by the Russian secret service? It seems silly but could be true. On the other hand could it be the Vlad fan club - like its members in Marseille? Ultraviolent - the n is there on purpose - nothing to do with a suntan. 

Come Tuesday and a largely sunny day and I half kill myself hover mowing the lower banking. I forgot that if I perspire the flies come homing in on me.

Went to supermarket and bought a pot of basil and one of coriander. Each pot contains many plants so took out a few of each and planted them in the veg beds.

The pond is looking good and I sent a pic to Gary Primrose who helped us build it. He lives near Tarn Hows at a place called Yewfield and has a blog -

Well worth a visit on the net. There is a link to the left of this blog.
One last thing, pond related - the yellow mimulus (monkey flower) sows itself everywhere and R said we should try it in a vase. I thought it would be useless but to my surprise it has lasted over a week and is still going strong!

The rain has made many of the strawberries rotten so I am going to have a cup of tea to drown my sorrows.

Saturday, 11 June 2016


Having watered and fed the asparagus with a little Growmore we ate our first strawberry each today. It is really too hot to do much, even a walk around the garden is tiring. The temperature at 4 pm is 27.5C, a lot for the damp cold Lake District, and no sign of rain.

So we sit outside the kitchen in the shade drinking tea, doing crosswords and reading. 
The pond has both red and blue damselflies, pond skaters, whirligigs and water boatmen, frogs, newts and snails, freshwater shrimps and water beetles. Today we saw a big blue broad bodied male chaser, Libellula depressa, patrolling the water and then a female (on the left). 
She is yellowish brown and sitting on last year's reedmace - I should have cut these out by now. I suppose we can expect lots of little chasers now - not good news for the other inhabitants of the pond.

This is the planter we purchased from Canon Frome a few years ago. It is made from the base of a hot water cylinder.

This year I have planted it with an osteospermum in the centre surrounded by thyme, two types of sage, dill and marjoram. I have also stuck a piece of rosemary in there that snapped off the nearby bush.

Then I hear the cacophony that is a wedge of geese flying over. They go north to the Duddon and not long after come back again - it is a bit early for flying geese?

The garden at dusk is a quiet place apart from a blackbird or songthrush. The white of the lilac tree seems almost eerie and blues seem to dominate.

When we were in Scotland we went to the wonderful Cally Gardens - the old walled garden for Cally Palace - now a hotel. It is stuffed with plants - some rare and exotic collected by the owners from around the world. We have a berberis from there - panlanensis Cally Rose - it has red and cream flowers and is viciously thorny.

Not all things in the garden are gaudy - the grasses, though common, can be beautiful when backlit.

Thursday - the first house martins have fledged, the swallows seem to have built four or five nests, all unfinished - don't seem to know what they are doing.
Went to Holker Hall gardens and saw a hedgehog - now becoming increasingly rare. Outside the kitchen I sat and watched a small toad watching me watching it etc.

Fruit is on its way - were are already eating lots of strawberries as are the slug and snails. Here are young plums, damsons, raspberries and mildewy gooseberries.

The asparagus is past its best, will be fed, watered and left alone.
I have cut the beech hedge with some very old electric hedge cutters that belonged to my father-in-law who died in the 1980s - and they still work fine.

There seem to be a lot of reds and pinks in the garden at the moment - both wild and not.

Red campion, alstroemerias, foxgloves and Sweet William (or if you live north of the border - Stunkin' Wullie!"
(Something to do with the Duke of Cumberland?)(Led the Kings army at the Battle of Culloden - 'nuff said.)

It is Saturday and it is RAINING! Pouring off the roof. I can put the hosepipe away for a while (probably for the rest of the summer.)