Thursday, 26 March 2020


I am reading Neil Curry's new book, William Shenstone, Landscape Gardener and Poet, a copy of which he has kindly given me.
Shenstone was a poet, gardener and tended to indolence - sounds familiar. But the thing that really seized me was when I read the quote from Horace on page 150 -

This was what I had prayed for: a small piece of land
With a garden, a fresh flowing spring of water at hand
Near the house, and, above and behind a small forest stand,
But the gods have done much better for me, and more -
It's perfect. I ask nothing else.

Well, knowing me, and my indolence, I could add a few other things like chocolate, family and friends ...

But this morning, despite the virus, the sun shines, lambs are calling in the fields, the fields are greening, both song and mistle thrushes sing, a yellowhammer is calling from a tall ash tree, the first cherry is about to explode with blossom . . .
With the virus we are walking, fields and empty lanes, enjoying the wild flowers - lesser celandine, dandelion, barren strawberry, dog's mercury, wood anemone and blackthorn.

Yesterday I mowed much of the lawns with the sit on, managed to bog it down in a compost heap and had to dig it out, then lift it out! Not good for old backs. We went to the garden centre and I bought potatoes for chitting and some veg seed. Oh! and some nasturtium seed for R.
   After raising the leaf canopy on the big magnolia it became clear that the small portion of beech hedge beyond blocked the view further on, so that has gone too. The first flowering heads removed from the rhubarb. 

Forced rhubarb is such a wonderful colour.

This is a surreal world we now inhabit, the local hospital ICU beds full and more, and I find myself sleeping too much - well it is something to do. I have volunteered to help out but being elderly they may say no - we will see.
I have ordered 2 huge bags of slate chippings for the paths and Sam, the gardener, says he will come next Monday (if he can) to do the repairs.

These leaves are called Easter-ledges (or bistort) and are used to make a traditional Cumbrian pudding - 

Ingredients: Easter-ledges about 4 inches high; half as many young nettles; 1 large onion; tea-cup of barley; 1/2 teaspoon salt; teaspoon pepper; 1 egg; some butter (or bacon dripping).

Method: Remove stems of Easter-ledges and chop well together with young nettles and onion, wash the barley and sprinkle this in among the greens adding salt. Put all together and tie up in a muslin bag and boil for one and a half to two hours. Before serving beat it up in a dish with one egg and some butter (or bacon dripping is excellent) flavour well with salt and pepper.

Wednesday morning, sunshine and warmth on my back, birds singing, flowers everywhere - a God wot day. (Thos. Brown). Picked a camellia for the house, noted the fritillaries are almost out, and there are blue tits everywhere - no wonder, they have been fed like kings all winter.

The view out of the new extension to the garden -

And a panoramic video - 

Come the afternoon, a walk to Knotallow Tarn, Horace and back, views up the Lakes, (very hazy), lapwings and skylarks calling and I found a rook skull in the roadside.

After we had a cup of tea with the doors wide open. Mr and Mrs Pheasant ambling by -

Spring is sprung. Madame Le Fevre is blasting out from her two pots -

1 comment:

  1. Everything is so lovely especially that extension & patio (is that what it is called over there?). Please take care if you are accepted to give assistance at the hospital.