Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

A corking word choice this week, from Mary.

My favourite current example of tenacity can be found in my garden. There is a lovely rose growing up the side of the house. I don’t know how old it is, but it’s got to be at least 10 years old, and very possibly more. Last year, I noticed some blackspot. And then, on closer examination, saw that it was really, really bad. So I sought advice, and the two options I was given were a) dig it up and burn it or b) prune it savagely, and hope it makes it through the winter – but it probably won’t.

Reasoning that a small chance was better than none, I went for option b). And then we had a hard winter (with temperatures of -22C on Christmas Eve) which killed several of my healthy roses. So I thought the savagely pruned elderly one stood no chance, and for most of spring into early summer, it seemed that I was right. Fortunately, I didn’t get round to digging up the roots, because look!

It’s come back beautifully – there are tiny, tiny traces of what could be blackspot, but nothing like it was last year, so I hope that if I carefully cut out the affected growth, it may be treatable.

Pop over to see Mary for a list of the other Weekworders.

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Halfway house…

I’ve been doing all sorts of busy things lately, but frustratingly, nothing I can blog about. I made a rather wonderful birthday cake and forgot to take photos. I’ve finished a big crochet project but haven’t forced myself to deal with all the ends. I’m halfway through a knitting project – and have been for about a week because I’ve not knitted a stitch since I hit the halfway point. We’re doing all sorts of things in the garden but it’s still all very much ‘in progress’.

Once I get over the hump, I’ll have lots to share, but for the moment it’s a case of keeping my head down and just plodding on.

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I’ve had some requests for more garden posts, so I thought here was a good place to start. Spring has sprung with an absolute vengeance and there is blooming and greening and all sorts.

Some primulas:

And some primroses:

Cherry blossom:

And apple blossom:

The lilac – the smell from this is heavenly:



The bluebells are out:

As are the violets:

And a bit of cheating to make up ten, as this beautiful specimen isn’t in my garden, but someone else’s. Although it’s so beautiful I may have to get one:

Anyone else made a list today?

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The garden has been harder and harder to manage, so we decided to bite the bullet. We hired a digger for a week (and a dumper truck for a weekend) and have dug over huge areas, so we can start all over again. The big flower bed? Flat. The veg garden? Gone. The yard? Scraped clean. The muckheap and compost heaps? Gone. And in this process, we’ve made some discoveries…

The garden does currently look as though we’re recreating the key battles of WW1, but I’m confident that it’s the first step towards a garden we can live with – and live in, and love.

Did you make a list today?

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Every silver lining has a cloud…

I planted lots of bulbs in the autumn, so I’d have some lovely spring flowers to cheer me up. I love hyacinths, the colour, the scent, so I grew lots of them. And they were gorgeous.

Just lovely. We had bowls of them all over the place, and the smell and the bursts of colour were wonderful. And really, we needed cheering up because we were a bit under the weather. We had headaches and sore throats, we were tired and felt generally rubbish. Eventually, we started to wonder if the hyacinths could be to blame. So we rounded them up into the back bathroom… and we were feeling better within the hour. So we gave them away to friends. Next year I shall remember that too much of this good thing is definitely too much, and resist special offers on prepared bulbs. And this lot are going into the garden.

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Spring green

Regular readers will know that I like taking pictures of water on plants. So, here’s one from yesterday. I spotted it as I was about to empty the mop bucket (oh, the glamour of my life) and had to get the camera. It’s mainly at that grey-and-brown-not-really-winter-but-not-quite-spring stage here – and this tiny burst of green was very cheering. And the water drop just sparkled like a diamond. Lovely.

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And oh, boy, there has been rain. The river is high, and brown and flowing very fast, the garden is a mudbath, and there are dirty foot- and pawprints all over my kitchen floor no matter how often I mop it.

But where there is rain, there are opportunities to take pictures of water on plants. Regular viewers will know that I am very keen on this.

I liked the brown of these sycamore keys – the ones that never managed to fall. But when the rain clings to the end of every twig, it makes a lovely contrast – the dull browns and ochres and the glittering jewels of the raindrops.

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We’ve had a somewhat unseasonal cold snap lately – a village near us was the coldest place in the UK one night – at minus 18 degrees C. Brrrr! The snow started falling a week past Friday, and it’s still there. We haven’t had any post since … a week past Thursday, and it has made the logistics a bit difficult. I am dreading the fuel bills, too.

But it is terribly pretty, so here are some pictures.

These were hanging outside the bathroom window:

And it’s not just outside. I saw some very pretty snowflake window stickers in a catalogue, but being too much of a skinflint thrifty to spend what they were asking, I made some snowflakes out of paper (you remember, the sort you make by folding paper and snipping it) and hung them in the window on lengths of cotton. I have done the living room and kitchen windows, and as they look so pretty from the outside, I plan to do the whole house in time for Christmas. I love the way they turn in the air currents – it gives a nice ‘snowfall’ effect.

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The frosts have started…

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So, last week’s Tuesday Ten was a list of things I wanted to do other than work, and I’m sure you’re all desperate to find out how I did, so here are ten things I did since last Tuesday.

1. Clear out the polytunnel – yes, achieved. I have cleared and composted and pruned and it’s now looking much better, plus the plants are all in the right places. The vine has had a good year (and now a haircut) and we have oodles of grapes.

The hot spring followed by lots of rain means that the fruit is plump and sweet. They are having to be rationed, not because of a shortage, but because of the effect excess grape consumption has on nappies…

2. Pot on my young trees – done. The silver birch was almost audibly sighing with relief.

3. Plant my Christmas bulbs – yes, all done. The cellar steps are now covered with pots of hyacinths, crocuses and anemones.

I was hunting around for suitable containers in the end, but found enough, and come Christmas we should, all being well, have lots of scented loveliness to cheer the house and to give away. The amaryllis and narcissus will be done in a few weeks – time to start scouring charity shops for bowls…

4. A box of oddments went to the nursery today and was greeted with rapture.

5. Finish reading ‘Wolf Hall’. Well, I hit a snag here. I went to renew my books (online) and found that one of them had been requested, so I had until Friday to read it. So I did. It was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, and I heartily recommend it. So I am only two-thirds of the way through Wolf Hall. Half marks for that, I think!

6. I have my tax paperwork ready for my accountant. It was quite time consuming but I did feel virtuous – and also rewarded as I found that one of my invoices hadn’t been paid and chased it up.

7. I got out and took some photographs of the autumn colour:

8. I made not one cake, but two. One was an apple and cinnamon cake, the other a lemon drizzle (I use Mary Berry’s recipe – in as much as I follow any recipe without tweaking; I use far more lemon than she suggests – and it’s gorgeous). Yum yum.

9. I picked up the cardigan, and true to my prediction, I didn’t finish it. But I did finish the other front panel, joined the fronts to the back and have done a third of the collar. So that’s pretty good going and takes me closer to finishing.

10. Order has been restored to the bathroom cupboard – and I’ve found some things I thought had gone forever. And discovered that I shan’t need to buy soap for years.

9 and a half out of 10, I think!

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