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Posts Tagged ‘Garden’

My second week taking part in the photo scavenger hunt on Ashley Sisk’s blog and the second week that I’m posting on the last day. I actually had all the photos taken on time but real life got in the way of me posting. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my set for this week:

Words
This is from a dish belonging to some friends of mine – it’s calligraphy on wood, and I covet it, not just because it’s a beautiful thing, but also because it’s from one of my favourite bits of the bible.

(For those unfamiliar with both Latin and the bible, it translates as ‘I am black but comely O ye daughters of Jerusalem. Therefore the king delights in me’, and it’s from the Song of Solomon, which I think is some of the most beautiful love poetry ever.)

Under

Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to do with this one. I was clearing out the living room over the weekend – this is the collection of stuff I hauled out from under the sofa. (The little slippers, by the way, belong to the Little Boy, and were crocheted by my neighbour. We all have a pair – they’re toasty and have leather soles. She takes commissions!)

The presence of an Easter chick possibly indicates I should excavate under there more often…

Orange

It had to be the autumn colour for this – the rhus in the garden is ahead of the game when it comes to orange, and it’s looking glorious.

Fly
I had an idea for this one but didn’t have the time to do the necessary preparation. Part of the reason for this was the Little Girl’s birthday celebrations. She requested a butterfly cake, so from three cupcakes, a circular sponge, imperial quantities of cream cheese buttercream and glitter and sweeties aplenty, I fashioned this:

The only flying it did was into the tummies of small children (and their parents) but butterflies are flying insects, right?

Always look on the bright side

Te tum, te-tum-te-tum-te-tum… Does everyone think of Life of Brian, or is it just me?

Well, with the garden in upheaval and the wet and cold of autumn upon us, our garden is looking pretty sad apart from the orange rhus (above). But nestled by the back door in their pots are the last of the fuchsias, bravely providing a splash of colour and brightness:

Pop along to Ashley’s to see the other participants!

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I know, I’m dragging this out, but I can’t miss showing you my pictures of the Eden Project, now can I? I’d heard a lot about the Eden Project and had a feeling that it was somewhere I’d enjoy. So, can I just say, if you’re in the St Austell area and you wonder, ‘Is it going to be worth £20-odd quid to see some plants?’ then the answer is yes. Yes it is. (Although you can get discounts if you book in advance, and we got a 25% off voucher at Heligan). Because this is simultaneously all about plants and about so much more. I had high expectations of Eden, and I was blown away.

The scope of the project is astonishing. The creators wanted to make a site which would showcase the amazing influence of plants on our lives – their very centrality to all life. And that’s what they’ve done. It brings home the importance of conservation, but at no point is it preachy. They also wanted to do it in an environmentally sensitive way, both in terms of the ‘green-ness’ and in terms of respect for the local people and local economy. So they found a disused chalk quarry and made a garden. They didn’t import soil, they made it, from local ingredients. And they carried on from there. You can find out more about it here.

You come through the entrance and step out to the lip of the quarry and you see this:

Well, you see more than that, but my camera couldnn’t do the whole panorama. To get the the bottom, you walk down zig-zaggy paths, past some truly gorgeous planting.

In one of several very imaginative touches, they have little cut-throughs for kids, which are not only fun, but mean they don’t have to walk as far, so less whingeing:

In fact, there are lots of touches that are great for kids. A building where you can enter via a door or a slide. Hidey holes and climbing frames and things that have signs saying ‘Yes, you can play in here’. Lovely.

The outside areas at the bottom of the site are filled with gorgeous planting – herbaceous borders, willow hedges, and when we were there, roses, dahlias, sweet peas – I’d love to see what was planted at other times of the year. I took dozens of pictures, but here’s a taster:

Inspiration for ‘hot’ planting…

… and ‘cool’.

Another apple arch – I love these.

A wall built to encourage insects.

Lovely – I love the willow planters.

Dahlias (I always thought I didn’t like dahlias, but I saw some terrific ones in Cornwall – I think I’m being won over.

Dahlia with bee.

So, into the biomes. The first is the rainforest biome and it gets hot. Wear layers, take water – that’s all I’m sayin’. It’s incredible. Obviously, there are plants, wonderful plants – but also some witty, informative touches, and lots of information about what the plants are and how they’ve impacted on us. Again, lots of pictures, but here’s a small sample to give an idea of the scale:

Obviously, me being me, I took lots of pictures of flowers, too.

See that bottom one? That’s the Madagascan periwinkle. It’s endangered in its natural habitat, but is widely cultivated elsewhere. Why? Because it’s saved thousands of lives as a treatment for childhood leukemia. That little plant right there is the most powerful argument I’ve seen for habitat conservation. It’s not altruism, it’s self-interest.

And of course, we saw rice and tea and coffee and cocoa and rubber and spices and, most exciting for the kids:

This is just a fraction of a sample of what’s there.

So, then, after losing the Little Boy and finding him again, we went to the Mediterranean biome. Lots of more temperate plants, and vines and herbs and tomatoes and olive trees and chilis… (and a wonderful Spanish guitarist, which was a bonus).

There was more outside – plants for brewing, plants for dyeing, plants for … pretty much everything.

I loved this veg bed:

and this giant bee:

We had brought our own lunches, because we weren’t sure what the catering was like, but Mr S&S couldn’t resist one of the Biggest Scones In The World.

So, a tiny taster of the wonders of Eden. But to end, in one of the exhibition spaces, we saw this:

And it’s pretty mindblowing. These are the first architect’s sketch of the big biomes, done on pub napkins. It gave me a bit of a shiver to realise that it was the sheer force of human will that turned a pub-napkin pipe dream into huge, real, growing, flowering reality.

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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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Red berries…

I took this picture of the cotoneaster before the birds ate all the berries. We’ve had a bit of a cold snap and they’ve been feasting away. The holly trees are almost bare, as is one of the cotoneasters. The other, hidden behind a friend’s caravan on the yard, had so far avoided their depredations – but today I saw a flock of birds on it. They all scattered as I approached, but I’m sure, now they’ve found it, they’ll be back.

I have spent most of the year wondering whether to keep the cotoneasters. Throughout spring and summer they do very little, and they do take up space. But I think, over these few weeks in winter, they earn their keep. And the birds seem to like them.

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