Friday, 21 August 2015

What has happened to summer?

These photos were all taken last week when it still seemed to be summer.  I took them during a break from gardening and was hoping to catch the sparrows having a drink or a bath in our mock waterfall, but no such luck.
The garden seemed to be full of young blackbirds for days.  Great big fledglings, larger than the parent birds, and chirruping loudly as they urged Mum and Dad to keep feeding them.   They also enjoyed sunbathing and made the most of it.

I am always trying to get a good shot of bees gathering nectar.  Not a good photo here but you can just about see one on the marjoram.

No such luck on the lavender.  They either moved round to the other side of the flowers or flew off. I must learn to focus more quickly!

I did catch this tiny moth on a clematis leaf.  It's colours are bleached out here but they were wonderful.

 This peacock butterfly obliged me, but they too are so busy and can't keep still long enough for a good picture and just as I am about to press the shutter, they so often close their wings.

This is my next task - there is a path through there somewhere and I must find it again.

Our little friend here has had a few problems lately.   I posted about her having her right eye removed owing to glaucoma and a new lens put into the left eye.  Last week she had to have several teeth removed and was very wobbly for a day after the extractions.  She is very resilient and seems to have bounced back to her normal happy self and we can't call her Dog Breath any more!

Since I took these photos the weather has been more autumnal than summery with a distinct smell of autumn in the air.  We have had strong wind, heavy rain and quite cool temperatures, interspersed with muggy humid conditions.  Maybe next week I shall be able to sit outside again.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


I couldn't resist taking photos of these zinnias which are just coming into bloom.
I have grown them from seed and love their bright but chalky colours.  They have lots of buds so I hope to have many more flowers to enjoy.

 These cosmos are more of my 'babies' and are starting to fill out nicely.  I collected a number of packets of free seeds of annuals last autumn and winter so had a busy time potting them up and planting out earlier in the year.   Most of them have already done their stuff and others have been spoiled by all the strong winds we have had but the rest are brightening up the garden nicely.
This clump of verbena is one of last years babies and looking quite grown up now.  I love it and have some in the front garden too.  If they all set seed we shall have to rename the house - Verbena something or other.  Jungle comes to mind especially if I get engrossed in a textile project!

I  have been waiting for the plant in the centre above, to grow enough to identify it.  Goody goody, I'm sure it is a foxglove, but I didn't plant it and it is too close to the lawn but I will get the blame!
There is another one to the left of that nice little clump of hardy geranium - they are all self sets and will all have to be moved further back.  I'll wait until the ground is nice and wet and dig nice big holes for them so they won't know they've been moved.

I wish these were eating apples instead of crab apples, but they are very decorative.  I was a bit dismayed to notice a definite scent of autumn in the air this afternoon.   I am still hoping for a bit more summer.  Maybe tomorrow will be just that, though the weather for the rest of the week doesn't sound too good for our area.

I see that the weeds are doing well with all the warmth and rain we have had.  I have been catching up indoors for a couple of days and reorganised my workroom today.  I always say I can't work when it's messy but when it looks neat and tidy I am reluctant to muck it up again!   I have too many ideas buzzing round my head to settle on any particular one.  Probably just as well, as there is still a lot to do outside and I am determined to get the garden 'put to bed' properly this winter.

Monday, 27 July 2015

A very patient patient.

We have had our little friend Poppy with us over the weekend.  She has had eye surgery and is a model patient.   Her stitches are out now and she is making a very good recovery.

She was found to be suffering from glaucoma and has had her right eye removed and a news lens put into the good eye.

She is so good when I put her eye drops put in four times a day and will have to have them for the rest of her life.   None of this seems to have dampened her spirits - she is still full of beans though we have to keep her as quiet as possible while everything settles down.   No ball games or anything else exciting.   She would look at me beseechingly to get the tennis balls from the bottom of the kitchen cupboard but I know I mustn't, and fortunately she seems to have accepted that.  She likes keeping an eye on the neighbours and growling at anyone who walks past with a dog.

'Mum and Dad' should be back this afternoon and I know I'll miss her when she goes home.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Should I be worried?!!

I found this little book in a charity shop this morning and couldn't resist buying it.   I had several in this series in my childhood and loved them.   I had no idea they were still available - this one is in perfect condition and has over 100 beautifully painted illustrations.  I can remember going round my grandparent's garden (over 70 years ago) looking at the flowers and up into the flowering shrubs to see if there were any fairies there.   I think I must be entering my second childhood though I have stopped looking for fairies!

I gardened myself to a standstill over the weekend and ache gently everywhere.  I was quite pleased to see the rain this morning as it stopped me from going out there for another session.   Had it been a fine day I would have done more, on the premise that what will make you bad will make you better!   Hopefully I will recharge my batteries before I lose my impetus.

 I don't like the idea of gales forecast for later in the week - it seems very unusual for July and strong winds can be so much more damaging to trees when they are in full leaf.   Good conditions for kite flying though!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Odds and Ends.

"There's a hole in my front door, my front door, my front door.  There's a hole in my front door, my front door - a hole! "   Luckily we have a second lock so when this one stopped working and my husband removed it and took it to be repaired, we were still secure.  I was hoping to get a mini view of the front garden through the hole, but the sun was so bright that didn't work.

Great excitement the other morning when this monster arrived at the top of the road where neighbours are having an extension built onto the back of their house.  This metal girder was the first to be lifted over their roof, followed by several concrete ones.   It arrived early and I nipped out in  my dressing gown to take this photo.

The honeysuckle on our pergola is looking beautiful this year - this is the view through the kitchen window looking up.
I love it's twisted stems in which the little birds love to hop about looking for insects.  They sometimes take shelter from bad weather in the winter under there.

I took this photo looking down on the honeysuckle from the bedroom window.  The bees have been enjoying themselves during the lovely sunny days we have had recently.

A view of the black elder flowering it's socks off and the summer jasmine just coming into flower.

I have been frantically trying to clear space for all the seedlings I have grown this spring but the soil is so dry and heavy it is taking longer than I bargained for.   We could do with some rain to soften the ground and my seedlings are almost climbing out of their seed trays and pots.   We watch large grey clouds pass overhead but only the odd spot or two falls here.   I daresay a few miles away they are having a lovely downpour.  Oh well, there's always the hosepipe.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

I'm still here!

I can't believe I haven't posted on my blog for a whole month.  I don't seem to have anything interesting to relate or to post about but thought I should put in an appearance however minimal.

Our wisteria has looked better than ever this year and now extends right the way across the front of the house.  We planted it about 15-20 years ago and it flowered right from the start.  I have heard of some that have taken several years to start flowering so we have been lucky.
There is a price to pay for all that gorgeousness and we are now paying it.   I have to sweep the fallen petals up daily as, in wet weather, they stick to the bottom of shoes and get trodden all through the house.  They also look awful lying on the path having faded to a dirty brown and I can sweep up almost a bucketful every day.

But I still love it.

Not much creativity going on here apart from potting up seedlings, planting tubs and trying to get some weeding done, energy permitting - I have wasted far too much on coughing, and it still hasn't gone completely.  I must start work on a couple more pages for my fabric book so that I have something to show next time.   Enjoy this lovely weather.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

This and That.

Here are our two little fledgling collared doves.  You can just make out the second one to the right.  The nest is on our pergola and right outside the kitchen window so I can keep an eye on them, and they can keep an eye on us.  A few days ago we were very worried as we hadn't seen either parent bird for some time and they were so tiny and huddled down in the nest.  We dropped some meal worms into the nest hoping to keep them going and then Mum turned up to feed them.  In that short time they have grown quite a bit.

A little while ago Maggie Grey posted a lovely wall panel she had made from holiday photos and ephemera.  I thought I would try one of my own but it wouldn't work for me, possibly because I didn't have enough interesting bits and pieces, and my photos were not as colourful as hers.   I really liked this idea so decided to turn mine into a book, and instead of ephemera I am adding scraps of home dyed fabrics left over from a course I did years ago and couldn't bear to part with.

I can't visualise the finished pages and hope they will tell me what else they need as I go along.  It could be a long job but at least I have started.

Last September I treated myself to a bag of 15 iris bulbs.  Plant in groups of 3 or 5 the experts tell us , so I planted mine in groups of 5, but what I have I got?   Three groups of one!!!!  I plant with such optimism.