Monday, 20 August 2018

At the weekend


On Saturday we went to a musical garden party. The band played under the gazebo in Tean's garden beside the Bristol Channel, glimpsed through the trees.


It was a very English summer affair, with finger food, drinks 
and the threat of light rain!


We all had a lovely time!
On Sunday I had a bit of a catch-up the garden. It feels very end of season now. Things have greened up after the rainfall but it all looks rather bedraggled.
There seemed to be a lot of wasps about and we discovered a huge wasp's nest in the attic. Its hanging in the most awkward place. The wasps are gorging on the fallen apples and we've hung jam traps in the trees in an effort to reduce their numbers.

I was delighted to find this flower on the pomegranate tree. It was a present last Christmas and a new plant for me, so I hadn't know what to expect. It is very pretty and I shall be even more delighted if it manages to turn into something that I can eat!
The rose that my 'little' cousin Ralph gave to celebrate our golden wedding is flowering its socks off
and the lupins grown from seed have revived considerably after the rain and are having a second flowering.
 
But when it gets too damp I retreat into the greenhouse, 
check out the basil and coriander
and munch on a few irresistible small tomatoes. 
Sally's ginger plant has thrown up a number of dramatic flower spikes. It reminds me why I first started blogging. My garden is full of flowers that have come from family and friends, first from my father and his older brother, my lovely Uncle Will, treasured and divided, with pieces then given on to friends. Now I have a garden of many memories, friends who have died while their plants still thrive. (Sally thrives as well as her ginger plant but sadly she's no longer our neighbour.)
I'm treasuring it all -
summer will soon be gone.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Bath

The city of Bath takes pride in its floral displays. The small central park called Parade Gardens creates a different themed book each season. We peered over the balustrade and then walked down to take a closer look.

Last year I was walking by as the book was under construction, a design being made to celebrate the work of Jane Austen.

The long border is set out in regimental fashion. I'm not a fan of this type of civic planting.
It takes a lot of plants!
The gardens are free to local card holders and accessed down a flight of stairs, passing beside the statue of the winged angel of peace.

Here she is beneath a rather cloudy sky, to join with all other skywatchers on Friday Skywatch.
 
The gardens give a good view of Pulteney Bridge and the weir.


There are several statues in the park,
traditional ones like the angel and Mozart
and rather more modern and humorous approaches such as this floral dress - an idea that I'm tempted to copy at home!
We were in Bath to see a production of Arthur Miller's, 'The Price'. As you can see from the photo, we were in the cheap seats! No matter, it was an excellent production and very thought provoking. We discussed it on the journey back home and kept returning to it throughout the evening.

Monday, 13 August 2018

At last!

At last we've had some rain and, hopefully, more will follow. Too late for a number of plants and trees in the garden but other sad-looking specimens have lifted up their drooping heads and are attempting a bit of a show.

I have never seen the walnut tree so laden with nuts, in spite of many having already fallen. 
The dessert apple tree on the right of the picture looks beyond saving, there has been no sign of life following the rainfall. The other tree is holding most of its fruit but the apples are far smaller than usual.
It's interesting to see what has thrived in the veg garden and what has struggled. I would have expected a good onion crop, but no, it's pathetic. Sweetcorn and French beans, however, are romping away.

I find that it's very dangerous when your local food store also sells plants. I went for some basic supplies and spotted this very pretty hibiscus. Irresistible!





Thursday, 26 July 2018

Drought

I've been wandering about the house and garden with a couple of DH Lawrence poems floating around in my head. The first one, 'The Best of School' is prompted by the way I'm running the house at the moment in an effort to keep the rooms cool, closing and opening blinds as the sun moves from east to west. I've known this poem since my schooldays and love the noise the words make; the long-drawn out, 'drawn', 'room' and 'gloom.'

The blinds are drawn because of the sun.
And the boys and the room in a colourless gloom
Of underwater float: bright ripples run
Across the walls as the blinds are blown
To let the sunlight in

It's worth the effort of pulling the blinds down and up, twenty-one blinds in all, because it does keep out a fair bit of heat. It feels rather like sailing a boat!
The other Lawrence poem that I've remembered is, 'Snake.' The other day I was shocked to see a long, yellowish snake swimming across our small garden pond. I'm hoping that it was nothing more troublesome than a grass snake. I wasn't, like DH, wearing pjs, but I did have open-toed sandals on my feet and have walked round the pond area very carefully ever since!

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot-hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there

The poem continues

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second-comer, waiting.

This was just how I felt, disconcerted and rather alarmed, but also fascinated, aware that so many creatures that I never, or rarely, see share my garden space. I've peered into the pond since then to check on how my newts are faring in this extreme heat. Only one to be seen. I do hope that the snake hasn't eaten all the rest. Time to go on google and find out what snakes eat!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Desperate measures.

Well, that will teach me to brag about my green garden. Take a look at the lawn now!
It's not a pretty sight.


I've got very light, sandy soil. It doesn't retain moisture and in this extended heatwave established plants and even trees are dying. One of the apple trees is really suffering and has shed nearly all it's leaves.

The climbing 'Iceberg' rose has died
and many of the veg plants are struggling. I think that crops will be very poor this year.
Flowers that should be at their best are limp and fading in this unlikely temperature of nearly 30c day after day. 
We are saving all the house water that we can to put on the garden. Buckets in the kitchen and a hosepipe rigged up in the bathroom. We've jammed it in the window frame to syphon our bathwater out and under the trees. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
But some plants seem to be thriving. The sweetcorn looks good
and the hollyhock are happy.


The white foxgloves have finished flowering but I've left the flower heads on so that the seed can ripen.
It's not all bad news,
I'm still picking fruit

and it's good weather for washing sheets and blankets!
I hope your weather isn't causing you grief.