Thursday 28 July 2011


I've been shopping at Lidl for basic supplies. Some people are really sniffy about this store but I think that it is excellent; big tubs of Greek yogurt, unsalted Welsh butter and tasty salmon steaks, all at reasonable prices - what's not to like?
I always have a little glance at the flowers and plants. Imagine my delight at finding Margaret Hunt. I used to grow this clematis outside my kitchen door at our last home and I haven't seen her since.
What! More plants! says Maisie. Oops, Caught on camera!

Clematis 'Margaret Hunt.'

And whilst I was about it, who can resist a 'Blue Angel.'

The sun is out, the wind has stopped blowing and everything in the garden is lovely. Why, even the cabbages are heartening up,

and the peas and beans are prolific.

This is the garden today. Can you see a space anywhere for me to plant a couple of clematis?

Monday 25 July 2011

Flowers in the house

Here are my flowers in the house for Jane at SmallButCharming
In the sitting room  a bowl with perennial sweet peas, phlox, purple sage and the rose 'Chapeau de Napoleon'.

There are annual sweet peas in nearly every room. They are my favourite variety, 'Elizabeth Taylor', wonderfully scented and prolific.

The house windowcills are deep and gather not only flowers but also a motley collection of objects. Here are two of the kitchen windows.

Outside there are yet more sweet peas, some bunches to take round to the neighbours.

Buddleja in the dining room beneath a portrait of our home.

Lilies are flowering in the small greenhouse that's attached to the house. It's a nice place to sit when the rain is pouring or the wind blowing, two regular features of an English summer!

There are just a few dried grasses, poppyseed heads and artificial flowers on the windowcill of my workroom.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Summer. What summer?

Every tub and water butt is full and overflowing with rainwater. The weeds are growing like mad, flowers being battered and the downpours are so fierce that there is no question of going outside and doing anything about it.

Time to stay inside the greenhouse and keep dry while the rain hammers on the roof.

I could talk nicely to the tomatoes and persuade them to turn red. "No sun? Who needs sun?' Oh, you do! Yes, well so do I!"

The lilies have been saved a battering. I brought them under glass last week and now their perfume scents the house.

Sunday 17 July 2011


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as the saying goes, everything has romped out of control. We have been away for only a short time, less than two weeks, but in our absence the badgers managed to dig a hole under the fence and devour all the gooseberries. They have done far worse in past years, so although it's annoying  I'm relieved that at least the root crop is still in the ground!

Flowers have newly bloomed in the borders.

The phlox, 'Miss Kelly' is one of my favourites.

The lovely 'Blauwschokker' pea flowers have turned into interesting-looking pods, although Maisie doesn't look very impressed.

The wrens haven't discovered a taste for blueberries (yet!)

And the marigold borders are keeping the carrot flies away.

We are eating well!

Saturday 16 July 2011

On the moor

Today we are going to walk out of the village above the field line and onto the moors. 
The landscape has been shaped by local farming, mainly the rearing of hardy Wensleydale sheep. They crop the ground to a short, lawn-like surface and wild flowers such as this clump of thyme flourish in the cracks and crevices.

The village can be seen spread out below.

It is delightfully easy walking along the 'green roads', old drovers roads, wide, walled pathways that traverse the landscape and were used to move livestock from Scotland and the rural North of England down to the early industrial areas of Yorkshire.

On the moor top there are many peat darkened streams, with small pools and falls and miniature beaches.
Vast tracks of land have been walled, the result of the Enclosure Act of over a hundred years ago. Today I expect to walk in this landscape and not meet a soul but in earlier times it was far more densely populated. A great many families came from Ireland to work on the walls and in lead mining and railroad and reservoir building, not to mention the seasonal farming tasks that have now been taken over by machinery.
Just another few weeks and the heather will be in bloom. 
This is the landscape that the word, 'home' evokes.

Friday 15 July 2011

Dales walk

Ours is a 'strip' village, where houses one row deep line either side of the road. Those on the lower slope of the dale have a narrow length of field across which there is a footpath, known as the 'six field walk'. The fields are well walled and gated, suitable for livestock.
This is our route on a walk down to the river. 

The stiles are all quite different, some offset and rather tricky to negotiate! They are supposed to be narrow enough for human legs but not for sheep.

Stone barns with large stone roof tiles are a feature of the Yorkshire Dales. They are handsome buildings and the tiles are much sought after. Sometimes the tiles are taken to be used elsewhere and sadly, when that happens, the barns deteriorate very quickly.

The roadside verges are untreated and uncut and at this time of year they are a mass of flower. As we walk down the road, nearer to the river, the stones on the walls change shape, becoming rounded forms, taken from the river bed.

This wild flower is a particular favourite and one that I have not found growing outside the Dales.

A footpath between two households is as carefully tended as the gardens.

Here is the river, after which the dale is named. It is a rich brown in colour, peat stained from the many small streams feeding down from the moors.
We have walked a circular route and this small bridge spans a stream on our way back home.

We'll walk on the moors tomorrow.