Sunday 28 August 2011

Lady Farm

This afternoon I went with friends to a rare plant sale at Lady Farm. Fourteen of these events have been held throughout the year at venues all over England. I didn't think that many of the plants on sale were especially 'rare' but it was good to be outside wandering about someone's garden because, by way of a change, IT WASN'T RAINING!

Near to the house there is a formal garden enclosed by a crisply cut hedge. The narrow gravel pathways are neatly edged with box.

Within the strict confines of the box edging the flowers are harmoniously coloured and luxuriant in growth. This is my favourite sort of garden planting.
Lady Farm is most well known for 'prairie' and 'steppe' style planting, with the use of many grasses and sedges interspersed among flowers of striking colours. 

A lake has been dug from a small water source in the upper garden area.

I didn't come away empty-handed! I had a helpful conversation at this rose stall, bemoaning the fact that, once again, a 'Blue Moon' rose had up sticks and died on me. The stall holder was selling 'Twice in a Blue Moon', which is a modern replacement. It is described as much easier to grow and having greater resistance to disease. But he recommended 'Lavender Ice' as being a much sturdier specimen, so that's who I've brought home.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

In a pickle.

Some crops really take a toll on my fingers. This morning I harvested some of the hot chilli peppers, 'F1 Cheyenne'. I should have worn gloves. My fingertips burned , my eyes streamed, the fumes kept catching my throat. I couldn't get those little brutes de-seeded and put in a jar of oil quickly enough!
There are plenty more still growing. Any suggestions?
I'm still stoning plums and the fruit acid isn't doing my thumbs any favours either. But aren't these 'Victoria's' glorious?

And when they've come out of the oven fifteen minutes later, having been baked with a sprinkling of demerara sugar, they are even better!

The autumn raspberries are shaping up well, just a steady picking of fruit each day.

The freezer is filling up as I squirrel things away for the year ahead.

Monday 22 August 2011

BZzz. Mmmm!

After a summer of buzzing comes the tasting!   The palest honey we think has come from the apple blossom in the orchard and the darker coloured honey from when the clover fields were in flower. 
Mmmm, delicious.

The jars came as gifts from 'Sweet Pete' and his daughter. How happy are we!

Dry warm weather today and a chance to do a bit of work in the garden, mostly cutting back and pulling up the many weeds that have rampaged whilst I've been inside sheltering from the rain.(Wet weather coming in tomorrow and for the rest of the week!) Some plants, such as the perennial sweet pea, here threatening to take over the arbour, have loved the wet. Others, like my squash plants, have hated it and not performed well at all. If I'm to eat squash this winter I'll have to go to the shop and buy it - what a disgrace.  

There is a feel of autumn in the air.

The crab apples are falling and Maisie keeps guard, the blackbirds aren't going to get them on her watch. Not that she intends eating them herself, of course!

Friday 19 August 2011

Over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
Da da da de de da da,
And it's stopped raining too!

Last night, just as I was about to pack it all in and trundle off to bed with a good book, the rain stopped, the sun shone on the distant fields and hills and a faint arc of colours appeared in the sky.

And sunrise this morning was just as lovely.

Time to stop hanging out of the window with the camera. 
Got up, got dressed, picked fruit, ate breakfast.
Didn't need to wear wellingtons and a sou'wester.
Oh, joy!

Thursday 18 August 2011

Never ending

The rain is never ending. I keep looking out of the window to see if there is a glimmer of hope.

No chance of a ball game, thinks Maisie.

Can a dog have too many toys?
Answer: No.
Can a woman have too much rain?
Answer: Yes.
The sun is out for five minutes. A quick dash  to cut some sweet peas, (rain splashes on the lens.)

 Maisie helps.
Gather a basket of plums

before the rain comes.
I bring  some weather-battered flowers into the house. They have a decidedly autumnal look.

See the expression on the chess set queen? That's how I feel!

Monday 15 August 2011


I've rescued Gertrude Jekyll from the rain. She's an English rose, raised by Austin in 1986. Her parentage is part 'Comte de Chambord', an Old Portland rose, and her perfume is lovely. She is named after the  artist, writer and gardener, (1843 - 1932) famous for her painterly approach to planting.

I'm having to pick flowers between the downfalls and bring them into the house in order to enjoy them, it's just not the weather for sauntering round the garden. The small pale pink ball of a rose, centre front in the vase below, is 'Raubritter', obliging me with a second flush of flowers. Although it has no perfume, because of its shape it is one of my favourite roses.

I've cut back some of the globe thistles and fennel because they are becoming too vigorous and threatening to take over the border. They are both very structural plants and it is nice to have them on the kitchen table and be able study them at close quarters.