Tuesday 30 July 2013

Eating well!

The much welcomed sunshine has perked things up in the vegetable garden and we are gorging on soft fruit and veg. The brassicas are well netted against bird damage but hordes of white butterflies are having a lovely time fluttering in and out of the netting - I shall have to be on the look-out for caterpillars. I'm doing a daily patrol through the fronds of asparagus on beetle watch as it is but at least the torrential downpours of the last few days have filled all the water butts and barrels and removed the time consuming task of watering. I put some well rotted compost around the courgette plants and the combination of warmth and water has caused dozens of melon seeds to germinate. I've potted a few up, as have my neighbours on either side of our garden. I doubt that there will be enough summer left for us to end up with a crop of melons, but gardeners are optimists, so we live in hope!
The mange tout and peas have grown sky high
and we are eating the first of the potato crop.
The walnut tree is laden with young nuts. I've learnt not to get too excited about this harvest until it is safely in the bag as squirrels from the neighbouring woods are capable of stealing the lot! It has become a huge tree and I think that it will require some attention, possibly the removal of lower limbs, in the winter when the sap won't bleed.
The rose, 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' gives a glorious but short display of flower each year, It has now been pruned hard back and is nothing more than a green hedge.
Other roses are still performing well, 'Veilchenblau' climbing high into the plum tree
and other varieties following suite.
But, oh, how disappointing! I bought 'Cinderella' at the seed swap this spring and have been waiting in happy anticipation for her to bloom. She has done so in perfect weather, with no rain or harsh winds to ravage the petals. But nevertheless the flowers are marked
unsightly brown outer petals.
Cinders, indeed, and certainly not dressed for the ball!
The 'Queen of Denmark' is much better behaved.
I've put my auriculas into the garage greenhouse. During the summer when the sun is high it functions as a shade house and doesn't get overly hot. It has just a couple of panels of reclaimed Victorian glass  tiles in the roof that face east and west. (They took forever to clear of smoke and grime!)

Himself has taken advantage of the dry weather to do various tasks. Photographed here are the kitchen cupboard door knobs, getting a fresh coat of varnish. "Photograph my workbench," he instructed, "it's a design classic."
Okay, Captain! (The man's a marvel!)
Ah, everything in the garden is lovely!

Saturday 27 July 2013

A bit of bragging about bronze!

I've been getting regular updates by phone from my friend who joint owns and runs a recycling gallery in Manchester. They have created a garden for the RHS flower show at Tatton Park based on their philosophy of using materials that other people discard. They have never entered such a competition before nor created any garden other than the small outside area at the gallery. It has been a huge amount of work and a very steep learning curve. "Never again," said my friend at the start of the week when the garden was all in place. "We've done the best we can. If the judges think that it's a pile of old junk, well, it is!" The judges obviously liked what can be created from 'junk' and the enthusiasm of a small army of volunteers because they were awarded a bronze medal. It wouldn't be surprised if my pal isn't already scribbling designs for next year's garden on the back of an envelope! 
Here is the basic structure being set out - in very hot weather!

The finished result.
BBC camera crew.
The waterfall and pond is made from recycled glass
and it has received much appreciative attention.
The walls are hung with decorative panels.
(It has all to be dismantled on Monday!)

Tuesday 23 July 2013


I'm getting up in the early mornings so that I can water the garden before the heat of the day.
The vegetable plot is loving all this warmth - as am I!
The courgettes are on stream
but the lawn is struggling.
As well as watering I'm busy dead-heading and cutting back.

It's wonderful to be living out of doors!

Wednesday 17 July 2013


We've turned the Aga off in the kitchen for the duration of the heat-wave and on Monday, as it was our fourty-sixth wedding anniversary, there was no question of doing anything even vaguely domestic. A day out was on the cards. We went to the National Trust village of Lacock for lunch and a saunter about. It's a pretty place, with a combination of cottages and rather grand houses, and is often used as a film and television location.

We walked down the lane to the ford, a quiet spot, which I thought I had to myself
until I saw these three young women, looking rather like extras on a French film set.

It was cool  in St Cyriac's Church.

I lay on the floor to get a good photo of the marvelous ceiling that would once have been highly painted. (There was no-one about to see me!)

There were some fascinating stories to find in the plaques and brasses;
brothers falling from horses
and a family of thirteen children!

Then we walked down Church Street. At the bridge I glimpsed a garden that I had never previously noticed. What was in it?
This wonderful topiary figure!
The garden wall was too high for me to peep over. Himself held my camera high and this is what it caught.
I walked around to try to find an entrance, hopeful that it might be open to the public.
Sadly not! (But doesn't it look tantalizing?)
From the window of the shop, 'Quintessentially English', I looked out of the window to see a giant dog looking over the garden wall!
Then we sauntered back, past the abbey, on our way to the car.

But not before meeting a couple on holiday from Vancouver. 
Thank you, Sandi and Jay, for your good company and the celebration drinks.