Monday 23 March 2015


It's officially spring - someone tell the weatherman!
Yes, daffodils and blossom can be seen through the mist
but the 'St Patrick's Day' daffodils are usually in flower on their name day. Not this year, they are still in tight bud.
The best place to be gardening is in the greenhouse away from the cold wind. 
I've put some of the over-wintering pots outside and hope that I won't be caught out  by any overnight frost. The greenhouse warms up quickly with just the shortest glimpse of midday sun.
I've repotted about one hundred auriculas in an effort to rid them of vine weevils.
 The first and second early potatoes are chitting,
last week's swap seeds are ready for planting,
buds are swelling
and opening
and Maisie's grave is surrounded by primroses.
We hadn't been into the woods for quite a while because major clearing work had churned up the paths and made it difficult to walk. But the weather has been dry for days so we wrapped up well and went to see what was happening.
The landscape is totally changed, with large areas cleared of undergrowth and dead and damaged wood and whole vistas opened. It is very disorientating.

The brash was being burnt and blue woodsmoke hung in the valley bottom.
Two completely new roads have been established, funded, we learnt from the woodman, mostly by the Forestry Commission. I found it difficult to get my bearings in this altered landscape.
But I'm pleased that the work is being done as I know that nature will very quickly soften and reclaim the land. Young trees have been planted and there will be good clean walking underfoot in future whatever the weather. It's far better to see woodland managed than to have it fall into neglect. Ivy has been cut to avoid trees becoming top heavy and breaking in the wind.
Bluebell leaves are pushing up through the woodland floor.
There were signs of spring all about us as we came home by the lake; 
 ducks in pairs
and pollen on the catkins. 

Saturday 14 March 2015

Seedy Saturday

If the flower shops are anything to go by then spring is definitely just round the corner.
'Floral Elegance' in Bedale was a riot of colour.

But the weather is grim, dull grey skies and a bitter wind. We wrapped up well and ventured out because today is 'Seedy Saturday', the local annual seed swap event. I packeted up some of my most prolific seeds, delphinium, a blowsy pink poppy, squash, red peppers and so forth and set out to swap!
I had fourteen packets and there were plenty of swaps to choose from.
I resisted the temptation of the plant stalls

had a good look at the specialist sellers
and the side stalls
before buying potatoes, a new variety for me, first earlies  called, 'Isabel'.
Couldn't resist the name - my middle name is Isabella. 
We'll find out in due course if she's any good!

Thursday 12 March 2015

Skywatch Friday

A Yorkshire Dales sky

Up North

We've been in Yorkshire for the last week or so to join in big brother's golden wedding celebrations. A VERY long time ago he was a cherubic-looking, curly-haired child and was jolly lucky not to be lumbered with the nickname 'Bubbles'!
The curls didn't last long, however, and he soon became your typical English schoolboy; rumpled socks, scuffed plimsolls, school cap at a jaunty angle. (And, yes folks, I could sit on the end of my very long pigtails!)
We left the South-West in bright sunshine and it stayed with us until it was time to turn off the motorway in North Yorkshire. Was that a bit of sleet? No, it was rather a lot of proper weather!
This was the view when I opened the bedroom curtains the following morning.

We managed a few short walks when the sun briefly shone, looking up to the head of the dale to check the incoming weather and misjudging the speed at which the next great snow flurry would come rolling in!

We turned round at the gate and our backs were layered with wind-blown powdered snow long before we reached home.

It wasn't cold enough to freeze the little waterfall
and by the end of the week the snow had gone. The only white to be seen in my garden and by the beck side came from the snowdrops.
There was a good amount of water in the beck from all the snow melt.
Ee, it wor grand!