Monday 31 July 2017


We are getting such heavy downpours of rain, interspaced with short bursts of sunshine, that everything is looking lush and green. It isn't the weather for sitting out or doing much in the garden because no sooner do I get my boots on or set up a deckchair or put some washing on the line than the heavens open once more.
But, after parched conditions, the flowers are loving it.

We are eating well from the veg plot
and the Lands End shirt is wearing well!
A really good crop of carrots this year
and we are eating climbing French beans like there's no tomorrow!
The squash are growing to gigantic proportions with all the rainfall. They are spreading into other plants and climbing up the bean supports. I'm hoping that they won't start to topple over.

I've no desire to rush through summer
but signs of the autumn food crop
are here
and shaping up well.

Sunday 23 July 2017

Good growing weather

We've had some wonderful weather, enjoying warm, sunny days from dawn until dusk.
Everything was thriving.

The evenings were warm and still.
It was a pleasure to wander outside.
I caught the moon in the obelisk.

Then the lawn went brown, the water butts emptied and plants began to wilt. The garden is too large for me to do any effective watering.
Rain has come. Thank goodness. Everything is green again and the water butts are overflowing. It's been raining for days. Okay, that's enough, now I'm ready for more sun.

Friday 21 July 2017


This week friends who volunteer at Tyntesfield, a National Trust property near Bristol, took us around the estate. It had belonged to the same family for four generations, a span of two hundred years. Luckily for the Trust, when they started the restoration they discovered that the family had never thrown anything away!

 Formal gardens front the house 
and below them is the arboretum
with many handsome old trees.
The 'rose garden'
is no longer planted with roses
because they proved too irresistible to the local deer.
The rose garden in the Victorian era.

Now there is neat box hedging and mixed planting that apparently doesn't taste as good as roses!

Two summerhouses echo the symmetry of the stone lions that stand either side of the rose garden entrance.
They were in a poor condition but have now been beautifully restored. 
 Piles of discarded tiles were found and it was possible to fill in the many gaps.

The estate is set on a south-facing slope
 with lovely views down the valley.

This stone path across the meadow leads to the kitchen garden. When the Trust took over the estate in 2002 the path was hidden under grass. One of the staff took a spade to a piece of the meadow, found stones and unrolled the covering as though it were a strip of carpet. What a lovely find!

A central 'G' for Gibbs, the family name, and a Latin inscription which translates as, 'Tenacious of Purpose'.
The walled kitchen garden was a joy to behold. I believe that it's the only one to have been in continuous cultivation since it's construction.
No reason for it not to look immaculate in the past when labour was cheap. Flat caps and attitude!

This is such a good idea that I'm going to steal it for my veg plot next year and plant far more flowers among the crops. I've only ever used marigolds so far as a means of fooling carrot fly.
A long, thin glasshouse on the south wall
and a peep inside shows me rows of peach and nectarine.

There are more glasshouses outside the walled garden.
And lovely colour schemes.
This curved door intrigued me greatly. It accesses a passageway that was used solely by the servants so that they could come and go without disturbing the household. 
The door would have opened into a magnificent conservatory which sadly no longer exists.
What a life the family led!
Our friends informed me that this stone animal is called a 'Hunky Punk', a word I'd never heard before. It isn't a gargoyle, which serves the purpose of spouting water from the roof. The sole purpose of the Hunky Punk is to be decorative.
The decorative elements of the house, Victorian Gothic in style, were added to the earlier structure.

There's so much to see inside.
But that's for another time.