Wednesday 29 March 2023

Garden structures

Two features of our new garden that give me particular pleasure are the colourful gazebo and the veranda outside the kitchen door. Both structures are so sensible for British weather when it can be dry one minute and raining the next. I feel ridiculously pleased with myself when the rain is bucketing down on the glass roof and I am standing beneath it in the dry! Two of my citrus trees have been outside beneath the veranda all winter and are looking healthier than the ones crammed into the small conservatory. I think they have liked the fresh air without the wet. I draped them in fleece when it was frosty and no harm came to them. I brought a few tree peonies from the cottage and they are in temporary plastic pots under the veranda also and sufficiently happy there that I think I might buy some decorative pots to keep them in instead of planting out. They are the plants that I bought each year for my father's birthday. When the family home in North Yorkshire was sold I dug them up. Now I have moved them again. They are well travelled! Tree peonies are far more available now than formerly. The garden has meandering small gravel paths with shrubs at either side and some of the planting is sub-tropical. I'm hoping that at some point we'll get some weather to match!

Sunday 26 March 2023

New home

Perhaps you are interested to see where we are living now? It is certainly very different from any of our previous homes; a former farmhouse where we lived when the family were growing up, with it's large rambling garden, so good for dens and swings and badminton on the lawn. When the family were up and away we moved to live for a happy quarter of a century in a former gamekeeper's cottage. (The 1911 census tells me that the gamekeeper and his wife had seven children, they must have been packed in the cottage like sardines in a tin!) We led a happy life in both those homes and are hoping for the same here in busy Bournemouth. The house that we've bought was built in the 1920's and we are only the third occupants, so we feel it is very up to date compared to our previous homes! For the first time we are not involved in any major alterations, no knocking down walls or rewiring needed - you can guess who is delighted! Neither is there a lawn to cut. What a happy man! We have slapped a bit of colour on some of the walls, added a blue sky with gold stars to the hall and hung pictures. It is starting to look like our sort of place. You can see from the old and new photos that little has changed. The house initially backed onto woodland. The photo of the sisters who first lived in the house shows what the surrounding landscape was like and the same pine trees now tower over the garden.
It is interesting to see our furniture and accumulated 'stuff' in a new environment. Everything seems to have fitted in well. I've even hung a pair of old curtains from my childhood home. They are far too long and also very tattered but I don't want to cut into them. I unpicked the linings and gave them a good wash and am pleased with the result as I open and close them each day. Shabby chic doesn't start to describe them, my parents would be pleased! Nothing repainted as yet upstairs but the rooms are all neutral colours causing no offence. And at long last I have a little dressing room between the bedroom and bathroom. What's not to like!

Spring garden

The garden is slowly springing into life and I'm resisting the urge to poke about in the soil as I don't know what's down there. The leaves of many emerging plants I don't recognise at all, I'm on a steep learning curve here! What are currently giving me pleasure are the many and various hellebores, the only shame being that you have to pick the flower heads in order to fully appreciate them. It is the start of British summertime today. I looked at my phone when I woke up and read,'expect drizzle for the next hour.' Plus ├ža change!

Tuesday 7 March 2023


In the autumn we moved house, leaving a country cottage in a small hamlet of twenty or so houses, no street lights, no facilities, and moved to a large, sprawling and busy town. What posessed us? I think that Covid was part of the reason, being unable to freely travel to see family and friends was a new and unpleasant experience. That and a health scare and the realization that we are actually getting old! Anyway, now we are here in busy Bournemouth close to our younger daughter and family and ten minutes in the car to a lovely beach. We are settling in well! My new garden is much smaller and very different, unlike any that I've known before. The main reason for our choice was that this space gives us privacy, surrounded by the mature trees that are growing in the neighbouring gardens. It is former woodland, now a conservation area. The trees mean that the garden is in heavy shadow and I have a lot to learn about how to manage it well. Since we have been here I've been endlessly clearing leaves and cutting back crossing branches. Thinned bamboo canes have been woven into a cage for the leaves so at some point in the future I should have some good leaf mould.