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Showing posts from June, 2011

A visit to Bluebell Cottage Gardens

This morning was just meant to be a quick whizz.  Karen and I had arranged to visit Lodge Lane Nursery run by Sue Beesley and just forty five minutes from here.  We had met Sue briefly at the Malvern Show and have communicated on Twitter and read each other's blogs.  I realised that I had visited the nursery under its previous ownership.   I liked Sue's blog.  We liked her plant list.  We thought we would just go and have a look.  This is easy for me from here but a bit more of a challenge for Karen who needs to travel for a couple of hours to get even to my house. But suddenly it all came together.  We could go, today, not for long.  Karen could stay overnight with her mother so we could get on the way early.  I could have a morning off from elder care.  Let's go.

And it was just the best morning ever.  Sue was lovely.  The garden was amazing with that perfect combination of the beds that make you gasp with delight and the bits that Sue is planning to change and the bits …

Home and away

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This week we had our first night away since my father in law came to live with us, meticulously planned and much looked forward to.  We had our back up at home in place from a friend and were not going far, less than an hour's drive to Worthenbury Manor, just on the Welsh side of the Border with Cheshire but feeling far more like Cheshire than Wales to me!  Father in law had an early evening meal which suited him down to the ground.  I suspect he would eat at 5pm if it were left to him but we normally keep him hanging on (perfectly cheerfully it must be said) until 6 or even 7 when we have visitors.

The drive was easy and we turned up just as the rain began to pour.  Ian, our host, was at the door with an umbrella and we raced through the downpour into a beautiful small manor house, all panelled walls and polished wood floors.

We had a room with a four poster bed and the house to ourselves.  We had booked an evening meal with them too and the food was as good as a restaurant meal,…

Diary of a novice seed sower

I have been a serious, obsessive gardener for years, but mainly between the months of March and July.  Any earlier and it is too cold and wet for much venturing out for softies like me.  Any later and I used to lose my head of steam and, after a glorious spring and early summer,  subside into drab August, better spent at the seaside.  By the time we all came home again and the kids went back to school there hardly seemed any point.

But now I have got much more interested in late season gardening.  I think this is partly getting older and no longer feeling immortal.  If I only have another ten or twenty or thirty years, writing off half of them as gardening time seems a bit stupid.  And it is partly seeing the gardens of those, like Karen at Artist's Garden, who make their gardens sing at a time when mine used to be all dryness and flop.

So on that front I have made real changes.  But seed sowing, the sign of a real gardener,  was always a real problem for me.  I could take cutting…

Keeping chickens - the dark side

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I love keeping hens.  I love the eggs, brown and speckled with vivid orange yolks and a taste which beats even the best shop bought free range eggs.  I love the way they are a presence in the garden, rushing and clucking and shouting to each other and bustling about.  Watching them always makes me smile and the garden would feel empty and dead without them, although it might be quite a lot tidier.


But it's time to lift the veil on the less pleasant side of chicken keeping.  Those of a squeamish disposition should look away now.

One of our older hens is a Welsummer, a dark brown hen who lays dark brown eggs.  She was given to me by a friend because she was being mercilessly bullied in her flock and my friend wondered if a new flock would let her have a new start, a bit like sending a bullied child to a new primary school!

It took her ages to settle in when she came.  She didn't seem to be bullied here, partly I think because she clearly knew her place in the pecking order from …

The corn is as high (sort of)...

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Sometimes it is just one of those mornings.