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Showing posts from June, 2014

Night in the shepherd's hut

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June 21st, midsummer's evening.  We decide to sleep in the shepherd's hut,  a night away for the sake of walking across the field.  Inevitably there is some football on the television so for much of the evening we are in the house as Ian watches while I potter about the internet.  Then at around ten o' clock I gather up my reading glasses and my book.  I am rereading, for perhaps the fourth or fifth time, "Notes from Walnut Tree Farm" by Roger Deakin.  It is a book full of snippets of Deakin's writing, notes and diary entries, some several pages, some only a couple of sentences long.  Some are musings about writing or nature. He walks, he works on the land, he writes about what he sees.



I put my boots on as the grass is already wet with midsummer dew and close the house door behind me.  I should be bathing my face in this dew according to folklore, not padding through it in my wellies.  The sky is still light and the swallows are still flying although the sha…

Following my rowan tree towards midsummer

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My little rowan tree took a long time to get going in spring but now it is full of leaf and going-over flower.  It stands protectively just behind the shepherd's hut.


There it is, just behind the chimney, growing up out of the hedge.  To the left of the hut the boundary is holly trees, somehow with an elder growing amongst them.  You can just see the white of the elder flowers in the tree.


The tree is multistemmed.  I imagine that might be as a result of the young tree being cut down with the rest of the hedge when it was smaller so that it has branched out like coppiced hazel. There are two other rowans in the field but the others are single stemmed.  They are graceful trees like that but I also like the gently spreading shape of the multi stemmed one.  If anything for me that increases the protective nature of its presence.


Look up into the canopy between the two largest trunks and you can see why rowan leaves appear in designs for fabric or wallpaper.  Their delicate, perfect s…

It all depends on how you look at it

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We are not on top of the garden.  The garden is firmly and cheerfully on top of us, like a toddler giggling and sitting on your face.  I have decided that this will just have to be the way it is this year. When I look at our diaries and see how much of this spring and last autumn I have been in Devon and how much Ian has been either totally committed to looking after his father or in Manchester working or building a kitchen it seems fairly extraordinary that there is anything out there looking even faintly like a garden.  This much land gardened in this way needs time and it has not had that sort of time.  But it is June and things are flowering and growing and glowing with life so we are going to choose where and how to look.


Look this way at the glory of the chives and the mint garden, where spearmint, applemint, basil mint, common mint, lime mint and peppermint jostle for space.  The more vigorous mints, the common mint and the basil mint being the worst culprits, are bursting out …