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Showing posts from May, 2018

Day 61 of the 100 day project

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Yesterday was a day full of movement: dance class in the morning (and yay!  I have finally cracked hulahooping), a walk and some gardening in the afternoon and yoga class in the evening.  I don't want you to think this is my normal programme.  Usually if I aim to do even one of those things I feel I am doing ok and don't attempt to fit in anything else.  But yesterday for some reason I just like felt like moving and I am glad I did.

Today is a more sedentary day, even though I keep reminding myself that sitting is the new sugar.  I started the day with a visit to the dentist and the hygeinist.  I might as well be honest about this.  I don't mind the dentist because he generally doesn't find anything to do but I really don't like going to the hygeinist.  This is not the fault of the hygeinists themselves who are all lovely.  I am a wimp.  I don't like the scraping and the pushing my mouth about and the sense that there are more things in my mouth than there is p…

Day 59 of the 100 day project

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Every day I have done a small thing in the garden, unless I have been away in which case I have tried to give it some thought.  The greatest difference it is making at the moment is to the way I notice it.  A peony opening, a bit of bindweed twining through the salvias, a tiny bluetit chirping in the hedge: there is something about the daily engagement which makes me see it all.

Today I have put geraniums in the pots by the holiday cottage door and begun to seriously harden off the cosmos seedlings which I bought from Sarah Raven. I whisked through the side garden removing tiny heads of nettles which were poking up between the hardy geraniums.  Then I sat for a few minutes, listening to the garden, birds and pollinators and the distant hum of my neighbour's tractor.

From my seat the alliums and the orange geum clash gloriously.

Looking back towards the house, more alliums are clashing with the smyrnium and the side garden is only days away from erupting into the magenta of the har…

Day 56 of the 100 day project

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Still here, still doing the project!  Life has got a bit busy so that it has been a bit of a stretch both doing the project and recording it have  so here is a bit of a catch up.

On Wednesday I went to Chelsea Flower Show which I decided to regard as part of the project, since thinking about the garden is a necessary part of gardening it.  Chelsea is an interesting conundrum.  The beauty and perfection of the show gardens is another world and the transient nature of what they produce is very different from what we try to do as gardeners with a garden which we live in and with the whole year round.  And yet it produces moments of delight and beauty as you clamber through the crowds.


This is from one of artisan gardens which I like a lot for their small scale and accessibility.  I was struck this year by how often I was attracted by the hard landscaping as much as the planting.  Perhaps I am turning into Ian.


I love this slate sphere and would happily have accommodated one in my garden.


Day 52 of the 100 day project

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Yes! Past the half way mark!  There have been tiny bits in the garden since I last posted, mostly watering and the kind of weeding where you wander past and pull one thing up.  And no working in the garden today because today I am off to some meetings this morning and then down to London in late afternoon to go to the Chelsea Flower Show tomorrow, thanks to an invitation from a friend.


I am leaving the garden alive with all sorts of bees and blossom.  When you walk around there are places where the noise of insects beats joyously around your head.

I am really looking forward to Chelsea.  I went two or three years ago with the same friend and we had a great day.  The trick for me to Chelsea is not trying to relate what you see to your own space all the time, instinctive although that is.  That is much easier to do when you live somewhere like I do where the garden is high and wildish and grows what it wants to grow rather than some vision of an English garden.  What works for me is try…

Day 49 of the 100 day project

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Just a short time in the garden this morning before heading off for the weekend.


This is a part of the garden I haven't shown you much although in many ways it is my favourite part (when other parts aren't).  We planted a bed of native trees parallel to the hedge at the bottom of the field.  Besides bird cherry, rowan, birch and whitebeam there are dogwoods, a daphne and a magnolia which doesn't really belong there but had to go somewhere.  It seems to blend in ok, just drawing attention to itself for the short glorious burst of flowering before fading back into the background.

The trees are underplanted with hellebores, hardy geraniums and pulmonaria.  In spring there are lots of snowdrops and primroses.  Theoretically this bed looks after itself but actually grass invades occasionally and of course the ubiquitous creeping buttercup.  But it is probably the best place in the garden for looking after itself.  I spent a bit of time this morning taking out couch grass.  And …

Day 47 of the 100 day project

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The project is going well.  Even on the days when I don't get time to document what I am doing I am managing to do something, somehow, somewhere in the garden.


Today I have been admiring the way the sweet cicely has chosen to sow itself in amongst the peony.  They are such a happy partnership.  I have also been potting on my seedlings from Sarah Raven.

I decided that the answer to my cutting garden conumdrum this year would be to buy in some annual seedlings for the squares which I haven't yet filled.  I have twenty seedlings of four different varieties of cosmos: Dazzler and Double Click Cranberry, both carmine pink, one single flowered, one double, and Purity and Psyche White, both white, again one single and one semi double.  As usual I have bought far too many so these will do my cutting garden, the gaps in the side garden and should still leave a few left over for my daughter in law who is starting a brand new garden in their new house.

I also bought sweetpea seedlings: L…

Day 45 of the 100 day project

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There was very little time for the garden today as I had a whole load of Spanish to do for my OU course and granddaughter visiting booked for this afternoon.  So I contented myself with a great deal of watering.  Watering isn't generally a problem here in North Wales but we have had a dry few days and there are lots of new things which have been planted and various things in pots waiting to go to my daughter in law's new garden.  The soil is so stony that it drains at great speed when the rain stops and until plants get their roots down they need a little help.

So first of all I watered all the new perennials which went in last week and over the weekend: the foxgloves, hollyhocks, violas, and catmint.  Then I watered pots of hardy geranium and clematis for Lindsay.  Finally I moved to the little wooden lean to greenhouse:


I can't take any credit at all for what is in here.  Ian has taken over responsibility for the growing of food.  He has sown tomatoes, cucumbers and cour…

Day 44 of the 100 day project

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Today was an astonishingly beautiful day. 


I wandered about looking at everything which I had planted and making sure it was still alive!
Other than that it was a day for yoga, Spanish lessons and trying not to eat much!

Day 43 of the 100 day project.

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The thirteenth of May.  Had he lived, my father would have been eighty four today.  His illness and decline were so important to my experience of the garden that I shall talk a bit about that today.



We gave him a splendid eightieth birthday.  My mother had died quite without warning from a heart attack six months earlier and the village hall had been full of people for her funeral wanting to share their memories of her.  It might sound odd that we had his birthday party in the same place but it felt very right.  Lots of the same people were there and, although my mother's funeral had had its odd surprising moments of joy, the shock of her death was overwhelming and full of pain and it felt good to have some more simple moments of pleasure in that friendly community place.

My sister had pulled all the stops out to get everyone there who my dad wanted to see: all the children, with their husbands and wives, most of the grandchildren, now adult so some with families of their own, mea…

Day 42 of the 100 day project

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Does this count as nearly half way?  A couple of days so busy that there was not a space to get out into the garden.  I countered that by thinking about which plants I would have if I had a much smaller space.  I didn't get very far with that but in a couple of weeks I have been invited to go with a friend to Chelsea.  I am so looking forward to it.


Today I more than made up for a couple of days off.  I planted all the plants I had bought earlier in the week.  The white foxgloves went into the side garden, currently being lit by the flame of this smyrnium perfoliatum.  I bought it years ago from Great Dixter.  It took a while to settle in but now it self seeds just enough to make it interesting. It is a triennial, the only one I have ever knowingly possessed.  This makes it even more important not to weed out the plants which have no flower spikes as they will sit quietly in year two before exploding into lime green gorgeousness in year three.

I also put the hollyhocks into the ot…

Day 39 of the 100 day project

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Another day of just a little time for connecting with the garden.  I decided to use it for a bit of plant buying and fifteen minutes weeding in the cutting garden.


These are mainly plants for the side garden which is a traditional English (or in this case Welsh) cottage garden, appropriate as it sits alongside a seventeenth century Welsh farmhouse.  I bought three more foxgloves.  Out in the field I let the native foxgloves self seed and there are lots of them up by the shepherd's hut.  In the side garden I prefer the white or pale ones.  I also bought some violas and three more hollyhocks.  Violas really like a bit more moisture than our soil offers but I do have some viola labradorica which has settled in very happily.  These have larger flowers so are likely to be a little fussier but the soil here has been mulched this year so you never know.


And three more hollyhocks, one black and two pink.  Hollyhocks ought to be happy up here but of the three I bought last year I can only …

Day 38 of the 100 day project

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A change of pace for day 38.  We achieved so much and worked so hard this weekend and today was full of reports to write, Spanish to do, shopping to get and admin things piling up.  So today I did one solitary thing and planted a lavender to fill a spot in the kitchen garden where one died a couple of years ago.


Not the most interesting thing to do, not the most interesting blog, but it shows I am hanging on to the project!

Day 37 of the 100 day project

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A different sort of day today, quite far removed from the little by little approach I have taken so far with the 100 day project.  It has been a beautiful day of warm sun up here and although I did an hour of my Spanish I could not bear to be inside for the two hours I had planned.  It will cool down soon enough, tomorrow by the look of the weather forecast, so today was for being outside.


Ian has been repairing the raised beds in the kitchen garden.  This is a job which takes time and there was such a lot of weeding and garden work to do down there I abandoned the cutting garden for now and spent my time today weeding the beds he had finished so that we could work together.

One of these beds, the third one along that you can see here, is full of peony, sweet cicely and hellebores.  It has also been invaded by the ever present creeping buttercup.  I removed loads of it into the pink wheelbarrow.  Then I inspected the mint bed, the second one along.  This has chives at either end and s…

Day 36 of the 100 day project

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Another pause in the 100 day project because of a quick trip to the West of Ireland to the Loop Head Peninsula.  Lovely, lively interesting place with a classic mixture of Irish weather: some blasting wind and rain, some showers and sunshine, some drizzle and some sun and warm hospitality.  And now I am back again knowing that I must engage with the 100 day project of lose it.  And I don't want to lose it, so here goes.


Yesterday and today have been full of sunshine and warmth.  The light and warmth pull me outside, like iron filings to a magnet.  I had breakfast and lunch outside yesterday and lunch outside again today.  I have been trying to do something about the cutting garden.


The cutting garden sits in the field by the orchard, two large squares made into a chequerboard of eight spaces for planting.  I always wanted a cutting garden.  I love flowers in the house but when I had a smaller garden I often found myself reluctant to cut flowers because of the holes they left in th…