Showing posts from February, 2011

Five good things about today

My son and his wife and their dog are here for the weekend.  We haven't seen them since before Christmas as they are newly qualified doctors (not the dog obviously, she has been qualified for years) and are working very hard. My crocuses are out by the drive, in shades of purple and lilac with here and there a shining shot of pale yellow. I made some of the best cheese scones ever for tea. I ate three. I have no time to blog because I need to go and talk to my family. Bliss.

Seed sowing

I was a passionate gardener for ages before I got into seed sowing.  I bought plants, read gardening books, wandered round gardens and made notes but I felt that sowing seeds was for real gardeners, real experts, too tricky, too serious for me.  It wasn't helped by a few forays into sowing hardy annuals with those free seed packets you tend to get with magazines or thrown in when you are buying something else.  I know the spiel: sow directly where they are to flower, fine tilth, thin out and all that garbage.  In my experience seeds mostly fail to germinate and the glorious patch of colour of your imagination becomes a straggly weedy bit of the garden where one or two puny love in a mist fail to make an impact on the chickweed and the dandelions. Having a greenhouse has made a difference.  Under the controlled conditions of seed trays and watering and benevolent warmth, seeds do germinate and I do notice and I do look after them.  I have discovered that growing things from seed i

A day out

Yesterday I woke and was instantly awake.  Most mornings I drift in and out, slowly shaking off the fuddle of sleep but yesterday I was right there with my eyes wide open and the clock saying eight.  I realised it was because I was going somewhere: a visit to Karen at Artist's Garden over on the west coast of Wales, a visit that has been postponed and postponed as things fell about our ears.  I felt slightly guilty, leaving Ian with FIL for the day and lots of jobs to do and for no other reason than that I wanted to see her.   I'm not a great one for feeling guilty so it slightly surprised me.  When I took it out and looked at it I found that it was weeks and weeks since I had done anything which wasn't focussed on someone else: looking after my FIL, visiting my brother, worrying about how my mother is coping, wondering about whether Ian is doing too much.  And yesterday I was saying that despite all those concerns, I was just going to get into the car and drive away.  No


We always have more apples than we know what to do with. We have eight apple trees.  They were all here when we came so I have no idea what most of them are.  In the kitchen garden there are two dwarf trees which are always laden with small eaters which ripen late towards the end of October.  Then there are four older trees.  Two of them have very little fruit but they provide shelter for the chickens and I can't bring myself to get rid of them.  Two of them didn't fruit much when we first came here five years ago but have responded to pruning by becoming quite prolific.  The fruit is pale yellow and of a good size but too sharp to be a dessert apple.  Some of the fruit is misshapen or blotched with scab but the blossom in spring is so glorious I would forgive the trees anything. In the field there are two more: a battered and bent tree which I was going to get rid of but which I have instead brought into the corner of the orchard and a huge and beautiful Howgate Wonder.  T

End of month view gets going for 2011

I really enjoyed getting involved in the end of month view posts hosted by Helen at patient gardener last year so I have decided to do it again with the odd addition here and there to reflect new projects or attempts to tackle past failures.  It was interesting to see how things changed and encouraging looking back on the photographic diary of the year to find that areas which look like a war zone in late winter do fill up and out and create things of beauty as the year goes on. Here is the side garden.  The angle I usually use for this does not let me show you the snowdrops just coming into flower at the bottom of the side wall.  The path which goes out through the gate to the workshop and the field gets wet and muddy in the winter.  One day we will have the money and the time to put down a proper path.  This is a spring and summer garden. In summer the sun gets high enough to make the seat whose corner you can just see into a sunny and sheltered spot to sit in the morning with a