Showing posts from April, 2011

Walking away that inside out feeling

Sometimes you just find yourself feeling a bit inside out, like a cat with its fur stroked the wrong way, a grumpy toddler, an awkward old lady.  At the end of today I felt peopled out.  A few days with primary responsibility for my father in law and my grandson, love them both dearly though I do, coupled with the expectation of a further week full of friends and family coming and going, suddenly made me feel crowded in upon and oppressed. This always puzzles me.  When I have done the tests that corporate life throws at you on odd occasions such as  the Myers Briggs which looks at various aspects of your personality, I always come out as an extrovert.  And it is true that I love people and today had a great lunch with some very good friends we had not seen in ages and loved the chat and was energised and delighted by their company.  And yet, as tonight, I can quite suddenly feel the wind change. The demands of other people seem too much.  The compromises which life requires suddenly

Easter weekend baking

Since I got back from Oxford I seem to have spent as close to every waking hour in the garden as possible.  Yesterday was another glorious, hot, sunny day, a day for suncream and gardening (a la Sarah Raven) not in jeans and boots but in an old skirt and flip flops.  But today has been grey and cool, oddly pleasantly so.  I have been moving ground cover plants down to the native tree walk, things that get out of hand anywhere that you want to cultivate intensively but are gently green and satisfying on bare soil - tellima grandiflora, alchemilla, self sown forget me nots.  They have been wilting and sighing in the heat but today they settled back softly in the grey green light, last night's watering still keeping them green and full throughout the day. I went seed sowing in the greenhouse again.  Ian has a big birthday coming up in the summer and I have become obsessed with having a celebratory garden.  I think this needs a blog to itself, or more, I could bore you rigid with i


At the moment I can hardly bear to come inside, or to go to work, or to do anything which takes me away from the garden.  Everything is growing: seedlings, perennials, bindweed, chicks.  The sun is warm, the grass is green.  I want to stop time and hold on to the moment but, since Professor Brian Cox himself says you can't - something about the Arrow of Time. I thought I understood it when he was speaking but it is gone, like so much  in my over full brain - my inadequate camera will have to do. I plant tubs of tulips every year.  Last year was the first year I have ever been really pleased with them.  That was largely as a result of admiring some gorgeous pots in mountainear's garden and discovering that she used far more bulbs than I did.  This years are even better. Out in the field the little orchard is looking more orchard like and these tiny tulips, tulipa linifolia, are spangling the grass before the wild flowers get going.  I love them.  They make my heart li

Puppies, toddlers and knot gardens

This is a funny time to have a week away from home.  The garden is overflowing with things to do and having done a lot of freelance work in March I have been snatching time in the garden in April.  But sometimes other parts of my life call. Younger daughter has got herself a puppy, a golden labrador straight out of the Andrex ad.  She is a thorough, forward planning, think things through kind of girl and had been planning and sorting out for this puppy for months.  In fact I suspect she has been wanting this puppy for most of her life and having a dog was part of her reason for making the big move from London to living in the country.  She took three weeks off work and I had arranged to come down for the first week she went back to be part of the transitional puppy care arrangements. The sign is a warning for children about llamas.  Possibly the puppy should have a sign on her too as she is still at the puppy bitey and nipping stage.  M has read all the stuff about teaching bite in

End of month view for March

Slightly belatedly, here is the end of month view.  March has been dry, the driest for years. And the last few days have been warm, so that even these photos don't show what is in flower now.  Every time I go out something else is flowering.  That is what happens in Spring in a garden full of bulbs! Here is the side garden.  The hellebores are still flowering, still beautiful after weeks and weeks.  The daffodils are out but since this photo was taken lots of tiny red tulips (Praestans) have popped up like scarlet flames. Pulmonaria is in flower too.  I love pulmonaria.  This is one of my favourites, Diana Clare, with silvered leaves which are beautiful in themselves and a vivid flower. Out in the field the little orchard is beginning to fill.  The native daffodils have been flowering away for about three weeks and now the Thalia are coming to join them. Up behind the swing the February Gold have flowered now and are beginning to go over.  The jonquil Sweetness is s


Time for an update on the huge variety of projects which have been going on around here, quickly or, more honestly, slowly. The roof was finished in January.  What kind of fool has his or her roof reslated over winter?  Well our kind, obviously.  The roofers did a great job.  Many days there were three generations of the same family working on our roof, the father coming out of retirement because it was an interesting job to do, his grandson now the fifth generation of his family to be a roofer.  Slate is a beautiful material.   I took this one before the scaffolding came down.  Beyond the house you can see one of the yew trees.  It almost makes you wish you could live up on the roof. Ian built a lovely set of shelves which make the curved end of the worktop in the front kitchen.  Work on the back kitchen has stalled since my father in law came to live with us as the scale of the upheaval would be a bit daunting but the front kitchen is up and working and the truly gorgeous range