Just an update…

and to say Hi everyone…I finally made it back to my computer and as you may have guessed by my absence life has not got any easier for me recently what with my bad back and now stiff neck – although they are on the mend I am trying not to spend hours bent over the computer.

As well as this my family keep me busier than ever, we have spent some weekends at my daughters decorating the nursery for our future grandchild which is due in July, as well as making the curtains.  We have had another trip to Shrewsbury to see my mum-in-law and this weekend we go off again to Yarm to visit my mum.

Over the Spring Bank holiday we had a visit to our cottage in Scotland for the big clear up now the roofers have finished.  We spent hours picking out tiny bits of slate from the gravel beds and borders around the cottage (something a bit of fore-thought and a sheet of black plastic might have avoided)!   There was plenty of sweeping up as well as clearing out the garage so that we could safely keep the rest of the slates under cover until we can return the ones we do not need to the merchant.

We didn’t have time for any gardening in fact we had a day out on the Sunday being hubby’s birthday and we ended up across the bay on the Machars (we are on the South Rhins) visiting some of the Artists Open Studios as part of the Spring Fling event.  I will post these pictures another day – in the meantime come and have a little stroll around the garden and see the view.

 Candleabra Primulas

The Primulas I planted last year around the pond are beautiful – they were just starting to burst into flower as we left and I am hoping they will go forth and multiply.

Planting Rogersia

Beyond the Primula is a ditch that separates the lower from the upper wood.  I cleared just enough of the weeds to plant my two Rodgersia plants (50p each) and these will be divided in the Autumn or Spring so that they form a drift along the banking and hopefully suppress the weeds – well that is the plan!

The Woodland Garden

This is taken looking in the opposite direction from the banking.

Wild flowers

I like to keep the wild flowers (within reason as they can take over at a rate of knots).   Here is some pretty pink Campion mingled with self seeded ferns and what I think is blue Pulmonaria (but not sure of this) can anyone confirm the name?

Hidden Trough

To my delight I discovered this little eathenware  trough when weeding one day.  The plant growing around it is creeping Campanula and will soon be covered in a mass of  purple blue flowers for the summer.

Cottage border

This is part of my dry border under the large Pine Trees.  It can be a bit hit and miss finding things that like to grow here.  You can see the leaves of various Agapanthus – they love it hot and dry so are well suited.  The bright orange flowers are Geums and goodness knows what those hundreds of little seedlings are beside them.  I expect I will soon find out on my next visit.

Daisy Path

This is the Daisy path – we always leave it as long as we can before we have to strim it as I love this natural look.

Nature

My little terracotta plant pot now gathering moss inside – it is like a mini nature table.

Cloud formation

We had glorious weather over the bank holiday and I captured one or two atmospheric pictures across the bay.

Cloud Formation 2   The cloud formation passing over was quite fascinating and there was hardly any difference between the silvery blue colour of the water and sky.

Evening across the bay

This was taken one very calm evening – the little boat out on the water is the Lobster Pot man checking his cages – probably seeing if he has any supper!

  Porch window view

Looking out of the window from our tumble-down porch on the seaside side we are sheltered by the Privet hedge and have a lovely uninterrupted view of the bay.

Seaside garden

At the moment this part of the garden is mostly covered in black plastic to keep the weeds down but I am hoping to start planting here soon with Coastal plants which for me will make a change from the woodland plants on the other side of the cottage.

Tree Crossing Road

Just thought I would include this picture – we had to stop on our way into town one day for a tree crossing the road!

I have to go now and do a bit of catching up with everyone again – please excuse any lack of comments in the past couple of weeks – no doubt life will calm down a bit soon.  Have a great week everyone.

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“June is the month of dreams, I think”

–  Joan Adams Burchell

Hello again everyone – I know the gaps between posts have been rather long of late and although I am trying to rectify this I am finding it a bit of a struggle at the moment.  I just wanted to say thank you for all the lovely comments I have received about the recent death of my dear friend.  It has been quite a whirlwind month so far and I am hoping things will settle down a bit now before our holidays.  I have a lot of catching up to do but somehow I haven’t, as yet, got the desire to blog that I had before all this sadness set in.  I will begin slowly to work my way back into blogging by turning as usual at the beginning of the month to one of my past Art Journals.  The excerpt below is taken from ‘Celebrating the Year 2009’  illustrated with a little watercolour sketch I did in 2004 on a visit to Dunham Massey on a beautiful warm June day.

 Blue Irises Picture

Blue Irises – Watercolour Sketch in Dunham Massey Courtyard June 2004

“In your neat garden iris grows
Bright yellow, mauve – in stately rows. 

This one you’ve picked’s a lovely thing;
I know it brightens up our spring.
But in the forest, springtime’s child,
A purple
iris growing wild,
Can melt my heart as spring melts snow;
It’s spoilt me for the sort you grow!”
 -Jude, Wild Iris

“June 24th is Midsummer’s Day and June the 21st is the longest day.  It is now most definitely the middle of the year.  For me it is time to enjoy being in the garden more with the lighter evenings and warmer days, either relaxing with friends or actually weeding, planting and improving our little haven.  There is no place I would rather be – it is my place to unwind and refresh.

For inspiration this is the month that many private gardens are open to the public under the Open Gardens scheme.  If you have a spare weekend make a note in your diary to go and visit one.  You can find details at http://www.ngs.org.uk

As well as individual gardens we often visit two pretty little villages near York called Great and Little Ouseburn where many of the residents open their gardens on the same day.  You can wander from one to another with the aid of a hand drawn map provided.  We went for the whole day this year taking a picnic lunch so we could browse leisurely around all of them.    Quite often there are some delightful surprises awaiting as you go through into the back gardens and each is quite different reflecting the individuality of the owners.”

So far this year I have missed attending the Open Gardens that we usually go to but I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will find some new ones to go to when we have a free weekend.  How has your June been so far?

Ne’er cast a clout till May be out…

 

I cannot believe it is May already and I have only just found time to get back to my blog – this must be my longest gap ever.  There is so much going on in my life at the moment but the main reason for my absence is the office move.  It is taking forever to get sorted out and I am finding it is well after 6pm every night before I leave work and by the time tea is over I have completely run out of steam.  I really dislike being caught up in someone else’s agenda – I certainly would not have added this amount of stress to my life at this moment!

On the good side at last we can put the cold wintery days behind us and look forward to summer.  This year Spring has been a long time coming and I am not very prepared as my current wardrobe is still in winter mode and my summer outfits are packed neatly away in the spare room.  It is so long ago that I cannot even remember what I wore during the summer last year.  As usual I will start off the month with a look back at one of my old Art Journals and this excerpt is taken from Celebrating the Year 2009 and the pencil and watercolour sketch dated May 2003 from my sketchbook.

Winter is many months of the year
But now at last Maytime is here;
And birds sing from a leafy screen
In the trees and hedgerow freshly green;
And the wood-anemone is out in the shade,
With its blushing petals which too soon fade;
Once more the bracken is unfurling there,
And bluebells gently perfume the damp air.” 

 Veronica Ann Twells, Maytime

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Whilst wandering around the gardens at Tatton Park one glorious day in May I came across this unfurling clump of fern along the edge of a pond and stopped to make a quick sketch.  They looked so majestic – about to burst open and produce their feather like plumes.  At this moment the heads were tightly wrapped into little balls as if hiding away until the moment is right to spring into action.

May itself, like the unfurling fern, reminds me of little surprise packages.  All around us nature is surprising us with its secrets.  Bare trees become laden in blossom, buds burst open to produce a green leafy canopy, and everything springs to life once again. 

May is also the month that the Well Dressings begin in Derbyshire.  The true origins of Well Dressing are lost in the mists of time. According to many sources, it developed from a pagan custom of making sacrifice to the gods of wells and springs to ensure a continued supply of fresh water. Like many folk traditions, it was later adopted by the Christian Church as a way of giving thanks to God for His gift to us of water.

From May until September in villages across the whole of Derbyshire there will be a different well dressing week.  Look on welldressing.com for more information if you live near enough to visit.

Ashford in the Water Well DressingDSC01117

Ashford in the Water Well Dressing

 We go more or less every year and have never been disappointed.  It is a time when the villagers get together and design and make these decorative boards from flower petals and foliage.  They often have a carnival or similar event to mark the start of the week and most places offer cream teas in the local village hall. 

I can’t promise that I will get to my blog every day or even every week until things at work calm down a bit – but I am missing you all and am trying to keep up with your blogs here and there.  Have a good Bank Holiday weekend to everyone in the UK.