bEAching, cottage garden, fEAsting, meal planning

An apple a day keeps the Deer happy…

Homegrown Apples

Some of these cooking apples may be a little misshapen and show signs of pest attack but they are home grown at our Beach Cottage in Scotland and taste delicious in a crumble.  I am hoping there will be a few more when we go up in a couple of weeks time.

If you look closely at this picture below, which I took back in July,  you can see a young deer that had ventured into our garden having a crafty nibble at my apple tree.  Fortunately all the apples are on the higher branches and out of reach.  I think it is quite probable that we have  a lot of  visits by the wildlife when we are not there, this lovely lady did seem a little surprised to see me pointing a camera at her.  I expect she usually has the garden to herself.

Deer with Apple Tree


This week we have been enjoying Plum and Apple Crumble.

Plum and Apple Crumble

read about it on Re-routed

crEAting, mEAndering, out and about, sEAsons, sketching

The dawn of a summer day…

Poppies at Renishaw Hall Gardens

Taken from my Art Journal –  ‘Celebrating the Year 2009’

Poppies at Renishaw

Watercolour Sketch July 2004

That beautiful season the Summer! 
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
–   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

July is one of my favourite months.  The flower borders are bursting with summer colour and if you have never been to Renishaw Hall Gardens and you live nearby then you are definitely missing a treat.  It is the home of the Sitwell family and their history is steeped in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Renishaw House

Here we all are (apart from me – I’m taking the picture and we are missing a daughter and partner and a neice) on our recent family picnic posing in front of Renishaw Hall as if it were ours!

Meet the family at Renishaw Hall

Allium Bed Renishaw

The extensive grounds are a mixture of formal gardens near to the house leading into the naturalised woodland area Bluebell Wood Renishaw

complete with this Laburnum walk.

Laburnum Walk Renishaw

There are also plants on sale that you will have seen growing in the garden.

 Yew Hedge Renishaw

 We have been lucky enough to be there when they have had musicians positioned behind the huge Yew hedges playing flute and violin.  The sound is carried around the gardens on the breeze with the nearby fountain bending and spraying spurts of water as if in time.

The Fountain Renishaw

On a warm summers day I could sketch happily here for hours popping into the tea shop in the popular Courtyard for refreshments and a home baked scone then a wander around the grounds what could be a more perfect relaxing day?  You can also book ahead to attend a performance at the outdoor theatre or fireworks or have a tour of the vineyard and sample their own wine.

The courtyard also houses a little museum and art gallery.  In the tea room you can buy a cold salad lunch by weight.  Just help yourself to a plate and choose from the vast selection of salads and meat, then weigh and pay!

If you go in Mid April to early May they have a splendid display of Auriculas (a type of Primula) in a purpose built Auricula House.  This is like a small wooden bookcase painted black to enhance the colours of these delicate blooms with a wire netting front.  They are quite fascinating when displayed this way.

Auricular House Renishaw

Auriculars Renishaw

I hope everyone has a glorious July and that we have some of those warm halcyon days we can all remember from our childhood when it never rained all summer long!!  This will be posted ahead of time (I know it isn’t July until Monday) but I will be on my way to Scotland and without any internet, TV and a very intermittent mobile signal.


Walking in a winter wonderland…

January Snow

I know you might have seen enough of it but I love the snow… it is so magical and this is one of my favourite pictures taken before this weekends heavy snowfall.

Snow Patterns Grid

When I ventured out into the back garden it really was virgin snow and the soft powdery kind,  not even a cat had passed through and my footprints were the very first.  It seemed a shame to disturb it but I wanted to feed the birds and at the same time capture all the different patterns the snow had made, even the garden chairs that have got left out look inviting and the washing line, bottom left picture, is like a line of thick snow suspended in space.

Wheelie Bins

Even the wheelie bins are snuggled up close, they look as if they have their winter hats on!

beach cottage, bEAching, cottage garden, mEAndering, out and about

Home again…home again

Back home and back to work now.  It is funny how so much happens in a fortnight when I am away – both at home and work.  We arrived home Sunday evening to find the land-line phone is not working and our neighbour has put up a new fence.  At work there has been a few changes (but at least I still have a desk!) and sadly yet another work colleague has received rather bad news on the health front.

And guess what before I can even get myself unpacked and sorted out again my mum is coming for a visit this week to go to the dentist for an urgent appointment.   So it seems now that the relaxed feeling you get after a good holiday is fading fast and being overtaken once again by the more stressful events of normal everyday life.

But yes, I did have a good holiday at our cottage despite the gloriously wetter than normal weather and the fact that it was a  working one – although I don’t consider working in my garden hard work and after spending most of my days working at a desk I quite enjoy doing very manual work in the fresh air.

As an additional holiday treat my better half – who always takes me to the nicest places – took me to the local tip (to off load many, many bags of prunings and weedings), the local builders yard (for cement and paving slabs) and the saw mill (for more planks of wood to make a giant compost bin later in the year).  What more excitement could a girl want!

I remembered to get a quick snap of my wooden bunting that I bought from Sainsbury’s I love it so much it has become a permanent feature and matches the blue of our tumble-down porch where we sit and look out to sea whilst eating our breakfast.

We (or rather my better half) made good progress with the log store (the base is the remains of an old coal bunker) and all is now safely gathered in.  He then turned his attentions to digging out the ground by the side of the cottage to make a channel which will run across this narrow strip of garden to the stream and allow the rain water from the roof of the cottage to drain away.  We saw this drainage channel landscaped into the garden of Broughton House in Kirkcudbright and it was sudden inspiration and just a perfect way to solve our difficult problem.

Meanwhile inside the cottage I have been doing more painting in the living room and have finally got the second top coat on the boarding and have only to finish the rail and shelf which runs around the top.  When that is complete we will be ready to put down the screed before we lay the wood flooring which we have yet to choose and buy.  I am thinking wide oak boards and real wood not laminate – but will need to get a price on this first.

My woodland walk is taking shape again and I cleared all the banking of buttercups just above the lower wood over the little bridge. I love this patch of ferns with all the different greens and leaf shapes.  The creamy white spray of Rogersia flowers are just peeping through and the red Fuchsia petals fall like blossom onto the open fern leaves below.  I could sit here for hours it is so restful. The ground in places had become so wet that once or twice I found myself just skating around in the mud. Most of the plants seemed to have thrived in all the rain and will no doubt burst into flower as soon as there is a bit more sun.  I had no shortage of damp places and it was an excellent time to do some more planting.

We had a trip round the bay to Bayview Nursery in Wigtown and bought an assortment of Candelabra Primulas which thrive in a sunny and damp spot.  I planted them at the edge of the old concrete pond by the wild Iris – I want to create a mass of colour here and hope that they begin to spread quickly.  The pond is another of our ‘problems’ waiting for a solution as it is not a very good pond because it is surrounded by trees but as yet I haven’t had any great ideas as to what I can do with it.  As soon as we clear out the debris it fills up again.

We have self seeded poppies springing up everywhere – but I love the bright spots of colour and the seed pods look delightful in the Autumn.

We had a break over the weekend and drove round to Kirkcudbright for the day.  We spent our time pottering around the Harbour and the shops and galleries…

and finally ended up in our favourite garden at the back of Broughton House on the High Street.

On the way home we spotted this cow who had gone to investigate the standing stone and made a rather unusual picture!!

And that is the end of the holidays and back now to the daily grind.