Tuesday 31 July 2012


 Last week I was rather busy and did not have much time for thinking about my next post. So I have decided to take the easy option and show you some more photographs of our garden. I am not out of ideas for posts. Just short of time at the moment. These photos were taken a few weeks ago. I did try to take some photos yesterday but it was breezy and the flowers were moving around. Consequently all that I could manage to get was a series of blurs and this morning it is raining.

I am trying to create a typical English cottage garden to compliment our Victorian cottage. These white foxgloves are near the front door. I grew them from seeds that I collected and now in my haste to tidy the garden I have rather stupidly cut off the seed heads and thrown them on the compost heap.

Also in the front garden is the frothy Lady's Mantle or to given to her her proper name alchemilla mollis. It is a plant that no cottage garden would be without but she is one of the most promiscuous of plants seeding all over the garden if  the flower heads are left too long. As a consequence it is all over the garden and is a very useful space filler especially for the front of borders.

Another  plant that is found all over our garden is erigeron commonly known as fleabane.  This particular plant is the grandchild of one that was growing in garden of our first house. It spreads prolifically and is easy to propagate. The mauve colour contrasts or co-ordinates with practically any other colour which explains why it is all over our garden and it is another useful front of border filler.

Lavender is another plant that no cottage garden would be without. I have several different varieties around the garden. I am not sure which variety this is.

The soil in our garden is alkaline which means that we struggle to grow acid loving rhododendrons and azaleas but the upside is that we are able to grow wonderful blowsy paeonies. There are several around the garden. This is probably the most spectacular. When we moved here this sun loving plant was hidden in an shady, overgrown border. With tlc and the help the sun it has matured into this beauty.

Moving out of the sun into the shade this blue poppy or meconopsis which I grew from seed hides itself under an old apple tree. It is a shade loving plant and it was a struggle to find a suitable spot to plant it as all of our south west facing garden gets the sun at some point in the day, providing it is sunny.

Round the corner from the blue poppy is this campanula glomerata alba which was also grown from seed. It prefers partial shade which it gets from early afternoon as the sun moves round. It is in a bed of white flowers which I am developing in an area of the garden that is in the shade in the afternoon. White really stands out and sort of glows in the shade.

On the other side of the garden in an area that gets the late afternoon sun is the shrubbery. Originally this was a dumping ground for plants that there was not space for anywhere else in the garden. Now I have started to develop it into something more. Here we have fennel which I grow for its feathery foliage with red hot pokers or knifophia n the foreground.

Then further along in the bed with no name is this lovely red rose. I do not know its' name. Either it was in the garden when we bought the cottage or we acquired it as part of an offer.

Considering how unkind the recent weather has been to these plants I am amazed that they have put on such a good show.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Whatever the weather

I seemed to be packing everything but the kitchen sink. Two umbrellas, winter boots, anorak with hood and sunglasses - well you never know the sun might just put in an appearance. When we planned and booked last weekend's break, about a month ago, the weather was awful but we never expected that it would be nearly as bad by the time the weekend came around. We were late setting off, not managing to leave here until after lunch on the Saturday. We had decided that we would make a detour via Abersoch (otherwise known as Chester on Sea) on our way to Aberystwyth, to see what we were missing, as we had never been. It was the middle of the afternoon when we arrived at Abersoch and it was heaving. We could not park the car and there were so many people around that we could not really see the place. From what we did manage to see it did look quite attractive and I could not help but notice several expensive shops. Having made that detour it was late afternoon or early evening really by the time that we arrived at our destination on the outskirts of the Welsh coastal market town of Aberystwyth. We were staying in a Grade I listed mansion which has been renovated and restored and recently opened as a country house hotel. If it had not been for our sat. nav. we would still be driving around trying to find it as it was off the beaten track with absolutely no signs to it. Our late arrival meant that we had no time to explore Aberystwyth leaving us with little choice but to eat in the hotel that evening.

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny for a change and Aberystwyth beckoned. First we went for a walk along the promenade.

Then we had a quick look around the town before setting off up the coast to Borth where we had lunch. In the afternoon we drove down the coast of Cardigan Bay. After visiting Aberaeron by mid afternoon we found ourselves in the fishing town and seaside resort of New Quay where Dylan Thomas reputedly wrote Under Milk Wood. Here we enjoyed a walk around and an ice cream in the sun.

By evening it was damp but we ventured out to dine in an Italian restaurant  in Aberystwyth.  Monday  was a very wet day. We drove up to Aberdovey where it was so wet that we did not even get out of the car. Cloud and rain looks pretty much the same wherever you are. After more driving around, in the hope that the rain would stop, we ended up in Dolgellau where we had lunch. Then having had enough of the rain we called it a day. Luckily by the evening the rain had cleared and much to the disgust of the hotel staff we went into Aberystwyth and ate at a Greek restaurant at the end of the promenade. We awoke to rain again on Tuesday. So it was a damp drive home.

We are gluttons for punishment. Our little break did not end there as we had tickets for the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show on Wednesday. Again the weather forecast was bad with heavy showers and possibly thunder storms forecast. The RHS website said that the show would go on regardless of the weather and suggested that visitors brought wellies and umbrellas. Just before we were about to leave on the Wednesday morning the heavens opened here and husband's resolve weakened. He was concerned that his car would get stuck in the mud in the field that they use as a car park. Anyway, the rain eased and we duly set off with our wellies in the boot. Tatton is about 40 minutes from where we live and we soon drove out of the rain. The car park was fairly dry considering the amount of rain that we have had. So husband was worrying unnecessarily. We decided to leave the wellies in the boot but carried our umbrellas with us, as the sky was grey and threatening and there was a chilly breeze. Once through the gate we forgot about the weather and enjoyed the show, which was televised by the BBC. We did not spot any of the presenters but did see this film crew attempting to film one of the gardens with visitors getting in their way!

Despite the poor weather forecast the day was dry and by late afternoon when we left it was blue sky and sunshine. How can they get the weather forecast so wrong?

This afternoon we went to a garden party by the river in Chester. So another wardrobe dilemma. The morning was sunny with a cool breeze. What should I wear so as to be not too hot or too cold? Would it be more or less sheltered by the river? I played it safe. I did not want to be cold.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Flying below the belt

A day or two before we were due to go to the Lake District an e-mail was sent to husband from one of his Village Hall committee friends. The sender was going on holiday and was going to be unable to deliver some flyers (the village news letter) to what he termed the village outposts and asked husband to deliver them for him. Husband responded that we were also going away for a long weekend and it would be difficult for us to deliver them. At this point we were not sure quite what was intended by the village outposts. It was possible that it was just the half dozen houses around where we live on the outskirts of the village. So reluctantly after an exchange of several e-mails, husband, sort of, agreed to deliver the flyers in the hope that it was just the half dozen houses around us. We had not received the flyers by the time that we set off for the Lake District on the Friday morning and were hoping that another more willing committee member had been found to do the delivery. I thought that this was all a bit below the belt, as earlier in the year a social event had been cancelled when all the committee members scheduled to run it decided to go away.

Over our weekend in the Lake District we forgot all about the flyers. Consequently we were rather surprised when we arrived home to find that 100 flyers, plus delivery instructions, had been pushed through our very stiff letter box. I made it quite plain to husband that I was not delivering them on my own and that I had a busy schedule planned for the week ahead. As I saw things our options for the 100 flyers were to shred them, dump them or return them to the sender. Husband said  that no, we would deliver them although even he could not see when we were going to be able to do so. The following Saturday morning he bumped into the chap that normally delivers to the outposts. He had had an operation and had not been able to drive, hence the reason that the sender had been lumbered with them. Anyway he was now able to drive and offered to deliver any flyers that we could not manage.

That Saturday afternoon was damp and miserable after a very wet Friday night, but it was dry. Togged up in anoraks and boots we set off in husband's car to deliver as many flyers as we could.  Dodging the puddles and the mud, I did one side of the road and husband did the other. We ended up in roads and lanes that I did not know where there, delivering to houses that I did not know existed. We probably delivered to houses that we were not supposed to! I quite enjoy seeing what I can through front windows. It's a licence to be nosey. Also it is quite interesting looking as people's front gardens. Sometimes I get ideas. I was surprised how untidy some people are. Just leaving toys and garden tools cluttering up the drive. I know that we have had a lot of rain, but, oh the weeds in some of the gardens! It took us two and a half hours to deliver 73 flyers, which left 26 undelivered and one flyer for us.

Almost two months later the 26 undelivered flyers are still sitting in our hall waiting for husband to take them to the chap who normally does them or for him to collect them from us. I do not know what husband arranged. Now it is hardly worth the bother of delivering them, as most of the events have happened.

The following week I was idly looking at the waterlogged state of the farmer's field, at the end of our garden when I noticed this family of ducks squatting on the large puddle to the right of the end of our garden.

Here are the parents.

Once they realise that I have seen them they scuttle off to the established pond on the other side of our garden.

And here they are enjoying a swim back in the main pond.

I have not seen them recently. I expect that they have flown the nest or maybe it just got too wet for them. Anymore rain and I shall have webbed feet too!

Now  that Wimbledon Fortnight and my flower arranging class have finished I had hoped to get back into blogging, but I have been foiled again. We are going away for a few days at the weekend.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Surprise, surprise!

Miracles take a bit of time. In this case about six to seven weeks. On Sunday evening I was reading the preview of a post that I had intended to publish on Monday and I noticed that it had comments attached to it. Yes, that is correct an unpublished post with comments. When I read through the comments I realised that they belonged to the post that had disappeared. Now that I had both the post, which husband had saved and the comments, I have resurrected the post that disappeared and have published in back where it belonged on May 11. I have changed the title around as Blogger did not seem to like the original title. So for any of my readers that wondered what I was on about, it is there for you to read.

I had not intended to take yet another break from Blogland, but husband and I had a deadline to meet, which really means that I had a deadline to meet as it was me that did the legwork and husband put his name to it. Hopefully the subject matter will make an interesting post when we know the outcome of the deadline. Now I just need to retype the post that I had to delete on Sunday evening so that I could marry up the disappeared post with its comments. Blogger must have read that post and thought 'I'll give her something to write about!'