Friday, 26 February 2016


Sunday and it poured!!

Monday better, phone still dead and R's car dead - rescued by RAC and new battery.


Little daffs, pulmonaria, crocus and snowdrops all out - sarcococcus at back door wafting well.
Rabbits to the left of me, rabbits to the right of me, trial burrows all over the place.

So this is Tuesday
and what have I done?
Lunch is over
and I'm out having fun . . .?

Well, not quite - further moss, liverwort and algae slaughter on the paths, R has tidied the strawberry bed and I have power washed all the joins in the paving to be ready for repointing later in the spring.

Also walked around garden amazed at the water-logging still present for much of the far and lower lawn.

It is Wednesday morning and it is very cold after a hard frost. The fields are pastel coloured and as I pulled back the bedroom curtain the heron lifted from the pond.
We have frogs, first frogspawn and so the heron.

End of an afternoon moving all the logs into the woodshed - filled it and some over - done for - shower and mug of tea. R weeding.

And so it goes, frost after frost, cold at last but it doesn't stop the toads and frogs working up a little amphibian frenzy. Every morning is a scrape off the car windscreen, sun shining, rabbits mucking about on the banking - Not used to this after all the rain.
The pond is frozen (the heron is the plastic one) except at the lower end and the surface ripples with activity below the surface.

 Daffodils are coming on the top banking between the snowdrops and the occasional crocus.

The snowdrops by the lower path that we harvest in the green every year are also thriving.
Thursday and R carries on weeding. I tried out the hover mower on the banking and it looks good - avoiding any daffodils coming up - but it has tweaked my back summit nasty.

Can be quite something watching the bird with the big swallow having a breakfast of frogs from the pond. I hope we have some frogs left after this.

Started to scrape off the dead moss from the hoggin path - phew.

Currently involved with Facebook plan to saturate it with natural history images. Do it for seven days and nominate person to do the same each day.
I don't know why the writing here is smaller but it is a quirk of the blogger.
Today I put one of a cockchafer on the site.

Anything is better than four months of endless rabbiting on about the EU - staying in, coming out and politicians manoeuvring and going on and on and on and on . . . . what a waste of time and money.
Putin must be laughing up his sleeve - Trump for President and Boris for PM - sad days.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


At last we have had some cold, frosty sunny weather at last.
The last rose has not yet gone - a delight in February.

Been out with my assassination spray to attack the moss, algae and liverwort on the paths. There is not due to be any rain for a while (amazing!) so we will see if it works.
I have also, reluctantly, purchased some stump killer for one or two of the unruly ash.

Je suis fatigue.
Just pruned big buddleia hedge and the cut leaved elder and dragged the prunings up to the bonfire. It is always a delight because I find last years birds' nests of which I was not aware - this time what looks like a hedge sparrow (dunnock) and a chaffinch.

And snowdrops in abundance. At least we cannot have an overpopulation of these harbingers of spring. By summer they will have all but gone - a few leaves remaining. Can't say the same for the miserable human race - harbingers of - ? 
The Arab Spring is looking more and more like an Arab Winter. 
I also find Russia fascinating - perhaps it is its sheer size that needs it to be ruled by a dictator - whether one calls him (it is usually a him) a Tsar or a Prime Minister (or President in waiting). (Apologies to Catherine the Great and then other three Empresses between 1725 and 1796.)

To more important matters - went to a funeral of one of the best gardeners I have known. It was delightfully different and she would have loved it. At least we have plants and some beautifully carved wooden pots by which to remember Sue.

We had a wonderful sharp sunny winter day with which to say goodbye.

The primroses are about to flower too, the first yellow tipped buds appearing on the banking. We divided them last year as well and replanted to give a show later in the spring. We will do the same this year to increase them.

The Hamamelis x intermedia 'Aphrodite' is in full flower and lighting up the lower banking.

The whole garden is looking in better shape after the tidy and weed and compost spreading. It is not finished yet (is it ever) but at least we seem to be getting somewhere.

There is no frogspawn in the pond so far. I have not resolved the liner problem but it does look better. I need to make some sort of cover for the drainage trench so it does not look like roadworks.
R has been out picking the Corsican Hellebore and floating the flowers in water in a bowl - looks good.

So we beetle off to sit on the grandchildren and whilst we are away - guess what - it RAINS!
Oh! yes - and when we get back the phone is dead.
It never rains but it - you know . . .  

Sunday, 14 February 2016


Nine o'clock on Monday morning is not always the best time but when it goes dark and someone up there turns on the tap it gets worse. This storm is called Imogen - personally I think naming the storms with first names is pathetic - why not call it inundation or armageddon or something?
I had thought of buying a wetsuit - difficult with long body and short legs and arms - but I wouldn't be bothered to struggle into it.

Not enough frozen raspberries, not enough red currants so made raspberry and red currant jam.

Filling the peanut feeder I dropped it and some ran into cracks in the paving. Along comes a squirrel, picks up a peanut, runs to 
the rose bed and buries it, then returns. This goes on nut after nut.

R has just taken me upstairs to the ensuite. Out of the window we can see there is a large new rabbit hole in the back banking!

The clematis armandii is starting to flower. It is usually early but this early?

I have been out weeding, clearing rubbish and dumping old manure on the beds. Still a lot to do. Was cold and threatening rain so I came in and the sun came out - can't be bothered to plonk my wellies on again.

After this morning's rain much of the lawn area is a big dog - Monday.
Tuesday and better. After going to see the drain man at the Coro, Archie Workman Colton's lengthsman, R pruned back the buddleias by the septic tank and I cut back loads of stuff to open up the garden. Also tidied by the small fall where the stream comes out of the wood.

Wednesday and I can't believe it - the sun is out and the rabbits are munching away on the upper banking. Some years ago I planted some hollies by the fence up there and have wondered why they are so stunted. Now I know - rabbit eating the holly!

Snowdrops are flourishing everywhere and a delight.

So, there I was sitting in bed, morning mug of tea in hand, when a heron drifts past the window and lands in the pond beside the plastic heron. I dash downstairs and get the camera. I dash upstairs to the window, focus on the heron and it lifts off and flies away - missed it!

It is not raining - it is cold and frosty - finally a proper spell of more wintry weather - freeze them slugs.

Saturday, 6 February 2016


Jut thought - I have missed the RSPB Great British garden birdwatch. Usually they email me to remind me.
Actually all the birds have been eaten by this very fat squirrel. (Not actually).

But how does one put a wild squirrel on a diet? If I don't feed him/her I don't feed the birds.

So, have I been in the garden - not a lot. Have a stonker of a cold. The sun is out now but I am a bit fragile. Have my new glasses - computer glasses set at two and a half feet - hope that will get rid of my computer neck - it seems to help but I have too be careful as, with the shallow depth of focus, I get nauseous if I wander about. (Mind you any untoward effort makes me a bit sick)(just sitting still is my sort of thing)(must go in the garden)(or have a cup of tea?)

This is Horseradish beginning to sprout - hot stuff.

There are snowdrops all along the side of the path in the wood where R replanted - looking great - will need to keep dividing and planting to spread them.

The image below of one of the snowdrop clumps outside the kitchen door is co-habiting with a button mushroom. It was filthy weather the other night and rather than put the past it mushrooms in the compost bin R chucked them out and shut the door.

In the dog house (well we don't have a dog but you know whatI mean) as I have donated my stonker of a cold to R. I know marriage is about sharing but . . !

So we went away for a break - it lasted 24 hours and we are home, R zonked out in the kitchen. The sun is out but we are in stuffed with paracetamol and mugs of hot drinks. Another special! holiday.
Have pruned the shrub roses lightly to prevent wind rock and remove dead bits and crossing branches, put on some old horse manure as a mulch - that is on the flower bed.

First crocus and iris out. Thursday and the song thrush has returned and is belting it out from the big sycamore - spring is on its way. So are showers.

Friday - not raining yet but the forecast is decidedly damp - nip out, do a bit, nip in, have a mug of tea sort of day. The snowdrops look better and better, as does R after the cold.
Out to put in drain by the apple tree where a spring has appeared three feet above an existing drain. Then tried to dig up the Viburnum in front of the house - no way - roots too rooty so found a side shoot with roots and replanted that then sawed it off at ground level. 
Before taking the shrub to the bonfire heap, took a few hardwood cuttings and plonked them in the cutting bed - you never know.

SUDDENLY all the little birds are gone and, down by the pond, sitting on a pipe is the sparrow hawk. Too quick for the camera.


There is a ghost on the glass,
a sparrow hawk silhouette
wings spread in feather dust.

The sparrow side-flew 
the predator, scraped
the pebble-dash in panic.

The falcon staggered away, 
flew raggedly to an ash
to recuperate and preen.

The garden was silent with fear,
waiting for the grey missile to leave, 
streak over the barbed wire, hunting.

Saturday - rain.

To finish - here is a monochrome pic looking across the bay. One person on Flickr congratulated me on the hawk flying in the shafts of sunlight - sadly its a straggling Herring Gull heading for the tip.