Friday, 25 November 2016


The rain as stopped - it is hailing.

I have pruned back the rosemary - a travelling shrub. By that I mean that any branch bent low and touching the soil roots resulting in a spreading bush. Some of the prunings are now in the cutting bed, the rooted bits by one of the paths.

It is frosty and cold, still 5 apples on the tree, roses out. The light through the white birches is splendid (do not look at the scruffy overgrown stream in the foreground.)

I have trimmed back the willow around the compost heaps and dumped the lot on the bonfire - too late to light it now without dismantling it and rebuilding because of wee animals seeking shelter, even hibernating. (Wee! Must be my vague Scots blood.)

With age my eyesight is not what it was so R made this carrot cake to help me see in the dark. (Actually the made it for some church do and I did not get a bite.)

 The Great White Cherry is in fine autumn colour - a good buy - blossom in the spring and this in the autumn.

Even the leaves fallen on the ground are a delight. (Even if I have to remove them from the grass and paths (of course with my new blower).)

The cherry is not the only colour now with the beech hedge good too - and it will keep its leaves through the winter - but needs trimming - overdue.
Time to get out and do it (along with a thousand other jobs). It its not that I am lazy but I am sleeping about 10 hours a day at the moment. Perhaps I am in partial hibernation? Or perhaps I am running away from this mad world? D Trump seems to be back-peddling on his pre election promises, realises reality means he cannot do what he said. But in that case surely the election should be declared void as he got where he is on false pretences? Or is that just politics - a mixture of lies, half truths and power complexes.
If I played bridge I would be wanting to bid a grand slam in No Trumps. 

So to the bee in my bonnet.
We hear continually that the NHS, Police, care services, armed services, prisons etc etc etc are underfunded, that the country borrows trillions. Pardon me but does the not mean that we need to pay a little more tax to resolve this?
Of course this is politically unacceptable, I mean, the party in power might lose the next election.

Back to gardening - these lovely items are damsons and plums that got fungal infections and then dried out on the twigs. I would remove them but they are high up and, as R would say, I would be certain to fall off the ladder.
And after the hard frost, gales and rain, I stroll down the garden, watch the cock pheasant scurry into the undergrowth, and find the passion flower is blooming on the fence by the veg beds.
There are still small corners of heaven even though it is November.

Saturday, 19 November 2016


Still we have flowers - the fatsias bursting with inflorescences, cream against the blue sky. A blue sky that says frost though at the moment it is such one day and rain the next.

 The peanut feeders are taking a hammering from the squirrels though I was saddened to hear those on Brownsea Island have human leprosy!
As if they do not have enough with greys and viruses and so on.

These are hypericum berries - black and they do not look at all edible (and are not). (Well I suppose you could but I will not be responsible for the consequences. They are moderately poisonous and can cause skin rashes, confusion (well that is nothing new), anorexia, depression and so on.) 

Enough of brackets - the birds by Adam Booth by the pond look cold in the weak afternoon light.

Frost on the roof in the early morning, soon to go in the sun.

This sunflower self sown in the lily pot seems not to be bothered though. A little sun all in its own right.
I have pruned back the Hydrangea Annabelle and found that it has developed what look like suckers or offshoots - i.e. new plants a foot from the old main stem. It should be possible to separate these and replant elsewhere.

The herb pot is still doing ok though the dill is long over. The osteospermum is continuing to flower.

Why do things come all together - the electric gate is dead, the broadband is dodgy and BT are struggling to find a cause, my back is still sore, it is raining - good job we have GOOD NEWS occasionally.
Still the Sedum flowers (and flops) - have tried staling and Chelsea chops and so on but to no avail.
I shall have to have a think this winter - perhaps a stronger supporting frame would help.

Then there is the green garden as with the conical bay tree outside the kitchen. It has enough leaves to supply the whole of South Cumbria let alone us. Texture on the right, different forms of foliage contesting with one another - mind you the rosemary is out of hand too and needs attacking.

And finally, as a small splinter of sun graces this sodden corner that is forever England autumn colour is still apparent on the lower banking.

Monday, 14 November 2016


Phew, still whacked now after 2 days of intense flu like illness but no cough, no sore throat - just a virus - bad enough, I think, to be classified as womanflu not manflu?
Anyway got me to reading as not much good for digging nd stuff and came across the story of the dig by Don Marcelino at Altamira near Santander in northern Spain. In 1879 he was digging with is men in the floor and he had taken his five year old daughter. She looked up and pointed out the ceiling to her father but he just laughed. Finally he held up his lamp and stopped laughing. The cave roof was covered in bison, horses and deer.
I was luck enough as a young man - about 14 - to be taken by my Aunt and Uncle to Lascaux Caves in France, before they were closed to the public. All I can say is Damien First and Tracey Emin eat your hearts out! They were doing it better 17,000 years ago.

So, is gardening an art - I suppose depends on your garden.
Well not when it comes to carrots, at least for me. This is the entire crop this year - I just cannot grow the things. probably the soil is wrong, I am wrong or the garden has a carrot allergy.

R and I went a-walking in Bouth Woods and saw not a soul but we did come across this, something, I hope, not to find too much on my trees. We still have occasion outbursts of Honey Fungus but so far not on a living tree since we cut the last one down.

We have now had a couple of hard frosts - ice on the pond - and that will spell the end of the nasturtiums turning them into a slimy mush.

And the wildlife is all go - something screamed twice into the dark yesterday evening - I thin a rabbit, perhaps caught by Megatron the black cat from down the road. And the grey squirrels are back. And the rat. And the rain.

AND (it is Wednesday morning) as Nellie the Elephant said, "Here we go, Trumpety, trump, trump, trump."

 It is coming on mid November and so much is still free in the garden - the big sycamore is starting to turn but most of the leaves have not.

The wild elder, often the first to come, the first to go is very green as is the cut leaved one.

The big cherries by the path are so different - the one on the left turned and almost bare, the great white on the right still well clad.

 The ash, however are naked against a cold autumn sky, leaves blown into drifts and runnels, scattered on the grass.

When I walk in the garden the scent of wood smoke from the wood burner comes to me - the ash we cut down and logged early in the year. It is 4 pm and there is no denying the year is passing - reluctantly.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


What a wonderful device - got myself a cordless Stihl blower - 20 minutes and all the top paths clear of leaves - and fun too - much better than a rake - it took half a day!

This was what one of the paths looked like before I got to work and then after and electric puff . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cannot do much in garden since back kicked off on Monday afternoon - still R is out there hacking back. 
Managed to dig up first and last of carrots - total weight 50 grams - cannot grow them for toffee. (Now there's a thought - healthier than toffee apples, toffee carrots.)

The fieldfares and redwing are back from Scandinavia - winter is nigh. There are still some apples on the tree.

Still colour in the garden as per the lace-cap hydrangea and poppy below.

Picked a vase full of flowers for the house.

And animal life may be hard to see in itself but the consequences are here in the lawn and wood, come in from the fields.
T' mowdywarps are digging again.

And a last look at leaves yesterday - wind arrived last night stripping the branches. The Hanky tree (Davidia involucrata) on the right, given to us by my brother and his wife, has yet to have hankies but its autumn colour is good.

Finally put out this blog as been in bed with Womanflu - not mild enough for Manflu. So apart from R doing stuff garden ignored.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016


So we have our first fog of the year - mists of mellow fruitfulness and all that stuff.
Then it muzzled all day - so I put the orchid outside for a wash etc.

It is so still outside, not breath of wind - which means there is no way the grass will dry even a bit - for mowing. 
November coming and the oriental poppy still has flowers with buds to come.

Time to prune the willows - PB can have them to put near his lake, they will root easily if just shoved into the ground.
The willows are in the pink trug with the water lily, iris in small pots and other stuff in the sacks.
All has now been collected which will make little impression, I suspect, to his lake - a few scraps floating in an ocean.
 The leaves on the trees are not the only autumn colour in the garden - here we have dying euphorbia, hosta and so on.

One confession I do have to make is that I should stake plants more - the Michaelmas daisy at the back has fallen flat after a day of soft wetting rain - from the weight of water.  
 The woodpecker has returned to the feeder - a pleasure to see - and I put up a grey wagtail by the pond this afternoon.

I have cleared away the sweet peas that never flowered and begun trimming and cutting away the debris - like the hosta leaves above. There are still some apples on the Bramley.

So we are trying to get used to the change of time - the clocks just went back an hour in the UK so lighter in the morning but darker at night. Why can't modern science sort that out - correct the tilt of the earth? Mind you, if they did - no seasons and the Brits would have nothing to complain about.

Also, why is our news continually dominated by the palaver in the USA - I mean it's simple - give Obama another year and try and find someone more sensible as a figurehead.
Michael Moore for President? Or Bob Dylan - a President who would say nothing - what a change - an enigmatic President.

It is November 1st and I tweaked my back yesterday in the garden and have struggled to put my socks and shoes on this morning. Bad news is that it hurts, good news is that I can avoid gardening for a while. (Well, good news for me but not good news for the garden.)

Oh! And the fox has been caught again on the night camera.

 The poppy is not the only  red in the garden still - roses on the shed and fuchsia by the gate continue strongly. The sedum under the Magnolia stellata is its usual flopped over state but flowering. I have raised the canopy on the tree so we can see better the daffodils that will come up in the spring below it.

As I am laid up and not doing owt I leave you with the cherry as it meets the autumn.