Friday, 26 May 2017

CUCKOOS AND DUCKS

I wake up to news that some lunatic has killed children with a suicide bomb in Manchester. What a crazy creature the human being is.



I sit outside in the sun and a cloud of columbines, and then a cuckoo calls from the fields above the house, mallard are on the shed roof waiting for the ladies with horses in the field next door to put out food. The pheasants will be down there too.

The tree sparrows have again taken over the house martin nest at the west end, have already had one lot of fledgelings and another brood are chirping in the nest. However the house martins are interested in the east gable nest.

Too wet to mow, keep having showers so weeded part of rosebud and asparagus. We have loads of lovely asparagus.
I have planted some parsley - the flat leaved one that R likes best.
Chard, beetroot and carrots sown but knowing my luck nothing will come up (and if it does it will be eaten.)(Not by us.)
The fruit is all in fine fettle except the gooseberries which have mildew and sawfly - AGAIN!

When I removed the black plastic sheeting from the bed voles shot in all directions - well there that had been in a nest in the middle of the bed. There were also a number of small toads hopping away.

Down on the decking the dozy collared doves are sitting in the sun with their wings spread. I thought they might be doing this so ants or something could help get rid of their parasites - but couldn't see any ants.

Finally mowed - Tuesday - and had to run at one point as upset a nest of forest cuckoo bumblebees, Psithyrus sylvestris.

The garden is full of colour but not as good as the pelargonium house at Balmoral last week.

The last of the spring tulips are almost done, all gone till next year, and the forgetmenots are beginning to go over (and sow themselves.) 

Orange poppies seem to be dominating the wild yellow poppy everywhere.
I have put in some sweet peas and hope for better than last year - plus a courgette and three butternut squashes.
The ammi and cosmos have not been a great success - I think I need a greenhouse (but we are getting and electric cooker for the summer instead.) In fact, now we have also got two pots outside the door we use filled with purple petunias. (Mmmm!)


This is a female chaffinch, a bird of which we have many.



 The wood is splendid, filled with pignut and campion - both the red and the albino (not white campion). Slanting light gives it a feeling of all's well with the world - when it is not. Ma nature just plugs on best she can despite mankind.

It is four in the afternoon and tea time so the sun says.


Friday, 19 May 2017

BEEN AWAY IN REFERENDUM LAND


Off to the Pheasant strutters' ball?

It is not only flowers that give colour to the garden, albeit shades of green - Crambe, astrantia and cardoon here.

Then there are the fruit flowers, some as the strawberry brighter than the red and black currant. The gooseberries are already growing.







Some plants in the garden just grow and grow like this spectacular phormium given to us by PJR when we moved. It flowers every year now but soon will block the path.

Down by the pond the Kingcup, Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris, whatever has glowed in a dark corner under the hedge and in the house the Calla lilies are out.

So a mowing and a weeding ands a watering - especially the strawberries.

A fox comes up to the camera at night, sees the light and moves away - only watch the first few seconds as it does not come back.


video


Up the garden the blue bells are now starting to go over. In amongst the blue ones are several white flowers.


The Royal fern is unrolling its fronds as are the other ferns in the hedge bank.

All in all the garden is bursting at the seams again, a delight.



Sunday, 7 May 2017

DRY UP NORTH - AND GOING ON AND ON AND. . .

So it is but fortunately the northerly turned south and west bringing warmer weather (and then east with a chill in the air). Unfortunately the dry weather has caused the rhubarb to collapse - it always needs a lot of water so that is what it has got.


I dug up and potted one of our bay trees for M who has been staying. She is taking some rhubarb too. 
It is almost time for asparagus steamed and with melted butter - Yum!
Walked out the kitchen door and nearly trod on the cock pheasant strutting his stuff.


The video camera seems to have captured a lot of nothing recently except yours truly mowing - until last night when we caught sight of our badger again.

video

The battle with sycamore seedlings goes on - their are thousands of them and it is driving me nuts - I weed an area and return two days later to find the place sprouting again.

Sitting outside with a post lunch cup of tea I watched a tiny Zebra spider on the paving. It has the strange habit of crawling for a while then jumping a few inches.
Red ants were out foraging as well.

So to weed, weed, weed - creeping buttercup - aaah!, pity one cannot dry it and smoke it.

Sycamore seedlings above, water crowfoot taking over the pond on the left - and as if that is not enough the good old spirogyra is back clogging the water with its green mats. 

I tried to pull it out with a rake extended by tape to a broom handle but the handle snapped.

Two days on and we ate our first asparagus with a little melted butter - heaven! 

I enlarged the top pond and took some of the excavated rich soil down to the compost heap. 

Here is a surprise find in the half disused cold frame under glass, dry and warm in the sun. Last year the blackbird was in the woodshed. 




Both the crab apple and apple are in flower.

Let me move on to something prettier - the red amaryllis are out again and glorious - 4th year in a row with the two bulbs we have. 

  
And, for the first time, the pink tree paeony has flowered.