Tag Archives: plants

Where did that come from?

I love spring. It’s my favourite time of year. Not that you’d know spring had arrived yet in the UK as, after a short warm and sunny spell last week, we still have chilly days and some strong winds. But, all that aside, the garden seems to be springing (ha) to life.

One of the best things about this time of year are the colourful displays in the garden. Not only bulbs I remember planting, and those lovely little spring shrubby flowers, but a few surprises, too. I don’t know how they get here, but every year there seems to be something I don’t remember planting or seeing before, obviously courtesy of the birds dropping seeds? Or seeds flying about on the wind? I’m not sure, but I’m very happy to welcome most of the new things in the garden. And the best things is they always seem to plant themselves in exactly the place where I would have put them. Spooky.

20180421_162211For instance, this beautiful flowering shrub/tree arrived a couple of years ago. It sprung up right where we can see it from the kitchen window, and we love it. Don’t know what it is, but it’s so pretty.

20180425_132234This year I’ve noticed some lovely ground geraniums popping up in a space by the window, so again when they flower we’ll have a good view from the living room. Of course, Ms. Vivvy had to investigate this new arrival to check out if it’s edible or just for show. She wasn’t especially pleased when she discovered it was the latter.

As spring morphs into summer I’ll be keeping a check to see what other new delights await. What about you? Any flowers ever arrived in your outside space that surprised and delighted you?

We’ve Gone A Little Potty

So, here we are: the start of August, middle of summer, and yes, it’s tipping with rain for the second day running. After the driest July on record for the UK, we’ve had more rain in the West Country in one day than for the whole of last month. Typical! At least it isn’t cold, but this dismal weather is a disappointment. I was looking forward to spending the week enjoying the sunshine in the garden with my mother, who’s staying here for a while. The trip was planned for some time but bought forward by an unfortunate accident, one that has brought amusement to the family.

Mum is unable to walk far or do a lot around the house or her large garden due to an ongoing back condition. My sister, who also lives on her own, has been taking care of her for the past year, doing her shopping, helping around the house, and looking after the garden. A few weeks ago, Ursula tripped on a damaged paving slab in the street, fell and broke her wrist in several places, needing surgery to insert a metal plate, such was the severity of the injury. Obviously, this means she is now out of action for some weeks and unable to do much for herself, let alone for Mum. Fortunately, my other sister, Ursula’s twin, lives near both of them, and Lydia has been doing all the driving, errands, personal help, and shopping etc, for both.  Mum was upset because she could doing little in return for Ursula,  having broken her own wrist several years ago so knows what it is like to cope with one arm in plaster. So Mum thought now was a good time to come and stay in order to give both my sisters a break (excuse the pun!).

What amused the family, although it is no laughing matter, was the coincidence that the very same day Ursula took her tumble, our brother in Spain, also fell over, and broke his wrist too! They are all now waiting for it to happen to me; I’m the only one in the family not to have broken a wrist.


20160802_113410Mum is/was an avid gardener, loves plants and enjoys pottering about outside a little but nothing that involves bending. She loves seeing our garden and we share lots of tips, hints and advice, all of us always eager to learn. Spring provided  a lovely display but the summer show isn’t at its best this year. We’ve not done a lot because the beds are being ripped out this autumn, ready for the big revamp (new larger patio, larger greenhouse, new fencing etc; at least, that’s the plan). To make up for the shortfall, we’ve gone rather overboard with pots and containers; far more than usual. We love bold colours, colour clashes and perfume and the bright colours do bring rays of sunshine to the garden despite the rain.

20160802_113743But with the pouring rain, all we can do at the moment is enjoy the display from the patio window. With luck, the weather will improve over the next few days to enable Mum and me to get out there, put up the sunshade and enjoy some summer sun in the garden, preferably reading a book and enjoying a cocktail or two.

Hold on a moment… is that a bit of blue sky I can see creeping over the horizon?

Better late than never…

During our married life, AJ and I have moved ten times within six different counties here in the UK. We’ve loved our travels, especially living in new places and meeting new people, but when we moved into our current house almost twenty years ago now, we both sensed it was home.

I’d always been pretty happy to live a kind of nomadic existence, not really putting down roots anywhere because I knew AJ would likely come home and tell me he’d been promoted in his career and we were off to pastures new. They were exciting and adventurous times, but I’m happy to have those roots down now.

20160523_075020When we moved in here, one of the first things I wanted to do was redesign the garden. It was a good sized space, but the patio and paths were beginning to crumble and looking worse for wear. But there always seemed to be something else in the house that needed attention first, so the garden was put on the back burner. We travelled a lot too, so that took up a lot of available funds 🙂 🙂

20160527_111232Anyway, after we adopted Vivvy last year and following a winter of waterlogged lawns, almost non-existent pathways, and the resultant muddy paws, we decided to take the plunge and hire a landscaper to get to grips with the garden. Poor Vivvy wondered what on earth was happening as over ten ton of concrete was broken up and disposed of in what she thinks of as her domain. When the way was prepared for the new landscaping, she decided to put her mark on proceedings and promptly stepped in the newly-laid concrete bed, much to the chagrin (and consequent laughter) of the landscapers.

20160604_185656Soon the garden of my twenty-year dreams began to take shape and I have to admit to being absolutely thrilled with the result. I’ve gained a gorgeous new patio, another area for planting, and a path that I can actually walk on rather than simply negotiate pot holes.20160615_154819

Okay, so it took almost two decades but then everything worth having is worth waiting for. Now I’m enjoying researching plants to go along the wall edge of the patio, for which I’ll be needing help. So, does anyone have any ideas for plants that will provide year-round foliage, while growing tallish, but not too wide, and offering some colour in the spring/summer months? Any suggestions gratefully received.


Winter’s Here – That’s Official!

Winter is here – that’s official. Well, at least in my garden it is. Yesterday, 2nd December, saw the first heavy frost here and it put my garden to sleep in an icy, if pretty, crystalline blanket. Gone are the colourful dahlias and marigolds that were holding on; frozen, limp and black are the remaining fuchsia flowers, and even the winter pansies have taken a battering and are looking very sorrow for themselves. But they will recover to bring colourful patches to brighten the short winter days, as will the other plants in the garden recover come spring.

100_5660Despite it being the worst summer on record for rain, the seeds scattered about, mainly the wild flowers I love so much, were the only plants that failed to grow. The established ones, and the perennials in my little patch of heaven have had a good year and thrived. The roses were magnificent, if short-lived, the lilies were sublime and filled the patio with perfume for weeks, the fuchsias sung out with their pendulous flowers and the nasturtiums were brilliant. The pots of geraniums and petunias were gorgeous and the hanging baskets the best ever. But all the wet weather meant I couldn’t enjoy many mid-morning coffees outside, sitting and relaxing, taking in all the sights, smells and sounds, and I didn’t see my little field mouse that often, although I knew he was there from the few glimpses of him I did manage. And most mornings as I ventured across the soggy grass to refill the bird feeder, I spied the hedgehog’s little black calling card.

100_5080Many of the so-say experts professed it was a disastrous year for the insects, with very few bees, few birds and even less butterflies. They obviously didn’t know about my garden, for if they had, these experts would have seen bees and bumble bees almost in swarms, the air constantly buzzing. The birds, particularly my gang of sparrows were always in the shrubbery, the flock now well over thirty. And as for the butterflies, this year we lost count of them, seeing many species we haven’t seen fluttering about for many years. They are as elusive as the Val Doonican song of many years ago, for try as I might to photograph them, the moment they sensed I was near they would all fly off. Either that, or they are camera shy.

dreamstimefree_51059We have growing over the garden fence from a neighbour, several buddleia bushes. I wondered whether it was these, along with my own black prince buddleia, a beautiful deep purple colour, encouraging the butterflies in. But when studying these creatures, most were to be found on my erysimum plant – a perennial summer form of wallflower – for they seemed to always congregate on this plant. At one stage we counted fifteen butterflies in the garden, and this excluded the common cabbage whites which, oddly enough, were rarely in the garden this summer. Of course, all this meant there were plenty of caterpillars chomping their way through the greenery. But I didn’t mind, they are next year’s beauties and the birds have enjoyed the extra food.

So whilst it all looks dead and forlorn out there, it’s given me a chance to reflect on what has been, and already I’m planning how it will look next year.


Grannies Bonnets

This gallery contains 3 photos.

 It might be the first Monday of June but here in old Blighty it’s blooming cold again. More noticeable as we’ve just experienced two wonderful weeks of warm weather after all the rain of the previous month. But it has … Continue reading

Summer’s back!

Last weekend I packed away my summer clothes having spent the previous few days and nights shivering as the weather turned chilly. I dug out my autumn/winter gear and with regret said goodbye to tee shirts and linen trousers for the foreseeable future. Then back came the sun!

It’s unseasonably hot and sunny here in the UK right now with temperatures in the mid to late 20s.. Yesterday was the hottest autumn day in England since the 1890s. We’re all enjoying an Indian Summer At least we humans are. The poor plants and insects are finding things pretty confusing.

Gardeners at Kew Gardens report that plants are flowering as if it’s spring, with some shrubs displaying flowers even as their leaves change colour ready for autumn.

The insects are confused, too. In early September, when the weather here grew really chilly, the spiders started their annual autumnal march into the house searching for warmth. Now all is quiet with this warm weather and I just hope that when this hot spell is over, we don’t have another invasion of the creepy crawlies inside the home. Once a year is enough, thank you 🙂

We have a few more days of good weather forecast, so we’re heading out this weekend to make the most of it. Dogs are allowed on the beaches here in the UK from today, so looks like Zorro will get his first taste of the seaside.

Wherever you are in the world, have a great weekend.