Sunday, 22 June 2014


Life at Bag End has been full of surprises, not least of which was finding Dactylorhiza fuchsii, the common spotted orchid, in the grass.

(published on 3rd April 2015)

Inside the fruit cage

Stupidly, irritatingly, frustratingly there are no photos of the building of our huge fruit cage.

But it's wonderful and definitely works.  I can get to all the produce and the birds can't!

(finally published on 31st March 2015 . . . good grief!)

Saturday, 21 June 2014


Hello little blog, I've missed you, more than I expected.  The turn of the year, Midsummer, is a good time to take up the reins again.  No wondrous sunrise over Skiddaw this morning but it has been another beautiful day, warm, dry, sunny, very little wind, and I can't help thinking that this is "Summer 2014" and it will soon be over :}

A sabbatical isn't a holiday, it is meant to be a time to do different things and to a small degree I have been successful, but not as much as I would have liked/needed.  I'd reached the point where, after seven endless years of doing 'stuff'*,  I had really, really had enough and was heading for a major sense of humour failure or a small meltdown.   I spent some time fantasising about running away (but who would water the greenhouse or fill the bird feeders?) but that's not my style and anyway, all the renovation projects would still be waiting for me when I came back so what would be the point?

(* a year prepping our Hampshire house to sell and six years of work here)

A gardener not gardening at this time of year is as impossible as flying to the moon but I've been trying to cut back a bit.  To try and reduce the constant pain in my arms and shoulders I have attempted to do much less lifting and carrying in the garden.  That's been limited in its success and at some point I should write about calcific tendonitis, my attempts to treat it avoiding surgery, and the "interesting" experience of taking opiate based painkillers for the first time in my life. 

In the last six weeks we've achieved a lot in the house, and I'll write about that soon.  I have finally realised that I can blog retrospectively about things which have already happened and not tie myself to dating posts exactly to the event, so I plan to do some 'catch up' posts over the next week or so. 

Whilst having a blogging break I found, unexpectedly, that I stopped looking at other blogs too, so if I normally pop in to see you and have not recently, that's why.  I have intentionally spent much less time on the computer but all that means is the email backlog has grown even if I have managed to nail some of the other outstanding tasks.

Interestingly, by taking Bag End 'offline' whilst I fiddled around with the (nearly) monthly 'Bag End in detail' posts to make them less cumbersome, I heard from a few people that they couldn't see the blog.  Nothing strange in that, except that I had no idea some of these folk came to keep an eye on what we were doing.  But I should not be surprised - most of the visitors who look at my posts go away without leaving a comment. Particularly disappointed in one particular person, but it says more about them than it does me.

Nothing surprising about our four-legged friend.  Little Miss Perfect continues to be just that - adorable, funny, good natured, an absolute delight to live with.  Just like me really (but when I said that to Management he pulled a very weird face ...)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Pond watching

With one exception, we've had a pond in every house we have lived in.  Three ponds at Bag End is probably over-the-top by normal people's standards but the pleasure we get from pond-watching is well worth it :-)

I fell in love with cotton grass many years ago on Loughrigg Fell.  It must smell particularly delicious if you are a dog because Ollie could not stop rolling in it - he was in ecstasy and I know that was the highlight of his day :-) 

In our rich soil it grows considerably taller.  The plan for 2015 is to spread it into the other ponds, and probably into the damper borders as well.

Yellow flag iris is another rather enthusiastic plant but the big pond wouldn't seem complete without it.

Purple loosetrife.

We're not the only ones who enjoy the water.

(published on 3rd April 2015)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Flowers in the side garden

Nigella, don't know what variety this is, came from a mixed packet.  Love how I've managed to catch some of the purple at the very centre which is the colour that attracts bees.

Prunella vulgaris (self-heal),  it can get a bit "enthusiastic" but the bees love it.

Verbena bonariensis

Cosmos, not sure which one.  I love the late-season flowers, although it's tiresome to have to raise it every year.  Must investigate the perennial varieties.

(finally published on 3rd April 2015)

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Cottage Garden

(finally published on 31st March 2015 . . . good grief!)

Thursday, 12 June 2014


It's been a fabulous year for clematis.


Clematis montana, Broughton Star

Nelly Moser


Fond Memories


Clematis viticella, Etoille Voilette

(published 7th February 2015)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Bag End birds

When we first came to Bag End I recorded our avian visitors, and photographed and published them.  I have to admit in the last couple of years I've been taking them all for granted.  Note to self .... bla bla bla bla. 

The male Redpoll doesn't seem bothered by Goldfinch who are nearly twice his size.

Looks like I had a second one trying to get in on the act . . .

(published on 3rd April 2015)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Coppice in June

The Coppice might have been planned as a Spring garden, but it's looking quite lovely in early summer :}

(published 7th February 2015)