Friday, 25 May 2018

Kate's photo challenge - May 2018

April rather got away from me and I didn't manage to join in with the photo Scavenger Hunt, so I was determined to do better this month.  I had it all planned nicely with a three night trip in the campervan  this week to visit more gardens in Scotland and I thought it would be fun to try and take all the pictures whilst I was away.

Unfortunately things have not worked out.  Management's  Mum had a fall last week resulting in a broken hip (not surprising for an 85 year-old).  She's doing really well, has had a partial hip replacement op, but will be probably be in hospital until the end of the month.  Management went off to visit so for me there was no trip away in Bill after all.  Therefore I really did have to 'scavenge' and look through my archives for images.

1.     Cool

Having just had another birthday I've decided I'm probably now far too old for cool to mean anything other than lower temperatures!  This is from a trip to Keswick one winter's day when everything was frozen including Derwentwater - this is Management "walking on water".   It was a smashing day out and I struggled to choose just one picture from that blog post.

2.     Disaster

Cumbria.  Flooding.  November 2009.
I still struggle with the knowledge that Main Street was under EIGHT FEET of water, and all the shops and houses in this area have flooded twice more since that dreadful night.

3.     Movement

This is turning into a thoroughly depressing post - the eagle eyed may have noticed that there have not been any Red Squirrel pictures at Bag End for over two years.  That's because a very wealthy local landowner deliberately felled trees which contained the squirrel dreys;  they were in the way of a Planning Application he was submitting.  I've refrained from mentioning it before now because, like the floods, it is just too bloody upsetting.

4.     Fence

So many pictures to choose from, hard to select one.  With a massive garden and our general inability to live without a canine companion, sometimes it feels like we never stop fencing this garden, or changing the fencing, or repairing the fencing.

5.      Spiky/prickly

Holly, thistles, brambles and nettles.  Clearing this area between the greenhouse and our neighbour was thoroughly unpleasant.

6.     My own choice

Time for something gorgeous and far happier than the majority of my pictures this month.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone else's pictures this month, I'm sure they will be far more cheerful and inventive than my selection 😕

Friday, 18 May 2018

Something else which will not be finished in one day

I'm not a complete idiot, there is no way I could have achieved all this in one day 20 years ago and I certainly do not expect to now.
This is not so much a task list, more of an aide memoire  of where I'd like to be by the end of the weekend . . . and if not the weekend, then maybe next week.  Our weather forecast is for NO RAIN until the end of the month, something that is just too good not to take advantage of.

To the person at the back, who has a birthday tomorrow - you know who you are - STOP SNIGGERING.   You can criticise my lists when all your filing is done.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Furniture refurb

Recently a dear friend has (gently) intimated that "I might be doing too much" - bless her.  In truth, I am not doing more than I should and since the shoulder/pain thing have become much better at pacing myself and stopping when my body has had enough, rather than pressing on until a job is finished.  In my defence, I know there has been lot going on in the garden this month but every bit of straightening, weeding, mulching and so on I do now means MUCH LESS to do in June, July, August and September when it would be nice to be out and about in Bill, or in the caravan, or just sitting in the garden with my Kindle  😊

But one job I constantly put off is painting the garden furniture - it is an endless pain, worse than painting trellis.  Another benefit of Management being retired, however, is that HE is prepared to  tackle some of the horrible jobs which used to fall to me, bless him!

Yes, we have a lot of garden furniture - but it's a big garden.  This morning we collected everything in one place and gave it all a good scrub down and rinse.

I set up a spray booth outside the shed and Management set up a paint sprayer.

He won't be finished in one day . . .

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

It's a busy time in the garden

Is this the most manic time of year in the garden?   Although it is still decidedly nippy in the evenings ( I am lighting the woodburner at all and any opportunity in the evenings) the days are brighter, warmer and generally lovelier and as a result plants seem to be growing almost in front of my eyes.  I have been in the garden nearly every day for the last week or so, even if it's just for an hour or two and there are areas where I am almost straight.

I hesitate to say this - it is SO tempting fate, and I would never dare to say I'm in control of this garden, but there have been fleeting moments when I look around and think that I might just be getting on top of things!

No way is this complete, but to remind myself of some of the recent activity:

Finished painting the trellis and the bed behind it is now weeded and planted up, I have this fanciful idea that later in the year it will be lovely to see flowers through the trellis . . .

At the same time as I scored two trays of fabulous box plants (the remainder of which are potted on for now) I also found some lovely foxgloves.  They look a bit straggly straight out of the nursery, but a few minutes taking off the old leaves and they are transformed.

As are the two beds on either side of the path as you come into the Coppice :)   A few years ago I planted  'Excelsior Mixed' in this area and it looked quite fabulous, hopefully these Digitalis Purpurea Camelot Mixed will do just as well.  In an ideal world I would be saving seed, remembering to sow it at the right time, raising my own for future years .... yeah, yeah, it ain't an ideal world or I'm not that good a gardener.

Remember the cheap bulbs from Wilko I planted two months ago?  Most are growing on well and this week I planted out the tray of Anemone Mr Ruffell.  They have grown brilliantly, lovely strong plants with great roots.  Not bad for £2, some soil and a bit of time.

I've been dividing up perennials and have moved some bog-standard pink geranium - I think it's Geranium sylvaticum but we inherited it so am not sure, sedum and Astrantia 'major' to a dry and parched area under an acer (Crimson King).

Another sun-drenched bed - next to the black deck - has also been filled up with another anonymous geranium.  The leaves are wrong for Johnson's Blue, but later in the year it should look like this:

It always amused me just how much distance I can cover when I am puttering around in the garden most of the day.  Bearing in mind by the time I have taken Daisy out, done morning chores, and generally woken up, I'm never in gardening mode until at least 11.00/11.30, and as an old retired woman I take lots of breaks for lunch, coffee, the Kindle and playing with Daisy, then I am probably not actually gardening for more than three or four hours on any day.  Who needs an expensive gym membership?  😊

This was Saturday - the extra steps are  due to my short walk at Rannerdale.

Of course there's more - walks with Daisy (which sadly are very short and limited at present), messing around with the cold frames and the greenhouse, and goodness know what else besides.  But that is more than enough for now - I am going garden visiting gallivanting in the campervan next week leaving Max and Daisy to have a couple of lovely quiet days at home, and it would be good to get the blog caught up before I bring back another card full of photos to be processed 😊

Monday, 14 May 2018

It's not just about food, honest

Trying to have a sort out of too many photos in too many different locations on too many devices I came across these.  They are daft, but one day when I am much older and even more forgetful than I am now, this is the sort of thing which will make me smile when I look back and remember my first trip to Galloway.

I really do do more than eat all the time, honest!

Lunch at Ardwell

Brunch at Port Logan

Lunch at Ardwell

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Getting out early

Woke up before 7.00 surprisingly rested and refreshed - having spent months/years permanently exhausted from sleep deprivation there's no way I take it for granted when I wake up knowing I've had a decent sleep.  Clear blue sky, sun shining - and the rest of the house still deeply in slumber.  I made a snap decision to go out and by 7.20 I was in the campervan.  This is the first time I've slipped out so early and I was pleased how quickly I could pull the makings of breakfast together and load the fridge in Bill; had a shower before bed so a quick flannel and toothbrush sufficed for ablutions!

20 minutes later I was parked at our favourite spot in Rannerdale and the first mug of tea had a great view:

That's better - no van in the way!

The EXIF data says 7.57am - what a sky 🙂

After a quick breakfast I loaded up the Canon and went for a walk.  I reckon the bluebells will be at their peak in a few days if this lovely weather continues.

There are no more photos because

*   even though it was early there were too many flippin' people about,
*   sadly the Lake District and the bluebells are far too popular these days for their own good,
*   to protect the bluebells from too many idiots tramping all over them posts, rope and signs have been erected all over the place
*   there are more people & vehicles & bicycles on small roads than they were ever designed for, and most of the drivers are only used to motorways and dual carriageways and have absolutely NO idea how to handle country lanes.
*   the car parking areas are woefully insufficient so people park on soft verges and ruin the ground,

- and I don't want any of the above in my pictures so I put the camera away!

Grumble over because I still had a lovely visit and a brilliant day, I was home by 10.00am and spent the rest of my birthday quietly in the garden.  We're very, very glad that we got to know the Lake District 30 years ago when it was far less busy and spoilt than it is now.  We are also very glad that there are still lots of quiet and lovely places which most visitors never get to, and we know where they are!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

May Bank Holiday . . . allegedly

I think most Brits are still reeling from the utter confusion of:
1.  A Bank Holiday
2.  When it did not rain
3.  And the sun shone every day

Confusion comes easily at Bag End, but knowing this sort of weather doesn't happen very often there was no doubt about how I was spending most of it.

Much messing around with plants (hallelujah!), rather more painting than either of us care for but it has to be done, and nearly an entire Monday sitting on a lounger reading whilst M. had his first bike ride of the year.

I've revamped the little bed near the Top Pond - moved some peonies and added Foxglove to fill in the spaces (Polka Dot Polly - a silly purchase because they are supposed to be sterile so I might not be able to save seed - but if they are completely sterile, how to the growers propagate?) and made a start on painting the trellis.

It turned into a very 'painty' weekend.  Management did the first coat, I did the second, but our gates are now showing off Cuprinol shades 'Willow' which shows every sign of staying where it has been put, and not "doing a Ronseal" and going down the drain.

More painting up the side of the house.  If all goes according to plan (ha! - Plan!!  in this garden .....??) then by the end of the summer we will have lost the ubiquitous magnolia and be 'Green Ivy' instead.  Honestly Dulux, have you no imagination when it comes to naming paint?

A recent trip to my nursery brought back two trays of fantastic little box plants, two year old cuttings rooted on site.  Two thirds of them are now surrounding the staggered beds.  Apparently one of the biggest risk factors for box blight is lack of air movement.  Well, that ain't something we are going to suffer from here so fingers crossed . . .

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Muggle mail ?

I'm still a Harry Potter fan, I think hope I always will be.  Management bought something on eBay, and when it arrived, it looked remarkably familiar.  It seems wrong to throw it away - does anyone still collect stamps?

Dear Mr and Mrs Dursley,

We have never been introduced, but I am sure you have heard a great deal from Harry about my son Ron.

As Harry might have told you, the final of the Quidditch World Cup takes place this Monday night, and my husband, Arthur, has just managed to get prime tickets through his connections at the Department of Magical Games and Sports. I do hope you will allow us to take Harry to the match, as this really is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

Britain hasn't hosted the cup for thirty years, and tickets are extremely hard to come by. We would of course be glad to have Harry stay for the remainder of the summer holidays, and to see him safely onto the train back to school.

It would be best for Harry to send us your answer as quickly as possible in the normal way, because the Muggle postman has never delivered to our house, and I am not sure he even knows where it is.

Hoping to see Harry soon,

Yours sincerely,

Molly Weasley

P.S. I do hope we've put enough stamps on.

(c) J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

edit:  the stamps are going to a new home when I get to a post box :)