Saturday, December 31, 2011

A year in pictures


IMG_7577 Christmas Box (Sarcococca), placed by the front door, so it is easy to remember to bend down and smell its glorious fragrance on a dark winter day.



Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ – perfection in miniature. Well worth spending 15 minutes getting cold knees to admire her.



Spring is here – cold knees again, but for a blast of golden sunshine.


Orange tips

Early sunshine brings out the butterflies. In this case, mating orange-tips.


Meconopsis blue

Normal weather resumes, dampening the petals (but not the brilliant colour)  of the beautiful Meconopsis.


Astrantia I spent some of May and June playing with the camera, learning about depth of field.



As always, July brings bright colours to the ‘late summer border’ (sounds considerably grander than it is!)



Rhapsody in blue – the hard-working and beautiful Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’ is a star in the front garden, starting in late July and going on until the end of September.



Almost as beautiful as a flower in the garden – the garden spider. I wish I was as keen on their cousins, the house spider – as it’s around September that these monstrous beasties make themselves known in the house.


Red Admiral

What better advert is there for allowing ivy to grow in your garden? A red admiral enjoying some late October sun.



Early November sees the brilliant colours of witch hazel leaves shine through the dull days.



A New Year’s Eve rose – Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Contracting world

I will gloss over the lack of posts for two months.

As Beetle continues to germinate within, I find my world contracting slightly. I’ve not visited any gardens recently, the allotment becomes something of an effort, and the weather has meant that plot visits have been short. Thanks to SomeBeans, we do have some home-grown veg to consume tomorrow – though I have failed on sprout timings this year (they may be ready for Easter).

Dark nights and wet weekends have meant I’ve even neglected the garden. We had some quite major works done in the back garden at the end of October, but I didn’t even blog about them. The patio has gradually, in the eight years we’ve been here, sunk, cracked, been broken by frosts, and made very uneven. The reason for these problems was revealed during excavations – they were laid on around 6” of sand, and that was about it. The long steps were impractical, meaning that you walked along from kitchen door to garage with one foot on one level and the other foot on another level. So, we got a more useable space.   

IMG_0995 IMG_1106


At the bottom of the garden, there were two cherry trees, rendered ugly by around 20 years of what I shall call ‘lollipopping’. We’d been meaning to get them cut back for a while, as they had grown a lot and shadowed over the greenhouse. A chat with the rear neighbour about them shading his garden, however, galvanised me into more drastic action. Why pay someone to come in and perpetuate the monstrous lollipopping? We could clear out the bottom areas (also over planted with a laburnum sloping into another neighbour’s garden) and a deformed holly. Disadvantages, of course, are that we have lost some habitat for birds and insects, and some summer shade, for when the sun does (occasionally) come out. Advantages are regaining light for the greenhouse, and a new area to plant up with hopefully more attractive trees, shrubs and perennials. An ugly gravel/rock corner has been disposed of, and replaced with patio. Not mould-breaking design, I admit, but a nicer, more useable corner of garden. The gravel/rock corner had annoyed me since we first moved in.



As you can see, it is yet to be planted up. We have put one plant in; which will grow to give some screening against the house in the background. We chose an Amelanchier ‘Robin Hill’ which will give us colour in the spring and also the autumn, much more attractively than the cherries did. To this will be added some shrubs and spring/winter interest planting.

Since these works were completed in November, I’ve barely ventured into the garden, but some sunshine this morning saw me tidying the front garden. Normally I leave a lot of the herbaceous plant growth in place until spring, but might have my hands full in a couple of months time, so this morning saw me cutting back and pulling weeds up on my hands and knees.

Perhaps not an elegant position to be in, but needs must (and it does tie in with the title of this blog!), and it has two distinct advantages – firstly, it is, apparently a good position to be in to encourage Beetle to adopt the correct position for birth (at his last scan he was breech, which means a Caesarean if he stays like that). Secondly, it gave me a close-up view of the bulbs starting to push their way through the soil to the air. There’s still a long time for winter to appear, but a few green shoots bring happiness and hope for a good new year.

Merry Christmas x