Sunday, October 26, 2008

Plants I cannot grow

This post was inspired by Somebeans' comments at the garden centre this morning. He takes great pleasure in pointing out huge stands of Bear's Breeches (Acanthus spinosus). I've had gardens with a variety of soil types, aspects etc, where I have tried to emulate the spreading stands of this plant which my mother used to consider a weed in her garden. But the blooming plant just won't grow for me.

Since taking up an allotment a couple of years ago, I can add to the Acanthus most forms of brassicas. I can manage spring cabbage (just), but purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese, winter cabbage, cauliflowers and kohl rabi have all defeated me. These things want to grow, surely? Until they meet me. Up until this year, I thought I had the hang of tomatoes, but sat in the conservatory at the moment is the whole of 2008's tomato harvest - 12 puny specimens, only just starting to colour up. I may just get the first taste of home grown tomatoes this year by Halloween.

I also seem to extend the finger of doom towards clematis and pumpkins/squashes. However, this year I have triumphed with turnips. And mooli. Perhaps the local children will be impressed by a carved mooli with a candle inside on the front doorstep on Friday.

More changes...

The Hammamelis still has some leaves, despite the recent torrential rain and heavy winds. The colours have grown stronger and brighter as the weeks have gone by.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October flowers, October colours

It's the 15th day of the month, which makes it Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (GBBD).
There's still a lot of colour in the garden, and the wonderful low light which illuminates the plants beautifully.

Ahh, the joy of lazy photo blogging.
Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

...and thanks for all the cats.

Thank you to everyone who took part, commented on or simply tolerated LAPCPADPOUB Day.
Thank you also to James who is in the process of final judging, once he has stopped vomiting in his hat due to a surfeit of kewt kitties.

And so, just for James, I have created my own LOLcat in order to draw a close to the painful poetry and frolicking felines.

I am currently listening to 'What's New Pussycat' by Tom Jones.
HappyMouffetard and SomeBeans trivia #1: We had a Tom Jones song played at our wedding ceremony. Not 'what's New Pussycat' - that would be stupid. It was 'Help Yourself'.
HappyMouffetard and SomeBeans trivia #2: Another song at our wedding ceremony was 'Mad About the Boy' by Eartha Kitt. She, of course, played Cat Woman.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

LAPCPADPOUB Day - thank you for your contributions!

Welcome to the Inaugural 'Lets all post cat photos and dire poetry on our blogs' (LAPCPADPOUB*) day. I've put this up slightly early, so anyone up at stupid 'o'clock on Sunday morning has somewhere to post that they've put up a pome.

The history of this event has been well documented here, here, and here. Whilst I'm reasonably certain that we won't plumb the poetic depths reached by William Topaz McGonagall, I'm sure we'll get a few corkers.

Guarding the top of this post are Bill (left) and Ted (right). Rescue cats, they came already named, but they are strangely suitable. Bill is scared and sweet. Ted is a bruiser, who has the habit of growling at dogs and at the postman.

Please do let me know if you have posted any delightful kitty photos on your site, and also your wonderful feline-based poetry efforts. James Alexander-Sinclair has kindly offered three of his signed books as prizes for the most nausea-inducing efforts on this day. In order to be in with a chance to win one of these, please leave a comment here on this thread and/or on his own blog, so we know that you've joined in. I think it is only right that James himself judges the poems, as all of this is happening in tribute to his own love of cat-based blogging ;-)

Buckets at the ready for cloying verses, sweeter than a vat full of saccharine!

I'm adopting a more minimalist approach, and have produced a haiku about each of our cats. Not least because it saves worrying about rhyming.

Bill - a scaredy cat
Must run away! I'm frightened!
But you have warm lap.

Darkness with a growl,
Ted - cat with real catitude;
Friendship on his terms.

Have fun and please do join in! Stealing cats for the purpose of the day is not condoned, but most cats are very free with their affections, and will pose for photos and as a poetry muse for a bit of fuss and promises of fresh tuna steaks.

Furry, purry, and a little bit surly,
Paddy, faddy and sometime a baddy,
Sleepy, peepy and sometimes downright creepy,
On the bed, easily led, that's our Ted.
Soft as a jelly, loves being rubbed on his belly,
Feared foe of mice, but usually nice,
Hides his face with his paw, never extends a claw,
Loves chasing paper to kill, his name is Bill.

*I am aware that I spelt this wrong, but it's just too late to change now!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Monday, October 06, 2008

First frost

Frosty white cars and roofs met my eyes this morning. The end of the beans and courgettes. The start of winter. Hopefully someone will tell the people in charge of the heating at work, so I don't have to sit with my coat on all day.

Next stop - Christmas.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Garden fripperies

Meet Myrtle.

Not a particularly good shot of her, and not in her normal resting spot, which was too dark and dingy for photography. She normally hangs out by the back door, admiring the tree ferns. She was a bit of an extravagance, but she's looked good (albeit sometimes rather chilly) in a couple of our gardens for several years now.

We ordered her from Tatton Show, although I'd had my eye on her for a while. What sealed the deal was the chap on the stand - wearing a linen suit and a Panama hat, he looked rather louche, and a bit Alan Rickman-ish. He spoke lovingly of Myrtle and her colleagues, and patted their bottoms proprietorially.

Here, Myrtle is sporting her summer hairdo. In the next few weeks she'll have to move to her winter 'do. I'm not sure what to give her this year. In the past she's had dwarf irises (rather strange and only looked good for a few weeks), houseleeks (long lasting but a bit common), and a Stipa tenuissima (bedraggled in the rain). I was thinking of an ornamental cabbage, but somehow I feel that she's too classy to have a smelly cabbage plonked on her. Any suggestions, folks out in blog-land?