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Showing posts from September, 2011

Tales of the Riverbank

When I pop into the local market town on a Thursday to do a bit of shopping I always stop on a particular bridge over the River Welland to check the wildlife.  I am always amazed at just how much you can spot right in the middle of town. 

Yesterday was no exception I spotted a Water Vole, swimming for all he was worth to reach the bank.  As you probably know wild life preservationists are doing all they can to bring Water Voles back from the brink, so I felt really honoured that I had spotted one - unfortunately I wasn't quick enough with my camera, so I have borrowed this photo from google images
Standing at the very same spot a few weeks ago I got really excited to see a Grass Snake swimming upstream
I wasn't sure what type of snake it was at first, but noticed that it had an orangey-yellow band across its neck.  I was on my own and desperately wanted to share my discovery with somebody, but no one stopped when I said out loud "Oo look at that" so I felt a bit stupi…

Lazy Hazy Days

As I rode up to the allotment this morning there was a hazy mist above the fields silhouetting the horses grazing The Cosmos planted around the edge of the plot their petals dappled with shade accentuating the purity of the white Cosmos a mixture of flowers that have grown together of their own accord the Sunflower heads getting smaller and smaller still with plenty of flowers to come the mint is in flower attracting hoverflies and bees and a beautiful pale lilac Zinnia completes the  picture

Early Morning Mushroom Ramble

The best morning of the year so far I reckon, bright warm sunshine and heavy dew, just a hazy mist - so I decided to go for an early morning ramble to look for Field Mushrooms.  By 7.30 I was up and running, well not quite running, but you know what I mean.  I didn't have to look too far - the horsey field next door to ours was full of them, glinting white in the early morning sun.  I came back home with a good haul, and excited by this I went into the field behind our house to check that out as well.  Only  a few Horse Mushrooms I'm afraid - and they were fairly old. 

Once I start mushrooming I tend to get a little greedy for more, as (I may have mentioned before) they really are my favourite free food.  So if the weather holds, I shall be out again tomorrow - before anyone else cottons on.
Mushrooms on toast here we come!
Pop over to my other blog
to see more about the fungi I found whilst on holiday.

Season of Mists ...

Today was the first of misty autumnal mornings, the leaves are beginning to fall, and cobwebs are woven inbetween the plants like little parachutes.

We had a wonderful day weather-wise yesterday and I was able to make headway into all the jobs that had been piling up.  I planted out five containers with bulbs and pansies, with more to come, then I began clearing debris and cutting back plants that were past their best and transplanting foxglove seedlings that have popped up in all the wrong places.  They have all now been grouped together with some new hollyhock plants to give a good display next year. 

Hopefully, once the mist has burned off, I should be able to carry on weeding and mulching and putting everything to rights.  Putting the garden to bed for winter is one of my favourite gardening pursuits, once all the bulbs and wallflowers are planted I can sit back and think 'good job done' nothing left to do till next year.
Then I can clean all my tools, store them away oile…

Autumn Round Up

It rained heavily overnight, a rain which was very welcome, now the sun shines and the garden glows in the morning light.  The flowers are making a last push before winter sets in -
The white of the double Feverfew in its second flush brings a bright spot of relief to the otherwise dying foliage all around it -

The Erysium, bowed down with the weight of water droplets, has performed brilliantly all summer and looks set to carry on for a few weeks yet.  I have already taken a few cuttings which have taken root, but I will take a few more whilst the weather is still warm.

The Nasturtiums are just hanging on although they are looking a bit moth eaten now, I have been collecting seed to ensure an equally good display next year.

The Pelargoniums are past their best now and will be replaced with bulbs, but not before I have taken plenty of cuttings for next years' display - sometimes the cuttings don't make it through the winter in my cold greenhouse, but I will give it a go anyway.

And …

Pensthorpe Prairie Gardens

 Last week, whilst on holiday in North Norfolk, we visited Pensthorpe Nature Reserve - a beautiful place with lakes full of ducks, woodland walks and gardens that bloom at different times.

The Millenium Garden, designed by Piet Outdolf, is a glorious example of prairie gardening.  At this time of year most of the flowers have gone to seed, but there are still great swathes of different grasses, swishing in the breeze.  The garden is built on a slope and gives various views through the plants till you reach the bottom, then you are eye to eye with the low-growers.
This is a view of Geraniums that you wouldn't normally get unless you lay on your stomach.
We have been to Pensthorpe at different times of the year, in March the plants were being split by the gardeners and it was very bare.

In June it starts to come into its own , but by the middle of summer it is in full swing and takes your breath away.

These are the tall grasses - I don't know the variety - that sway and whisper .

The Golden Season

I though I would start with this image, it isn't my garden, I hasten to add, just to prove to myself that an autumn garden can look good.  This morning the weather is a bit grey and it's starting to rain - why can't the weather stay the same for two days running?
The Rudbeckias in the cutting patch are starting to look a bit sorry for themselves, they are getting a bit droopy and ragged now, but they have been a really good bright spot of colour for weeks, so I musn't mind too much.  The rusts and yellows always seem more appropriate at this time of year, than the pinks and blues, I really must try to inject the garden with more next year.

The Sunflowers are still flowering well, despite the fact that the are all leaning at dangerous angles, and they are still pushing out plenty of buds.

Even though we have hardly had any rain, and I haven't watered them since they were seedlings, they have survived the harsh treatment and neglect.

These self-seeded Antirhinums have …

Rabbits in the Mist

Some years there are plenty of rabbits about, coming into the veg garden and causing havoc, digging crops up, nibbling the rest and generally being anywhere they shouldn't be.  At my allotment garden they build their warrens under my old goat shed.  The paving slabs in front of the shed have sunk due to their burrowing.  What you might call a bloomin' nuisance.

Other years we hardly see any - myxomatosis - killing them off (a rabbit with this disease is a terrible thing to see).

This year is a good year for rabbits and a bad year for humans.  On my way to town this morning, every few hundred yards, there was a squashed rabbit on the road.  I don't know whether drivers aim for them or not - but the rabbits timing crossing the roads, leaves a lot to be desired.  Of course this outcome is good for the crows and magpies, who stand in the road enjoying the carrion, flying off with the rabbits entrails to eat in comfort somewhere a bit safer.

On a more pleasant note - as I was w…

Laid Back or Lazy Gardening?

At this time of the year the garden wants a right-good seeing-to, as they say in Yorkshire.  Most plants are past it now, and are on their last-flowering legs.   They have flopped over - sprawled out and died back.  The weather has been prohibitive these last few days and not much has been done that desperately needs doing.  No excuses I know - but when it gets to autumn, I feel all gardened-out.  Should I just leave it to Mother Nature to sort it out, she's been doing it without our help all along, after all?  If we left our lawns alone, would they automatically become a meadow?

 Shall we let the seedlings seed  where they will, the result will probably be far more natural than with our manipulations.  What about no pruning - bushes and shrubs left to run riot to be covered in flowers next year ... I'm all for that.  Should we pull out the plants that are struggling, they will never come good however much tlc you give them, and replace them with wild flowers that will flouri…

An Autumn Walk

As we are in the midst of a 'mini' hurricane at the moment gardening is almost impossible so I ventured out into the autumn sunshine and decided to walk the length of the Saddington Tunnel. This  tunnel has the distinction of being the longest narrow boat tunnel in Europe at 808metres long. The tunnel was opened for boat traffic if 1797 and the original towpath carries on over the top of the tunnel. In the days of the horse-drawn boat the horse would be led over the top whilst the men lay on their backs on top of the boat and pushed it through the tunnel with their feet on the ceiling. I saw lots of signs of autumn Fungi in the leaf litter Elder leaves turning into beautiful shades Mysterious symbols set in stone The canal strewn with leaves Make-shift bridges on the tow path Secret pathways Old Bridges And finally journeys end. The view from the top of the tunnel. The  Saddington Tunnel was a great feat of engineering and has provided modern-day narrow boaters with an exciting part of their journe…