Monday, 31 March 2014

re-charged and re-vitalised …

Why? You may well ask.  Solar power. Remember my post last week – feeling sorry for myself – not able to understand why I felt so tired and underwhelmed by spring, my favourite season. A bit of warmth and lots of light -  that is all that was needed.  It seems my batteries have been running on low over winter but a weekend of the sun on my skin, working outside with no cold wind and I was cured.  My batteries have been topped up.   Getting up with the rising sun, working in the garden all day and only coming in at dusk did the trick.  No yawning or feeling the need for a nap – I felt like me again – what a relief.  Hurrah!

Only one snag – I forget to put the clocks forward – we didn’t know whether we were coming or going.  Anyway, once that was sorted we were off and many tasks were completed.

Dahlias potted up; tomatoes transplanted; sweet peas planted; new bark paths laid around the raised beds; piles of old plant pots and containers taken to the tip; shed tidied – it was a good weekend – and at the end of it I felt a nice kind of tired – ready to face a new month with vim and vigour.

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The first tulip to open

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A big fat pigeon taking up the whole of the bird bath.

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Finding the winter quarters of a lot of snoozing snails

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The garden this day last year – compared to the one below – what a difference

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See how the garden looks opened up without that big blob of a tree at the end of the garden

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Even the fish are enjoying the sunshine.

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The sun tempted the pear blossom to open

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and the blossom on the damson tree

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The beautifully fragrant Bridal Shower Narcissus is making a show

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and the purple sprouting broccoli – is, well - sprouting its socks off.

Hurrah for spring that’s all I can say.

‘Til next time – from a much ‘perkier’ blogger -  have a good week, and remember:-

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

wakey, wakey … spring is here …

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I don’t know what it is but I can’t seem to drag myself out of winter ‘mode’.  I see the sun shining through the window; the laundry blowing on the line; I see the cheeriness of the daffodils waving about in the breeze; I see bud and leaf breaking – all signs of spring – so why am I not feeling ‘perky’ and raring to go.  I don’t know – you tell me.  Winter slothfulness still has its grip on me and I can’t seem to shake it off.

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I have spent some time in the greenhouse sowing seed – but not with any particular enthusiasm.  I spend most of my time yawning and thinking about bed time.  Maybe, as my Mum used to say – I need a tonic.  If I was feeling lethargic when I was little, off we went to the doctor – for a tonic.  Not sure what was in it – probably a vitamin boost of some sort.  Can you get tonics any more?

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch – the farmer has let the cows out into the fields behind us – they were leaping about like spring lambs glad to be out of their winter quarters – most ungainly, but a lovely sight.

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I have planted strawberries in hanging baskets

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The container peach – new last year – is full of garishly pink blossom

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And the first of the Fritillaries has appeared amongst the Scilla – how lovely is that

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Oh and I have been having a book clear out – cookbooks I never use and a pile of paperbacks – ready for the charity bookshop

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My favourite Minnow narcissus are blooming in a container

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Oh, and today we had hail – nice!

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So – that is the week so far – I will give myself a good ‘talking to’ – try and snap out of this lethargy before it takes over and I find myself staying in bed and snoozing all day.

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and remember

‘Every day you must decide what you COULD do, what you SHOULD do and what you MUST do.’

Until next time – take care – and in my case, try and stay awake.

Friday, 21 March 2014

the first flower posy of spring and photo styling …

 

It started with a polka dot cup I found in a charity shop.  That will look good with flowers in I thought.  I went in to the garden and wandered about snipping here and there with the scissors.  Came indoors and arranged them as best as I could.  Then spent an age going round the house trying to find the best light for taking a few photographs.  What I needed were a few props.  Now due to my recent de-cluttering activities I don’t have much in the way of nick-nacks or store cupboards full of items to make photo-styling an easy task.  It is harder than I thought to get the right items together for a photo shoot.  So in the end I used a couple of sheets of thin card in roughly the same colourway as the cup and decided to let the flowers speak for themselves and to leave the rest of the faffing about to the professionals.

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I started with a yellow tea towel for a base, but didn’t like the shineyness of the table behind – and you couldn’t even see the cup.  Take One.

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The tea towel made the blue cup look green – that won’t do.  Take Two.

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I put the cup of flowers on a shelf, added a polka dot piece of card and a spotty hen into the mix – but the flower colour looked too cold.  Drat.  Take Three.

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That’s better, the flower colour is a little warmer and the light isn’t bad, but not keen on the water marks on the pine surface.  Needs a re-think.  Take Four.

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Different background this time but the shot isn’t very sharp – this is getting a bit frustrating.  Take Five.

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Okay – let’s try a different approach, come in close and use soft focus – not bad, but you can’t really see much of the flowers.  I’m on the verge of giving it up as a bad job. Take Six.

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In the end, after most of a morning wasted poncing about, I came up with this.  The dark background shows the flower off pretty well – the light is just about right – all it needed was to be kept simple.  It took twenty different locations around the house using various objects along the way, none of which were satisfactory.  Take Seven hits the spot for me – what do you say.

This was last year’s first flower posy – so I think I have made a bit of improvement this year – there’s always something you can improve upon.

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‘Til next time – happy gardening, and remember

when i am bad | ... will admi sometimes when i am having a really bad day ... | Good St

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

spring is busting out all over …

Thanks for all your comments on my last post – the head cold has gone but left me with an annoying cough – it knocked me for six and all I wanted to do was sleep to get rid of the constant headache, but things are improving at last.

The weekend was lovely – bright spring sunshine with just a hint of chill on the breeze to remind you that it is March.  Everyday brings new signs of life in the garden – still plenty of daffodils to open yet  - and on Sunday I spotted the hyacinths blooming.  These are ones that have been forced indoors then put out into the garden – I have quite a big patch of them now.  The flower heads aren’t as large but they smell just as sweet – if you can bend down far enough to smell them!

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I have practically finished all the weeding  – it looks a lot better and cared for now.  During last week I chopped back an ugly Viburnam that was threatening to take over the world – and wanted to replace it with something pretty.  I chose a Prunus Nipponica ‘Brilliant’.  It is full of blossom and the bees are all over it – I also removed a rather sickly looking Buddleia that the Viburnam had overshadowed – it was spindly and only flowered at the very top, but I have taken one or two cuttings from it, so all is not lost. 

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Anyway, there I was digging this hole to plant the Prunus, when my spade struck something – buried treasure, maybe – a stash of Roman coins, I wish – but no, I dug down further and further – and found ….. two house bricks!  How on earth did they get there?  I can understand builders rubble with a new house but not one built in the 1930’s.  Good job I found them though or the poor old Prunus wouldn’t have been able to put down a tap root.

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Inspired by Celia at Purple Podded Peas with a post on Primroses, when I saw these pretty pink ones, five large plants for £10 I snapped them up.  I have Primroses/Primula/Polyanthus, call them what you will, in many and varied shades – some brash and in your face, others a little more subtle.  They do well in this garden so I keep adding to them yearly.  These new ones are to be planted between the plants of my new rose hedge.  Hopefully they will be around for many years to come.

Below is a selection of the Prims I have in the garden at the moment

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From pure white to lemon to bright yellow to a pale lemon double form

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From white edged cerise to salmon to orange to dark pink to yellow edged scarlet  to dark red

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From hot pink to magenta to lavender to violet.

One or other of them always seem to be in flower practically year round – when the clumps get too large I lift,  split  and re-plant them – such good value – they tend to get overlooked for most of the year when other more exotic plants start doing their thing but I really wouldn’t want to be without them.

Meanwhile the surrounding fields are filling up with ewes and their lambs enjoying the sunshine

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The sky is still blue

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The lawns have been given their first mowing - and spring is busting out all over

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‘Til next time – happy gardening, and remember ~

Thursday, 13 March 2014

this week in pictures …

I returned from my weeks break full of the joys of spring.  Alas, it didn’t last for long – I woke on Monday morning with a streaming cold, thumping headache, my nose felt like someone had left a tap running – I came back to earth with a bang.

Tuesday wasn’t much better either – my new computer threw a ‘wobbly’ and went berserk.  I called my computer man who came and spent three hours trying to fathom what had gone wrong – thankfully, he got it sorted and all is well.

I was determined to do some gardening as the weather has been lovely all week – I had to keep a tissue clamped to my nose whilst I bent down to weed and get rid of thousands of forget-me-not seedlings that have covered the garden over winter – but I have made good headway, and filled the wheelie bin with trug loads of weeds and winter detritus.

Over winter I have been giving the veg garden some serious thought as to how to fit everything in now that I don’t have my allotment – the short answer is that I can’t.  So choices have to be made – squash is out of the question, they just take up too much room and maybe only one courgette plant for the same reason.  I won’t bother with broad beans this year, but can manage a couple of troughs of peas.  It’s just a case of growing what we enjoy eating rather than trying to grow a bit of everything.

Flower seeds have been sown but I haven’t got round to sowing any veg seed yet – they are next on the list.

Right – here come this weeks pictures.

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purple sprouting broccoli

Til next time – have a good weekend, and remember …