Archive for category Garden and Wild Life

Tight Lipped Tuesday #34

Had to share this.

 

 I never seem to be able to get good photos of butterflies as they are more often than not on the move so, even though I thought it might be dead at first, I was pleased to see this Small Tortoiseshell so still and posed with its beautiful wings spread out.  Happy ending –  it was just warming up its wings in a patch of sunlight and, after a gentle prod with a blade of grass, it was off.

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Devoted to Dahlias

I was going to do a general ‘English country garden in August’ post today because I’ve been taking photos around the place to keep a record of what’s going on in the garden now that we’ve been here for almost 9 months and thought I might as well share!!

We didn’t have a clear idea of what was already planted in the garden by the previous owners as we moved in the late autumn/winter but now we do and the current ‘Head Gardener’ hasn’t been able to resist adding a lot of new plants despite all the good intentions we had of ‘wait and see’ so it’s a little bit of a jungly cottage garden at the moment.

Despite Dahlias having a bit of a reputation for being ‘old fashioned’ – whatever that means in terms of plants and flowers – I love them for their ‘in your face’ beauty, kaleidoscopic colours and variety of forms – I wanted to plant some for cut flowers but, when it comes to it, it seems a shame to disturb them.

Well, apart from these inherited ones growing in a raised bed in the vicinity of the veg patch.  They are fair game.

So, I’ll leave the lavender bushes, the sunflowers, sweet peas and veggies – and sewing –  for another post and leave you with my amateurish (on phone in intermittent sun) attempts at capturing some of these lovelies.

I can’t remember any names except I think one is called ‘Crazy Love’ and that seems appropriate.

and last but definitely not least my favourite one of all.

Until I see an even more lavish one that is.

Are you a Dahlia fan?

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21 Comments

Saturday Surplus

Really getting into the swing of English country life now.

Those redcurrants look lovely but what a pain to get them all off the stems and into jars.  But, before you think we are too lazy, we have made quite a few jars of blackcurrant jam and what gardener doesn’t have excess courgettes?

There’s not much passing traffic but most people can’t resist a freebie so most of it will go.

Have a good weekend whatever you are planning

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Pond Life And Other Goings On In The Garden.

I promise you that I have actually created some quite nice things from fabric recently and will definitely be posting about them but – I have had a bad back. Ouch!  I don’t know why but I know it’s been hurting for about a week now with a particularly nasty few days where I actually ‘took to my bed’ as a friend of mine with a dramatic turn of phrase might say.

So – I can’t spend too much time in front of my laptop at the moment – or in any one position to be honest – so, for now, I will show you some photos that I took whilst taking a gentle walk around the garden today as a counterpoint to laying flat on my back and, if feeling adventurous, doing reverse curls.  It will be quicker than typing words – although there will be a few.

There’s never a dull moment in the garden and a lot of them centre around the pond – more of that when I can sit and type long enough to tell you the stories.

Let’s get the pond porn out of the way first, then we can move on.

These, I believe, are some sort of damselflies laying their eggs on the surface of my pond weed.

After they’d indulged in a bit of this.

Ooer Missus.

I tried, in vain to photograph a rather fat looking dragonfly-type creature but this is as good as it got.

I believe it’s a Broad Bodied Chaser – a type of dragonfly.  I think that’s correct as he was trying to get jiggy with it – mid-air mind you – with a similar but golden brown creature who I believe is the female of this species.

Drawing a discreet veil over the pond performances and turning to the flora in and around the pond I give you this lovely water lily.

Cotton Grass – looking exactly as if somebody’s thrown some cotton wool to the ground

Another marginal – not sure what it’s called though.

It looks as if we’ve fitted a white rug beneath this wire bench but it’s actually Snow in- Summer.

An overview of where it all goes on.

Away from the pond, there are some other favourites.

This huge poppy is an early starter but look at all those others waiting to emerge.

We’ve inherited many and variously coloured Aquilegia but this one is my favourite.

A close up of a sea pink.

A carpet of yellow stars – a type of Sedum.

Which together make for a colourful rockery in a quiet corner.

Now we’re back in England I can have Foxgloves again.

The vegetable growing hasn’t been neglected.  This row of assorted Kale is a forewarning that Mr. T. will be making me greeny brown smoothies again that I (reluctantly) drink as if they are medicine.

Spotted a few stems of Quaking Grass in a post by Sandra (Wild Daffoldil) the other day and was fascinated by the many names it goes by.  My favourite is ‘Wag Wanton’. It shimmers beautifully in a breeze and the little pods look like mini scarabs.

A bit blurry but, true to their name(s), they were quaking, wantonly.

Talking of funny names – this beautiful viola would also be called a ‘Johhny Jump- Up’ or at least in Maine, U.S.A. where Laurie of Notes from the Hinterland blogs.

Some blooms just have to be taken inside to enjoy.

Well, not such a short post after all but it took me about 3 days to complete so, back to my ‘day bed’ for a bit of flattening out, followed by a few knee hugs and a couple of sets of reverse curls.

I have a chiropractor’s appointment on Monday.

(They are apparently busier than usual due to the depressing and daunting task of getting a doctor’s appointment these days.)

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31 Comments

When The Cows Come Home

The cows are back in the field alongside our garden again.

Some are trying to help us keep the grass in check.

Some just find us fascinating.

This one was a bit shy at first

Although she did pose nicely for me between rubbing her head on our willow tree.

I love them but Stan’s not quite so sure.

Very distracting from our home office when this is the view…..

………and not only for us

But I can think of worse ones.

 

 

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40 Comments

Let Agreed

 

Remember Mr. Tialys’s contribution to the Scraphappy Post on Wednesday morning?

Put on the market Wednesday afternoon

There was a viewing on Thursday morning

Let agreed by Thursday afternoon.

That’s the U.K. housing market for you.

 

36 Comments

Scraphappy Day April

Making things from scraps again this month and, although Mr. Tialys features again – 🙄 – I’m determined not to let him hog the whole post this time and, anyway, I think his contribution has been entered in a previous Scraphappy by somebody else.

Anyway, without further ado, plant pots were some of the many things we left behind in France which may or may not eventually arrive here but probably not.  Mr. T. ordered in some fibre pots which will eventually break down and, although he did give in and buy a pack of plastic ones the other day, the seeds needed small homes.  We’ve saved up the cardboard inner tubes from the loo rolls and Mr. T. manipulates each one into two small seed pots.  At first he was snipping around the diameter of the bottom of each half and folding them in to make a base but found this made quite a shallow pot so now he leaves the bases open and puts them in a tray with a layer of compost in it so that the roots grow into that which then makes it easier to pick the whole plant up and transplant it.  Apparently.

Here are the nasturtiums in their little loo roll homes.

So, enough of Mr. T.’s projects, I also have a contribution this month.  If you remember, I made a wigwam shaped peg bag a little while back and thought I’d make another.

‘But that doesn’t look like much like a scrap project’ I hear you say and you would be right.

I did, however, have scrap left from making the peg bag and this is what I made with it.

Which, I believe, is an excellent excuse for couple of doggie photos.

Kerpow bandana modelled by Stan.

Going grey now – he’ll be 11 in June – but still my handsome boy.

LAST MINUTE EDIT:

Just before ‘going to  press’ Mr Tialys had to have the last word 🙄

Remember all that wood and other old toot that he got off of the bank in the garden?

He just turned it into this

The roof protection is made from a bit of old butyl pond liner also found on the bank.

Then he climbed up the willow tree to position it.

Ready for the blue tits to find if they haven’t found accommodation already.

So, he trumped me again.

Show-off.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

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42 Comments

An Unexpected Easter

This time last year we were still in France and had got as far as house hunting online for our move back to England.  For various reasons, some related to Mr. Tialys’s work commitments which have only became apparent since, it appears we made the move at the right time.

So, Easter in England for the first time in sixteen years was a lovely warm and sunny surprise and  I was sufficiently moved to leave my sewing room and go outside to help the gardener (aka Mr. Tialys) with some outside renovations.

You might remember me telling you that the previous owners, in a bid to outwit the ground elder, had buried untold quantities of black plastic – some ‘proper’ stuff, some pond liner and some old plastic compost sacks!! – all pinned down with hundreds of plastic pegs.  For the most part, this was all covered with gravel and sometimes pieces of wood.  In some places although, to be fair, mostly those places not planted up decoratively, there are old house bricks, spare ceramic tiles and paving slabs.

This, for instance, is part of the bank above the fish pond.

Mr. T. is on a mission to remove most of the plastic and gravel and says he’d rather deal with the weeds than see the earth being choked with the plastic, some of which is breaking up into the soil.   Here he is revealing the soil on the bank.  Ground elder roots – and there are plenty – are being drowned or burnt.

Just the start of the eventually huge pile of plastic and the wooden planks, etc. that were laid haphazardly on top, for some reason best known to the previous occupants.

Even this old sawhorse had been pressed into service, folded flat and laid on top of the bank – now rescued and ready to be used for its original purpose.

Perhaps they didn’t like going to the tip/dump.

Stan and Flo were helping by staring plaintively until one of us would relent and throw the frisbee for them.

(for Sandra – spot the old rusty plough we brought back from France with us)

As I was in the garden I was able to nag advise on where to place the gargoyles which had been languishing and looking grumpy up by the garage since we arrived

Now this one already looks as if he’s been atop that wall for years.

This one has swapped the side of a swimming pool in S.W. France for a fish pond in S.W. England and, personally, I think he looks happier in a gargoylish sort of way, unlike Mr. T. who nearly did himself a damage by carrying it there from where the removal men had dumped him up the other end of the garden.

This area to the side of the driveway gates  was also covered in plastic and gravel and is now cleared and ready to be planted up maybe with rose bushes.

The greenhouse is very much not my domain – I am only invited in at H.M. the Gardener’s pleasure to ooh and aah at the various things in pots that he’s sewn from seed.

Coriander

Nasturtium

I like nasturtiums.  They remind me of a time long, long ago (or the Stone Age as one of my daughters calls it) at primary school when they used to give (sell?) us a  little a packet of candytuft or nasturtium seeds to take home and plant in a pot and take it back to school at a set date where, if you had been successful, you would get a pretty coloured certificate.  I never got one.  We lived in a first floor flat in London and neither of my parents were gardeners of any description.

Just a little memory I thought I’d share with you there for no good reason.

Outside again – there’s a pretty flowering currant.

We’re not sure what fruit tree this is – any ideas?

So, today has clouded over a little.  Maybe I’ll get my bathroom shelves put up but I’m not counting on it.

I might get the drill out, wave it about inexpertly and ask where the rawlplugs are – something that has worked a treat in the past 😉

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29 Comments

Scraphappy March -A Garden Edition

After last month’s exciting dog feeder in a kitchen drawer, I’ve yet again got to hand over to Mr. Tialys for the March edition of Scraphappy where new things are made from scraps.

Now that he has a more manageable garden to  oversee, he’s rarely out of it when he’s not in endless Zoom meetings for work.  He’s always loved a good compost bin and, despite the fact we now have a fraction of the garden waste we had at the French house, he apparently needs a triple one to go alongside the plastic ones left behind by the previous owners.

Is it possible to have a compost bin stash?

Anyway, you might remember that the previous gardener had spread black plastic mulch pretty much all over the place and covered it with gravel to ward off  the dreaded ground elder and, along with some strange garden ‘ornaments’, scattered quite a lot of random pieces of wood about the place too.

All this was grist to the compost bin building mill.  Apart from the garden ornaments that is.

Remember this one?

Well, shortly afterwards I stumbled across his evil twin and, a few weeks after that, as if they were breeding during the night in some sort of B movie horror, a third one.

*shudder*

Hopefully that will be the last of them.

So, as well as the odd wooden pallet….

and other planks in various stages of dilapidation, all used for cross pieces,……..

there was what looked like the makings of a wooden pergola stacked behind the garage.

With unseemly haste, and without consultation, these were mercilessly sawn into the requisite sizes to make the main supports for the new bins.

We don’t need a wooden pergola – apparently 🙄

Then the leftover netting from making the garden dog proof (hopefully!) formed the back and sides with some of the ubiquitous black plastic stapled over that to create a large bin in three sections.

The fronts have been left open for ease of ‘turning over’ – a technical gardening term that I believe means forking all the gunk over once in a while to mix it all in.  Apparently, some sort of Heath Robinson adjustable frontage will be constructed that will be moved up as the amount of composting material grows.

Speaking of which, we have much less grass now which is ,apparently, a very important addition to compost heaps.  This is mostly due to having less land than before but also to having a rather large garden pond in the middle of what would be the lawn.  So, Mr. Tialys has gone begging for grass clippings from anybody nearby willing to empty theirs into a bag for him.

But, that’s not the worst of it.  The other day I spotted a large sack on our driveway and went to investigate.  In a gesture that might be considered abuse in some neighbourhoods, it contained a significant amount of fresh horse poo.  Mr. T. was almost as excited as the dogs were when he saw it but did complain it ‘wasn’t well rotted enough really’ although he used it anyway.

Ew! Is it any wonder I leave the gardening to him?

So here, in the furthest corner of our garden (thankfully), is the compost bin stash in all its glory made from scrap wood, scrap plastic, leftover netting and scrap poo or, as I prefer to call it, horse scrap 🤣.

 

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

 

 

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44 Comments

A Spring in my Step

Even though we’re still in lockdown the sight of banks of daffodils can’t fail to cheer me up.

But there’s more!

It’s Spring and  time to let the new lambs into the fields,

So of course I was off with my camera like a shot.

Some tiny ones with their proud mothers.

I’ve had a word with the farmer about splodging them with blue as it spoils my photos but he said I just had to try to get them from their good side.

I think this one might be one of the first born as he/she is a bit chunky.

I wonder how long it will take me before I get used to living in a house in the midst of fields of new born lambs and stop acting like a tourist.  Possibly forever.

I can’t wait until the calves arrive!

What’s putting a spring in your step at the moment?

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