Monday, 30 April 2007

Garden Diary as opposed to Walk

Been quite busy this afternoon. First I earned a great many brownie points by hoeing the vegetable garden. Then I put a strip of that black stuff that lets the rain through but not the weeds down the side of the rabbit wire at the far end. It is always very weedy there, and I often want to walk along in my trainers just after rain. That means mud in the house and complaints from G. He's far more house-proud than me. Now, if it doesn't blow away, it will be clean. I carted lots of large stones to weigh it down.

Next, I pruned one of the Forsythias - the usual one you see all over. covered in flower. Fine. Next the other one which grows against a wall to help break up the wind that blasts against it. Oh, wait a bit. I know there was a black bird building in there a while ago. Better have a look. Nest looked more finished but apparently empty. Crept up and started to put my hand in to see if there were eggs and it all came alive!! They were very tiny - only just hatched I think. I made a rapid get-away and hope no harm done. We have had much amusement watching a male blackbird and a song thrush on the lawn. The blackbird is always seeing off the thrush. I think the thrush has a nest in the Pyracantha against the house and there is a Goldfinch there too. It blew off the wall onto the bed below during the winter and putting it back up was a major opperation. It is now propped up with a long length of wood. It will take a long time for the roots to make it secure again. I hope the nests are safe.

After that, I did some bits and pieces of weeding and dead-heading daffodils. That sounds a bit sad - nothing better to do?? Yes, actually, but it really does pay off. I've been doing it for some years and see the difference. It is practical here - we don't have huge numbers. Finally trimmed the edge of one lawn. It had got horribly long, so is looking much better now.

Earlier today I took some more pics of the next bit of garden for the garden tour, so will try to take you on it in the next day or two.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Next Step - Stable Yard.

Been to a Golden Wedding Party today. A great 'do'. She suffers from arthritis and is very bent sideways. He had a bad stroke 2 or 3 years ago and can barely speak and has little physical ability. However he understands everything. This all made the party somewhat emotional. There were a great many people there, many of whom I knew. G was an usher all those years ago. The three surviving children gave great speeches and toasts and did not forget the missing one. Tears to the eyes. At one point my ex took me aside to tell me his latest rib-shaking joke. "How can Blue Conservatives be Green, without a Liberal splash of Yellow?" Was it as funny as it seemed at the time? Comments please!

I thought I might bring you further in today, but before that we might look at the Bird Cherries at the gate. A few years ago a madman from the council cut off their skirts, Oh horror of horrors! Quite a lot of years on they have recovered - down to the ground, but the front one went up too. The funny bit at the bottom is where yours truly has to cut it back every year to let the cars into the gate.

Now we pass through the yard described before and go past the 'new' bit, towards the Kerria japonica, (double flowered to the uninitiated). The shed on the right houses the oil tank and is hosting the swallows, as always. As they have chosen to go right in under the roof over the tank, I hope they will be safe. The stable straight ahead, which would house 3 horses, if we had any, is a godsend in which to store all sorts of unimaginable things.
Now we are in the stable yard. What? you cry! Stable yard, doesn't look like one to me. Well it was one once! When I came it was all red gravel with a low yellow shrub rose to the right of the wash house, with a silver birch in the middle. The first thing I did, after a year or two, was to take that lot out and plant a much needed wind-break across, Shrubs, variagated and green with a lower ones in front. Now is the moment when you find my ignorance. No labels. No names, except for the Viburnum bodnantense, which is boring from now till September. The rest of the year it has various amounts of pink flowers and is a joy in winter. The bird table is in front of it, so it provides excellent perching for the birds, especially chaffinches and sparrows. Below the table is a tray on short legs, which is used by chaffinches, dunnocks, black birds, robins, sparrows, ring doves, wood pigeons, jackdaws, etc etc. Most of them use the table as well. Alongside is a stone bird bath, made of stones from places that G is associated with in the Coquet valley.
To get to the vegetable garden etc, you pass the wash house, or you pass this side of it and got to a small gate to the front garden. In the middle, is the second bed I created, to break up too large an area of red gravel. In here there are a laurestinus, currently flowering, a Spirreae bridal veil, a cornus, an Amelanchia, which doesn't show its flowers well in the pic, but is quite a sight. There are other things too, including a Weigelia, but I can't remember the names.
To the left of this gate to the front garden is another shrub and then the house 15th century and the Conservatory (all necessary planning permissions aquired).
That's it for today. Next time we will go through to the front. See you there!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Just a bit of blather

Please note the new picture of my azalea! It doesn't look the same colour. That is because I'm not very clever at this photographing lark. I promise that it is the same plant a year later!

The day before yesterday, I did a long blog about judging Northumbria in Bloom in Gateshead, Washington and Darlington but at the last minute I lost it. Much rage, jumping up and down and shouting, but it didn't do any good at all. It was all my own fault which made it worse. I'm not doing it all again, which is just as well for any visitors, because it really wasn't that interesting!

If anyone who visits, wants to hear anything about it, do comment and I'll try. Don't worry, I shall not be hurt, or go away and cry if you don't. I did say, before it got lost that I would not be back till tonight, as my brother and sister in law were coming to stay for a night. They arrived in time for late tea yesterday. I did do a bit of visiting last night and I expect that I may have done some commenting - but full of (white) wine, so don't really remember!

Today, we visited Wallington. It is a place that I am very familiar with, as we often go there, but I enjoy it as much every time. Today, the Walled Garden was absolutely lovely. All so spring fresh and full of colour and we enjoyed the house as much as usual. The icing on the cake was/were the tiny ducklings, on the large 'pond'. A family of 8, must have been pretty newly on the water. My golly, how they could 'go' - like little hydrofoils! I have just tried to add a pic of them, but failed!

That's enough for tonight, will do more tomorrow. By the way, I think it is very clever, how Matron and Co have got the important bits retained and lots of room for the odd necessary things that need to go on outside of a blog.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Enter the garden

Let us enter through the back gate, the one you have to drive through.
On the left is the garage and then the ancient stone wall of the North side of the house, with the 'new wing' in front. This produces a shaded gravel area, where growing things is difficult.
On the house wall there is a newly (2nd year) planted Morello Cherry. I am thrilled with it. Our lovely helper put up a substantial support for it and it is, so far, a beautiful fan. Wonder how long that will last. Last year it had quite alot of blossom (the real sort and almost as beautiful as the one we all know and love) but no fruit actually got to ripening stage. This year, it will be covered in a short time from now. Will they set and ripen? Will I get them netted in time before the birds get them? Time will tell.
In the corner, there is an old half barrel, with a miniature conifer, an ivy from some pot collection I was given, and a rather battered and sad-looking Euonymous. On the other side of the back door, is another half barrel, with a miniature rose. Catches a lot of wind, so a difficult place. I have tried lots of things but the only one to survive is the rose. Last year I surrounded it with Petunias which was successful.
The best bit is the back door itself, which has a hanging basket either side full of small blue and white Pansies.
Then on the other side, as you entered, there is a hawthorn tree, which is the remains of the end of a Hawthorn hedge, which, after a gap, backs the rest of the entrance area, the stable that follows, and on.
Next to that is a shrub, which is growing bigger fast, I am glad to say. I think it may be a Euphobia cyparissias 'Fens Ruby'. As I planted it about 4 years ago, after a very wet and heavy snow had fallen in the Spring, and destroyed a conifer (hurrah) and much else, I should know but don't remember! Next to it is a crabapple, the same as is in the Alnwick Garden. It is an upright variety, with yellow fruit, I think it is Golden Hornet.
A couple of old Laurels, kept in check with a firm hand, lead to a Sorbus. Dammit, I've trawled through old labels but haven't found it. It is upright, and has white/pinky flowers. Under it is Euonymous japonica Americana (found the lable). It was planted to try to hide a telegraph pole instead of another conifer which bit the dust (hurrah again!)
A very old Lilac comes next, white and still flowering well, maybe because I have to prune it hard to allow cars to turn! Then there is a rather messy bit, up to the stable
As you will gather, the entrance is rather boring, but that's how it is. I could do more if it wasn't for the gales which funnel past the end of the house extension, which need to be broken.
That's it for this chat. Pleeaase come back to see the proper parts of the garden

Monday, 23 April 2007

Salmon Fishing

I am postponing the run through all my pics (how many hundreds?) and talking about Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,by Paul Torday. It is very very funny, also touching and certainly a take off of the Civil Service.

By chance he lives in a castle in Northumberland, where once upon a time, in the 16th century, a certain second son (anyway, not the eldest) lived. He was the man who came here and built this house - a bastal house, very Borders. They were fortified in that they had extremely thick stone walls, with the minimum entrance on the ground floor, where the cattle could be put when the Border Reivers came steeling, raping and murdering! The family would move upstairs, and pull up the ladder, which was the only way in.

Here, there are stone fireplaces in the three rooms that were there then. People came from the Open University to have a look, because a fellow County Councillor was comparing fortified buildings in the Borders and North France. Funnily enough, he used the above Castle also. Anyway the men from the OU got very excited about one of the fireplaces because it is so old. Thank the Lord, the people who listed the place 2* didn't know about it. They were only interested in the outside. Enough of that, I shall describe the house one of these days.

Anyway, if any of you visit, do note the book - it is well worth reading and not very long. And they did I mustn't give it away!

Blog Pages

Had a bit of a run around afew of other Blog pages earlier. I was fascinated by the different layouts and wondered why until I remembered that you can move things around. The sight of 3 pics on one post nearly did me in!

Maybe I'll go through each file in 'My Pictures' and do a post on each, with examples! Egypt or Russia or China for instance as well as the garden and even maybe some family.

Don't think I shall start on all the old pics of G's ancestors - that would be really boring, unless I can find some funny ones. I am into family history, and am the only person producing that one. I must edit my interests - family history and village history.

Please note, I am double spacing and keeping paragraphs short in case any of you dyslectics are kind enough to visit!

As I am trying to be sensible and not blog in the daytime - ho! ho! - That is enough for today. I have lots of other ideas for other subjects, so will have to live to be 100! I intend to anyway!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

No, of course I was where I thought I was. It is now much later and I have left a post, read masses of blogs and left a few comments and what fun it all is. Now it is past my bedtime, so off to bed

Northern Life

Well - I've done it, and very proud of myself I am seeing as how almost all my knowledge is self taught!
It is a marvellous feeling to have joined the rest of you. Now I have to find out how to post a piece on the main blog or is that what I am doing? I shall soon find out!