Finally got my hands dirty again…

Hurrah!! The sun managed to shine this arvo and I managed to actually be at home so I could get out in my garden and make the most of it!

The lawn still needs mowing, I just couldn’t quite muster the energy (it’s been a long week…but that’s another story!) although on the plus side it looks a lush green at the mo. so I’m not too worried (ask me next week tho I’m bound to be stressed out by it by then!) but I did manage to trim back the ceanothus, tidy up the flower bed with a modicum of weeding and then…drum roll please…… I planted!!

Now, yes I grant you that it doesn’t sound a massively outstanding achievement to be planting when I’m gardening, but the context is that I’ve had two plants and 4 packs of bulbs sat on my kitchen side for, oooh about 3 weeks, and due to a variety of reasons I’d not got them out there into my garden and I think they were probably losing the will to live…

So now they are nicely tucked up in the ground, surrounded by a little compost and rather a lot of worms…I found about 6 today whilst digging…oooh I love a wiggly worm!!! This confuses my fella – he doesn’t understand this as I’m petrified of snakes and they’re just as wiggly- but as I’ve pointed out worms improve the quality of the soil and therefore are beneficial to my garden and also don’t have teeth or eyes to scare me with – whilst snakes do not help my garden and do scare me MASSIVELY!!

Annnnnyhoot, back to planting….and here lie the bulbs and plants…

I know this patch of earth doesn’t look like much at the mo but from March is should be a mass of colour with blue Irises, white Crocuses, mixed yellows of Daffodils and the lush purple of Aliums…I’m testing my patience once more and crossing my fingers that those worms do their job right!!

In the meantime, the fennel is looking good, the Cosmos has grown, the Dahlias are still stunning and the mint is growing out of its pot!!

Happy, happy days 😊

If you’re feeling a bit low, or tired or in need of a pick me up I recommend getting your hands dirty…it cheers the soul xx

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The Cosmos has flowered!!

Yessss!!

It’s true, the Cosmos has deigned to flower…finally! It’s only two blooms but there’s plenty more buds swelling and almost ready to burst open.

The bright pink contrasts magnificently with the mainly green foliage in the beds and the sunshine yellow Dahlias. I do love gardens with a colour scheme – pastels here, bright colours there, mixed evergreens somewhere else – it always looks beautiful, classy…but I have to admit that for me my favourite scheme is just a riot of rainbow colours everywhere!

The Violas I planted a few weeks back are growing and have flowered nicely…today they sparkled like little jewels in the autumn sunshine.

There’s a few bits and bobs to do in the garden now that Autumn has arrived and I have my list of jobs for the weekend:

  • Prune the roses
  • Weed the flower bed and gravel
  • Mow the lawn (if the rain holds off)
  • General tidying of the pots
  • Sow some Allium my lovely neighbour Liz has bought me – purple too, my fave!

I’m watching Gardners World and the mighty green-fingered Monty Don is telling me to plant Hellebores, Pulmonaria and Corydalis (never heard of them but I’ll believe Monty that these are actually plants – after all he’s a genius in the garden) as these will apparently give me spring blues and pinks. Sounds wonderful so I feel a little trip to the garden centre might be on the cards this weekend too!

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope it’s filled with sunshine and that you’re able to spend time in your happy place too xx

Mowing the moguls…

Well, hasn’t it been a most marvellous bank holiday weekend here in ol’ Blighty? I hope you’ve all had a truly lovely time xx

The sun has been shining brightly and my garden has been glowing!

I finally got the lawn mowed – it’s no Wimbledon Centre Court, it’s not even outer court 12…but it’s good and it’s green – mostly!

We live on abit of a hill and the lawn slopes – which in itself isn’t an issue but it’s all abit lumpy and bumpy…mowing it is a bit like skiing over moguls but without the adrenaline rush!! My arms were killing me after hanging onto that mower over every blessed bump…I’m surprised my biceps are not the size of Popeye’s after his spinach that’s for sure!

To be honest it’s not mown level – I have to admit it’s a bit uneven with the odd long blade hanging on for dear life here and there…in fact it puts me in mind of the time I tried to shave my boys hair with clippers – a long story but suffice to say they’d always hated the hairdressers, it seemed a good idea at the time and immediately afterwards they begged me to let them go back to the hairdressers and have never moaned since at doing so! (definitely a #fail moment!)

But hey ho, it got done and if you don’t look too closely it looks ok!

I’ve replanted the hanging baskets for Autumn with some pretty violas and a silver plant whose name I have instantly forgotten (for shame for shame!!) and am hoping they’ll bush up and look good through to winter…fingers crossed.

The Cosmos is still resolute in its mood to remain unbloomed (how utterly obstinate can you get?! I mean with this beautiful sunshine you’d think they’d come out to play hey?!) Well, the Cosmos could do with taking a hint from my second Dahlia plant which has suddenly exploded with flowers and more buds ready to open too…

Some wild flowers have sprung up which are rather pretty – not quite sure what they all are but they’re giving my garden a good bit of zing and I love them!

The Chillies are coming along nicely, I may try one or two of them this week if I can find a decent recipe and even the Mint is still looking perky which is all rather fabulous.

Yes, all in all, my garden remains a little jewel of happiness for me this summer and on Sunday I sat with a new book and a glass of vino…

…aaaand relax 😊

Conflicted feelings over caterpillars of the vomiting kind…

Caterpillars are eating my rambling rose… they’re literally shredding the leaves but leaving the flowers and stem intact…

According to the all knowing bods at National Geographic these caterpillars are the ‘vomiting’ kind (how wonderfully pleasant) which will eventually become the white butterfly ‘Pieris brassicae’

Now I love butterflies. Flutterbyes, as my Nan called them, are beautiful, delicate and provide a harmonious colourful element to the garden environment…and I’ve been enjoying seeing flashes of white flitter and flutter around my garden… BUT I hadn’t realised that in their caterpillar form they were eating my favourite rose!

I’ve been planting wildflowers in the hopes of attracting bees and butterflies; I like to think I’m doing my bit for the environment whilst at the same time enjoying the beauty that grows…

So the rational part of me says “GREAT! You’ve ACHIEVED! You’re helping to keep the ecosystem flowing, you’re helping to encourage the butterflies and keep them alive – HURRAH!!”

…BUT another part of me goes “aarrgggghhh they’re eating my rose!!!”

I have no idea what to do – I don’t want to sacrifice my roses nor do I want to prevent the caterpillars from filling their tummies and transforming into flutterbyes…

What to do? What to do?

All advice welcome…

In the meantime, those wild flowers that I planted to attract the bees and butterflies (why couldn’t the caterpillars just stick to those eh?!) continue to smile at me

The Cosmos is still being obstinate and, on the whole, refusing to flower…but one little white bloom has now given in – so sweet…

Talking of sweet, I planted a mint today – I love the fresh sweet aroma of mint and hopefully it’ll fair better than the lavender which used to grace my egg pail but which was never the healthiest specimen despite my tlc. I found some cute glass beads that I’d been given as a Christmas present last year and they seem to look okay around the mint too (some of them are butterfly shaped again… is someone trying to tell me something here?!)

Well, this is all very nice and all that but I’m still conflicted about the caterpillars and my rose, so I’m going to go gaze at my Dahlias again…

…They bring me peace and I wish you peace too xx

I want to see sunshine after the rain, I want to see bluebirds flying…

Today the sun was most definitely shining, the birds were singing their hearts out – the wood pigeon in next doors mahooosive tree, the blackbird sipping from my birdbath and goodness knows what others perched in hedge! – it was a day for pottering, and where better but around my garden…

The recent rain has certainly perked up the plants and my rambling rose has blossomed again and smells oh so sweeeeet!! The Coleus has sprouted something tall & spiky – I wasn't expecting that but okay let's see what it turns in to – and my lovely orange bush rose has several buds either open or ready to burst.

The fuchsias are still little fiery pops of colour in my window box and my chillis are starting to look rather plump – my mouth is already tingling…can't wait to try them out!

Only slight marring of my little colourful spot of joy is my Gladioli which have fallen over – I am off to purchase some string and stakes, hopefully I'll have them upright again soon.

In the meantime I'm sharing another pic of my delightful Dahlias – I really do think they're the prettiest flowers I've ever grown.

Wishing you a peaceful evening; I hope you find your sunshine after the rain xx

Bon Voyage!…and don’t forget your parapluies

Wow! What a day…it's been a long ol' one but so much fun!
'Pour quoi?' I hear you ask, well you see today we went to France – oui oui! Off we went for a day of relaxation sailing across the English channel, taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful quirky Cherbourg.

We arrived at the port at 'sparrows fart' as the fella INSISTS on being mega early for everything, so we were 45mins early (but hey it gave us a chance for a rather lush coffee at Harry Rocks Cafe so I won't complain) and we were not put off by the grey skies – oh no! We'd been reliably informed the bad weather was going to touch us but pass quickly so we weren't too worried, indeed the seagulls were more of a concern!!

To begin with all went without a hitch…(well with only a mild panic moment when my underwired bra set off the metal detector – I offered to take it off but apparently that wasn't needed) and soon we were part of the mad dash to deck 7, to find a table and set up base for the next 4hrs…that achieved we settled in for some croissants and crosswords, a few games of rummy (the fella can count cards better than me so needless to say I lose most of the time) and a bit of light reading…niiice

Of course the weather didn't want to play the game by the rules…nope, that would be far too simple. Instead, the rain swept in and the sea heaved to and fro…my gills went a tad green and I gave in to a light snooze to avoid the nausea (but good news I did NOT snore!) and by all accounts I missed the worst of the rolling around – so all was well.

Coming into the harbour is always a great moment; I love seeing the land rise up from the horizon and the blurred shapes become buildings, cranes and the like. On a sunny day Cherbourg is part of quite a sweet coast line but today it was shrouded in mist…but we stood on the deck anyway and were buffeted by the wind and rain – we were probably a crazy sight but we had fun!

We got dropped off 'centre ville' and headed for the Musee de la Liberation…it was about a 30 minute walk along the waterfront and through a beautiful public garden – well I say beautiful as that's what I'm sure it is when you can actually open your eyes and see it – today the rain was lashing down so hard we could barely look out from under our hoods! Disappointingly we found the museum closed so headed back to centre ville, splashing in the deepening puddles as we went.

We wandered the cobbled streets and found a lovely old theatre and courtyard with a massive fountain before spotting a red cafe 'Cafe de l'etoile' which had a big canopy outside sheltering seats and tables…which were crammed full of people sipping their bieres, vin rouge and cafe au lait – I always think it's a good sign if a cafe is full so we snuck a table and ordered our own vin rouge – it was joyous! We were wet through but there were heaters which warmed and dried us a little; we sat listening to music, chattered and people watched…

It was a day of umbrellas – it's amazing how many different shapes, colours and sizes there are – qui savait?! qui savait?! – although it appeared the majority of the residents were proudly using umbrellas from the local designer Le Veritable Cherbourg – beautifully crafted umbrellas, discreetly logo'd, all sorts of colours and sturdy against the whipping wind! (Can you tell I really want one!?! This is now top of my Christmas list!!)

Umbrellas are definitely a 'thing' in Cherbourg…I think there's been a movie and in one courtyard there's lots strung up on high…whatever the reason, it's awfully pretty and fun!

We visited La Cave a Fromages (I did rather love the cow) which had the most amazing array of cheeses ever and I was very chuffed that my attempts at ordering cheese and butter seemed to be understood as we got exactly what I thought I'd asked for – hurrah!!

After that we just had time to grab some bread and a crepe au caramel from the local boulangerie before we splishsplashsploshed our way back to the ferry.

The crossing back was calm and by the time we got back to good ol' Blighty the weather had improved so we could stand out on deck and see the twinkling lights of the harbour.

Ahh what a day…perfick! Or as Del Boy might also say: "mangetout Rodney, mangetout"

PG Wodehouse was a wise fellow – flowers are indeed happy things…


YESSSS the Gladioli have finally blossomed and in a beautiful purple…my favourite colour!

The colour in my garden is fabulous at the moment, I planted marigolds this year – never tried them before as always been put off by their magnetic draw for slugs, but I gave in this year and wow! The vibrancy of the yellow and orange is amazing…planted alongside a purple/green Coleus they are stunning.

I've a flower (to my shame I don't know what it is…if you do please let me know) in my garden which is passionately red and, with the shockingly pink Hydrangea and the dashing Dahlias now in full bloom, I do believe my garden is getting more and more pretty every day …yes, yes, I know I'm bias!!

I planted out my wheelbarrow last weekend, the ivy was already growing well and I found some lovely different alpines which I hope will fill the space and look good all year…

I try to mix up the planting so there's interesting contrast between each plant even in a small area. I think this has gone okay…time will tell and of course I'm not at all impatient for this to happen!!

In the meantime, the rain's pouring again so I've retreated inside for a cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two.

Happy happy days…