Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Work in the garden has ground to a halt...

...but only temporarily.  I worked really hard out there last week, so much so that I was absolutely pooped over the weekend!  Still, all those horrible weeds are now gone, thank goodness, and I can actually see what plants I have.  The ground had a really hard top layer of soil which made it difficult to dig the weeds out.  I think the weeds had grown so big that they were stopping any rain getting through!  It's pouring with rain here today so the garden will be getting a lovely soak :-)

The pile of rubbish is still there, as you can see, but hopefully I will be able to get in touch with Richard next week.  I cut back the shrubs in this border as they were taking over, especially the buddleia.  The two sedums had a trim too.

I dug out a few of the crocosmia which were tresspassing beyond their allotted spaces.  I also dug out the buddleia which used to be where the concrete bird bath base now stands, as it was overshadowing the pretty little golden shrub ~ which I can't remember the name of!

The buddleia is now living against the shed, between the climbing roses.  I cut it right back and already it has stopped looking sulky and wilted LOL  The currant bush had quite a trim, too.  I was happy to cut it back as I grow it as an ornamental shrub rather than for the currants ~ I let the birds have them :-)

I found another bergenia lurking amongst the weeds and moved it to the bottom bed behind the "rockery" stones.

A couple of new plants have gone in the rosemary bed, along with an armeria which was being smothered in the border at the end of the garden.

The bay tree has finally been repotted.  I took off a few more of the lower branches as I like the look of a bare lower stem.  I divided up the little succulent which was sharing its previous pot, and put back some of the pieces as the two seemed happy living together.  The climbing rose is waiting to go into the border at the end of the garden.  I can't get to the area I want to plant it in at the moment as the rubbish pile is in the way.

The old butler's sink is now planted up with pretty little alpines, and the last of the houseleek offshoots have been put into the terracotta bowl beside the garden angel.  I am really pleased with the alpines, which I got from a new-to-me company called Plants for Small Gardens.

The two geraniums came from Sainsbury's; they look happier now they have been rehomed in larger pots!  I still haven't decided what to plant in the large round tub at the back, although I think I may well put a variety of succulents in the terracotta herb planter.  I am thinking of using the wooden planter for another display of alpines in due course.

I found a seller on Ebay who makes wooden planters, and one of them was just the right size for this space ~ trust me, it was an extremely tight fit and for a moment or two I didn't think we would get the dratted thing in there!  I have ordered some 18" log-roll to fix to the side to make it look nicer, and it will also match the borders.  I bought the white metal trellis from Ebay too.  I am going to fix it to the fence in the position it's in now, to break up the brown panel and add a little spark of colour :-)  I am considering adding a string of solar lights across the panels, and possibly some bunting too!

I am waiting for some plants for this new planter, which I have ordered from Crocus ~ a polystichum aculeatum (an evergreen fern, native to Britain), liriope muscari (which has lilac blue flowers) and pulmonaria "Sissinghurst White" (which has white flowers, obviously LOL).

The two plum-coloured pots will possibly have mint planted in them, I haven't quite made up my mind yet ~ oh, decisions, decisions!

Thankfully the pinks have settled into their new home and the buds are opening.  I was a tad concerned that they would have a hissy fit at being moved when they were full of buds, but they haven't even skipped a beat!

I have had this metal candle-holder for quite a few years and now finally have the perfect place to hang it.  It was reduced by quite a bit as one of the glass holders was missing.  I wondered if it would hang okay with only three instead of four but it's fine.

This clump of chives has been in this position for a while now ~ it obviously likes it here.  I don't really use it as a herb but grow it for the pretty flowers instead :-)

Just look at the fronds unfurling on my fern ~ I am so happy that it managed to survive my neglect!

The area between the house and my workshop is looking much tidier now.  The bag is just being used temporarily for bits and pieces of rubbish that I gather up as I'm working.  At the moment I don't know what to do here as there isn't much space.  Oh well, I'm sure I will think of something soon ;-)

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot

Love's Immaturity

Not weaned yet, without comprehension loving,
We feed at breasts of love; like a still cat
That wears and loves the fire in peace, till moving
She slips off fire and love, to cross the mat

As new as birth; so by default denying
House-roof and human friends that come and go,
The landscape of life's dreams.  Antelopes flying
Over his wild earth serve the lion so.

We are blind children who answer with love
A warmth and sweetness.  Those even we love most
We sleep within their lives like cats, and rove
Out in the night, and late return and coast

Their souls like furniture.  Oh, life should give
Light till we understand they live, they live.

E.J. Scovell
(9th April 1907 - 19th October 1999)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Sunday was a very long day...

...and I was absolutely pooped by the time I managed to drag myself away from the task at hand!

So here is the area next to the house, rearranged yet again.  I think it may stay like this now ~ for a while, at any rate LOL

The planter at the back is the one pictured sitting on the butler's sink in my previous garden post, which is now being supported by an small old table that I've had for ever.  The table is painted in Annie Sloan "Graphite" chalk paint, which really helps it to blend into the background.  I'm still not sure what to plant in it, to be honest, but have decided to at least keep the creeping jenny and sweet woodruff that was already in the outer section.  In the centre I have placed a sturdy plastic pot upside-down with a piece of tile on it to create a stand for the terracotta herb planter.  I'm still mulling over options for what to plant in the inner section and the herb pot!

I've put Matty's water bowl and stand in the back ~ easy for him to get to and convenient for refilling from the outside tap.  The big pot is the one which was temporarily placed between the two chicken houses.  The small pot is filled with a variety of sedum, which I've had for a number of years and which just keeps on growing!  The wooden planter will be restained but I possibly won't fill it up until we have had new slabs laid, hopefully later in the year. 

I have ordered some alpine plants for the butler's sink and the concrete pot on the lower step has been planted with yet more of the sempervivum offshoots.

I am thinking of buying an outdoor rug to lay outside the patio door as the mat that is there at the moment is looking decidedly tatty.

The weeds in this area sure were tough to get out!  The soil was very hard, too, and I actually had to water it in order to fork it over.  I am sure that the dwarf conifer must be sighing with relief to finally get some light and air, as must the terracotta fairies and brass frogs :-)

To the left of the conifer you can just about see a couple of bergenia plants, which I moved from elsewhere in the garden.  The little plants in front of the nature pool are veronica spicata.  When I pulled the weeds out I could see that the soil along here had really sunk, so I had to add a pretty generous layer of compost to build it back up again.

I moved the obelisk from the border as I felt that this bed needed some height.  I didn't want to plant anything tall, though, as the thyme in the top bed is now really well established and obviously enjoys the sunshine.  The obelisk fits the bill perfectly (even though it is less than "perfect" itself, as it got rather squished when we had some strong winds earlier in the year!) as it gives me the height I wanted with no loss of light to the bed behind.

The two green plastic pots are meant to be stacked, along with a third white one which I am going to use indoors.  They are filled, as you may have guessed, with yet more of the houseleek offshoots and I placed them on bricks to raise them a little. 

All three of these raised beds need more plants in them, which I will do gradually over the course of the summer and autumn no doubt.

The lavender has settled really well here ~ plenty of sunshine and a little shelter from the shed ~ as have the two thymes.  In the centre, at the front, is another thyme which I moved from the bed with the obelisk.  I'm hoping it too will settle into its new home.  Beneath the lavender are some armeria which have lots of blooms and buds.

Like the lavender, the rosemary also seems to like living here.  Again, I think it is a combination of sun and shelter.  The plant is actually a couple of "growing herbs" that I bought from the supermarket.  They didn't really seem very happy living in my kitchen, even though the windowsill is very sunny ~ perhaps it was just too humid for them when I was cooking.  It did say on the pots that the plants weren't suitable to be planted outside but I decided to take a chance anyway.  I stripped off the lower stalks and twisted the two plants together ~ this is the result after about three years!  I keep the lower stems bare so that plants will grow beneath the rosemary, and regularly trim it back.

I moved more plants into this raised bed from elsewhere in the garden, so it is almost planted up now.  I have taken a bit of a chance with the pinks as they are full of buds.  I wasn't happy with them in the wooden raised beds, as they were taller than I wanted.  I noticed yesterday that some of the buds are actually starting to open, so hopefully the plants will be okay.  

I grow the chives for the pretty flowers more than for their use as a herb.  This clump has been here for quite some time now.  You can also just about see the fronds of the fern starting to uncurl at the back :-)  

Spot the differences between the photo above and the one below!  There is still work to be done here but, again, it won't be finished until the paving has been replaced.

I still have lots to do in the garden but it's always going to be an ongoing process anyway, isn't it :-)  Which is all part of the joy of gardening, don't you think, my loves?  

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others
cannot keep it from themselves

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Making progress

There is still plenty to be done in the back garden but I am slowly getting there!  I had a very long day working out there this last Sunday (I will share those photos in another post) but these are the photos I took and forgot to show you from a couple of weeks back ~ a vast improvement from this post and this one LOL  

The raised bed has been rearranged and I am gradually getting it planted up.  Most of the plants have been moved from elsewhere in the garden so there hasn't been much financial outlay at the moment.  As you can see Steve, our handy-dandy handyman, has now replaced all the old fence panels and I have at last got them all stained ~ I am so glad to have finally got that job done!

The houseleeks were planted in this birdcage last year.  They are doing really well but houseleeks are tough little plants aren't they :-)  I have lots in various places in the garden now, all offshoots from just three original plants!  I put the little cherub in the cage to add a little height.

These three pansies were in a pot of "spring bedding" plants, along with some others.  The pot got rather neglected, I'm afraid, and I rather belatedly got round to watering it!  The other plants were too far gone to recover but these three obviously weren't quite ready to give up the fight, so I thought I'd put them into the raised bed.  I don't suppose they will last very long but they look pretty whilst they are still flowering.

My hostas are doing remarkably well ~ for now, at least!  I fully expect them to be attacked by the dreaded slugs any day, and I always feel grateful to open the curtains and see them still in one piece LOL  The forget-me-nots are such pretty plants and look lovely with the hostas.

More hostas and forget-me-nots.  The armeria in this bed are much further behind others I have in another bed but there are lots of buds coming up.

The narcissus were in a pot and I thought they weren't going to throw up any flowers at all, as the compost in the pot was disturbed by something soon after I planted it up.  Then I noticed that there were actually flowers coming up after all!  I'm afraid that I was in a proper "get-the-garden-sorted" mood and unceremoniously tipped the poor things out of the pot and planted them ~ amazingly, they continued to flower!

Do you see the rather poorly-looking fern to the right of the picture?  Well, I'm ashamed to admit that it spent all winter sitting in a pot.....without compost.  Steve had to dig it out when he was paving the bottom of the garden, and I can only assume that it managed to survive because it had quite a lot of soil around its rootball.  Thankfully the winter was quite mild, too, and the pot was in a sheltered position.  I pulled out quite a lot of dead foliage and discovered that there were some tiny new fronds, so decided to give it a second chance.  There are more new fronds now, so it has obviously forgiven me for my unkind treatment of it!  

The ivy has been living in a large pot for a few years but I wanted something with a bit of height to fill this corner of the bed.  The little kissing couple statue has lived with the ivy all the time it was in the pot, so I thought it would be nice for them to stay together LOL

I really should have tackled those weeds when they were still small ~ look at the size of the things here!

Yet more of the dreaded weeds in the borders, too *sigh*

Once the fencing was finished, we were able to move little Martha's house.  This part of the garden doesn't look very attractive but it does make a good place for the chickens to have their homes.

This pot was only here as a temporary measure to stop Matty from hoovering up the food that the chickens manage to scatter everywhere!  As you can see, Adrian has added some wooden panels to keep the food inside their runs so Matty is now a somewhat disappointed doggie LOL  I can't remember what the plant in the centre is called but it is surrounded by sweet woodruff.  I really like the plant but it's not good to be let loose in the garden as it sends out runners all over the place!

I thought it was looking a bit bare and forlorn down near the new shed, so placed this large pot there.  The shrubby plant is a pyracantha that used to be in a planter in the front garden.  I cut it back really hard when I took it out of the planter but it seems happy as it has lots of lovely leaves again.  I will keep it quite small, not least because they are such thorny plants!  I can't remember what colour the berries are on this particular plant, so it will be a nice surprise when it eventually flowers and produces berries again.

Excuse the rubbish pile!  I don't think there will be any more to add to it, so I will arrange for it to be taken away soon.

I wanted to show you the lilac.  My Mum gave me the plant and when I took it out of the pot to put it in the garden, I discovered that it would easily split into two ~ so, two plants for the price of one :-)

This is the larger of the two lilacs ~ I suppose you could say that they are sisters!  I have a lot of tidying and weeding to do in this part of the border, too.

Now that Martha's house has been moved, we finally have somewhere to sit outside.  I love to sit here just looking at the garden, even if there is still such a lot to be done.

The area near the house has been changed, yet again!  This was just a temporary "holding" area ~ I will show you how it's looking now in the next garden post :-)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Friday, 20 May 2016

A visit to Worcestershire

Last Wednesday Adrian and I travelled up to Worcestershire to spend a couple of days with my sister and her house-mate.  We were so lucky with the weather ~ it was raining as we approached Birmingham but by the time we had got to the Black Country Living Museum it had stopped :-)

We had a great time walking around the BCLM but at 26 acres, it is somewhere that one needs to return to in order to see everything there.  Over fifty authentic houses, shops and workshops have been reconstructed on the site, to create a canalside village.  There are lots of guides in the various buildings, wearing costumes of the time, and who are full of information.  I took some photos as we walked around..... 

We also had a 45-minute trip on a canal boat, run by the Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust, which was also very interesting ~ although a tad chilly!

On the Thursday, which was Amanda's birthday, we visited The Jinney Ring Craft Centre, which was absolutely fabulous!  Whilst I did enjoy looking round the BCLM, I have to confess that the craft centre was much more my cup of tea ;-)  Amanda has promised that she will take us back there when we visit again!

The weather was lovely on the Thursday too, which was just as well as Amanda had planned a barbeque LOL  All-in-all, we had a great couple of days away, a fab little mini-break :-)