This Blog is no longer being updated.

I have decided to consolidate all my posts and pages on one site.  John and I now have our own web space and will be using it for our web pages from now on.

Please visit my new blog here.

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Early Summer Explosion!

2015-05-21 19.37.28When we went off on our holidays a couple of weeks ago it was late spring and a magic time of year in the garden.  On the left is a picture from the bottom of our drive.  What a dazzling mix of colours.

Now we’ve returned to find the spring flowers over or fading and the early summer growth spurt in full swing.  The slide show is of pictures taken in the last couple of days.

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Merry Christmas!

Here are a few photos of flowers that are blooming today in the garden!

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We still have roses and rosebuds!

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Schizostylis – Kaffir Lily – a late autumn bloomer

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Witch Hazel – Hamamelis – is just coming out and will be with us for most of the winter

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Lonicera frangratissima – Lemon Scented Honeysuckle. A lemon scented winter bloomer

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This tiny fuschia has been flowering since last summer because we had a very mild winter in 2014.

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The fuschia is sheltered in an old root that we dug up many years ago.


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Springtime Video

I’ve been messing about in the garden over the last couple of weeks.  We’ve done a bit of tidying up, but there’s still a lot to do – especially pruning.  The last few days were vile, though.  The southeasterly winds brought drizzle, fog, pollutants from London and the industrial parts of Europe along with Saharan sand and dust – not a pleasant mixture.  The wind has come round to the west now and is bringing fresher air in from the Atlantic.  Now we can see further than the end of the garden.

This is what the garden looked like at the beginning of the month:

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Stop the Badger Cull!

I normally stay away from political debates on my blogs, and I am aware that the Badger population is growing and this could well be causing problems for other native species, but the Badger Cull seems to have been botched beyond belief.  I’ve just received the following from Shropshire Wildlife Trust:

An e-action petition has been created by the Wildlife Trusts this week to ensure the Prime Minister feels the weight of serious public concern that any plans for continued and extended culling will make matters worse.

The Wildlife Trusts today ask David Cameron – via an e-action petition – to drop the Government’s failed badger cull policy and develop an alternative strategy for tackling bovine tuberculosis.

To sign The Wildlife Trusts’ e-action visit

Despite strong public opposition, a string of Government failures and MP recognition that an alternative strategy to deal with bovine TB is needed, plans to continue – and extend – badger culling – are expected this week.

In February, the Government’s justification for a badger cull in England was seriously undermined by Defra’s release of revised bTB statistics.  These showed that the overall number of UK cattle herds infected with bTB in 2012-13 fell by 3.4%, rather than increasing by 18% as previously stated.  The Government’s revised statistics are here.  The greatest reduction in bTB in 2012-13 was seen in Wales, where an independent strategy of strict cattle measures coupled with badger vaccination has achieved a significant 23.6% decrease in the number of infected cattle herds – without culling badgers.  In contrast, bTB incidence in England increased by 1.7% during the same period.

Please consider signing this e-petition if you are a UK citizen.

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Mad March Weather

We’ve had to come inside because there’s a heavy shower of ice pellets going on.  We managed to get some work done this morning, as we have most days for the last week.  But you do have to time the work so that you avoid the rain.  Actually, I’m so unfit I can’t work for more than a couple of hours at the time anyway!

Before the ice fell out of the sky it was cold but sunny, so I was able to snap a few pictures to show you:

bergenia and ferns

Bergenias and Ferns have really benefited from the mild, but wet winter.


Most of our daffodils are out now, although they are late compared to other places around here.  Our garden is in a shady frost hollow!


There’s plenty of frog-spawn in the pond.


The Hellebores are lovely under the Wych Hazel, and we have lots of seedlings, so I’m hoping they’ll spread even more.


This Mahonia is so yellow it really glows, and I love the colour of last year’s leaves.

marsh marigold

This is the first of several Marsh Marigolds to come out.  As you can see, there is still quite a bit of standing water in the bog garden.  There is also a lot of pendulous sedge which needs to come out before it chokes everything else.

Weather stationAnd this is our new weather station.  This is not a good location for it, but we have a very sheltered garden and we’re surrounded by trees, so this is the best we can do.


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Weather Station on-line!

Our garden weather station is now up, running and on-line at Weather Underground. The current conditions are shown in the box on the right, but if you click on the box you get a lot more info.

It’s been a lovely day today and we’ve been out pruning, mowing and cleaning up the herb bed.  I love the latter job as you get the scents of all the herbs as you go along:  lavender, thyme, marjoram, hyssop …. the list goes on.

Around us the birds were singing, with the robins in full voice now.  Blue tits are investigating the nest boxes, while the resident blackbird couples are chasing off all interlopers.

The queen bumblebees are out now, too.  These are the jumbo-jets of the bee world, buzzing around the place and looking for nesting sites where they can rear the next generation.  The queens are much bigger than the workers and males that come later.  I’ve seen a lot of tree bumblebee queens.  They’ve only recently moved into the UK (first spotted in 2001) and they’re a bit of a nuisance because they’re above ground cavity nesters so they like bird boxes.  Jan’s having a problem with them in her garden – not only is she allergic to bee stings, but they’ve taken up residence in the birdbox where many generations of blue tits have been raised.

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Spring is here!

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I’ve just found this exquisite hellebore under the wych hazel.  We used to have a few white ones, but they have disappeared.  We have lots of pink ones.  This must be a hybrid.  We have tons of seedlings in the same area, I wonder what will appear next year?

The crocusses are out now and the anemones are just bursting into bloom, but there are still flowers from last year because we haven’t had a real freeze.  I have flowers on my little fuschia where it’s nestled into the tree roots near the pond.  Normally the fuschia die right back, but this one is green and flourishing!

We’ve had a lot of activity in the pond over the last two weeks.  Toads, frogs and newts have all re-appeared, but we don’t have any frogspawn yet.  Needless to say, the water boatmen never stopped.  They’ve been active all winter, just hanging out lower in the water when it got a bit cold.  Those guys are rampant sex machines, it’s more common to see a mated couple than a single insect on its own!

So, I went out yesterday to start on the clean-up.  We leave everything over the winter to shelter and feed the birds, beasts and mini-beasts.  Now I have a soggy mess to pick up where the strap-like leaves of the crocosmia have died and flopped to the ground.  There’s lots of bare old flower stems to break up too.  No seeds left now, so I can get rid of them and make way for the new growth that’s pushing up everywhere.

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Year End Summary

Here’s a slide show of photos taken throughout 2013.  I haven’t labelled them.  If you want more information, please send an e-mail.

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Water Figwort

Sarah thinks the plant in the last post is a Water Figwort – Scrophularia auriculata.  Unfortunately, I think she’s right having had a good look at lots of photos on the web.  This is no-where near as unusual as Green Figwort.

Now, I wonder why it chose to grow in the mini-meadow under the apple trees rather than near the stream, beside the pond or in the bog garden?  What does it say about the dampness of our garden?  Or did the seeds just luck out during a particularly wet spring?  Only time will tell.  

I hope it prospers as I want to get some photos of the flowers.

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