"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Autumn Colour in the Garden

Cosmos is still flowering in our garden providing nectar for the occasional pollinator that passes by.

I bought this Rudbeckia from a NT property earlier this year - can't for the life of me remember which one - to begin replacing the half dozen or so I seem to have lost in the garden. My favourite pink Cone flower has also disappeared along with the chocolate scabious :( Sadly, I think B often decides to "weed" the herbaceous border just as the plants are starting to grow and some of the perennials come out with the unwanted ones :(

Ragwort is still flowering in the "no mow zone" of the main lawn.

Michaelmas Daisies - one of my favourites although I seem to have also lost the deep pink one we had :(

Whitebeam fallen leaves and berries. I must try and collect some of the latter and try and get them to germinate this year in case we do eventually decide to move. The whitebeam appeared as a self-seeded sapling not long after we moved in and is one feature of the garden I would really miss if we left so it would be good to take a young tree with us.


Autumn leaves

Wild Carrot Seedhead near the wildflower meadow. B has now cut the meadow - I think we might get a better idea next year if the sowing of copious Yellow Rattle plants has curbed the dreaded couch grass. There didn't seem to be an increase in wild flowers this year but couch grass was certainly less vigorous.

Ice Plant - again these don't seem to have flowered as well as usual this year.

Lots of ivy flowers for pollinators

Monday, 24 October 2016

Wild Flower Albums and some recent reading

Several years ago D bought me this lovely wildflower album (published 1937) as a birthday present.

Recently I spotted a similar album on ebay which had been published the year before in 1936 and couldn't resist buying it. Both albums contain 50 wildflower cards and I think they are delightful and so charming. Lovely to see some wildflowers which were no doubt far more plentiful in the 1930's!

Recent Reading

I really enjoyed this book by Katherine Swift - it contains articles that she wrote several years ago when she was a gardening correspondent for The Times. It follows the months of the year and, having visited the garden, it made the book extra special. I would very much like to return to Morville early next Spring and see the tulips and enjoy another cream tea :)

I do like books by Susan Howatch, in fact I find once started I can't put them down - having finished the Starbridge series, I moved onto the St Benet's trilogy, set around a Christian healing centre in London and containing a couple of characters from the Starbridge novels. Sadly, I don't think Susan Howatch has written any more books since the St Benet's stories.

Reading "Dead Water" and "Thin Air" by Ann Cleeves has brought me more or less up to date with the Shetland books. A new story has recently been published but I'll have to wait until it comes down in price!

"Too good to be True" is a quick read featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez from the Shetland series and

"Offshore" is a short story collection containing stories about DI Jimmy Perez and DI Willow Reeves from the Shetlanders and a story about Vera Stanhope before she joined the police force. Enjoyed both of these books although perhaps not as much as the longer stories.

Now I'm more or less up to date I think I may put the Shetland series dvd on my Christmas and Birthday List and will now move onto the Vera Stanhope novels.

I had perhaps better explain that I wouldn't normally read as many books as this!! but I had a bad cold a few weeks ago and then developed bronchitis which meant there wasn't a lot I felt like doing for about a week - apart from reading!

I always over-estimate the time I will have available for reading when I am on holiday and before we went to Devon in June I bought half a dozen or so books for the Kindle which I still hadn't read. Much as I love my Kindle - buying is so very easy that you can often get carried away buying books on special offer for 99p or £1.99 which Amazon is always suggesting that if you liked such and such a book then you might like this. It is not a bad way of trying new authors but there are some you will enjoy and other's you won't.

I bought this book purely and simply because it was set in Holder's Hope, Herefordshire and this is one I did enjoy. It is well written if perhaps a little over long. The book time slips between the early 20th century when the garden was created and the present day when a young man and his girlfriend discover the derelict garden and research the history. It is sad at times and is definitely a house and garden with a secret!

Another book I enjoyed with an interesting plot/characters and it has that many twists and turns that it was difficult to put down.

Another time slip story between Rebecca and Sarah who lived in Red Hill Hall in Victorian times and the present day where Gemma is researching the history of the hall and the discovery of two pistols. I don't like criticising books but I really did not enjoy this at all - far too predictable. In fact, if I had read this when I was well I don't think I would have got past the first chapter.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Baddesley Clinton - Part 2: Walled and Kitchen Gardens and Scarecrows

When we visited Baddesley Clinton a few weeks ago there was still plenty of colour (in addition to the dahlias) in the walled garden.

This tumbledown shed was covered in ivy and ivy flowers which were attracting many bees and hoverflies.

The scarecrow display in the kitchen garden had a Shakespeare theme this year.

Autumn is on the way - hawthorn, holly and pyracantha berries

Some of the apple trees have huge clumps of mistletoe.

Coffee and Walnut Cake before we left :)

For Wendy - in reply to your comment in the Baddesley dahlia post these are the type of dahlias I was referring to which may be better for bees? The second photo was taken on a previous visit and the flower was attracting butterflies :)