Archives

My English Garden in May – Beautiful Clematis


photo 1 (1)

 

It’s just so nice to see flowers blooming after our long, wet winter. Here on the wall is a beautiful clematis, which gives us much pleasure.

And here a honeysuckle, just waiting to open up…

photo 3 (1)

Life feels good at the moment and here at the cottage we are all three enjoying our retirement.  There is time, at last, to do the things we want to do. Life moves slowly. We have learned to adapt and it’s good.

IMG_1641 IMG_1626 IMG_1627 IMG_1629 IMG_1630 IMG_1632 IMG_1641 IMG_1643 IMG_1647

Oma

 

Sunday is gardening day!


DSCF1841

We had some really fine weather over the last two days and my flame tulips opened right up. I’ve been watching them growing from my sun-lounge and couldn’t wait to see them open up. Here they are in all their splendour.

DSCF1842 DSCF1844 DSCF1845

and the camellia bush is flowering early this year. That’s a bonus. There are lots of flowers on it and such a joy to see.DSCF1847

DSCF1848

DSCF1824 DSCF1826 DSCF1827

and before I forget, the butterflies are out and about too. I just managed to catch this one sunning its wings in the sunshine. It’s a peacock – gorgeous, aren’t they.

DSCF1849

Have you seen any butterflies recently?

Today is Mothers’ Day in England. We are earlier than most places. I consider myself very lucky today. I have had two visits and a phone call.

Thinking of my own mother, who died in 1992, I remember a very Dutch lady who loved her tulips. So here is a toast to my mum and her tulips.

Is there a flower that you associate with your own mother? If so, which one comes to mind?

Oma

 

 

When should I plant out my geranium (pelargonium) cuttings?


DSCF1792

Back last August, I took lots of geranium cuttings.  So what has happened to them since, you may be wondering. Well they are doing just fine thank you. The smallest ones have been on my window sill all winter and now they are bursting to go outside. Since we could still have frosts at night, I am waiting till April to plant them out and meantime I am enjoying the daffodils in the border first. You can see how big the cuttings are in the first picture above.

The rest of the plants, which I had in the back garden last summer, were brought in in October before the first frosts arrived. They have been sunning themselves in the ‘den’ at the back of the cottage all winter. Now they are getting a bit leggy and want to go outside, but first they must be hardened off. I shall be doing that soon.

Geraniums, or to give them their proper name, pelargoniums, are easy to grow and quick to propagate so they are ideal for beginners to gardening and for me because there is such a high success rate. I like to make sure that I get a continuity of colour each year so I take care, when propagating, to get an equal number of red, white, pink and peach plants. Each year it seems that one or other does better than the rest and, of course, I am always on the look out for new colours. I would love to have a blue one, but blue is not the most prolific colour in the plant world.

DSCF1790

Like the primrose, the geranium is not particularly attractive to bees for pollinating. The primrose (which I wrote about yesterday) relies on small insects to spread its seeds and the geraniums need a bit of help from me!

This is one of the pink ones, which is longing to get outside. It’s such a delicate colour, isn’t it.

DSCF1798

DSCF1794

Millie thinks I’m mad, messing about with plants all the time; you can tell from her expression while she is watching me:

DSCF1800

So today it is fine and sunny outside and so I may go out and poggle about with the fork! First I have to think about something for dinner?

What are you having for dinner today?

Oma

The Humble Primrose


DSCF1814

I have just upgraded my blog to Premium because I ran out of space so now I return with some pictures of the lovely primroses and primulas, which have been growing in my cottage garden just lately. The first picture shows the humble primrose, although it is quite spectacular really especially after our wet and miserable winter. The next pictures are primulas, which have been cultivated by the growers from the original primrose into large blooms with brighter colours. I am not showing here today the other two members of the family, namely the Primula veris (the cowslip) or the Primular auricula (the auricula).

‘The Primula genus belongs to the Primulaceae family. In general terms, it is a genus of about 400 species, some of which hybridize very easily. They are deciduous winter-green plants, some of which are only half-hardy. All are perennial and produce flowers (often on long stems, sometimes on short ones) from central rosettes of low basal leaves.

DSCF1823

The primrose (the Latin name P. vulgaris means ‘common’; sometimes this species is called P. acaulis, meaning ‘with stem’) is one of the first spring flowers to bloom and is a plant that is found throughout Europe.  It is a native perennial in Britain, found in woods, grassy areas and hedge banks.’

From Flower Wisdom by Katherine Kear

DSCF1822

DSCF1821

DSCF1819

DSCF1818

DSCF1817 DSCF1815

My English Garden in February – something’s moving!


DSCF1774

The weather here in England has been appalling just lately with high winds and flooding across much of the country. However here in the south-east, north of London – just! we’re ok, thank goodness.  The cottage garden is not flooded although a bit water logged. Today is lovely and sunny so I went out and took some photos. The bulbs are peeking through in the tubs and the polyanthus are bravely flowering.

DSCF1777

I’ve been in the cottage a lot over the last few weeks and I don’t mind that because I love to read, knit and sew, but today going out was a joy – just for a little while. The first time out gardening always causes stiff muscles – yuck! but a tidy up is in order. Not today though. I’ll wait till it’s a little bit warmer.

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy these gorgeous roses that Larry bought for me for Valentine’s Day. Wasn’t I lucky!

DSCF1781Oma

A Very Busy Two Weeks


DSCF1543

It’s been a very busy two weeks, here at the cottage. It started with the building of Larry’s new shed (see picture above) and it ended with our spending a few days with my eldest son in Bristol. In between times, the furniture and effects arrived from America and are currently standing in many boxes all around the cottage.

Consequently, we have been busy and exhausted at the end of each day and I have spent very little time on the computer. Apologies therefore if I haven’t visited you lately, but I will be doing the rounds shortly.

The shed went up very nicely and compliments the garden. I think every man (and woman) should have a shed (doghouse) to go into from time to time. Larry wanted his for a specific reason, which I cannot reveal at the moment. We also thought we may need some extra storage space for those boxes, which will have to wait to be unpacked.

During the upheaval of the shed construction, we decided that a small patio in front would be an advantage so L and J went to Homebase to buy some small paving stones to put in the space. On arrival back at the house, they began to unpack the stones and carry them into the back garden. Larry decided to remove his wedding ring and put it in his pocket so it wouldn’t get scratched. Somewhere between the car and the shed and the house, the wedding ring got lost. We all three of us spent the next few days looking for it to no avail. Finally, when we had almost given up, J decided to buy a metal detector to help to locate the ring.  It arrived from Amazon a few days later and the two men put it together and took it outside to search for the ring.  They didn’t find it down the alley, nor on the patio by the house. They did find three nails, which were useless, of course!

I wondered if the ring could be under the new patio, which L had just laid the day before? He took up all the stones he had just laid and searched underneath. No sign of the ring! Then, of course, he had to put all the stones back! Not a pleasant task.

The metal detector was hopeless because it picked up everything and nothing. The beep was going off all the time. The neighbours must have wondered what on earth we were doing, crawling round the driveway at the front, peering down drains, metal detecting here there and everywhere.

In the end we gave up and it’s still lost – damn it!!!

Bad omen I call it!!!

DSCF1558 DSCF1559 DSCF1560 DSCF1562 DSCF1563

Sunday is gardening day!


DSCF1500

After a slow start, the beans have come on in leaps and bounds and we have already had three meals for three people from them.

DSCF1527

Good results down on the allotment too, as you can see from these pictures, taken at Stockwood Park:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PumpkinsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ParsleyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

RosemaryOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chard
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes, it’s been a very good summer. Now the fields are golden and the farmers have been busy, bringing in the crops and already there is a slight hint of Autumn in the air.

It’s never too hot to knit or crochet!


DSCF1395

Well, maybe it’s a little warm…? just a tad? Anyway, a knitter has to knit and a crocheter has to crochet and a spinner has to spin and a scrapbooker has to… you get the message. I do all of that so I’m always busy. Plus I love to cook and sew and read. I just worry that I won’t have enough time left on this earth to finish all the things I want to do. Anyone else feel like that?

Recently I became a grandma (Oma) again, to little Sam. Here is his picture again. I didn’t think you’d mind seeing it again while I wait for some new ones! As I look into his dear little face, I realise that I won’t be here for all of his growing up. I may make it till he’s 20 or so, if I’m lucky. That’s a sobering thought and while I’m on the subject, I won’t get to see the new King or Queen, to be born today, get on the throne either. All of which is why I must make the most of every minute of every day. That does’nt mean running around like a (fill in your own simile here), but it does mean getting into perspective those things which really don’t matter all that much. I must treasure every day and each visit from my beloved sons and their families because none of us knows how many more days we have. When we are young, we don’t think about those things too much, but as we get older, they fill our thoughts more.

Sam in bath 09-06-2013

So let me sit back and crochet my blanket, ready for the cold, winter winds…

DSCF1394

Let me enjoy my roses in this delightful cottage garden.

DSCF1376

But most of all, let me give thanks for my family and friends, near and far and that means YOU!

ps: Everything went very well this week, with the arrival of my husband in England. I know you are looking forward to hearing how he is getting on, but my feet haven’t touched the floor with so much to do and arrange, so  I will come back to that in a future post. Suffice to say that he says ‘It’s like being three years old again!  Everything here is different!’

Oma

Beautiful Roses – High Summer


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

England is enjoying some spectacular weather at the moment! Yes, I did say that. Unusual, I know, but we have had hot, sunny days for a while now and more to come. Is it a coincidence, I wonder; that my husband is arriving from Tennessee next week? Is he bringing his weather with him? I rather doubt it because where he has been staying for a few weeks in South Carolina, there has been thunderstorms and heavy rain every day.  Perhaps he’ll bring those too.

I have been preparing the cottage for his arrival. There are lots of differences to life over here. I wonder how he will cope? What will he notice first? Our lack of air conditioning perhaps? The birds are different here. They look different and they sound different. There are no mocking birds, humming birds or cardinals. Instead we have blackbirds, who sing so very beautifully, wood pigeons, little English robins and tiny wrens. I’m just thinking of my own garden now. With two cats, the birds like to keep away. We have no cicadas or poisonous snakes and our butterflies are smaller. There are no fireflies either.

From my own observations I can say that the trees are different. Ours are not so tall and they are more gnarled looking. We have miles of hedges.  Did you know you can tell the age of a hedge by the number of species of plant and tree in it?

We drive on the left hand side and there are many, many roundabouts. We are allowed to park cars on the side of the road so driving becomes a bit like an obstacle course.

We have double-decker buses. Ours are painted turquoise. We use public transport a lot because our petrol is very expensive. Because I am over 60 I travel free on the local buses, whether they are in my own town or someone elses.

I don’t pay for my prescriptions because I am over 60 years old. Our National Health Service is free at the point of use.

Time for another picture:

DSCF1298

I am more than excited about L’s arrival and have been ‘nesting’ for a few weeks now. Only a few more days now…

signpost to Tennessee