Friday, 21 June 2013

A Garden Visit . What's New in Bloom and The Tale of a Crafty Crow

Last Saturday afternoon my friend and I paid a visit to another NGS open garden at Orchard House, Husbands Bosworth.  The house had originally been two cottages so the garden was a bit higgledy-piggledy - you couldn't see everything at once and there were surprises around every corner.  Old outbuildings and a hexagonal summer house  added to the gardens' charm.  The lady of the house had  made little vignettes of garden furniture and garden implements which were delightful.

The whole garden was immaculate, not a weed in sight and every little bit of it filled with with well-cared-for plants.  I came away with far more ideas and inspiration than I did from the recent visit to the Gardeners World Live Show - this is a real garden showing just what plants grow and flower together at the right time.  After tea and cake we thanked our hosts for a delightful tour of the garden - if only my photos could have done it justice.

Back in my garden the geraniums are coming to the fore

zepherine drouhine rose

variegated weigela

Kolwitzia -  which I pruned hard two years ago
last year it didn't flower - this year it has
made up for it - covered in flowers and almost
twice the size it was originally

sink garden
During the week I noticed that the holder with the fat balls for the birds kept disappearing - I found it at the top of the garden - empty.   I replaced the fat balls and hung the holder on a drainpipe by the greenhouse -  I put on my best sleuthing hat and sat upstairs in the back bedroom waiting to catch the thief on camera.  Here is what happened.

I had to go out at this stage - and when I returned I went in search of the fat ball holder, and yes the crow had dragged it all the way to the top of the garden again - and yes, it was empty.  Cheeky beggar - I suppose it was my fault for feeding them all winter - but hey, we all gotta eat, right.

I'll finish with a picture of a gorgeous sunset we had earlier in the week

and a picture of an excellent night out with the girls to celebrate a friends birthday

Have a good weekend - see you soon!

Check out what has been happening in the veg garden
Off on holiday next week - I'll tell you all about it
when I return - I bet you can't wait!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Guess where I went on Wednesday - The Gardeners World Flower Show

On Wednesday my friend and I took the train from Rugby and visited Gardeners World Live in Birmingham.   This was my first visit to the show and my first train trip in I don't know how many years.  I was more excited about catching the train than I was about the show to be honest.  You're not going to believe this but my last train journey was on a steam train to go to my grandma's funeral.  How long is it since steams trains were functioning as part of British Rail?  Anyway I missed the hissing of the engine, the guard blowing his whistle and the clickety-clack, clickety-clack as the train chugged along.  The train we caught was so fast and so silent it was as though we weren't moving at all.  The only seats we could get faced the wrong way and looking out of the window made me feel a little queasy to start with.  The NEC provided a shuttle bus at the station - so the whole journey only took fifteen minutes from Rugby station to Birmingham NEC - fantastic.

Rain was forecast so we were loaded with raincoats and umbrellas, I also took a picnic which was pretty heavy, but the rain held off - the sun came out - and we sighed with relief.

As it was the first day it wasn't overcrowded and there was plenty of space around the gardens and stalls to be able to see everything.  The ubiquitous little pink trolleys for transporting your plants were everywhere, getting in everybody's way, running over your toes and cracking against your ankles. TUT.

There were only a handful of show gardens - mostly very contemporary showing off the hard landscaping
 The favourite flowers seemed to be white foxgloves and astrantias in most of the gardens, but this next one was the one I preferred
I loved the shed-cum-greenhouse with a green roof, pond, beehive, small veg plot and cottage garden flowers surrounded with a beech hedge.  Lovely.
The plant that I saw most people buying was this white one ORLAYA, an annual in the cow parsley family.  So delicate and pretty.  Just to let you know - I resisted buying any plants at all, I just don't have any room for anything else.  My friend came home with three plants and a tin cockerel ornament.

There was also the Good Food Show on, but by the middle of the afternoon we were getting tired of wandering about, so we didn't bother too much with it.  We did sit and listen to Cleve West give a talk about his book Our Plot - about his allotment garden - and after a final cup of tea we made our weary way back to the shuttle to take the train ride home.

It was an enjoyable day and  plant collectors and enthusiasts would have been in their element.  I am so glad I took a picnic with us as everything was so expensive, but we did lash out and buy some fish and chips for tea when we got back. 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Friday Flowers . What's New in Bloom and a Garden Visit

Well, summer has finally arrived - we certainly waited long enough for it.  The downside is that I have an awful lot of container planting and now begins the arduous task of watering every evening.  As the main flowers in the garden at the moment are Aquilegia and Sweet Rocket my flower posy  consists mainly of these.

Chive flowers, sweet rocket, geranium, aquilegia and the leaves of Ladies Mantle
The borders are full of Sweet Rocket which self-seeds all over the place - I was quite ruthless with it last year and was worried that not much would re-appear, but it hasn't let me down and really adds to the cottage garden feel, along with the self-sown Aquilegias.
Sweet Rocket
Aquilegia hybrid
My raised veg beds are all edged with Chives - all the flowers have now fully opened

and I think they look a treat - don't you agree.
The cows in the back field decided to take their afternoon siesta all in a line rather than scattered - safety in numbers I supposes.

On Wednesday myself and a friend went on a garden visit to Stoke Albany Hall opened for the NGS (National Garden Scheme).  The garden was very grand as was the house and particularly the building that housed the horses.  Unfortunately the garden was rather behind because of the weather so there wasn't an awful lot in flower, but there were one or two nice areas.

Stoke Albany Hall
Stabling for the horses - I wouldn't mind moving in there myself!
Lots of boxwood edging for the veg garden and a very large fruit cage
The gravel garden was my favourite area - not sure what the yellow spikey flowers are
Very deep herbaceous borders which will look lovely in a couple of weeks time
A rose walk with no roses in flower - leading to a statue at the end
which would have been more noticeable if the door behind it had
been painted black rather than white.
My favourite plant in the garden (any ideas as to what it is) - it wasn't white
and it wasn't pale blue - it was almost a soft pale grey - lovely.
And finally, I have begun reading 'And the Mountains Echoed' by Khaled Hosseini borrowed from a friend.
Afganistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh.  Their father Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters.  To Abdullah, Pari - as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named - is everything.  More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection.

One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father,  They have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.

How are you enjoying this warm spell -
hands up if you have got your white legs out
and are wearing shorts that feel a little
bit tighter than they did last year !

Why not visit my other blog A Woman of the Soil and check out the guest post I
did for Tanya at Lovely Greens.