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Showing posts from May, 2015

This Green and Pleasant Land ...

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Returning home from a shopping trip in the next village I stopped the car.

I stood on the roadside verge and looked at my surroundings, breathed it all in; and saw the splendour of it all.

This land, ancient and unchanging, worked by generations of farmers, grazed by untold numbers of sheep and cattle.

Boundary hedgerows providing food for birds and shelter for wild animals; home for fox, badger and rabbit who dig beneath its roots.

Hawks and buzzards cruising the skies, rising and circling high in the thermals, with one eye looking for their next meal.

Centuries old trees, oak and ash, in full leaf, where birds nest and home to a myriad of insects who tunnel and bore.

The patchwork of fields providing hay for winter feed; wild flowers and seeding grasses, food for  bee and butterfly.

Each element  an essential part of this green and pleasant land -  part of the whole picture.  Each one needs the other to thrive and complete the circle of life. I feel privileged to be surroun…

Where the Wild Things Grow … The World Beyond the Garden Gate …

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I have a passion for wild flora.  Since moving to the country over thirty years ago my passion has swelled and grown. 
My love for my garden is well documented but my heart lies in the wild where Mother Nature scatters seed where she will and puts on spectacular shows for us to gaze upon with open-mouthed wonder. The last few weeks have been spent working tirelessly at home doing all the things that a dedicated gardener has to do at this time of year – but sometimes a break is needed  to appreciate the other things in life, the world beyond the garden gate. And so we went in search of where the wild things grow – secret places of tangled tunnels and verdant growth.  We were not disappointed.  For May is the time of abundance in the plant world.  Hawthorn blossom and Cow Parsley, Campion and Buttercup and where newly budded pine cones light up the trees like a thousand Christmas candles. On our walk we were accompanied by the song of the Skylark rising high in the overcast sky becoming fa…

Columbine … The Star of the Season

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What a week it has been – rain, rain and more rain – thunder and lightning and moments of glorious sunshine – great for the garden – not so good for gardening.  It is still too cold to put out the summer containers which are ready and waiting in the greenhouse but they are filling out nicely and hopefully will put on a good show – given the chance.  I have been working in there this afternoon; transplanting, potting on and doing some of the 1,001 jobs that need to be done at this time of year if you want your garden to look good during the rest of the year.  But I haven’t come to tell you how busy I’ve been – I’ve come to show you pictures of the lovely Columbine.Each plant has its time in the garden and now it is the turn of the Columbine (Aquilegia, Granny’s Bonnet).  Surely this must be the quintessential cottage garden plant.“Columbines will self-seed, often putting themselves in places that you would never have thought of yourself.  You can learn from that.  Sometimes, you may ev…

An Evening Air … Wallflowers in The Fragrant Garden

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Sometimes the best part of the day is early morning before the weather has decided what it is going to do.  Other times the evening has a special quality all of its own.  The sun still shines till 8 or 9 o’clock but there isn’t the glare that you get during the day – the light is softer somehow; birds are still singing and taking dust baths in the chippings at the side of the road; bees are still buzzing round making their last pollen collection and butterflies stop and look around wondering where they are going to make their bed for the night.  A perfect time for  a stroll or to wander round the garden picking flowers for a posy for the house or taking photographs when the shadows are shorter.“The pale stars were sliding into their places.  The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed.  All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet.  It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater – a moment when anything can…

We’ll gather lilacs …

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“Lilacs smell like they look.  They could have no other scent or colour, the flower simply smells mauve, that haunting naive purple, mysterious and sweet, just this side of decay.  When you think about it, the combination of hue and scent is first correct, then perfect. ~ J. CarrollPurple lilacs symbolize the first emotions of love; while white lilacs represent youthful innocence.According to Greek mythology a beautiful nymph Syringa (Lilac’s botanical name) was chased by Pan, the god of the forests and fields.  Frightened by Pan’s affections, she escaped him by turning herself into an aromatic bush – the flower we know as Lilac.For me, the Lilac heralds the next phase of flowering in the garden.  The daffodils and tulips are almost at the end of their time.  We have been graced by their presence over the last few weeks; when they brought an end to the winter drabness and bare borders; now we welcome the newest arrivals, and Lilac is one of the first.  On a calm day, with the sun shin…